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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 16, 2013

5 Chemicals in Cosmetics You Should Avoid

By Mark Sisson
223 Comments

CosmeticsHave you ever wondered just what’s in all those products you slather, spray, spritz, apply, and rub onto your body? I mean, who hasn’t tried to kill time in the shower by hunkering down with a good shampoo bottle ingredient list? It’s a laundry list of unpronounceable words separated by dozens of hyphens. In short, it all appears to be a big bottle of chemicals. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a “chemical.” Most everything can be called a chemical; ever heard of dihydrogen monoxide? But not all chemicals are benign, particularly the manmade, industrial ones created to fulfill a specific purpose in a product. They likely do their intended job very, very well, but it’s difficult to impossible to account for any other effects a chemical might have on an organism.

That’s where I come in. I don’t use a ton of cosmetics – which, for today’s purposes, I’ll define as any product you apply to your body to clean, moisturize, beautify, or cover up or improve an odor – but many of my readers do, and they want to know the effects of what they’re putting on and into their bodies. Today, I’ll discuss some of the most common and problematic cosmetic ingredients, both from a personal and environmental health standpoint.

Parabens

Although parabens are sometimes used as food preservatives, the majority of urinary parabens derives from nondietary sources like cosmetics, primarily, where they are used to extend shelf life. We now know beyond a doubt that humans can absorb parabens from makeup through the skin. Okay, so parabens are absorbed transdermally and show up in your urine. Does that actually matter? Well, the blogs of conventional skincare apologists would have you believe that the presence of parabens in urine means that the body is doing its job and fully eliminating toxins. Recent human studies, on the other hand, suggest a link between urinary paraben levels and certain health conditions, such as sensitivities to airborne and food allergieselevated stress hormones in pregnant mothers and their newborn children (who, by the way, are showing up with parabens in their first urine!), and DNA damage to sperm.

Furthermore, not all parabens are eliminated through the urine (contrary to the apologists’ claims). Some is retained in plasma, and these plasma parabens are far more stable than urinary parabens, even when stored at 37 degrees celsius for 30 days. It seems clear that urinary paraben levels offer an incomplete picture. Even scarier, parabens have estrogenic activity and show up in the vast majority of breast cancer tumors. That’s not proof of guilt – recall the presence of cholesterol in atherosclerotic plaque being used as “proof” of cholesterol’s causative role in heart disease – but it’s intriguing evidence, however circumstantial (plus, whereas cholesterol is manufactured by the body, parabens are not and therefore deserve far more scrutiny).

Where to find them: Shampoos, conditioners, makeup, toothpaste, lubricant, shaving gel, moisturizers, sunscreens.

Other names: Just look for any word with “paraben” as the suffix in the ingredient list. It’s pretty much everywhere.

Phthalates

Being plasticizers, phthalates are most abundantly found in plastics, but they also show up in most cosmetics, especially nail polish (to keep the polish from becoming brittle on the nail) and synthetic fragrance (as a preservative). Like most other plastic compounds, phthalates are endocrine disruptors with the ability to negatively affect a whole host of physiological functions. In animal studies, phthalates have anti-androgenic effects (they counter “male” sex hormones) and affect fetal development, particularly of male sexual function. The biggest effects are seen in utero, when the fetus is most vulnerable.

Human studies are primarily observational. One recent study found that women with the highest levels of certain cosmetics-related phthalates in their blood were at an elevated risk for diabetes. Another discovered a link between phthalate blood levels and obesity in children. They have also been linked to ADHD, altered thyroid function, breast cancerdecreased motor and mental development in children, and “less male-typical play behaviour in boys.”

The combination of observational studies coupled with potential physiological mechanisms (endocrine disruption) make me pretty suspicious of phthalates. Of course, much of our exposure to the chemicals comes from plastics and the ambient environment, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t limit exposure through cosmetics, too.

Where to find them: Nail polish, fragrance, hair spray, deodorant.

Other names: Fragrance almost always contains phthalates. Sometimes, ingredient names will have the suffix “phthalate,” but you can’t always rely on that. Acronyms of some phthalates used in cosmetics include DEP, DBP, and BzBP. You know what? Just be wary of that “phth” (how the heck do you even pronounce that?) because it shows up in the middle of words, too.

Triclosan

Triclosan is essentially an antibiotic. Although it’s being phased out, it still appears in some hand sanitizers. Yes, triclosan does kill bacteria and fungus. Yes, it’s even been shown to be better at that than soap and water. But that comes at a big cost.

A recent French paper put it nicely: triclosan is a resilient chemical, making it off our bodies, down our drains, and into our lakes, rivers, oceans, and even drinking water. Fish and people alike have it in their bodies, and triclosan also reacts with chlorine and ozone to form toxic dioxins. Most importantly, like any antibiotic that’s used flagrantly, there’s evidence that it contributes to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. The fact that people tend to use it to ward off disease-causing bacteria means that those disease-causing bacteria are developing resistance. Triclosan trains them.

This is pretty clear cut. Just use soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Where to find them: Hand sanitizers, deodorants, certain toothpastes.

Other names: Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, cloxifenolum.

Fragrance

Fragrances are exactly what they sound like: synthetic compounds added to products to make them “smell good.” I put that in quote marks because fragrances can be truly overpowering and downright unpleasant, in my opinion. Let’s just say that they “add odors” to products.

The real problem with fragrance, other than, well, the smell, is that fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets. This means companies don’t have to disclose the chemicals contained in a particular fragrance. They can just add “fragrance” to the ingredients list and go on their merry way. Unfortunately, most synthetic fragrances contain pthalates, which I’ve already covered, and synthetic musks, which have been shown to impair endogenous cellular defense mechanisms. In other words, synthetic musks may hamper our cells’ ability to detoxify, thereby leading to excessive exposure to otherwise easily detoxified toxicants. They’re persistent bastards, too, as musk residues show up in the ocean, in blood, in breast milk, and in babies. American breast milk, for example, almost invariably contains fragrances, up to five times as much as breast milk from Germany or Denmark. Many fragrance ingredients are also allergens, making fragrance one of the most common triggers for people with allergies (PDF).

Where to find them: Obviously, you’ve got your colognes and perfumes. If a cosmetic is scented, it also likely contains a fragrance. That goes for soaps, lotions, deodorants, and laundry detergent.

Other names: Parfum (classy, eh?) or aroma.

UV-filtering chemicals

Many sunscreens use UV-filters like benzophenone and oxybenzone for their UV-blocking properties, but they also possess a hidden feature: endocrine disruption. Certain forms of benzophenone, for example, inhibit the action of thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme necessary for the production of thyroid hormone. Another study showed that application of sunscreen containing benzophenone-2 for five days lowered T4 and T3 thyroid hormones in rats. Later, researchers examined the estrogenic effects of another UV-filter used in sunscreen – octyl-methoxycinnamate – and found that typical amounts were enough to disrupt hormonal function and exert other, non-endocrine health effects when applied to rat skin. That might not a problem if UV-filters in sunscreen weren’t designed to be absorbed into the skin, and therefore the body, nor if every expert weren’t telling us to slather a quarter cup full all over our bodies at the first hint of sunlight.

It’s also worth mentioning that UV-filtering chemicals often have even more drastic effects on wildlife, like the zebrafish, in whom low amounts of oxybenzone exert multigenerational effects at the gene transcription level.

The best part of all this? It’s not even effective against the development of melanoma! In fact, one study found a positive association between sunscreen usage and melanoma incidence.

Where to find them: Anything containing sunscreen.

Other names: Benzophenone, oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), octyl-methoxycinnamate, para-amino benzoic acid (PABA), 3-benzylidene camphor (3-BC), 3-(4-methyl-benzylidene) camphor (4-MBC), 2-ethylhexyl 4-methoxy cinnamate (OMC), homosalate (HMS), 2-ethylhexyl 4-dimethylaminobenzoate (OD-PABA). These are different chemicals with similar effects.

There are other potentially harmful cosmetics chemicals, like the “dirty dozen of cosmetics,” but I found these five to have the most evidence of serious harm and cast the widest net of influence across the sexes. I hesitate to ask you to lose sleep over every little chemical that might do us harm when we have much bigger fish to fry in the path toward health, including food, fitness, sleep, stress, sun, and community. These five deserve scrutiny, though.

Three major problems with most of these chemicals exist, as I see it:

1. They tend to accumulate in the body. Some gets excreted, but not all.

2. We use them frequently, oftentimes every single day. Small, one-time amounts of some of them might be okay. When you continuously slather it all over you, day in and day out, the problem compounds. Short term studies can’t account for that.

3. They often have external effects, whether it be drug resistance of bacteria, environmental accumulation, or developmental effects in unborn fetuses.

So, what about you guys? Have you been paying attention to what you put on your body? Have you noticed anything from being more selective with your cosmetics? Have you shunned them altogether? Let me know!

TAGS:  skin/hair

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223 Comments on "5 Chemicals in Cosmetics You Should Avoid"

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PrimalParkGirl
3 years 2 months ago

The book and film ‘Pink Ribbons Inc’ are fascinating in their analysis of products (primarily aimed at women) which contain these harmful substances, but build brand loyalty through heavily publicised but miniscule fundraising efforts for breast cancer.

Also, am I the only one who wears much less make-up since going primal, because I now have clearer skin and no dark eye circles?

Jordan
Jordan
3 years 2 months ago
Yes I totally agree! Primal has been the best thing for my skin! In addition, I use minimal products on my hair and body, and most of them can be found in my kitchen cabinet because I eat them too :). Thanks for this article Mark. I have always been weary of the chemicals used in “beauty” products, nice to read a little more in depth into it. For me, a big part of why I don’t use the stuff is time and money. I just don’t care to spend my time worrying about whether I am using enough/the right… Read more »
Harry Mossman
3 years 2 months ago

i wash my outdoor shirts in SunGuard by the Rit Dye company. It doesn’t seem to be in stores but you can get it from Amazon. I have spent four+ hours wearing those shirts without burning. Apparently, it can only be used on natural fibers, which is about the only thing I buy anyway.

Mark P
3 years 2 months ago

SunGuard? It adds UV protection to your fabrics? That’s genius!

klaus
klaus
3 years 1 month ago

you were getting sunburned wearing clothes? I live on Maui, spend hours daily in the sun, on the water – northern european complexion, have never had an issue burning under whatever shirts/shorts I’m wearing. and being in the garment industry, as far as I’m concerned even the spf labeling of certain water tops etc is pure marketing hype…

apart from that, if you still feel the need to treat your clothes, be sure to check the ingredients of the sunguard or whatever product you choose – you may well be defeating the purpose of your natural fibers…

Mike
Mike
3 years 5 days ago

What do you use to protect your face from the sun?

klaus
klaus
3 years 4 days ago

I use Doc Martins on my face if I’m on the water between 10am and 3pm – it’s the only stuff I’ve found that stays on and doesn’t create a mask like the shiseido products…

Kyndal Meister
Kyndal Meister
3 years 2 months ago

I need to watch that! They are getting consumers to purchase their products through playing with emotions, rather than selling honest, safe merchandise.

I strongly believe that your skin will be wrinkle-free and glowing if you avoid sugar/vegetable oils, eat fat, and follow other primal principles like great exercise and sleep. And no stupid chronic cardo!
So many women religiously slather on nasty sunscreen everyday when they should be religiously avoiding sugar/vegetables oils.

Stacie
3 years 2 months ago

I still have my dark circles, although I think they are getting better. The biggest difference I have seen is my skins ability to withstand the sun and heal from small sunburns and tan to protect itself. I don’t really wear sunscreen because I suspected much of what Mark talked about above, so when I do feel like I’m burning, it’s time to cover up with clothing (I do however use a tiny amount of sunscreen on my face occasionally, because I’m afraid someone will call the cops if I pull on my ski mask).

Janey
Janey
3 years 2 months ago

I’ve found the same thing. I’m prettty fair, and have always burned easily, but this summer I have found that I’m getting much milder “burns” (just slightly pink), and no blistering or peeling. I do use a small amount of sunscreen on my face, but nothing on my body. Bring on the vitamin D!

cheryl m
cheryl m
2 years 5 months ago

Pink Ribbon Inc was indeed a great movie, but it’s more about the business of breast cancer funding. A great book about chemicals in cosmetics is Drop Dead Gorgeous. Great interview with the author here, very informative! http://eluxemagazine.com/people/author-kim-erickson/

Sam
Sam
3 years 2 months ago

For those of us who do burn very easily, what’s the alternative to commercial sunscreen? Are the befreckled just doomed to an underground existence except for occasional brief forays for vitamin D?

Emerson
Emerson
3 years 2 months ago

Avoid direct sunlight (e.g. 12 pm) and wear coconut oil. Oddly enough the stuff works…

Rachel
Rachel
3 years 1 month ago

Yep…me too. I am really fair but have been outside everyday (almost) all summer since Spring and have mostly used coconut oil exclusively. I apply it morning & night on face, arms, neck, legs etc, no burns & skin’s never looked better! Plus I’m getting a killer farmer’s tan! 😉

Debi
Debi
3 years 2 months ago

1/4 cup sesame oil
2tblsp coconut oil
2tblsp olive oil
1/2 oz. bees wax
1tsp vitamin E oil
1/4 cup aloe vera juice or jel
Blend all together in high powerd blender. Keep in the fridge.
Works really well even on fair or red headed people.
This is all we have used for a few years. And no burns.

Allen
Allen
3 years 2 months ago

Hi. Very curious. Any rule of thumb for how long a coating of this receipe lasts?

Josh S
Josh S
3 years 2 months ago

Depends on how clean the user’s diet is 😉

Oh, and probably their skin tone too…

(After being primal, I think diet is more important than skin tone though… exceptions to this would be those travelling outside of their normal sun exposure environments, i.e. living in cloudy seattle and visiting sunny so cal)

Flambeaux
Flambeaux
3 years 2 months ago
Increase saturated fat consumption. My wife used to burn, never tan, and I could spend about half an hour in sunlight before burning even with sunscreen on. When we started drinking raw milk and increased our consumption of real butter, cod liver oil, coconut oil, and lard she stopped burning and started tanning. Our kids, despite hours of play in sun and water over several Texas summers have never burned. I’ve burned once in the last 7 years and it was when, due to illness, I hadn’t had any saturated fats in my diet for about 4 months. But it… Read more »
dev
dev
3 years 2 months ago

+1!!

I have never been able to tan in my life, very fair-skinned. now that I have increased saturated fats, I tan lightly & have not burned at all this spring/summer despite purposeful ‘vitamin d’ walks several times a week over the past 6 months. I initially theorized increased saturated fats would increase my vitamin D production, and was pleasantly surprised to also see ‘tanning not burning’ as a benefit. n=1 🙂

Kris
3 years 2 months ago
This is so interesting about the saturated fats. I have medium skin, brown hair brown eyes and always tanned very easily. As a kid people thought I was indian. But then as I got older into my 20’s I started to burn not tan. Now I am 30 and have drastically changed my diet as well as moved from the Midwest to florida. I began eating tons of avocado and fresh coconuts and vegetables. I started getting tan again and no longer burn so easily. I never connected the dots. interesting 🙂 I’d love to learn more about this, if… Read more »
Sam
3 years 2 months ago

Well said mate, well said!

It’s also important to remove all grains from the diet to help better absorb/process the saturated fat, which pretty much what everyone is doing here already.

Kai
Kai
3 years 2 months ago

Yes! There’s a pretty defined line between “burn not tan” and “tan not burn” in my life wherein I went low carb/higher fat. I’m not even totally primal and I’ve seen a huge difference over the last few years. Definitely one of the best parts of this!

Diane
Diane
3 years 2 months ago

Long sleeves, long pants, hat, sun umbrella etc.

Patty
Patty
3 years 2 months ago

Zinc oxide.

Mark P
3 years 2 months ago

As long as you don’t inhale it!

Evan
Evan
3 years 2 months ago
What about sunscreens that use Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, and/or Octinoxate as the active ingredients?? To those asking about alternative sunscreens: Personally, I live in Hawaii and definitely need an “acceptable” sunscreen for times when I’m out and will be out for a considerable time and run the risk of a burn. Yes, eating primal helps a LOT. In any case, I’ve been using ‘Blue Lizard’ brand sunscreens for awhile but after reading this may swap from “Sport” to “Sensitive” and/or “Face”. No, I’m not affiliated w/ the company but find I never get burned even with excessive (10am-2pm) sun.
Lora
Lora
3 years 2 months ago
Supposedly those 2 ingredients are more “natural” but some people have sensitivities to them. But the real issue is that the sunscreen manufacturers are using “nano-particles” of those ingredients which research has been shown are absorbed into our skin, can accumulate in organs, and can even cross the blood-brain barrier. There is not enough research on these to be slathering them on our skin. In addition, when these nano-particles are washed of our bodes and enter the water supply, they have been shown to accumulate in wildlife, especially fish. And I believe they are thought to be harmful to coral… Read more »
momupthecreek
momupthecreek
3 years 2 months ago
I too am fair skinned, but I guess I lucked out and have had a sensitivity to sunscreen since childhood. I never have been able to wear it except the white junk lifeguards used to put on their noses (now you can get it in skin tone tinted). Last year I went to a dermatologist to get my skin checked for cancer (I have a million moles), and he was shocked to hear that I don’t use sunscreen. He said my skin looked amazing for a 46 year old. My routine is to stay out of the sun when I… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

Fermented cod liver oil daily, avoid grains, sugars, processed foods. Take extra cod liver oil if going to be in the sun long periods of time.

Kristin
3 years 1 month ago

Ava Anderson sunscreen. Its made with zinc oxide without the synthetic chemicals. No parabens, No nano particles. All certified organic ingredients. Its works really well too. I use it and I have very light skin.
http://www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/kjohnson.

Kat
Kat
3 years 1 month ago
Sam, I have the honor of sporting an Irish/German complexion in SoCal and when turning paleo/au natural, I tried all the ‘natural’ options for sun protection which didn’t work for me. However, what does work is not being out in the sun between 9:59am and 4:29pm. =) My body has decent color but I do need spf for my face, as it seems to abhor melanin, so I use, Burn Out spf 30. It has 18.6% zinc, no fragrance and a couple of other (unobtrusive) ingredients and seems to be the only spf that doesn’t irritate my pale, yet rosy-cheeked… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
3 years 2 months ago

Dr. Bronners is all I use except for a bit of citronella for the mosquitos. I wish women would stop putting on make-up and look naturally beautiful again.

Jordan
Jordan
3 years 2 months ago

+1

Sophie
Sophie
3 years 2 months ago

Okay, so being ginger and allergic to mineral, aka natural, sunscreen, I’m just S.O.L.? And please don’t tell me to eat more tomatoes. Been there, burnt that.

Erok
3 years 2 months ago

Okay, then; eat more pork chops. No, really.

Josh S
Josh S
3 years 2 months ago

ideally pastured! +1

I use grassfed beef as my sunscreen 😉

Sophie
Sophie
3 years 2 months ago

Well… I covered myself in pastured bacon and went out for a long walk. There sure are a lot of hungry strays in my neighborhood. :\
Srsly tho, I’ve been paleo-primal for 3 years, and increasing fat/dietary copper/lycopene/whathaveyous hasn’t made a shade (hehe) of difference. Interestingly enough, the few tans I’ve managed to acquire have also peeled like a sunburn.
Mark can say whatever he wants on this one, and you can believe him or not, but UV radiation=DNA damage, no matter how much melanin you have.

Daisy
Daisy
3 years 2 months ago

Agreed. While it is very possible that a clean diet high in saturated fats might protect your skin from cancer, I don’t think that it will magically prevent your skin from losing elasticity and aging quicker. Of course, more power to you if you just don’t care.

Terry
Terry
3 years 2 months ago

When I was younger, my mother buned bad in the sun. She began using vinegar and baby oil. Smelled like a pickle, but she could go to the beach and not burn. 55 yrs ago not many choices.

Boudicae
Boudicae
3 years 2 months ago

Also, if you still have problems with burning or need to be outside for long periods of time before you’re “sun-adapted”, indulge in a super-nice cover up. Like a nice, oversized long-sleeved high-quality silk or cotton shirt. Natural fibers, feels fantastic, breathes well, and still fashionable enough to not feel embarrassed wearing it.

Erica
Erica
3 years 1 month ago

I started using an astaxanthin supplement and had no burning at all on a week long fishing trip. My husband burned some, then took astaxanthin, and his burn was healing even while we were out in the sun.

Siobhan
Siobhan
3 years 2 months ago

I’m wondering about antiperspirant use. For the past few months I have used coconut oil and baking soda as a substitute and been very happy with the results. I still sweat, but I don’t smell. But I know that antiperspirants are suspect even among non-primal folk. Maybe this was covered in a previous post?

cassandra
cassandra
3 years 2 months ago

Natural crystal stone work great. If you are still using conventional crap, I would suggest changing in the winter. It will take time to adjust. You can also use magnesium oil spray. I tried coconut and baking soda, did ok but didn’t last as long as the crystal.
http://www.thecrystal.com

Ara
Ara
3 years 2 months ago

My husband and I switched to the salt crystal and it works great. Plus, it doesn’t leave yellow stains on your whites.

Magda
Magda
3 years 2 months ago

If you’re worried about aluminium in deodorant (apart from other chemicals, that is), you should also stay away from crystals and other alum-based deodorants.
Here’s where I learnt about it: http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/most-controversial/2010/1/21/aluminum-in-crystal-deodorant-stones.html (and overall a great website)
I used to like crystals to…

Christine
Christine
3 years 2 months ago
Natural crystal stone is aluminium, which if it gets into you from the underarm area, could cause breast cancer. Whilst the aluminium in these is not supposed to be absorbed through the skin, I do always wonder if it can get in through a cut or similar. I use Primal Pit Paste. On my teeth I use Tooth Soap and for my hair, washing up, washing clothes, washing hands etc, I use Castille Soap, either on it’s own or with Bicarbonate of Soda or Vinegar, depending on the use. I use Bicarbonate of Soda & vinegar for cleaning. For make… Read more »
Lora
Lora
3 years 2 months ago

I did this today! Ditched my antiperspirant stick and smoothed coconut oil on pits with baking soda puffed over it ( I used a powder-brush for it). So far it has been 7 hours, and I am at still at work, I have sweated a bit (probably not more than usual, though) but absolutely NO sweat smell!!! I think I like this….

Deb
Deb
2 years 2 months ago

I have started making my own deodorant with coconut oil, sodium bicarbonate, arrowroot powder and tea tree oil. My husband and I have both used it, and have been really pleased with the results – no stink whatsoever! I do find the particular recipe that I used slightly too hard for our cold Australian winter (no heating in the bathroom so it gets cold!), so I think I will add a little oil to my next batch to soften it, and some beeswax in the summer to stop the coconut oil from melting so easily.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 2 months ago

Triclosan can also do a number on your thyroid: http://triclosansideeffects.com/health-concerns/triclosan-disrupts-thyroid-hormones/

It’s in your toothpaste as well as hand sanitizer, and anything that says “antibacterial”.

Often overlooked are the containers that all these little gems come in–loaded with BPA and its evil substitute BPS.

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 2 months ago

Healthy deodorants can come in handy, but who in their right mind would use an antiperspirant? Clogging your pores from doing the job they were meant to do. It would be like putting a cork in your arse cuz you didn’t want to poop!

Mary Mac
Mary Mac
3 years 2 months ago

LOL!

Lindsay Coleman
Lindsay Coleman
3 years 2 months ago

+1!! Hahahaha

Mark P
3 years 2 months ago

HAHAHAHA excellent!

Donald
Donald
3 years 2 months ago

Yes, but you have millions more pores all over your body, yet you only have one arse.

Lee
Lee
3 years 2 months ago

How about a post on good alternatives for things that most of us do use every day like toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc.?

Colleen
Colleen
3 years 2 months ago

+1 !!!!!!

Allen
Allen
3 years 2 months ago

if +1!!!!!! means “agree” then I +1!!!!!! this request also…

megan
megan
3 years 2 months ago

” Lush” is a brand/store franchise that seems to sell completly nstural soaps and cosmetic products. I have not researdch them in depth but it seems to be the better option between commercial products and natural ones. Atleast their ingredients are recognizeable. Try http://www.lush.com

Sheri
Sheri
3 years 2 months ago

Lush Co. does use parabens in almost all of their liquids (body wash, lotions, etc). They claim that their parabens are from natural sources. I don’t know if that makes a difference but I still avoid them.

They do have some great products: Teo Deodorant is amazing and no bad ingredients; Also the Toothy Tabs are incredible and have no fluoride nor Sodium Laureth Sulfates. I love the bath bombs too!

WereBear
3 years 7 days ago

I’ve gone to a paraben-free, and SULFATE-free shampoo, Organix.

Since getting rid of sodium-lauryl-sulfate, my spells of dandruff have completely gone away! I didn’t even know my scalp had a low level itch… until it vanished. I use glycerin soap and now, even in the Far North winters, I don’t have that awful itchy dry skin.

This stuff is a potent degreaser. But I’m not a car engine!

I get it from my local Rite-Aid and it’s also in Amazon.

Lindsay Coleman
Lindsay Coleman
3 years 2 months ago
I just made my own toothpaste and love it!!! I made mine based off of this recipe: http://wellnessmama.com/8780/squeezable-homemade-toothpaste/ Also, for a nice and effective natural deodorant, I love this spray: http://tinyurl.com/crystalessencespray I have completely transformed my skincare/haircare/perfume-wearing since going primal two years ago. My favorite brands are: Tropical Traditions for their body lotion (perfect as a face lotion, too!); Pacifica Perfumes (makeup, perfumes, lotions); DermOrganic haircare (best ever!!); Acure (lotions/skincare). Also, I just discovered pure Bentonite Clay- it makes the BEST facial mask. But it glets clumpy so this is what you do: in a small glass bowl add 1/4… Read more »
Jordan
Jordan
3 years 2 months ago
Wellnessmama definitely has some great product or make your own suggestions. Desert Essense is also a great company and uses tea tree oil and castille soap as bases for many of its products. Check out skindeep.com to check how toxic your personal care products are, for what its worth. Lastly, I’ve been using a deodorant stone for a while; off and on with coconut oil or a coconut oil based moisturizer for deodorant. I’m not sure if I believe the “alum = aluminum which leads to Alzheimer’s” claim. The link above makes no reference to the diet of the town… Read more »
Sheila Daniel
Sheila Daniel
3 years 2 months ago

Baking Soda hands down for everything! Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap is also a good safe product. Look into all the DIY home made products; they work just fine without all the chemicals and added expense.

Pierre
Pierre
3 years 2 months ago

+1 !!
Also how to avoid sunburns with natural sunblocks.

Stevemid
Stevemid
3 years 2 months ago

I was expecting to see Sodium Lauryl Sulphate mentioned here. It’s a detergent / foaming agent used in soaps, shampoos and toothpastes etc.

I’m only aware of the stuff because I appear to be hypersensitive to it, but it’s not good for anyone (I understand they use it to trigger skin irritation when required for testing ointments or whatever)

It’s very difficult to find any ‘standard’ shampoo or toothpaste that doesn’t contain SLS (try it yourself – check the back of your bottles!) so I’m forced to buy this disgusting tasting specialist toothpaste.
(the SLS-free shampoo doesn’t taste so good either).

Kathleen
Kathleen
3 years 2 months ago

The Natural Dentist and Sensodyne Pronamel are both SLS free, and they don’t taste too bad! You might want to try one of those

Stevemid
Stevemid
3 years 2 months ago

Thanks. I haven’t noticed those brands in the UK, but I’ll have a search and see if I can get some.

My current stuff tastes like soap.

Violet
Violet
3 years 2 months ago

The Sensodyne Pronamel is readily available in Boots (i.e. in the UK, for those outside it). I just checked my tube of it and Kathleen is right, no SLS. (I checked because formulations of products are often different in different countries.) It does contain a whole list of stuff, some of which I don’t know what it is, so do check for yourself. (I haven’t heard of the other brand, either.) I tried it because I was having sensitive teeth at one point, and it’s meant to help with that.

Shary
Shary
3 years 2 months ago

Actually, you don’t need to use toothpaste at all. If you floss and/or waterpik and use a good toothbrush (preferably electric), that’s usually going to be sufficient to eliminate food particles and bacteria. You can also swish with a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide. The whole toothpaste/mouthwash idea is nothing more than marketing propaganda that we’ve all bought into for decades.

Kathleen
Kathleen
3 years 2 months ago

That’s true, toothpaste isn’t necessary if you’re very diligent about brushing and flossing. It does have a mild abrasive though, which helps remove surface stain and plaque.

Sheri
Sheri
3 years 2 months ago

I agree it should have been mentioned by Mark. Bad stuff!! Kiss My Face organic shampoos are great. Toothy Tabs by Lush are fabulous!

Song
Song
3 years 2 months ago

Does anyone know where you can safely dispose of bottles and containers that may contain products still in them? I would like to do a clean but hate the idea of “wasting” products or filling up the landfill, which is sort of inevitable.

Paleo-curious
3 years 2 months ago

It depends on your location, but many places have hazardous waste disposal centers. It’s still going to take up space but at least they are more careful about letting such materials get into the water.

Stephanie
3 years 2 months ago

I just used those products up by cleaning my toilet. Took a few months to use it all but my toilet was nice and clean.

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JJ
JJ
3 years 2 months ago

Frustrating that Paleo contributors tell you not to use sunblock but offer no real alternatives b/c there are not any. All you can do is wear a full body rash guard and/or spend no more than 20-30 mins. a day outside.

That is unacceptable for pretty much everyone and hence people will need to use something to protect them from burning. There needs to be a Paleo “friendly” suncreen protect either made or supported by the community. Instead we get multivitamins and whey protein from guys like Rob and Mark…awesome.

nadavegan
nadavegan
3 years 2 months ago

Or…you could go outside and get sun exposure earlier in the year, say March or April (depending on where you live of course) – just as your ‘Paleo’ ancestors would have done. Build up your exposure gradually each year rather than all at once.

KariVery
KariVery
3 years 2 months ago
“That is unacceptable for pretty much everyone and hence people will need to use something to protect them from burning. There needs to be a Paleo “friendly” sunscreen protect either made or supported by the community. Instead we get multivitamins and whey protein from guys like Rob and Mark…awesome.” Let’s not shoot the messengers, it’s not Rob or Mark’s fault, they’re only telling us the information! There may be no such thing as a “natural” sunscreen – other than staying out of the sun. Also, you can’t expect anyone to just invent one right this minute. Now that we now… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago
It seems like this a reasonable course, probably because it’s the one we’ve charted, too. 🙂 We’ll use sunscreen for “special” occasions that might induce a painful burn, like a beach holiday or hours out at the golf course. Otherwise, if I’m afraid they’ll burn, the kids come in doors or into the shade. (Like at the neighborhood pool.) People/docs go a little more nutty over the kids. My family Doc asked about sunscreen for our 18 month old. I shrugged my shoulders and said “sure, at the beach”. She gave me a frowny face and told me melanoma was… Read more »
rdzins
rdzins
3 years 2 months ago

I have worn Exofficio clothing, it is extremely light weight and I love the way they wash up, but it is expensive. It is made for hot climates. I have been happy with the few shirts that I have bought and they do work well for sunscreen and even keeping you cool, I have never tried any of there pants but I may in the future. I purchased mine off of Amazon.

Shary
Shary
3 years 2 months ago

I have some Exofficio shirts. I like them but I’m more inclined to use them in the spring or fall. Maybe the newer ones are better. The ones I bought several years ago are made from synthetic material, which leaves me feeling hot and sticky. The built-in mesh vents aren’t much help. I much prefer 100 percent cotton or washable linen for cool summertime wear.

Andrew
Andrew
3 years 2 months ago

There is actually a lot of products that do not contain the chemicals mentioned in the sunblock. Go to the local natural food store or look for products that contain zinc oxide which is a sunblock that is equally effective but safe. I am pale as a ghost and the stuff works on me. Terra Sport works good. Plus it doesn’t have parabens and PABA. Mark actually mentioned zinc oside in another article about sunscreens

Groktimus Primal
3 years 2 months ago

See the thing is we just need to genetically modify our food to contain these chemicals and we will build up a resistance to them. This sound like a job for Monsanto!

Barb
Barb
3 years 2 months ago

Thanks, water just came out my nose!!

Bev
Bev
3 years 2 months ago
This is a topic that I do worry about, and I’m glad Mark has provided this information. I have been on the path to a chemical free household for a few years. I have slowly removed most commercial toiletry products from my life and try to limit what I do use, or buy the storebought ‘natural’ products–which may not be perfectly natural, but I’m hoping they try a little harder than most. Quick run down for those who might be interested to see how easy it is to get rid of commercial products: Bar soap–homemade style with only a few… Read more »
Jordan
Jordan
3 years 2 months ago

I would be interested in the proprtions for your home made deoderant, and ingredients in your bar of soap!

Also, I use baking sodo as shampoo – hair has never felt better and with more volume plus I only NEED to wash it once a week now…

Bev
Bev
3 years 2 months ago
I let other people make my homemade soap. I usually buy my soap from Etsy, search for non chemical or vegan soap and you can easily find tons of great sellers. But I am actually thinking of trying the Dr. Bronner’s everyone is talking about here, I’ll have to go research it. My deodorant is based off a recipe on WellnessMama blog. It is 2 parts coconut oil, 1 part baking soda and 1 part arrowroot powder (Bobs Red Mills sells it), and a few drops tea tree essential oil if you have some on hand. I melt the oil,… Read more »
Deb
Deb
2 years 2 months ago

This is the recipe for deodorant that my husband and I use. It works beautifully, there are no sweat smells at all! It is a tiny bit harder than I would like, because it is winter here in Australia and we have no heating in the bathroom so it is very solid, so the next batch I make up I am going to add a small amount of oil to soften the texture. I imagine that in the summer I will have the opposite problem, and will add a little beeswax to harden it.

Sandy
3 years 2 months ago

I love your description of the different smells of the seasons — as I read it I can imagine being outside enjoying them, I think I’ll save what you wrote! Beautiful 🙂

Air “fresheners” give me an instant migraine too…best air freshener is going outside after a thunderstorm — a few days ago I went outside after the storm was over and just inhaled the fresh, clean air (opened all the windows too).

nobody
nobody
3 years 2 months ago

If you really want to get worked up, google “sillage”.

Alice
Alice
2 years 2 months ago

+1

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[…] Daily Apple / Posted on: July 16, 2013Mark’s Daily Apple – Have you ever wondered just what’s in all those products you slather, spray, spritz, […]

Nikki Lee
Nikki Lee
3 years 2 months ago

One more thing to add to the list of cosmetics….laundry detergent.
You’re wrapped up in laundry detergent residues for 7-8 hours a day and then wearing them on your clothes the rest of the day. Here’s a link to how I worked it out in 2010.
Three years later, all the brown spots on my skin have shrunk…age spots have gone, wrinkles on hands have gone, small ‘cherry’ spots have gone. And my husband doesn’t wake up with a red rash on his cheek bone in the morning. It’s all been an interesting discovery.
http://www.questforgreenlife.blogspot.com/2010/05/throwing-all-my-cosmetics-and-soaps.html

Sharon
Sharon
3 years 2 months ago

Those are interesting results. My laundry detergent was the last to go. I have been using Dr Bronner’s to wash my clothes for the last 3 months. I have those red blood spots as well and of course the brown age spots since I am an old person. It will be a bonus if I have the same results as you. Three years….okay….I will be patiently waiting.

Deb
Deb
2 years 2 months ago

I make my own washing powder with 1 cup soap flakes/grated homemade soap, 2 cups washing soda and 2 cups borax. I use 1/8th of a cup per wash, sometimes with the addition of a few drops of essential oil (lavender or eucalyptus usually) to the softener drawer, and our clothes come out beautifully clean. They smell clean and fresh, whereas with conventional clothes washing liquid/powder they come out smelling highly perfumed, like the perfume is trying to mask the fact that it isn’t very good at removing smells (if that makes sense).

Cyborcat
3 years 2 months ago

Interesting timing–I just got done posting in my blog about how I’ve given up soap, toothpaste, shaving cream/gel, deodorant, and hopefully conditioner, and replaced them with baking soda, vinegar, aloe, or just plain water.

Can’t do the shampoo yet. I work in an office and can’t have my hair looking oily and nasty for a week+. However, I expect to be between jobs in a few months–I’ll try again then.

Alice
Alice
2 years 2 months ago

I use just baking soda and if you use it every day for a week or so your hair won’t be nasty. Then you can back off on frequency. Now I use it once or twice a week as needed. And if you really can’t stand it, try using just DR. Bronner’s soap as shampoo. I like it and use it if my hair is really dirty from shovelling dirt or something.

Catti
Catti
3 years 2 months ago

Excellent post! I have been waiting for this one. I have been ditching certain chemicals since 2007. That was how my journey towards a better,healthier life began. Althoug it has been really hard to find a good shampoo.

My best ones are Eliah Sahil – shampoo natural and John Masters Organic – Evening primrose shampoo. I have been trying to minimize the amount of cosmetic I use. The biggest problem is that most natural prodicts are so expensive.

Lora
Lora
3 years 2 months ago

Look at the Yes! To Carrots and Yes! to Cucumbers shampoos & conditioners! I LOVE them, very natural ingredients & nice consistency! Easy to find, too. Walgreens & some Walmarts carry them.

Lora
Lora
3 years 2 months ago

Umm ok I just looked and even though it has a very low (read: low toxicity) rating on EWG.org, it does have “fragrance”. Ugh.

Catti
Catti
3 years 1 month ago

Thanks will check it out.

KD
KD
3 years 2 months ago

Try Acure Organics “Moroccan Argan Oil and Argan Stem Cell” shampoo & conditioner. The almond extract they use in place of fragrance isn’t so bad. I can’t smell it outside the shower. Compared to other “natural” shampoos & conditioners, it’s very reasonable. I tried the soap and vinegar thing for a while. I got tired of smelling like a salad.

Cali
Cali
3 years 2 months ago

I use this shampoo and for the most part, really like it. The scent is a bit strong and “sweet” for my taste, but other than that it’s a pretty good shampoo. I use several products from Acure Organics (the pure argan oil, the olive oil and mint facial cleanser, and the sea kelp and chlorella facial scrub). It’s are one of the best companies I’ve found for truly non-toxic and cruelty free products.

Cali
Cali
3 years 2 months ago

Meant to say “It’s one of the best companies…” Can’t type today!

Catti
Catti
3 years 1 month ago

Thanks, hopefully there is a website that ships to Sweden 🙂 I have tried the vinegar rinse too but the lingering smell is not really pleasant.

Missy
Missy
3 years 2 months ago

Another chemical to be concerned about is ceramides. Even though our bodies make this chemical naturally it is the man made ceramides that can cause some problems such as asthma.

Nicholle
Nicholle
3 years 2 months ago

I highly recommend the book “Slow Death by Rubber Duck.” It discusses many of the toxins you describe above and suggests ways that people can protect themselves.

Ellen
Ellen
3 years 2 months ago

I second that book recommendation (Slow Death by Rubber Duck). I heard the author on NPR and they thought up a little rhyme to help people remember how to choose plastic containers (if you must use them). It has helped me.
” Four, Five, One, and Two, Anything Else Is Bad For You.” (I hope I remembered it correctly). Of course this is referring to the little (very) numbers found on the bottom of plastic containers.

Lora
Lora
3 years 2 months ago
This is a topic I am fighting with right now… trying to replace all of my family’s health & beauty products with more natural alternatives. The Environmental Working Group’s site (www.ewg.org) has been incredibly helpful. I use their cosmetic databases and can look up any product and see it’s toxicity rating and ingrdient list, with clear explanations for all. They also have a great section on sunscreens, mirroring what Mark says above, and more. Scary that some ingredients in our US sunscreens are banned in Europe & Canada. But like someone above said, there are issues with some “natural” products… Read more »
rose
rose
3 years 2 months ago

I also use the Skin Deep EWG website. I discovered it a few years ago and was horrified to learn how toxic many of my favorite products were. I live in a small town and couldn’t find anything in the green zone. I have a small gift shop and had to have one of my employees throw out a bath line I was carrying. I then used the website to find Hugo Naturals and Acure Organics. I stocked both lines and have won rave reviews from my customers for these small family businesses who keep products clean and luxurious.

Cali
Cali
3 years 2 months ago

Rose, I discovered Acure Organics several months ago and now use several of their products. They’re not inexpensive, but their ingredients are excellent. So far, I’ve liked every Acure Organics product I’ve tried and will continue using their brand. Great choice for your store!

Ara
Ara
3 years 2 months ago

I just stopped coloring. It’s a liberating experience.

primalpal
primalpal
3 years 2 months ago

I was very sad to find out that the Dr. Teals epsom salts I buy for my magnesium bath have Fragrance listed in the ingredients…boo

Paleo-curious
3 years 2 months ago

You can get plain Epsom salts from a garden store– probably cheaper too!

primalpal
primalpal
3 years 2 months ago

oo, good to know! thanks!

Pure Hapa
Pure Hapa
3 years 2 months ago

Get cartons of plain epsom salts at any drug store for cheap.

Ingvildr
Ingvildr
3 years 2 months ago
I’m one of those who has major allergies to most fragrances unless they are essential oils(and I’m still allergic to eucalytus oil). I have had a fragrance free home for years. I make my own house cleaning products out of liquid castille soap(Dr. Bronners) vinegar, baking soda and occasionally borax. I have allergies to both the chemicals and fragrances in cleaning products. I try to use as few personal care products that I cannot make myself as possible. I have used a cup and brush to shave for the last 15 years. A few things I’ve noticed are that without… Read more »
Lynnerie
Lynnerie
3 years 2 months ago

Try Soapnuts. They are berries from a Soapnut tree that’s from India. They really work!!

Allen
Allen
3 years 2 months ago

Mark,

Can we get a list of all the tired (AND TRUE) alternatives out there? That would be fantastic. T

Love the blog!

nobody
nobody
3 years 2 months ago
Don Aslett (who was a janitor for many years, bit of a clutter/cleaning guru) sells non-toxic cleaning products, including a lot of green alternatives. I’ve used his cleaners for years–you get sold concentrate rather than paying to ship water, there’s no odor, they’re effective and safe. Only caveat is you do need degreaser for really tough jobs. Goo gone is one and Simple Green is another that are widely available retail, or you can buy Aslett’s degreaser. Much better than using Formula 409 or its similarly noxious competitors or using crap that relies on ammonia or bleach to cover its… Read more »
Deanna
Deanna
3 years 2 months ago
This is definitely something I struggle with. I have some deeper hormonal issues that Primal hasn’t yet solved, so my skin didn’t clear up even after five years of being Primal. I have tried twice switching to all-natural products, and I can get away with it except for my face. Honestly, my skin looked its best when I used Cetaphil, and that is just a bottle of chemicals. Makes me wonder if the breakouts are exacerbated by an allergic reaction… As far as using natural products goes, I actually prefer the baking soda/apple cider vinegar wash to shampoo, and the… Read more »
nobody
nobody
3 years 2 months ago

Soap is too harsh for my face and body so I use Cetaphil too. Yeah it’s a lot of chemicals but they don’t sting and for whatever reason don’t aggravate my skin so… meh.

Diane
Diane
3 years 2 months ago

Baking soda also works well for cleaning, such as cleaning the tub. Vinegar is also useful for a cleaning agent. You can use both on your hair (not at the same time, use the baking soda for the wash and the vinegar as a final rinse). I have found if I don’t use shampoo I will get seborrhea so my experience with the no ‘poo method didn’t work out all that well.

Stephanie
3 years 2 months ago
For all of you who still want to wear makeup I found an alternative where I can pronounce all the ingredients and the products are fantastic. She carries argan oil for the best price in an easy to use bottle. http://www.theallnaturalface.com all mineral and natural makeup. I have been using her stuff for several years now and love it. I love that her mineral foundation helps protect my face from sunburns (just a little natural barrier) and doesn’t cover my freckles. As a natural redhead who has burned or freckled for years I will say going Paleo severely reduces my… Read more »
Barb
Barb
3 years 2 months ago

Laundry soap options for those that use public laundromats??

Nicole
Nicole
3 years 2 months ago

Thanks for writing about fragrances Mark.

Personally I find it rude for someone to wear a fragrance and expect me to breathe it all day.

It’s imposing 🙂

Compleatley imposing yourself into one of a persons 5 senses, disabling them from smelling anything other than your crappy fragrance I’m sure must be considered extremely rude from a palaeolithic perspective.

And in regards to men who think its good to smell of aftershave, it’s NOT…. We real women can appreciate how good it is to inhale an unfragaranced natural man scent.
Like animals, it helps with the selection process 🙂

Kimberly Browning
Kimberly Browning
3 years 2 months ago

Why would you think that you can speak for all women? I love the smell of aftershave and men’s cologne.

mh
mh
3 years 2 months ago

+1

KD
KD
3 years 2 months ago

I like Alba Botanica’s fragrance free Mineral Sunscreen, in the green bottle. It’s the only one I’ve found that doesn’t make me break out when I use it. I can’t go without sunscreen. I spend 8-10 hours a day in the sun, sometimes more, those natural “sunscreens” just don’t work.

fitmom
3 years 2 months ago

I make natural products for a living, and I’d suggest an easier way. In addition to avoiding the chemicals themselves, avoid:
Lotion (use coconut oil instead, or this recipe
Lipstick: Find a natural lipstick. Most have all the same parabens and chemicals, PLUS red number whatever…..and you put them on your mouth. While snopes
says we don’t eat 4 lbs. of lipstick in our lifetimes, why eat any of that garbage?

A good guideline: If you can’t eat it, don’t rub it on your skin.

Paula
Paula
3 years 2 months ago
I’ve been washing my hair with either coconut soap or lye soap for about a year and a half now. The coconut soap is pricey, but I buy a HUGE bar of “Grandma’s Lye soap” from Rural King for $5. Three ingredients: Lard, lye & water. It lasts at least 3 months, but probably more like 5 since I only wash it every other day or so. I also make a lemon water rinse (~3 lemons juiced & strained and then diluted to make 2 quarts and add whatever essential oils strike your fancy). My hair’s never looked better or… Read more »
Anna
Anna
3 years 2 months ago
I never though of myself as a crunchy person or treehugger but here I am, I gave up almost all branded products gradually as I learned more about endocrine disruptors. Especially while pregnant, I didn’t want anything going wrong. No shampoo, hair products, deodorants, perfumes, cosmetics, creams, moisturizers, masks, scrubs, waxes, etc. I use a diva cup. I make my own household cleaners and laundry detergent. I think it’s OK even to just brush teeth with water. Since I stopped eating sugar and starch my teeth have been cleaner anyway. I don’t miss any of the stuff – and I… Read more »
michael
michael
3 years 2 months ago

“The biggest effects are seen in utero, when the fetus is most vulnerable.”

If it’s a fetus, it’s pretty much ONLY in utero, no?

Mantonat
Mantonat
3 years 2 months ago

Oh, I’ve seen some pretty big fetuses coming out of the 7-11 carrying 64oz. cups of Mountain Dew.

Andy
3 years 2 months ago

I have been very careful for the past 2 years about what type of toiletries I am buying. I only buy products with ingredients that I know what they are, and avoid all of what you have written above Mark.

This concern has now begun to move into my cleaning products. I have begun to switch to more “natural” cleaning products, and will be purchasing some probiotic cleaning products in the near future. Chris Kresser actually wrote an article about it:
http://chriskresser.com/5-uncommon-uses-for-probiotics

Judi O
Judi O
3 years 2 months ago

A really excellent site for natural product recipes is wellnessmama.com. Sunscreen, toothpaste and tooth powder, deodorant, cosmetics made from ingredients in your kitchen, body butter, laundry detergent, shampoo, and much more. I love what I’ve tried so far – toothpaste and powder and the deodorant. The deodorant works as well as any store brand, maybe better.

John
John
3 years 2 months ago

Or you could contact me via email or on facebook, John Donald Gordon Schnurr. I can show you a product line that has none of these ingredients in them http://www.arbonne.com, I promote these products. But Mainly for the shaving cream and shampoo’s. But they have something for everyone.

fitmom
3 years 2 months ago

Another great site for homemade beauty and bodycare recipes is crunchybetty.com

Rhonda the Red
Rhonda the Red
3 years 2 months ago
As far as shampoo goes, I found reference to a recipe on the forum for making shampoo bars. Since I am time-challenged, I decided to forgo the homemade route in favor of ordering the bars from the poster on Etsy (Frugally Sustainable). The sample bar I got lasted a very long time and I just ordered in the 3 bar set. My hair looks and feels cleaner for longer, so I’m not washing as often. The 1 part apple cider vinegar, 3 parts water rinse does a nice job of shining and conditioning at the end. Toothpaste-wise, I found Aubrey… Read more »
MissZ
MissZ
3 years 2 months ago

The sunscreen issue is tough. Coming from parents that have had melanoma (dad) and basal cell carcinoma (mom) I definitely wear sunscreen if I’m out in midday sun for longer periods but try to stay in the shade as much as possible. I guess I’ll use EWG site to find a better healthier version which always seems to be harder to find and more expensive. I know, I know what is the cost of good health…

2Rae
2Rae
3 years 2 months ago
My son has blonde hair and blue eyes. We’ve always watched his sun exposure because of that. One day someone was trying to be helpful and sprayed on some sunscreen (SPF above 50 I think) and I didn’t get a chance to stop it. It was the WORST chemical burn. Poor guy, he was red, burned and it seemed as though there was sand under his skin, it was painful for days. Our neighbor just found out the hard way that her son will do the same. So my son just has a natural tan as his sunscreen now. If… Read more »
Molly
Molly
3 years 2 months ago

I am trying no ‘poo. On day 5 or so. Hoping it works.

Miller
3 years 2 months ago

Sunscreens are a huge problem for me. My fair complexion combined with my mostly indoor job means I don’t get tan, and I don’t know how else not to get burned.

Callum
Callum
3 years 2 months ago

Sanex zero and dove extra sensitive don’t have phtalates or parabens. Also the body shop doesn’t use phtalates in their products or bottles, and some of their products are also para ben free

Jessie
Jessie
3 years 2 months ago
This post is wonderfully relevant to me right now. Thanks for the great info, Mark! For a while now, I’ve been working on transitioning everything we use over to more natural alternatives. The only soap I’ve been using for about a year now is Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, which is 100% natural. Wonderful stuff — I highly recommend! We recently replaced our conventional toothpaste and mouthwash with “The Natural Dentist” brand. It still has a few ingredients in it I’m not sure of, but at least it doesn’t have the really nasty stuff in it (like sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens,… Read more »
Joanne
Joanne
3 years 2 months ago

I feel like you wrote that for me – ive made all the same changes as you – even trying the ‘no-poo’ but after 2 weeks of greasy hair and causing dandruff – i reverted back to ‘normal’ shampoo – must try another route!

For deodorant can i suggest just plain bicarbonate of soda – its like talc powder – i don’t sweat or smell – 1 ingredient and does the job a treat!

Sheri
Sheri
3 years 2 months ago

Devita makes an excellent lotion/suncreen. They use zinc oxide and it’s all natural. “Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30”. There is one for the body and the face.

Laura
Laura
3 years 2 months ago

I recommend products from Rocky Mountain Soap Company including their 100% natural sunscreen. They only use natural ingredients: http://www.rockymountainsoap.com/

trackback

[…] Have you ever wondered just what’s in all those products you slather, spray, spritz, apply, and rub onto your body? I mean, who hasn’t tried to kill time in the shower by hunkering down with a good shampoo bottle ingredient list? It’s a laundry list of unpronounceable words separated by dozens of hyphens. In short, […]… Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Andrea
Andrea
3 years 2 months ago

My husband and I quit using shampoo about 6 weeks ago. Just water. It was rough the first two weeks or so, but now my hair looks just fine. Also, I was putting product in my hair to get it to look like it does naturally now.

We also gave up soap except for hand washing before food prep. I clean my face with coconut oil or water. It’s a lot cheaper than the expensive organic cleaner and moisturizer I was using before, and my skin looks great.

Sheri
Sheri
3 years 2 months ago

Us Too!! We must have read the same blog that day. No soap is GREAT. Our skin is so soft and the body smells naturally good. I just use a wash-cloth and water in the shower.

Amy
3 years 2 months ago
I love this topic, and my friends make fun of me because they say my answer to everything is “coconut oil.” Honestly, though, I’ve replaced all of my beauty products with natural products and, combined with a primal diet, look as good as my peers in nyc who spend a fortune on their face. I now use the following: – Shower gel / soap: Dr. Bronners tea tree variety – Shampoo: Dr. Bronners tea tree (I tend to get dandruff) – Conditoner: Apple cider vinegar rinse a few times a week (dilute; leave on for a few seconds; rise off… Read more »
Kimberly Browning
Kimberly Browning
3 years 2 months ago

Great tips…I use equal parts honey and sea salt to wash my face and my skin looks better than it ever looked using expensive prescription acne products.

Amy
3 years 2 months ago

Ooh, that’s a good one! A great mask is raw honey and coconut oil; you can leave it on as long as you’d like and if some falls in your mouth, well, yum.

Joanne
Joanne
3 years 2 months ago

+1! If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. Either way, it ends up in your body. This is my product test. Coconut (and jojoba) oils to the rescue!

allison
allison
3 years 2 months ago

i make my own deodorant and it works as well as the industrial strength stuff i used to use. 2 parts organic cornstarch to 1 part baking soda. i put it in a shaker jar i got from the dollar store. that’s it. i have mixed it with a little aloe gel at times and kept it in a jar if you prefer a cream to a powder.

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