In December 2011, I was diagnosed with a low stage of breast cancer. I had only been married for about six months and received the news a few days before Christmas. It was a devastating time. I will write an entire blog dedicated to this topic, but in the meantime, it is important to know that because of this diagnosis, I eliminated every toxic product in my home and every product that touched my body from that point forward. My entire home became non-toxic.
I still remember the day that I took a tall kitchen trash bag and filled it to the brim with toxic lotions, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, chapstick, nail polish, and make-up that were made up of chemicals that were somehow correlated and or linked to cancer. I wanted to control what I could to prevent the cancer from spreading and or returning one day. I read dozens upon dozens of books and articles on the topic and made a list of chemically toxic laden ingredients most commonly found in cosmetics and household cleaners. This blog will specifically focus on cosmetics but I’m sure I’ll write another blog about household cleaners, too! One of the biggest chemicals I looked for was ones that ended in “eth” (ie: laureth). Once I made my list, I went through every product I owned and reviewed the list of ingredients one by one. I was shocked to throw out almost every single item I had ever owned! I probably threw out hundreds of dollars worth of product but to me, for my health and my life, it was worth it and I didn’t hesitate or look back.
Slowly but surely I added non-toxic products back into my everyday life to replace the toxic ones. Some products were easy to replace and others were more difficult. Finding things like toothpaste, deodorant, and lotion were among the easiest. Finding shampoo and make-up was the most difficult. Shampoo was difficult because most non-toxic shampoos dried my hair out and I wanted a good balance of moisture but not a product that would make my hair heavy or oily. Finding a non-toxic pressed powder in a color that looked natural but stayed on longer than an hour was the most difficult.
In my opinion, toxic products are only popular for three reasons. 1) The media makes them look inviting and fabulous. Think of all the celebrities that endorse hair and cosmetic companies. Young women look up to these celebrities as role models and want to use a product just because their favorite actress uses it, too. 2) They work. Toxic chemicals work. The products smell better, last longer, and come in fun, shiny bottles. 3) They are all we know unless we educate ourselves like I did. Most people don’t even know how bad their products are unless it’s pointed out to them. I always tell people to visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ and type in one of their products from home and see how toxic it is, and for most, they are purely shocked. From personal experience, however, despite what they see with their own eyes regarding the level of toxicity of their products, many of my own family members and friends, even despite what I went through and educated them about toxicity levels and what these ingredients are linked to, don’t switch because of habit and because they don’t think anything will ever happen to them. A friend of mine once said, “once I’m done with the toxic products I’m using I’ll switch because I don’t want to waste money”, which is somewhat understandable. Another said, “I don’t care. I’m too lazy to switch. I’ll be fine. Nothing has happened to me yet.” I personally didn’t want to take any chances and use any toxic products for one second longer than I had to, knowing what I knew. The money wasn’t worth it to me. The struggle of finding new products was worth it to me. These products seep into your skin and scalp and into your bloodstream. But I get it. Change is hard. Routine is easy. And until you are faced with a life threatening illness you may not think about it or see reason enough to change. My hope is that maybe, just maybe, you will.
So after years of research and trying out multiple products, here is a list of my favorite non-toxic products! All of these products scored a 0-2 (Low Hazard) on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database scale of toxicity. For more information on the toxicity of your products, please visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
- Maybelline FIT Me! Pressed Powder (1)
- Acure Seriously Hydrating Facial Toner (1)
- Desert Essence Tea Tree Shampoo (2)
- Jason Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste w/o Fluoride (1)
- Kiss My Face Active Life Fragrance Free Deodorant (2)
- Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Mascara (1)
- Honest Company Face and Body Lotion (1)
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap (1)
- Piggy Paint Nail Polish (2)
- Ava Anderson Dream Cream Moisturizer (1)
More and more companies are now exclusively distributing non-toxic products more than ever before. Other compaies are beginning to change ingredients in existing products, eliminating the toxic chemicals one by one. Massive companies are one thing, but I admire the people that make their own products. There is a company called Fresh Mama Lane that I recently learned about and the owner, Toneia Lane, makes products that not only work, they smell delicious, and are made with ingredients you can understand and pronounce. For example, her Peppermint Scrub is made of organic coconut oil, baking soda, brown sugar, peppermint, tea tree, and ginger oil. Her Miracle Baby Cream is comprised of organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, pure Beeswax, pure Lavender, tea tree, geranium, and frankincense oil. I have personally used both of these products and they are amazing and I highly recommend them. And as you know, I love to support small businesses and also small businesses from my hometown. Fresh Mama Lane is both of these!
Fresh Mama Lane can be found on Etsy through this link https://www.etsy.com/shop/FreshMamaLane?ref=search_shop_redirect. The shop offers 24 natural bath and beauty products for the whole family. The best part is that all of her products are handmade. Men can choose from pre-shave oil, hair wax, and aftershave. Women can choose from face cream, makeup remover, anti-aging SPF face cream moisturizing lotion, eye serum, and toner. There is even a product called Milk Mojo that will give breastfeeding moms a boost! There are roll-on remedies for colic, cradle cap, teething and tummy trouble and wipe solution spray in lieu of baby wipes, for babies.
Please also follow Fresh Mama Lane on Instagram @freshmamalane. Trust me, you are going to want to because I have partnered with Fresh Mama Lane for an exciting giveaway this week. This giveaway is exclusively on Instagram; so make sure you are following me, @theparentologist, for all the details!!