Until fairly recently, I actually had no idea how many different toxic chemicals were lurking in my beauty and personal care products. Why would companies put known carcinogens in my skincare products? Doesn’t the FDA regulate the ingredients that go into cosmetics? Yeah…no.
Under U.S. law, cosmetic products and ingredients, except color additives, do not have to be approved by the FDA before going on the market. As a result, personal care products are manufactured with some 10,500 chemicals, some of which may be carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and endocrine disruptors. These chemicals penetrate the skin and collect in the tissues inside our bodies.
Because personal care products pose a hazard to the health of both humans and wildlife (as the products get washed down the drain), I have made an effort to replace the conventional personal care products in my bathroom with organic, non-toxic, and cruelty-free versions. This has been easier said than done, however. While there are many “clean” products on the market, they can be expensive and difficult to find. After a lot of research through resources like the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and the Think Dirty app, I have found some products that fit within my budget. Keep reading to see five of the products I used to use, and what I have replaced them with.
1. As much as I used to love this stuff for those oily hair days, Batiste dry shampoo is ranked as a “high hazard” product by EWG due to ingredients that lead to irritation and organ system toxicity. So when my bottle ran out, I switched to Acure dry shampoo. I couldn’t find a rating for this exact product, but Acure is known for its sustainable principles and certified organic products. This dry shampoo is free from parabens, sulfates, sodium chloride, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. It’s practically air in a bottle. Air that de-greases your hair.
2. The topic of sunscreen really requires its own post, but I’ll try to keep it snappy. This Coppertone Ultra Guard sunscreen contains oxybenzone, one of the most hazardous ingredients in chemical sunscreens. Oxybenzone acts like estrogen and disrupts the endocrine system, altering sperm production in men and causing endometriosis in women. Basically, it’s real bad. Instead, I opted for a mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide, which doesn’t penetrate the skin the way that chemical sunscreens do. This Neutrogena Pure & Free baby sunscreen is rated as a “low hazard” product by the EWG. And yes, even though it’s marketed for babies, I do use this on myself. I mean, think about it, if a skincare product isn’t safe for babies, why should it be safe for adults?!
3-4. Soap & Glory Clean On Me shower gel and the Righteous Body Butter smell amazing. Unfortunately, this scent comes from harmful artificial fragrances. Instead, I switched to Alaffia Babies & Up Everyday Shea body wash and lotion. These products contain natural and fair trade certified ingredients. Alaffia is also committed to empowering communities in Togo by alleviating poverty and encouraging gender equality, so your purchase helps support that mission. It’s worth noting that they do sell these in a non-baby version, but I could only find them in enormous bottles, and I wanted to try them out before committing to the same body wash and lotion for the next five years (but now that I’ve tried them, I probably could). This lotion and body wash are clean, affordable, support an incredible cause, and if that’s not enough, they also smell amazing!
5. Last but not least, I’ve been wanting to switch to a more natural deodorant for a while. I first tried to do this over the summer, but after a couple days of being sweaty and stinky in 90 plus degree weather, I decided it was best to make the transition in the colder months. Unlike antiperspirants, this Jason deodorant stick does not contain aluminum, which we all know has been linked to breast cancer. It does still contain artificial fragrance (parfum), but this is the very last ingredient on the list. It’s also smoother in texture than other natural deodorants I’ve tried, and it has a pleasant scent that’s not overpowering.
I’m still working on replacing some of the other products in my routine, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far. These products might not all be perfectly clean and green, especially when it comes to waste production, but they are accessible, affordable, and far better than what I was using before.