I’m going to go out on a limb here, and hopefully not offend all those creative folk who make their own natural products, or those of you who heavily invest in buying all natural, organic delicious products to use on your skin, in your hair, on your face and also around your home.
Don’t worry I’m not about to tell you that all those wonderfully natural ingredients are bad for you, not at all! They work beautifully to nourish, soften, cleanse, tone, smooth, protect etc, but all I’m here to tell you is, that you don’t need them. They can be a delightful treat, to use once in a while, but you really do not need ANY products AT ALL.
Natural products are really lovely but let’s face it, they are not cheap! All those organic, ingredients, carefully treated so as to preserve all their nutrition, and creatively put together, cost a fair bit to make, and then to market, driving prices higher. I know this because years ago I made all my own products. I didn’t sell them as it was time consuming and costly and I didn’t want to go down the official channels making the production costs higher still. I made products for my family or friends who wanted to try them.
In my book Love and Wheatgrass there are chapters on both personal care products and homecare products, with recipes on how to make them.
See the comments below for a hormone balancing perfume recipe you can make at home.
My message here, won’t make me rich, or even buy me a coffee, but it’s the truth. The personal and homecare product industries have been raking it in, making you feel as though you need their products to keep you clean, moisturized, beautiful and your home sparkling.
Not only do you not need them, but the commercial products will also harm you and your family.
The average person uses over 200 chemicals per day – and that’s just in personal care products! From bathing, showering and, rubbing them all over, we inhale them, and inadvertently ingest them too. We are literally drowning ourselves in chemicals. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common chemicals used in most products, where to find them and what they may do, and then we can look at how we can start to make changes…..
|Common Toxins found in Everyday Products.|
|Toxic chemical||Effect on the body||Product found in|
|Fluoride||Neurotoxin – may effect neurodevelopment[i] and cognitive function, decreased thyroid function; immune function||Toothpaste|
|SLS; SLES||Contaminated with dioxane a carcinogenic by product[ii] – maybe toxic to brain, nervous system, liver and kidneys||All emulsifiers, surfactants, foaming products such as Toothpaste; Shampoo; Shower Gels and soaps agents|
|Triclosan||Bactericide – may interfere with muscle function and hormone regulation[iii]||Toothpaste, deodorant, shower gels and soaps.|
|Fragrance – anything with harmful chemicals that do not legally require listing by name..e.g synthetic musks||Contains carcinogenic phthalates which may cause decreased sperm counts, early breast development, birth defects and liver and kidney damage[iv]||Shampoo, shower gels, deodorant and perfumes.|
Note: As yet little is known about the effects these toxins have when they are combined in a product, because the majority of clinical trials are done on individual chemicals NOT as interactive ingredients!
This is without considering the cleaning products we use around our homes, in our laundry, on our beloved pets….
We are so focused on what we eat, that we pay little attention to what we take in through our skin and respiratory systems.
Let’s go through some popular products and what you can do as a natural and free or very cheap alternative!
- Shampoo and conditioner
This was perhaps my most challenging product to lose. I tried everything from bicarbonate of soda, to using just a shampoo base, but nothing made my hair feel clean, and everything made it need the use of a conditioner too! That’s when I finally realised that shampooing the hair may just be one of the biggest beauty scams out there.
Each time you shampoo, you strip the hair of its natural oils. Its soft and fly-away. So now you need to condition it, to make it manageable and put back the oils you just washed out. Your body thinks your hair has too little natural oil, (because your shampoo stripped it out!), so it produces more oil. You see that as greasy hair and wash it again, and so we go on!
To break this vicious cycle, you need to stop washing your hair, but not stop cleaning it! How do we do this? With a good hairbrush! Our granparents used to tell us they brushed their hair 100 times a day! They knew how incredible and simple it is.
Regular brushing is amazing. It does 3 things.
- It removes dust, dirt and particles from the hair
- It massages the scalp, stimulating hair growth
- It distributes any natural oils through your hair, conditioning it evenly
You can rinse your hair in warm water weekly if you feel you want to or have been perspiring or doing dirty work! Other than that you only need to brush, brush, brush.
Tip: once a month- around a new moon use a raw egg as shampoo. Your hair will feel amazing
Another myth! We do need it, and even my dentist agrees with this! A good brush, used twice a day thoroughly but gently will do the job adequately. To get them extra clean, wrap a clean flannel around your finger and clean all around the gum area.
For an extra clean, you can occasionally put a little white fire ash or bicarbonate of soda on your brush – but don’t do this too often or you will wear the enamel. If you want to have that minty fresh feel, rinse with a water steeped with fresh mint.
You need soap. But only to wash your hands, and if necessary your feet. A good natural soap will work for this and last ages because you do not need it anywhere else! Warm water unless your skin is visibly dirty will clean your skin without altering your ph or interfering with the production oif vit D from sunlight.
A few times a week dry brush your skin before you shower. Working upwards towards the heart stimulates the lymph, and the action will remove dead skin cells and keep your skin soft and clean.
Again, you don’t need it. Eat clean. Do not eat processed food, and you will not suffer with odour. If you require something sweet smelling in your pits, put a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil in filtered water and spritz.
Walking through the departure lounge at any airport will leave your sense of smell overwhelmed with an assault of artificial fragrance. Inhaling these synthetic perfumes can bring on headaches and respiratory tract irritation. The chemicals used to make these perfumes are not only short term irritants but have been shown to cause hormonal imbalances, organ damage, and even cancer.
The cosmetic industry have been able to put toxic ingredients in their products because regulations have made it totally legal to keep their ingredients top secret to “protect” their formulas.
In 1991 the EPA tested conventional, synthetic perfumes and found a long list of toxic chemical ingredients, including acetone, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, ethanol, ethyl acetate, limonene, linalool, methylene chloride as well as phthalates, stearates, and parabens.
The effects of these ingredients have only been tested in isolation but are very worrying. They have been known to cause organ damage, respiratory and skin irritations, reproductive system damage, convulsions and depression. However when used in combination the results are even more powerful, but have not been widely tested.
The good news is that you can very easily make your own beautiful perfumes from natural essential oils, that not only smell amazing, but also will actually support your health and well-being at the same time.
See comments below for a hormone balancing perfume recipe
[i] Environmental Health Perspectives
Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
2012 Oct; 120(10): 1362–1368.
Anna L. Choi, Guifan Sun, Ying Zhang, and Philippe Grandjean
[ii] Scrub These 15 Toxic Personal Care Ingredients Out of Your Bathroom
September 16, 2014
[iii] 5 Toxic Chemicals in the Products You Use Every Day – The truth behind some common ingredients in your sunscreen, deodorant, lotions and make up.
November 19, 2014 Sage McHugh
[iv] Is Your Perfume Poison?
November 27, 2013 Dr Mercola