We are exposed to numerous chemicals in our everyday life, however there are steps we can take to decrease the amount of toxins we come into contact with. We already know the benefits of eating a healthy diet full of whole foods like fresh organic fruits, vegetables, farm fed meats, organic free-range eggs, healthy fats, seeds, nuts, and legumes. We also know the health benefits of being physically fit and leading an active lifestyle. We are aware of the toxins we put IN our body, however not very often do we consider what we are putting on and around our bodies. There are always areas in our life that we can clean up, our home being one of them. You’d be amazed at how many unnecessary toxins and chemicals we bring into our own homes. It can seem overwhelming at first when it comes to changing the majority of your current products for healthier alternatives, so start with one thing at a time. These are the areas that I slowly started to re-analyze in my home:
Face products: Face cleansers, toners, moisturizers and sunscreen. Find natural and organic products that are free of parabens, phthalates, artificial colors, propylene glycol, aluminum, mineral oil, petrolatum, oxybenzone, PABA DEA, MEA or TEA, PEGs and PEG derivatives.
Cosmetics: Foundation, powders, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadows, blush, lipsticks etc. Here are some common ingredients to avoid in cosmetics: Coal Tar, DEA/TEA/MEA, Ethoxylated surfactants and 1,4-dioxane, Formaldehyde, Fragrance/Parfum, Hydroquinone, Mineral oil, Oxybenzone, Parabens, Paraphenylenediamine (PPD), Phthalates, Polyethylene glycol (PEG), Silicone-derived emollients, Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES), Talc, Toluene, Triclosan
Hair products: Commercial hair products like shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, mousse, gel, and serums are chalked full of synthetic and harmful chemicals. Shampoos strip your hair of essential natural oils leaving your hair in desperate need of conditioner. However commercial conditioners only add silicones and chemicals to coat your hair so it feels health. Look for products that DO NOT contain these red flag ingredients: Sulfates, eithersodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), isopropyl alcohol, propylene glycol, parabens and silicones.
Body products: Soaps, body washes, lotions , anti antiperspirants and deodorants. Switch to chemical free products that won’t strip your body of natural oils.
Nail Polish: Look for 5 free nail polishes. 5 free means that they are not made with Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde,Formaldehyde Resin or Camphor which are dangerous chemicals.
Cleaning Products: Toilet cleaner, bleach, disinfectant, window cleaner etc. I switched all my cleaning supplies to green products that use natural plant derived ingredients as opposed to chemicals. I also make my own DIY cleaners using common household ingredients. Switching your cleaning supplies will drastically decrease the amount of chemicals you are spraying into your household.
Laundry Products: Liquids, powders, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets. I switched to a natural product line that smells and works great without all the chemicals, parfums, frangrances and skin irritants. There are also great dryer balls instead of dryer sheets that cut down on cost and waste. (or simply a rolled up ball of aluminum foil)
Candles: I had a candle burning one day as my son was playing in the same room. All of a sudden a thought occurred to me. “What the heck am I burning into the air?” After reading the ingredients I threw away all of my candles from big box stores. Sorry Bath and Body works. There are wwwaaayyy too many unknown ingredients in your candles. So I went to a local candle company in town that sells pure soy candles. They burn cleaner, longer, are non toxic and all natural. Not only was I way happier with knowing what I was burning into the air, but they were also much cheaper!!! I was paying $16 dollars for a mid sized commercial candle filled with toxins, and only paid $14 for a natural soy candle double the size. Not to mention that they refilled any container I wanted. So now I have a natural vanilla soy candle in a cute vintage mason jar.
Room Sprays: Room Spray, upholstery spray, deodorizers. These commercial products spray volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air you breathe. I threw out any products that I had and invested in two essential oil diffusers. Diffusing essential oils smell amazings, relieves common ailments and cleasn the air without any harsh chemicals. It’s a win win.
Other small changes can be as simple as making sure you take off your shoes before tracking oils, pesticides and grime off the road into your home, opening your windows to circulate fresh air, decrease the amount of plastic you purchase and switch old shower curtains to ones that are PVC free. Remember that permanent change takes time and that it doesn’t happen overnight. Our society is becoming more aware of these damaging chemicals and this knowledge leads to a switch in consumer products. There is a multitude of new companies that are geared towards a greener lifestyle so finding natural products is a breeze, not to mention the benefit that also comes from supporting local companies. Or for those of you like me that are frugal, there are hundreds of DIY alternatives to cleaners and beauty products using common household products.
But the best thing about living a cleaner life is that your body, mind, skin, mood and general well-being will thank you for it. Buying less products also means more money in your wallet and who doesn’t love that?
The first wealth is health. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson