Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Greening Up

For a while now i've been wanting to "green up" my life when it comes to my beauty products.  The more i've been reading about the toxic things in our beauty products (what am i saying, in pretty much everything around us...) and the effects it has on our health the more i've been saying NOT FOR ME.  If you want to know what i'm talking about, i suggest this article:

Chemicals In Cosmetics: What You Need To Know

 I think the first step i took in trying to "green" myself up was when i found out i was pregnant with DD2 i decided i was not going to paint my nails anymore (EDIT: now that i think about it, my first step was to stop using traditional menstrual products and get a cup, but that is another post!).  There are some nasty things in nail polish (as you can probably tell by the smell).  You can read a bit about it here:

Toxic Nail Polish

Pretty nasty sounding isn't it?  I didn't want to be putting that stuff on my nails for my body to absorb to be passed on to my growing baby.  So i haven't painted my nails in over a year now.  And honestly, i don't miss it too much. was fun to have hot pink or lime green nails in the summer, but at what cost? 

My next step was to stop using so many toxic things in the shower.  The first to go was shaving cream.  This was easy because i just stopped shaving.  Yep, you read that right, since the beginning of the year i have not shaved once.  And i don't think i will anymore.  1.  it's a pain in the underarms for me (i get HORRID ingrown hairs), 2. i barely have time to wash my body let alone shave anymore, 3. my legs aren't that hair anyways and my husband thinks they are soft even when i don't shave, so what's the point, and 4.  why should i have to?  I have given myself permission that if i feel the need, i'm allowed to trim my underarms, but no shaving this year at least :)

Then after giving up the shaving cream i decided that next to go is my shampoo and conditioner.  Now this is where most people think i have really gone nuts.  Sure, they could let the no nail polish go with no problem, and shaving...well, that's not too horrible either.  But not using shampoo or conditioner!?!  Oh how will my hair ever be clean???


For one, just water and my hands will get most of the grime out of my hair.  But for now i'm washing my hair using baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  You see, washing your hair with a detergent all the time (which is what shampoo is) strips away all the natural, GOOD oil from your hair.  This oil works on a supply and demand basis.  The more you wash it away, the more it makes (works the same as breastfeeding).  So if you stop stripping the oil away and instead try to work *with* your body, your hair will (in most cases) make only enough oil to keep your hair healthy. 

I am already a person who doesn't wash her hair regularly.  Yeah, that's right, i only wash my hair maybe once a week!  And it's NEVER been overly greasy :)  So i figured making the switch to not using any shampoo would be easy.

So i decided to start after i had a procedure to get a mole removed from my scalp, since i wouldn't be able to wash my hair for a while anyways.  The day before i washed my hair for the last time and then went 2 weeks before ever actually using anything on my hair.  This was because my scalp was VERY tender around the stitches site and i didn't want to use anything that would irritate and such.  So for 2 weeks i just rinsed my hair with water and i used a washcloth to kinda pet my hair in a downward motion to distribute the oils to the rest of my hair.  And that worked fine.  Then after 2 weeks i finally did my now normal wash routine.  I took one tablespoon of baking soda and rubbed it into my scalp and then rinsed it.  I then took one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and slowly poured a bit at a time on my scalp and rubbed it into the roots and shaft of my hair.  Then i rinsed and that's it, done. 

When i got out of the shower and towel dried my hair it was SO SOFT!!  My hair has never been that soft before!  All day i couldn't stop running my fingers through it.  I think DH was getting tiered of me saying 'i can't believe how soft my hair is!!!!'.  It's now been over 3 weeks since i've last traditionally washed my hair and i've done 2 of these "treatments" and my hair is still doing great.  I'm tossing my shampoo and conditioner and never looking back! 

Not only is this so much healthier for me, but it's also healthy for my wallet.  I mean, how expensive is baking soda and vinegar???  Awesome i know!

If you want to learn more about this "crazy" topic, read the articles below:

All about 'No Poo'
The No Shampoo Alternative- No Poo
What is No Poo?
Don't use shampoo again!
How to No Poo
The no poo do

So this is it for now.  My next step is body wash, then toothpaste and then deodorant.  Then we'll see where i go from there.

What about you, what are things you've done to "green up" your beauty routine?


Amber Smith said...

I haven't been washing my hair regularly for years. I wash it maybe every 4-6 months. When I lived in an apartment, we had a very small hot water heater, and it wasn't possible to wash everything, wash my hair, and shave. so I stopped washing my hair. and now I rarely shave. Maybe every 3-4 weeks.

I am curious about the no toothpaste, so I may have to look into that. We spend a lot on toothpaste here because I brush my teeth 3-4 times a day, trying to get the little one to bruch his.

Krista said...

What a timely post! I just found a bar of natural organic soap that I feel comfortable using to brush my teeth. It's made by the Portland Soap Company, I bought the clove scented one. It was $4.99 for a 3.75 oz bar, that should last us a good long while since it only takes a dusting of soap to foam up well. BuggaBoo, 3 yo, didn't complain at all, and he hates the Tom's baking soda toothpaste we have been using. I've brushed with it once today and my teeth feel amazing!

I'm also No Poo, and I usually only soap up my armpits and my groin to help control BO (Ivory). I still use deodorant (Old Spice for the menz), but I really want to try using 6 parts cornstarch to 1 part baking soda.

Next up: cleaning up my cleaners.

Kitt Gibson said...

Let's see. I brush my teeth twice a day but only use "real toothpaste" about twice a week (Even then it's the greener version - Toms of Maine brand). All the rest of the time, I use baking soda and my teeth have been much whiter and feel better in general. I don't shave my legs. At all. I have shaved twice in the past three and a half years and the hair goes virtually unnoticed. I make my own laundry soap (not exactly a beauty product but think about it - it goes on your skin, just second hand!). Oh, and of course, I use a cup and/or cloth pads - no nasty tampons for me!

Katie said...

As a chemist, I come into contact with all sorts of chemicals every day. I'm not too worried about the chemicals in my shampoo when I am working with things that are FAR more toxic in my lab. ;-) Also, as a scientist, I haven't seen ANY convincing studies that show that the chemicals in shampoo or other beauty products are in the levels contained in it are harmful to our health. If I saw any convincing evidence I might change my mind, but right now I'm not too concerned.

Sure, they can say that this chemical has been linked to this or that, and it is scary, but you have to consider the amounts that are in products we use... For exampe read this:

Toxicity to Animals:
toxicity (LD50): 3310 mg/kg [Rat]. Acute dermal toxicity (LD50): 1060 mg/kg [Rabbit]. Acute toxicity of the vapor (LC50): 5620
1 hours [Mouse].

Chronic Effects on Humans:
MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells. Mutagenic for bacteria and/or yeast. May cause damage to the following organs: kidneys, mucous membranes, skin, teeth.

Other Toxic Effects on Humans:
Extremely hazardous in case of inhalation (lung corrosive). Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of ingestion, .
Hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive, permeator), of eye contact (corrosive).

Special Remarks on Toxicity to Animals: Not available.

Special Remarks on Chronic Effects on Humans: May affect genetic material and may cause reproductive effects based on
animal data. No human data found.

Special Remarks on other Toxic Effects on Humans:

Acute Potential Health Effects: Skin: Extremely irritating and corrosive. Causes skin irritation (reddening and itching,
inflammation). May cause blistering , tissue damage and burns. Eyes: Extremely irritating and corrosive. Causes eye irritation, lacrimation, redness, and pain. May cause burns, blurred vision, conjunctivitis, conjunctival and corneal destruction and permanent injury.

Inhalation: Causes severe respiratory tract irritation. Affects the sense organs (nose, ear, eye, taste), and blood. May cause chemical pneumonitis, bronchitis, and pulmonary edema. Severe exposure may result in lung tissue damage and corrosion (ulceration) of the mucous membranes. Inhalation may also cause rhinitis, sneezing, coughing,
oppressive feeling in the chest or chest pain, dyspnea, wheezing, tachypnea, cyanosis, salivation, nausea, giddiness, muscular weakness.

Ingestion: Moderately toxic. Corrosive. Causes gastrointestinal tract irritation (burning and pain of the mouth, throat, and abdomen, coughing, ulceration, bleeding, nausea, abdomial spasms, vomiting, hematemesis, diarrhea. May Also affect the liver (impaired liver function), behavior (convulsions, giddines, muscular weakness), and the urinary system - kidneys (Hematuria, Albuminuria, Nephrosis, acute renal failure, acute tubular necrosis). May also cause dyspnea or asphyxia. May also lead to shock, coma and death. Chronic Potential Health Effects: Chronic exposure via ingestion may cause blackening or erosion of the teeth and jaw necrosis, pharyngitis, and gastritis. It may also behavior (similar to acute ingestion), and metabolism (weight loss). Chronic exposure via inhalation may cause asthma and/or bronchitis with cough, phlegm, and/or shortness of breath . It may also affect the blood (decreased leukocyte count), and urinary system (kidneys).
Repeated or prolonged skin contact may cause thickening, blackening, and cracking of the skin.

Katie said...

Pretty scary stuff, huh? Well this is the official warning that comes on ACETIC ACID. You might have heard of it. Because that is the acid in vinegar. But you aren't concerned about the vinegar (rightfully so!) because the concentration of acetic acid is sooooooo low.
How about another example? Did you know that dihydrogen monoxide causes over 3,443 in the US every year?

That's a lot of people. But dihydrogen monoxide, more commonly known as WATER is necessary to support life!

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that a lot of chemicals are scary, but if only exposed to them in low concentrations they are FINE.

So I would say that I use most of the usual stuff: shampoo, conitioner, body wash, etc; although whenever possible I do try to buy natural body wash. They (at least used to) sell a line at Bath and Body Works that was all-natural.

I paint my nails only once in a while and am not too worried about that, either. (Although I wouldn't want to work in a nail salon, long-term exposure to some of those chemicals is definetly BAD for you!)

I respect the fact that you're trying to move away from things that you see as risks to your health, I just wanted to say, almost anyone can make anything sound SCARY.

And Krista, thanks for sharing the post about cleaners, there is some nasty stuff in some of the things we use around the house and I would love to try some gentler alternatives!

Jillyn said...

I do see your point Katie, but i guess i don't see why i should expose myself to questionable and possibly harmful chemicals if i don't HAVE to. And especially my children...the less chemicals they have in their body, the better.

and i don't trust the "natural" label on beauty products since there is no regulation for that term on beauty products.

plus making my own stuff saves us a lot of money, so another bonus :)

i feel if one wants to clean up their home (use green building products) and cleaners, then why not beauty products as well?

Katie said...

That's true, I just don't like it when people get bent out of shape over nothing. I appreciate that you have some real concerns about certain chemicals and if there isn't evidence that they are safe, I respect your choices. Just be careful who you listen to!

And you're right about "natural" labels; I suppose I should elaborate and say that I try not to buy anything that doesn't have a word I don't immediately recognize on the lab. I don't have my shampoo in front of me, but a food example would be ice cream: II prefer Breyer's Vanilla -- milk, cream, sugar, vanilla. YUM.

Jillyn said...

Katie: i completely understand. On my side, i don't like it when people think everyone for sale to us is perfectly safe and there is no harm.

and i do agree, i don't like to buy stuff when i can't even understand the ingredients in it :) that's really why i like to make my own things (even food from scratch) because i know EXACTLY what i'm being exposed to <3