With so much attention on eating right, staying active, and looking for more natural ways of living, we often neglect one major health hazard that is lurking about in our homes: Toxic chemicals. These hidden toxins are everywhere. Makeup, sunscreen, cleaning solutions, and all the other array of “products” that we use on a daily basis may help us feel beautiful and clean, but at what cost?
Hidden toxins are hurting our health!
Despite the many “natural,” “herbal,” or “organic” claims that are plastered over many of today’s top brands, most of the thousands of products available to us are full of harmful chemicals. There is very little (read: all but zero) regulation on these products, but there is a growing amount of research that has linked many of the common chemicals used in these products to cancer, infertility, and other health problems.
Most people wouldn’t buy food with words like ethoxylated nonyl phenols, trisodium nitrilotriacetate, or ammonia listed in their ingredients. And yet we sometimes forget that the products we use in our daily life do find their way into our bodies. Remember, folks, your skin is the largest organ of the body. It is also a doorway into the body.
Avoiding hidden toxins: What to look for when purchasing products
While trying to dump your chemicals may seem a bit overwhelming at first (and maybe unrealistic), even taking small steps can help. Remember, it’s about progress not perfection (one of my favorite little sayings).
Here are a few ideas to guide you as you choose your products:
- Consider your daily routine and ask yourself if you really need all those products. While we sometimes believe there really might be some “magic” formula for perfect hair or a glowing complexion, paring down to a more basic routine is really the best beauty regiment out there.
- Consider the safety of the products you do purchase. The Environmental Working Group has several databases showing the best products to buy in terms of their toxicity and harm. Check out their lists to buy the products that are safest.
- Read the directions. We may not be able to decipher all the chemicals on our bottles (and there are some that aren’t necessarily bad), but we can get some hints by reading over the directions. For example, if a cleaning product tells you to rinse your countertop before serving food after you’ve used it, it’s probably a good sign that it’s not the best. Another great hint: if you see a skull with crossbones: Ditch it.
When it doubt, do without (Or make it yourself!)
Not sure where to start? There are so many great resources available today to start working toward a more greener living and finding those hidden toxins. Blogs, Pinterest (check out my all-natural cleaning board), a simple Google search. It really doesn’t take much effort to make some positive changes. Here are a few hints to get your started:
Make your own natural and safe cleaning solutions.
I’ve found that you really only need a few key ingredients (essentials like Vinegar, Super Washing Soda, Castile Soap, and Borax) to get a lot of clean for your buck. Of course, you can always get fancy-schmancy and add herbs and essential oils to really make your cleaning mark. Check out earthjustice.org for some great cleaning recipes and other helpful information.
Consider making your own personal care products.
Did you know you could make your own deodorant? I’ve had great success using this recipe. I’ve also been making my own shampoo for sometime. And toothpaste (don’t tell my sister-in-law dental hygienist, okay?). And I use coconut oil for both a moisturizer and hair serum. In fact, the only products I think I buy at this point in an actual “personal care” aisle are my toothbrush and dental floss. Weird? Maybe. Economical? Indeed. Empowering? You bet. Free from hidden toxins? YES!
Be sure to check out my book Toxic Free for 70 recipes for both personal and home care.
Raid your kitchen.
Use coconut oil instead of baby lotion. Oatmeal for a facial mask. Sugar to exfoliate. Olive oil can clean your face. Egg yolks, avocado, maca powder, applesauce… Seriously, there are so many resources to beautify yourself naturally. And it only makes sense that the things that are safe to go in our bodies and the same things that are safe to go on it. Check out these other great pantry beauty “products” that come with no toxic harm.
Embrace your natural beauty.
This one can be hard in a world that tells us we need a cupboard full of products to make us beautiful. Ever since I was young I’ve felt a need to cover my acne-prone face. I couldn’t imagine leaving my house without “dolling” myself up first. Thankfully, my husband gave me enough confidence to help me realize that my makeup wasn’t making me more beautiful. And I’m not a doll. I’m a person.
It took some time, and little baby steps, but I eventually threw out almost all of my makeup. (I still occasionaly wear a light organic mascara and some tinted Burt’s Bees lip balm. But that’s it.) And you know what? I feel great. I don’t look much different than before. My skin feels and looks so much better now that it’s free from hidden toxins and garbage. And I have more time in my morning, and I’m not wasting money on makeup, either. Talk about freedom! Win, win, win, win, win. (Yes, that’s a lot of winning.)
Want to learn more? Are you willing to start the journey towards a more toxic-free life?
Still not sure? Check out this video: