the scary truth behind my cosmetics… and why I’ve ditched foundation

Posted on May 29th, 2011

Sunday Life: This week I detox my cosmetics


a little note: in my next post I will be listing the safe products I’ve decided to use as result of this week’s experiment, as well as those used personally by the top experts in safe cosmetics around the world. Check in tomorrow!

In 2009 Rick Smith & Bruce Lourie, two Canadian environmentalists locked themselves in an unventilated apartment and polluted themselves with household items like hand sanitiser and antiperspiran, which saw their triclosan levels rocket, and tinned tuna, which led to mercury poisoning after just seven serves. They offered themselves up as guinea pigs and emerged with a bestseller, Slow Death by Rubber Duck, their toxic tales influencing the Canadian government to ban BPA from baby’s bottles.

This week I share with you a similar experiment. This time I’m the intrepid guinea pig and my poison of choice is beauty products. My aim is this: to find out whether my makeup is making me sick. And what I should be using instead.

Me. Being poked n sprayed.

In January I finished filming my new TV show Eat Yourself Sexy (screening Lifestyle YOU in August). For four months I was doused in a Molotov cocktail of makeup and hair products, reapplied dozens of times a day. We’re talking industrial strength stuff – superglue sprays and spac-filler foundation. I was a veritable Petri dish ripe for some Frankenstein-ian testing.

So out of  concerned curiosity I got a bunch of toxin tests done when filming finished. The most telling and accessible was the Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis which revealed worryingly high mercury, lead, aluminum and copper levels and a bismuth reading off the scale.

 

I got my Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis done through Interclinical. Naturapaths, doctors and nutritionists can organise this for you. It involved sending off a hair sample. A week or so later it came back with a VERY comprehensive report.

Now, granted, there’s no way of knowing where exactly these toxins came from – we’re exposed to thousands a day; babies are now born “pre-polluted” with 240 chemicals in their blood. But let’s take bismuth. I was able to eliminate most known sources (I’m not exposed to mirror silvering or wart treatments). The only viable source was foundation. Ditto copper. Red-based hair dyes and makeup stood out as the most likely sources going by the report’s list.

But here’s the thing. Beauty products are such a soup of suspect ingredients that eliminating one foul player is nigh impossible. According to the US Environmental Working Group women use an average of 12 personal care products before they leave the house, ingesting 168 toxins. Men consume 85 toxins before their morning latte.

Here’s the other thing. The chemicals used in beauty products are not regulated, despite our skin being the most permeable organ in the body (indeed it’s speculated it’s safer to eat your body cream than to wear it; our guts contain enzymes to break down the chemicals). You can slap a product that makes me glow green in the dark with the label “natural” or “organic” if you like. No one will stop you. (Although anything with the “Australian Certified Organic” sticker guarantees it’s 95 per cent so).

To be more involved in the way cosmetics are regulated in Australia get involved with the National Toxics Network. They’re currently working with the regulator NICNAS to better regulate things. They also helped to get BPA phased out in baby bottles here.

Almost 90 per cent of ingredients used in personal care products have not been tested for human safety and well publicized nasties such as phthalates (an industrial chemical that causes reproductive issues and birth defects) can be – and is mostly – disguised in the ingredients list as “fragrance”. Indeed, companies aren’t even required to list all their ingredients. Which might leave you throwing your hands in the (nano-particle tainted) air. What the hell are we meant to do?

Should we all become bubble people? I don’t think so. It’s not possible. It’s a matter of lessening harm as much as possible.

This week’s experiment has actually been my longest – I’ve been seeking answers to these questions for five months and consulted experts world-wide. This is what I did:

* I gradually used up old products (chucking stuff out is plain wrong) and replaced with toxin-free versions (not all of it, but prioritsing stuff that stays on the skin).

* What to buy? I consulted the EWG’s cosmetics database which ranks 65,000 products and use the Good Guide iphone app (it reads barcodes and gives a rating).

* A rule of thumb: no parabens or words containing, “PEGS”, “eth” (eg sodium laureth sulfate ) or “amines” (these are also written up in the ingredients list as MEA, DEA, TEA etc). For a list of toxic ingredients that you can tick off against your product go here.

Then I “detoxed”. First off antiperspirant. It took three weeks for my pores to “unclog” and adjust to the natural deodorant (I’ll give details tomorrow!).

I was talked through a shampoo “unclog” by Narelle Chenery who started Miessence, an Australian cosmetics company that the EWG rate in their top five safest cosmetic brands. It was also the first cosmetics company in the world to be certified organic by the food standards bodies in 2001. Now they’d be one of a few dozen only that pass this stringent test.

It wasn’t pretty – it involved stripping my hair of the caked-up silicone from standard shampoo with cider vinegar and bicarb and walking around with greasy, dank hair for four weeks as my natural oils were able to emerge from the blocked follicles. I’m now able to shampoo half as often. And I use a salt spray (from the ocean) to style it.

Which is the easiest tip to remember:

just use less stuff.

Dilute the Motolov cocktail! I use products with one ingredient where possible (rosehip oil as a moisturiser) and I’ve halved my regime. Simpler, cleaner, shinier.

As I say, I’ll be posting a “shopping” list of products tomorrow. In the meantime, does this stuff worry you? Have you done similar tests? Learned anything?

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • http://meetmeinusk.blogspot.com jenny Chapman

    I hope Jurlique is on your list! Love that stuff. Good luck with the new regime. Adds to the simpler lifestyle.

    [Reply]

    Jess Ainscough Reply:

    Hi Jenny,

    Did you know that Jurlique is still FULL of nasty chemicals? It’s green washing at its best. I was shocked when I read the ingredients!

    Jess x

    http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    http://www.jurlique.com/pcat/ingredientsaf

    Sodium laureth sulfate + PEGS in some of their products. :( Boo!

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    When I turned 30 I had a 3mm red eczema like spot on my arm that was diagnosed as skin cancer; removal left a 10cm scar and divit in my arm and a recommendation from the Surgeon that I keep a careful watch my lymph nodes under the arms. Upon investigating I discovered pore blockages and breast cancer links due to deoderants. That’s when I switched to MiEssence and became a regular customer. I have been using their products for 12 years now and have become a representative I so strongly believe in chemical free skin care products. I’m starting to see big changes in peoples attitudes towards using chemical laden products and I hope it becomes a trend so more people free their homes and bodies of toxins.
    It’s great to read your website and other peoples views on this topic. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Jules Reply:

    LOVE Miessence products – boo to Jurlique! I’m buying my miessence stuff from consciouscosmetics.com.au these days. Cheap shipping yay!

    [Reply]

  • Tanya Carroll

    Sarah, congratulations on taking this brave step! I am really glad that someone of your level of readers has taken the steps to highlight the majority of mainstream society’s unawareness of just how many toxins from unassuming sources, our bodies absorb.
    I discovered the health benefits of the Miessence range many years ago, and my clear complexion and healthy body thanks me every day :)
    Tanya Carroll

    [Reply]

  • aliceblue

    In my quest to cure a scalp reaction to hair dye I went down the anti dandruff shampoo path. Terrible idea – hair was stripped of its colour and went very dry and thin. I have found an organic shampoo by pure called Harmony bath. I also use Moroccan oil after every wash. All itching and flaking is gone and there is lots of healthy new hair sprouting out!
    I blogged about it I was so pleased.
    http://sweetlittlealicebluegown.blogspot.com/2011/05/no-nasties-shampoo.html

    Thanks for the link to lists of toxic ingredients. I will be using it as a reference.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    You can get pure Argan oil from the health food store if you wanted to replace the Moroccan oil. Its pretty toxic. Argan oil is essentially the same as Moroccan oil without the nasties.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Agree. Moroccan oil is nasty! Full of silicone and only a small % of pure Argan oil. The pure stuff is sooooo much better.

    [Reply]

    Jamila Reply:

    Yay for Argan Oil in Australia! However, please beware that there are two types of Argan Oil. The roasted culinary version, which is delicious in tagines, salads and Amlou (moroccan peanut butter). Culinary Argan Oil has a strong nutty scent.

    Cosmetic Argan Oil comes from unroasted nuts and has a slight scent.

    Have a great day!
    Jamila

    aliceblue Reply:

    Thank you -I’m all for a nasty free product – off to buy me some argan oil tomorrow!

    [Reply]

    aliceblue Reply:

    I looked around my area for the pure argan oil and all the ones I saw had other things as well. I found this web site and hope their product is a good one.
    http://www.moroccan-oil.com.au/Moroccan-Argan-Oil/c1/p6/Pure-Moroccan-Argan-Oil-%28120-ml%29/product_info.html

  • Mia

    Firstly – that is super scary!!

    Second – I found this AMAZING. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-477378/Six-weeks-wash-The-soapless-experiment.html
    Yup, 6 weeks without any kind of products, without even washing or brushing teeth. I found it amazing that in the end, the bacterial swabs from her body were still within safe levels and her irritable bowel syndrome completely disappeared!

    Third – this is probably TMI… but you dont really need cleansers or soap. No matter what you call it, its just a fancy word for detergent on your skin. You dont even need deodorant if you just cleanse with water & loofah, give it a few weeks for your skin’s pH balance to adjust and you will find you dont have much body odour. You can clean even the grimiest workout sweat with your hand and water! Obviously use soap on your hands after the bathroom/ before preparing food though.

    I have kept some products (shampoo, hair dye, body lotion, mascara) but got rid of others (hair products, cleanser, foundation, deodorant.) I use macadamia oil at the moment to moisturise my face and hair, and it also works as a hair conditioning treatment or for blow-drying. My skin and hair are actually better than they ever were!! Oh, and I use a purely natural conditioner for shaving my legs. Brilliant results.

    I am hanging out for that list, I would love to replace my shampoo with something less toxic. Any chance you could list details of the hair detox? I would be really interested!!

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    P.s. Did you ever get a sore scalp from all the products..? I think thats what I have. It’s quite painful. Scary stuff!

    [Reply]

    Paula Reply:

    Yes! I too want to know more about the hair detox. I’ve already tackled the skin care products and replaced it with a chemical free routine that I’m completely thrilled with. Currently I’m working on replacing my old cosmetics (also with great success so far!), and next is the hair, so I’d love to know just what it was you did. Honestly, I’m just looking for an excuse to not wash my hair for 4 weeks :)

    [Reply]

  • Bridget

    Thank you for this post Sarah! I was wondering when you would be writing about cosmetics.

    I stopped using anti-perspirant deodorant about six months ago. In my experience, the natural ones (with ingredients like bicarb soda and lemon) aren’t as effective as the nasty stuff – but who wants aluminium clogging their pores??

    I use the Miessence body moisturiser which I love (my mum got me onto it) and I’m investigating organic make-up. I have quite good, mostly blemish-free skin but have gotten to the point where I feel naked without foundation – bad!!

    Recently, a small blemish has popped up on my face and will.not.leave. Looks a bit like eczema (sorry for overshare). I thought it might be a dairy allergy as I went a bit OTT on dairy after giving up sugar. I’ve significantly decreased my intake of dairy and now I’m looking at skincare. Don’t suppose you have any experience with skin allergies and their cause and most importantly, getting rid of them?

    Thanks for all your brilliant posts! Confession: I am drying out my activated nuts in the oven as I type….

    [Reply]

    Nichola Reply:

    Hi Bridget,

    For 35 years I had eczema. Sometimes I looked like a burns victim it was so bad – no exaggeration and no disrespect intended to anyone who has had/currently has severe burns. It was extraordinary.

    In researching how to heal one of my young son’s chronic ill health a few years ago, I realised that food was my poison and my medicine. By eliminating wheat, cow’s milk products and refined sugars from my diet and improving my gut health I completely cleared up my eczema. The trick is to find out what feeds your blemishes (aka detoxing through your skin), and/or whether you are missing essential minerals/vitamins that allow your skin to heal. Strong gut health is essential. A good Naturopath would be able to help you get to the bottom of it.

    Good luck!
    Nichola xo

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Yay to strong gut health…I’m with you on that.

    [Reply]

    Bridget Reply:

    Thanks a lot Nichola,

    Might have to find a good naturopath. As to this rash thing, I don’t even know if it is eczema. It is this bizarre mixture of red, dry, flakey skin (it isn’t sore or itchy though) but there are often little red bumps that resemble pimples in the same area. Might sound more dramatic than it is, it is after all the size of a 10 cent piece…But regardless of size, something is causing it, right?

    My mum used to get something similar when she was young and dismissed it as a hormonal thing, but never investigated it. I’d say it’s coming from something I’m eating, or maybe not eating?

    My only concern with completely cutting out wheat and dairy is that I will become intolerant. This happened to a friend of mine who went overseas for a year and didn’t consume any dairy and on her return to Australia she found out quite quickly that she was intolerant.

    Went to your website and now have 7 tabs open – lots of interesting things to read. Next thing to investigate will be ‘gut health’!

    Thanks again!
    Bridget

    [Reply]

    Jodie Reply:

    Hi Bridget, I’ve had a similar rash on my face and it was diagnosed as Rosacea. I tried lots of different ways of getting rid of it but had to resort to using antibiotics in the end. I’d recommend you check it out with your Doctor.

    All the best,

    Jodie

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    I had persistent eczema on my shoulder with my Hashi’s. It just stayed there, then replicated itself on the exact same spot on the other shoulder, and wouldnt leave! Frustrating! Eventually a completely clean gluten-free diet and stabilizing medication were what caused it to go. Ive had eczema since I was a kid.

    If you are intolerant to something, you already are. Just because you cant see the damage you do until you stop & let your gut heal, doesnt necessarily mean you weren’t always doing the damage… does that make sense? I was severely celiac (as evidenced by my gastroscopy footage!) for several years before any symptoms were present. It was only once I healed my gut that it really started to protest when I ate crap.

    Good luck, hope you figure out the mystery!! ATM my hair is falling out… Hashi’s is so kind to the vain females, I feel your pain truly.

    [Reply]

  • Kirsten

    I quit colouring my hair a couple of years ago. This was quite a confronting decision to make, as I was 31 at the time and I’m almost completely grey — to wear my hair naturally makes a strong outward statement about a lack of willingness to conform to certain societal ideas about youth and attractiveness in women.

    My decision was less to do with the toxic effects of continually plastering my head with hair dye, and more to do with no longer being prepared to invest the time and money it was taking to fight my own appearance.

    At the moment, I use shampoo and conditioner on my hair only, witch hazel toner, and a moisturiser from Perfect Potion. I also use a bismuth-free mineral foundation.

    [Reply]

    AJ Reply:

    Good on you Kirsten! It is brave for a woman to let the grey hairs come through. I don’t know if I’ll be willing to do it but I certainly applaud you!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.aliveandwell.co Nichola

    Sometimes I wonder how the hair and make-up people get through the day constantly surrounded by all those products. Cough, cough, hack, hack!

    [Reply]

  • Chelsea

    Hi Sarah,

    This has been a concern of mine for a while. I had a skin cancer removed from my face and since then have only wanted to use only the best, most natural products to help the scar heal and my skin to stay healthy.

    This video is great at explaining why our beauty products are so toxic, ie. the 1950’s “better living through chemistry” mindset means we still have toxic chemicals in our beauty products. It helped me get my head around how important this issue is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfq000AF1i8&feature=player_embedded

    A brand I have recently discovered is Pure and Green Organics, certified by the ACO. Grace Culhaci, who created the brand, is super vigilant about what she puts in her products, how she packages them (Planet Ark have endorsed their methods) and where she sources her materials from (all ethical and mostly locally sourced). They’re vegan and animal friendly and, most importantly, the products are fantastic. I love, love, love their moisturisers and soaps!

    Can’t recommend Pure & Green Organics enough for people who want to have effective products that do absolutely no harm to your health.

    Their blog is a treasure-trove of great information. http://www.pureandgreen.com.au/blog/

    [Reply]

  • Olivia

    I ordered some Miessence products after seeing that they were rated highly on the Skin Deep website.
    Once they arrived I immediately noticed that the bottles listed ingredients that were not listed on the website. I emailed them to ask why they didn’t list them on the website and got a reply simply telling me that they were allergens… How helpful!
    Worse though is the fact that these “allergens” aren’t taken into account on the Skin Deep website either, so the ratings for Miessence products may not be completely accurate.

    [Reply]

    Narelle Chenery Reply:

    Hi Olivia

    I’m the formulator for Miessence, please allow me to pick up where our customer service left off…. I’m sorry that you didn’t get an appropriate answer.

    The fragrance ‘allergens’ listed on our ingredients list are not actually added ingredients. They are components of the essential oils in our products that MAY cause allergic reactions in highly susceptible people. For example, geraniol is a component in geranium and rose essential oil. Geraniol can also be synthesised in the lab (which is what some companies use instead of real essential oils because they’re cheaper). It is the synthetic ingredient that causes the majority of allergic reactions. Pure essential oils are far less likely to cause allergic reactions. Unfortunately the EU requires the listing of any of the 26 fragrance allergens, regardless of source. So if we use rose or geranium essential oil in our product, we have to list geraniol on our label. We’re not happy with it… and we believe the requirement will change down the track, but in the mean time, if we want to sell our product in the EU, we must comply with this requirement.

    I hope that clarifies things a little more.

    Regards
    Narelle

    [Reply]

  • Charlie

    Thank you Sarah!

    I have been suffering perioral dermatitis and have been cleansing (no sugar processed foods dairy or grains) thinking it has to be linked to something i am eating, drinking or wearing and whilst it has reduced it no where near healed!

    I have tried not wearing make up because I had the same thoughts as you what am I feeding my skin, however it’s demoralizing having this on your face and the natural reaction is to want to cover it. So thank you I am sadly (I feel like I have thrown money down the drain purchasing designer face products) going to discontinue using my products and use the natural alternative.

    I look forward to your next post!

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Don’t get me wrong, I am all for natural products but occasionally conventional medicine can help too. I had terrible perioral dermatitis caused by a reaction to a steroid cream my boyfriend was using and I tried really hard to clear it up naturally but the only thing that worked was a course of antibiotics – it completely cleared up within 3 weeks and hasn’t reappeared since. Just food for thought :)

    [Reply]

    meg Reply:

    I had perioral derm too once – really badly it was so embarassing and lasted for months before I finally went to the doctor and antibiotics fixed it within 10 days and I’ve never had it back. Don’t understand the science behind it, but i believe that in this case you have to use antibiotics to get rid of it

    [Reply]

  • Paul

    Great research Sarah, as a guy I really have nothing else to add! Boy, so glad to be a bloke. My ‘cosmetics’ cupboard & daily ‘beauty routine’ consists of:

    1 x bar of soap. 1 x shampoo/conditioner combo. 1 x non-scented deodorant. 1 x aftershave.

    However years ago I stopped buying any deodorants which contained aluminium. Also won’t use any sunscreens (or anything at all) which contains nano-particles.

    One of the nightmares I often get (after eating chilli) is the world being taken over by nano-bots. You can’t see them!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    hmmmm, question your aftershave!

    [Reply]

    Paul Reply:

    The One by D&G, am I at risk!? ;)

    [Reply]

  • http://www.beautifulyoubyjulie.com Julie

    Hi Sarah – The post you wrote some time ago about the toxicity in beauty and cosmetic products greatly inspired me to use up the products I currently had and then switch to chemical free and organic options.

    I’m so glad I did as I feel the benefits for it but also have found many beautiful brands that I don’t think I would have otherwise. Some ones to share with you that I really like:

    Adorn Mineral Cosmetics: http://www.adornmineralcosmetics.com.au
    Lily Loves Pearl: http://www.lilylovespearl.com
    Grown: http://www.grown.com
    Jacqueline Evans Naturopathic Skin Care: http://www.jacquelineevans.com.au/index.html

    Enjoy!
    P.S. I no longer wear liquid foundation either – only pure mineral powder when I want to.

    [Reply]

  • merran

    For natural products, especially shampoo and conditioner and aluminium free deodorant, try MOO GOO. I have always suffered from psoriaris on my scalp and this is the only shampoo I can use..cleared it up in no time and is fantastic. My hairdresser always comments on the health of my hair, even though it has been dyed for years and blowdried frequently). the deodorant is very effective. Great Australian company. Many products available in health food shops but their online service is fantastic

    [Reply]

    Robyn Sherrie Reply:

    Thanks everyone for all the interesting comments. I, too, have spent a fair bit of time scrutinising the (very) fine print on the back of product packaging and emailing companies to request full ingredient lists. Some of them are very obliging, but others appear not so willing to divulge their secrets. Like Merran, I have tried a few of the MooGoo products including the deoderant (which has been quite effective and I’m a real “sweater” Summer and Winter, and the Skim Milk and Full Cream Moisturisers (beautiful). I’ve also tried the “Edible” Cow Lick Lip Balm from MooGoo and I love it. My current favourite body moisturiser is A’kin’s Unscented Replenishing Body Moist. It’s very thick and nourishing for the colder months but maybe not ideal for Summer. Onto face cleansers – I’m just finishing my Trilogy Cream Cleanser (which I adore) but will not re-purchase as it contains Parfum (fragrance). I’m also trialling Botani Olive Smoothing Cleanser & Eye Make-up Remover which I don’t mind and works effectively. Onto sunblock – this must be the most difficult area to navigate if going “chemical free”, but a friend put me onto the Devita brand and I cannot recommend their Solar Protective Moisturiser SPF30 (for face) highly enough. It is very expensive ($65 for 75ml) but I love it. It’s thick enough to feel like a luxurious moisturiser, but not at all greasy. Their Solar Body Block SPF30 is also wonderful – about the same price but a bigger tube at 210ml. I’ve tried many sunblocks over the years (very fair and have already had one SCC surgically removed) and this is my holy grail. (Devita is not available in stores in Australia and has to be bought on-line.) Still on sunblocks, I tried the Wotnot SPF30 but found it extremely greasy and couldn’t use it. On the topic of shampoo/conditioner – I’m currently using Karpati Natural Hair Care products including the Hair Repair and they are sulphate/paraben and silicone free and leave my hair feeling wonderful. I bought these from a health food shop. Re make-up – I haven’t really gone down this track in a big way yet, but am using Ere Perez mascara and it works perfectly (also from health food shop). Like Sarah, I’m slowly replacing products as they run out and enjoying educating myself and reducing the chemical load I’m placing on my body. PS Sarah I always enjoy the newsletter and your continuing journey to better health.

    [Reply]

  • http://cypresssunjewelry.com amy

    yes. i simplified once i became aware 15 years or so ago. the funny thing is, i’ve gone back to conventional products a few times and always regretted it. my face breaks out. the goo doesn’t work as well, etc..

    since i’ve had a child, i’ve become more frustrated with the lack of regulations. parents trust that products are safe simply because they are available…ugh. i can’t buy anything at the grocery store that i consider safe for my child. that’s pathetic.

    [Reply]

  • Erin

    Loving reading all this info. I am so excited about this blog being a great place for gaining info and educating each other. Love reading it!
    Just wondering… has anyone discovered a good anti-dandruff shampoo which is natural?
    I have tried several with none having as good results as the supermarket brand – which is not great for the hair but does get rid of the dandruff.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated. :)

    [Reply]

    rose Reply:

    Hi Erin, L’Occitane en Provence does a great anti-dandruff shampoo which has no parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate instead of sodium laureth sulfate.

    (‘Lauryl’ is derived from coconut oil rather than chemically based ‘laureth’, and is not harmful.)

    [Reply]

    Erin Reply:

    I havent tried that one! I will see if I can find that one. Thankyou for taking the time to reply. :)

    [Reply]

    Jane Reply:

    don’t know if you’re aware of StrawberryNet.com – they have free shipping of ridgy didge products and their prices are great:
    http://au.strawberrynet.com/haircare/l-occitane/

  • Kirsten

    Apologies for the double comment, and warning for TMI content!

    Sarah, where do you stand on the use of alternative ladies’ ‘monthly’ products? I’ve used washable cloth pads before which I really like, but they can be logistically difficult in a building with share laundry. I’m looking into getting a ‘mooncup’ as well.

    Just thought this was an interesting adjunct in terms of the chemical products we put on our skin conversation – given the high use of pesticides in the cultivation of cotton, and bleach in processing, which all go into tampons which we… well, we all know where we put them!

    Also an interesting exercise in waste reduction. Would be keen to hear thoughts!

    [Reply]

    Genevieve Reply:

    Hi Kirsten
    I don’t have any experience with the mooncup (have read good things though) but I thought it was worth mentioning a conversation I had with a family friend about a month ago. He worked as a molecular biologist for an independent Australian lab in the early 1990′s and worked on a study of different tampon companies. They discovered that some American companies- not all, and I’m not sure which ones though I’m sure the info is probably available somewhere- were sporadically putting asbestos in tampons. It wasn’t in every tampon, was there were substantial traces in some. This would cause irritation, therefore more bleeding, and women would have to buy more tampons.

    I can’t find any reliable information online, the theory has actually been tagged as an email hoax, but since I heard it from someone on the frontline I believe it is true.
    It’s just another reminder that it’s up to us to ask questions about what we put in our body.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    Absolute nonsense!

    http://www.menstruation.com.au/periodpages/tamponsasbestoshoax.html

    There is plenty of information out there stating that this is a hoax. You obviously werent looking very hard if you didnt find any! I would question your “friend” if it is indeed a real person before spreading fictitious fear campaigns.

    [Reply]

    Genevieve Reply:

    I have better things to do than invent fictitious sources to spread fear campaigns on internet forums. (Ingesting twelve litres of tomato sauce, for instance. Or counting the crumbs in my boyfriend’s beard.) Though I do understand your scepticism. To be concise, the email quoted on your link was a hoax. The information in it was developed from truth. It was a mish-mash of poorly stitched together info & pseudo-references and I wouldn’t credit a chain email as a reliable source.
    However I do credit a molecular biologist who personally worked on the studies as a reliable source. I’m confident in this because I actually know him, though of course I expect anyone reading this would question it because it is just a comment on a largely anonymous internet forum. But I will engage in sharing information from a source that I trust in the hopes that someone else will read it and take it upon themselves to really research it.

    Google doesn’t count as real research.

    Mia Reply:

    I would be interested to see a peer-reviewed study of what you claim. Or the name of the molecular biologist who made these discoveries as I know several biologists around the country who can check up on it for me. I will happily eat my skepticism if you can provide this.

    Emm Reply:

    I’m American and I’ve heard this hoax before as well.
    Asbestos would be a very strange additive to tampons. They don’t need to be flame resistant, ha ha. I’m just trying to illustrate that this is as silly as what I just typed. We have several independent laboratories here (consumer groups) that would have tested for something like this.
    I think it was some weird religious groups plant to get women to stop using tampons or something. Who else would be concerned with womens monthly products besides women or weird men? Lol

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    “Asbestos is not an ingredient in any U.S. brand of tampon, nor is it associated with the fibers used in making tampons. Moreover, tampon manufacturing sites are subject to inspection by FDA to assure that good manufacturing practices are being followed. Therefore, these inspections would likely identify any procedures that would expose tampons products to asbestos. If any tampon product was contaminated with asbestos, it would be as a result of tampering, which is a crime. Thus far, FDA has received no reports of tampering. Anyone having knowledge of tampon tampering is urged to notify FDA or a law enforcement officer.” – from that link I posted.

    I understand the FDA is a US organization but it is my understanding that we have relevant health authorities that do the same job in Australia. Frankly, any molecular biologist who proved asbestos use in any studies and did not report them/ launch a legal claim against tampon manufacturers should be arrested and jailed immediately! Hence my skepticism.

    Genevieve Reply:

    Hahah Emm- I admit to occasionally breathing fire when I’m at that time of the month but agree it’s not necessary for tampons to be flame resistant.

    Asbestos is actually a blanket term, there are about six derivations. The one with the worst reputation is white asbestos- the lethal one in building products. It was blue asbestos found in the tampons. And as formerly stated, not in every tampon nor in every brand. Only in some brands, and sporadically so. To my knowledge it was not found to be in Australian tampons.

    I do not trust the FDA as a reliable source. They are one of the most irresponsible and corrupt associations in existence. Even google will freely tell you that.

    Anyway Mia- since I don’t have his permission, I’m not going to publish his name. But again, I do not expect you to take my- an anonymous stranger on the internet- word as truth. Scepticism is a good thing and I absolutely encourage you to ask your biologist friends. It may be worth asking about the politics of getting research published as well. If they are in similar lab work they will no doubt have some interesting stories to tell.
    As previously stated I don’t expect you to take my word for it, but I strongly encourage you to research the claim further. I wouldn’t bother inventing a story just to waste people’s time.

    Rebecca Reply:

    I have a Mooncup, and I love it! It’s pretty easy to use once you’ve learnt how, it doesn’t need emptying as often as tampons need changing, and of course the ongoing costs are nil. I never had any leaks (which I got sometimes overnight with tampons).

    Really thoroughly recommend that every woman tries them!

    [Reply]

    Kristina Reply:

    Just a response to leaks overnight with tampons.Its not a good practice and I am surprised how many girls don’t know this. tampons should be removed after max of 4 hours due to risks infection which could lead to frtility problems.

    [Reply]

    Kristina Reply:

    oops! fertility.

  • Jas

    Sarah, knowing what you know, now next time you’re on tv or a glam event will you still use all these products or go the natural look?

    [Reply]

  • Robyn Sherrie

    Just one other brand I forgot to mention….Dr Bronner’s pure castile soaps and organic lipbalms are also wonderful.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    I love Dr Bronners!

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    I have heard great things and I am going to try them as soon as my body wash has finished, thought I might add macadamia oil to make it moisturizing… Any thoughts??

    [Reply]

  • Robyn Sherrie

    Re anti-dandruff shampoos/conditioners…I used to use Neutrogena’s T-Gel Shampoo and Conditioner occasionally for a dry scalp until I read “No More Dirty Looks” and started educating myself. These anti-dandruff products are filled with many nasties and I threw them all straight in the bin (including Selsun etc. that I found in the cupboard). The more natural products are gentler on hair and scalp and my odd occasions of dry scalp have all but vanished!

    [Reply]

  • Jillian

    Great that you are raising awareness about such an important issue. Another thing that concerns me, especially for young girls, is the heavy use of spray tans, especially when you consider the area of skin on which this cocktail of chemicals is being applied.

    [Reply]

  • julia

    I’ve been trying to detox my beauty products for a little while now. I’m doing the same as you- as I use up the chemical laden products I replace them. It’s hard though as the organic/natural products are usually more expensive and I’m on a budget. Two things I’m finding difficult to replace- deodorant and liquid foundation. While I know deodorant is probably the most important thing to swap out for the non-aluminium variety I find that nothing (not even the big brand aluminium kind) works for me. Maybe I am particularly stinky? (TMI?) As for the foundation I haven’t tried any because most products I find are only available online and I want to see the colours before buying.

    I’m using Sukin (organic) and Empassion (not organic but no harsh chemicals) at the moment (and when I lived in the northern hemisphere last year I used jojoba oil and sweet almond oil as moisturiser. SO good, works even when you are in heating 24/7). The Sukin shampoo is disconcertingly lacking in lather (but I believe that is the lack of SLS). I need to find something for psoriaris though, someone suggested Moo Goo which I might check out.

    I find it disgusting that chemicals in makeup are not regulated- there’s this false belief that a lot of people have- if it’s being sold it must be ok. But sadly, this is not true.

    Looking forward to your “shopping list”

    [Reply]

    Jane Reply:

    Hi Julia

    I can recommend an utterly wonderful and cheap natural deodorant – and you can make it yourself!!! I’ve been making my own, which is absolutely safe and is actually MORE effective than the commercial ones, both natural and chemical. I found this recipe on a blog in the US (passionatehomemaking.com), and haven’t looked back. I’ve adjusted the recipe to suit, and I would never EVER go back to commercial deodorant, as this is both effective AND thrifty – gotta love that!

    1 part bicarb soda
    3 parts arrowroot powder (I use McKenzies from the supermarket, but you can use any arrowroot)
    2 parts (approx) coconut oil (MUST be in solid state) – you need just enough to bind the dry stuff into a paste.
    **optional** a few drops of essential oil – i sometimes use peppermint and tea tree oil together as they have a nice fresh fragrance. But you can do without if you prefer.

    Put everything into a bowl and work it with a fork, until it becomes a smooth paste. Then place in a tightly sealed container – wide and shallow is best.

    It’s important to have the oil in solid state, as if it’s liquid, the mixture won’t be the right texture, though it will still work as a deodorant. In hot weather you can just refrigerate the oil so it goes solid.

    If you’ve used coconut oil before, you will know it changes texture with the weather. Therefore when it’s hot, sometimes the oil separates from the dry ingredients and floats to the top. If this happens you will need to give it a mix again to distribute the ingredients evenly. For this reason, it’s not a great idea to use a cleaned out wind up stick container – I know as I tried it and it wasn’t great. The easiest way to store the deodorant is in a shallow sealed container, and make it in small amounts (eg 1 teaspoon bicarb to 2 teaspoons arrowroot etc). If you can see it’s separated, you can give it a quick mix in the container with a spoon. And if it is cold in the morning, and mixture is hard, I usually pop it in my bed under the quilt where it’s still warm, and it doesn’t take long to soften up.

    I’d suggest you start off with making a small quantity to see how it suits. I use a small amount of coconut oil all over tip to toe after my shower INCLUDING my armpits, let it soak in and then apply the deodorant. I find using the oil before the deodorant eliminates the irritation which can sometimes occur with bicarb – though at a 1:3 ratio it’s OK for most people.

    If you do use this I’d love to know how you go.

    BTW, coconut oil is the BEST moisturiser – I use it on the face as well as the body. the oil is good for ALL skin types – it acts to balance out whatever condition you hav. So if you are prone to acne, it will balance it out and get rid of the zits. If you have dry skin, it will soften the skin far better than any commercial moisturiser will. Your skin does go through a transition period ( ie it may get a bit drier, or zits worse for a short while), but then you will have the best skin of your life. I’m nearly 50 and most tell me I pass for early 30s which is quite a compliment.

    I didn’t intend for this to turn into such a book, but had to tell you about the simple products I use which are just wonderful.

    Cheers
    Jane

    [Reply]

  • http://sweeter-living.blogspot.com/ Kris

    I ditched my chemical-ridden hair care, skin care and make-up products a few months back and it was nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be.
    I love make-up. I would spend heaps of cash on all the good stuff out there.
    The biggest thing I have learnt is just how easy it is and that it really doesn’t make much difference (dollar-wise or quality-wise) when it comes to dirty and clean cosmetics.
    I have found some great clean products that I am still using (have written about many on my blog), and I have even started making some of my own stuff.
    It’s scary to think how much toxic crap is in what we use.
    Looking forward to hearing how it all goes for you!

    [Reply]

  • Jilly

    OH DEAR I was just about to go out and buy foundation for the first time in my life. My skin is awful thanks to my recently diagnosed Hashimoto disease and I wanted to cover up a bit but now!!!!!! What do I do, any hints.

    Cheers Jillymck

    [Reply]

    Tiff Reply:

    I would suggest using a mineral makeup powder. I use Nude, it contains natural zinc which helps heal up nasties. Good for acne.

    [Reply]

    Ele Reply:

    The Miessence tinted foundation is really nice. Devita is a great product (Sarah, great range at Go Vita in Byron). Dr Bronner moisturizer, mixed with some organic Argan oil great for dry skin.

    [Reply]

    Paula Reply:

    Mineral Makeup is a bit tricky. Some people do great with it, others not so much. Just make sure you get a brand with no bismuth oxychloride – all the popular brands have it in there. Consult EWG’s Skin Deep data base to find good bismuth free brands. I just started using Mineral Fusion – so far so good!

    [Reply]

  • julia

    I found the website for Zuii Organic a while back which has certified organic foundation/makeup but there seems to be no physical stockists. You can buy online but that makes it difficult to choose colours.

    [Reply]

  • patsy

    thanks everyone for your info. for women who shave under their arms it is really important to use a safe deodarant as under the arms is where all the lymph nodes are.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    Agreed Patsy! I find it really weird that aluminium is linked to cancer, but they haven’t found a conclusive link between aluminium-containing deodorants and breast cancer. You are putting the toxic stuff right where the breast lymph nodes are. It puzzles me. I dont trust it.

    [Reply]

  • Angela

    I cut out deodorants containing aluminum a long time ago and tried nearly every herbal deodorant on the market with none working for me, and I don’t want a heavily scented one e.g. teatree…But have been using a Sebamed one that works well for me and fingers crossed – hope its safe.

    [Reply]

    Bailey Reply:

    Have you tried Crystal brand? I love their body deodorant roll-on.

    [Reply]

    another outspoken female Reply:

    Not sure how healthy the crystal based antiperspirants are. Although the source is “natural” it’s still contains alum. I know the companies are quick to point out that this is different to the aluminum based compounds in conventional brands, but if the crystal ones stop you from sweating then it’s a bit of a worry.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    All I know is that they do not stop you from sweating, but they change the pH of your skin slightly so the bacteria that cause odor cannot survive there. It’s not sweat that makes you smell but the bacteria that live on it. I cant say if this is better/ worse for you than regular deodorant, although I think better..?

    Jojo Reply:

    I just use lavender oil under my arms. You don’t want to stop the sweat, you just don’t want it to smell like sweat – lavender or rosemary or a tiny bit of rose geranium usually does the trick – just be careful coz some essential oils are no good neat on the skin.

    [Reply]

  • Jane

    This is such important stuff!

    I woke up to myself about cosmetics after seeing Nicole Bijlsma talk a number of years ago. This Environmental Medicine stuff is so essential to our health. I have learnt along the way that these ingredients, including phthalates have been identified in direct breast cancer samples, and that many of the ingredient in out beauty products have been linked directly the depression and anxiety, amongst zillions of other things.

    If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth you shouldn’t be rubbing it into your skin. The skin directly “ingests” what you put on it, but isn’t lucky enough to route the toxins via the digestive system where it is dealt with on some level – it goes straight into the bloodstream and loads the liver, kidneys and other organs (including your brain) directly with foreign bodies.

    We do have a choice about what we purchase and consume. Vote with your dollar.

    Keep up the great work Sarah. This is an honest to goodness service to the community – bringing this information to peoples’ awareness. Thanks you.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.vonhallo.blogspot.com Morgan

    i use ava anderson nontoxic products!
    they’re the best.

    if anyone is interested, i get it through my friend who is a consultant:
    http://www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/default.aspx
    or if that doesn’t work you can look up her page by looking up a consultant and putting “Hood” in the last name and “FL” in the state

    [Reply]

  • KJ

    Coconut oil is the BEST hair and body moisturiser!

    [Reply]

    Bailey Reply:

    I’ll have to try that out- thanks for the tip! :)

    [Reply]

  • http://twitter.com/skorpionuk Rebecca

    I got very worried about shampoo – I bleach my hair, and it was becoming very brittle. I stopped using silicone conditioner, as well as the SLS needed to strip the silicone back out, as per advice found on various “no ‘poo” and long-hair websites. I tried baking soda and a vinegar rinse, but it didn’t work for me, so I changed to mild non-SLS shampoo and cone-free conditioner, and restored my hair with jojoba and coconut oils. I also quit washing it so often: I’m now down to maybe once a week. I plait it for sleeping, too, to avoid tangles, and use a decent brush with natural bristles. My hair looks pretty nice and has shine despite the bleach, and I can curl it (with pin-curls, not heat) without being afraid it’ll break off.

    If you think about it, the fad for washing hair daily is a recent trend brought about by marketing departments for cosmetics companies. It used to be common to have a weekly wash-and-set, and there’s nothing unhygienic about hair that’s left to its own devices a bit more.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.oneplanetonehealth.com andrea

    Great post!! I unclogged a few years ago- not that I ever used much makeup- never got the hang of it- but here’s my list of products if you’re interested: dr bronners for soap, salt crystal + Weleda rose spray for deodorant, and Pure lavender face cleaner. I do an ayurvedic self-massage every day with organic sesame oil (almond or argan on my face afterwards) so no other moisturizer needed :) but I am still using aveda shampoo and conditioner- my hair’s long and wavy and dry at the ends, oily at the top- can’t wait for your pick, I’d love to change to a less chemical version but so far every natural one totally hasn’t worked. I’m still considering dreads/braids/ultrashort haircut at this point!

    [Reply]

  • http://baileypowell.wordpress.com/ Bailey

    I really appreciate this post- information is key and the more people talk about the garbage in our products the more we can “vote” with our money at the store and the sooner regulations will change. (Hopefully.)

    I am very particular about what I eat aiming for 100% organic and I have shamefully decided to look the other way about topical things I consume. Aside from deoderant and the occasional natural lotion the majority of my beauty products have remained conventional. I know that MAC concealer I’m caking on my blemishes isn’t helping anything, but I guess I’m so scared of sacrificing my physical appearance that I’ve just kept consuming what I’ve been consuming.

    I’m looking forward to your “shopping” post. Maybe it’ll give me the courage to make a change…

    xo

    [Reply]

  • Lauren

    Thanks for your great article – this is something that needs to be discussed more widely as most people are just not aware that the beauty/body products we use daily can be harmful. I think we assume that if it’s on a supermarket shelf, it must have been tested and be safe for use.

    I also had a terribly dry, flaky and sometimes itchy scalp for the past few years. I have tried many anti-dandruff shampoos including Selsun and Ionil-T, with no improvement at all. I recently discovered MooGoo Milk Shampoo, which I believe is a product containing gentle natural cleaners and is chemical free. After three washes, my dry scalp was completely gone and my hair is incredibly soft.

    I am also frustrated that deodorants with aluminium are sold widely (and used by such a high percentage of the population) and advertised as being safe. I have also noticed recently that most brands no longer display the percentage of aluminium in each bottle, which I think is unacceptable. I have tried a few aluminium-free deodorants, with not much luck and would be interested in your list of safe products. Many of these ‘safe’ deodorants contain substances other than aluminium, but I also wonder how safe these ingredients are and if they have been properly tested.

    Thanks for your article and your posts, look forward to reading more.

    [Reply]

    Jane Reply:

    Lauren,
    I battled for a long time to finding an organic deodorant that “works”. I found the Miessence one to be the best – at the risk of sharing TMI – I can get quite sweaty doing just day to day activities, but once I started using the Miessence I realised I never thought about feeling uncomfortable, or got any sweat marks (sorry TMI again) on clothing AT ALL. Highest recommendations!
    Cheers
    Jane

    [Reply]

  • faye anderson

    I am extremely interested in your shopping list. Many thanks for an illuminating article.

    [Reply]

  • sarah

    Thanks for this Sarah, I have been thinking a lot about this topic and your post has tipped me to the point of replacing my products.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.isa.com isa

    what synchronicity, i’ve been thinking along these lines myself the past week after i realised my favourite foundation most likely has nanoparticles (l’oreal truematch liquid – oh no!).

    i’ve been a rose hip and jojoba oil on my face devotee for a few years now. now that i’ve stopped using harsh soaps on my face and treat it with oils rather than strip it, i rarely get spots.

    i wash with avado facewash, it’s made from essential oils and sugar and it’s lovely. i get it from coles … but only some branches stock them.

    when i don’t want to use oil on my face in the morning, i use whatever organic, low-chemial body moisturiser i have at the time (various brands) instead.

    i used to use mineral makeup ordered from the internet as foundation, before the big companies got wind of the fad … time to start again?

    instead of perfume i’ve been experimenting with rose and jasmine oils. 100% is expensive so i’ve been going with the 3% blends but they aren’t quite strong enough for my liking.

    any washing/styling recommendations for very fine, dead-straight hair that gets greasy quickly and seems to require washing every day?

    and much as i love the oil on my face/skin, i wonder what will happen when summer comes round and how do you stop your skin from frying in the australian sun?! i used to use a basic dove spf moisturiser in the summer but i’d prefer not to this time round …

    [Reply]

    Emm Reply:

    Have you ever tried Dr. Bronner’s castille soaps? The tea tree oil formula might help decrease the oiliness and help you go to washing every other day?
    http://www.drbronner.com
    I get a kick out of the labels. There are all sorts of mottos printed on them.

    I have oily hair and I’ve been eyeing Dr. Woods (seems like a copy of Dr. Bronner’s but I haven’t been able to figure that out yet,) Black Soap because I also have oily skin and people claim it helps clear it up.
    This store sells it, not sure if it ships internationally but it costs less than on Amazon.
    http://www.swansonvitamins.com/DRW005/ItemDetail?SourceCode=INTL405&CAWELAID=624507159
    Hope this helps.

    [Reply]

    Jojo Reply:

    Dr Bronners all the way. This is the only soap/shampoo I use. try leaving it on for a couple of minutes, it leaves your hair soft if you do that. I’ve gone from washing every second day to twice a week, and I’m only conditioning half the time. Slowly slowly

    [Reply]

  • http://www.thewellnesswarrior.blogspot.com Jess Ainscough

    I started really becoming aware of what I was putting on my skin when I was diagnosed with cancer. Now my rule is, if I wouldn’t put it in my mouth, I don’t put it on my skin. My fave organic and all-natural brands are Inika for make-up and Mukti for skin care goodies.

    Jess x

    [Reply]

  • Heda

    Brilliant concept and a lot of these alternative products sound absolutely gorgeous such as rosehip oil, but for someone on a limited income many of these products are beyond the budget. Any suggestions for low cost alternatives would be greatly appreciated.

    [Reply]

    julia Reply:

    A good alternative to rose hip oil is sweet almond oil. I bought food grade oil from Flannery’s for $7.50 and it works really well. My skin feels softer than after using moisturizer. Sukin and Natralia are all around the $9 mark. Although I do wish you could pay $2-5 for natural/organic stuff!

    [Reply]

  • Melody

    I’ve learnt a bit about paraben free makeup options on this site – http://thenotice.net
    This blog often features “Silicone Free” product suggestions (http://thenotice.net/2011/04/silicone-free-foundations/)

    [Reply]

  • Mia

    One little foundation anecdote that just sprung to mind… back when I was a beautician and practising lympathic drainage facials (like little gentle suction cups on the face, meant to increase blood flow to the skin) I actually sucked foundation out of a girl’s pores. She hadn’t worn make-up in two days, and the last time she had, she removed it at the end of the day with cleanser as per normal.

    Just goes to show how much hangs around… hope I didn’t gross anybody out either!

    [Reply]

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  • http://sasasunakku.com Sasa

    For all the people asking about deodorants – I tried everything as I was determined not to use commercial deodorants (lemon – hurt after shaving, baking powder, bit of a pain) and found that coconut oil, baking powder and corn flour make an amazing paste that really keeps me unstinky even when it’s hot. I got the recipe here:http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2008/03/update-homemade-deoderant.html

    [Reply]

  • http://www.mrs-delicious.com Leah

    Another way to minimise toxins coming in through your skin is to stop seeing cosmetics as essential daily routines. Learn to love the beauty of your bare skin. No makeup = no cleansers, no cleanser = less dry skin, normal skin = no need for moisturiser. Once you stop messing with your skin and hair, it learns to self regulate. No makeup or hair products means less time getting ready, which means more sleep and a more beautiful you.

    Your skin is gorgeous bare, even the pink or spotty or wrinkly parts. Your hair is gorgeous in it’s natural colour. I always thought my hair was mousy and boring, but I’ve grown it out to discover that it highlights beautifully with the sun. I get compliments and requests for my hair colourist often. The entire beauty industry (yes even the non-toxic all natural brands) is set up to dissuade you of your own naturally bestowed beauty.

    There are exceptions to this (sunscreen and shampoo), but once I realised I could be beautiful without makeup and serums and scrubs and whatnot, I was a much freer and healthier person. I also had way more money to spend on shoes.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    Amen Leah!!! xx

    [Reply]

    RC Reply:

    Second that “amen!” – and Leah, your last line totally killed me!

    [Reply]

  • Athena

    First, I apologize for my bad writing in english. I’m Danish so this isn’t exactly my best language to write in.

    Actually I already started removing all chemicals from my daily beauty products when I was around 16 (I’m 21 now) when there was a lot of focus in Denmark on the issue with babies being born already with chemicals in their blood. I also saw a documentary about girls going into puberty way to early: a 7-year-old girl who got her period and mood swings to fit, along with a 1-year-old with hormone-levels as high as if the was in her early puberty -scary shit!
    It’s not as if I was planning children at the age of 16, but the thought that I someday will give birth to a baby already polluted because of something I did, made me realize that change was needed.

    The result: I love it!
    My make-up purse is small. It consists of one mascara (Origins, it’s perfume and paraben free, although I still doubt the rest of the chemicals used) and a foundation (Danish brand called Nilens Jord (Earth of The Nile) One of the first make-up brands to stop using parabens)

    To look at my shampoo only seeing an ingredient-list of 4 things, and knowing exactly what those things are, because I would be able to find and buy them myself makes me secure. And my hair definitely feels cleaner!

    Everyone should do this. Because it is easy, cheaper, safer and makes you love your body (with the fantastic scent of human)

    [Reply]

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  • Miss B

    I spent a long time trying to find a natural deodorant that I didn’t find either unpleasantly textured or too scented (I don’t want it to smell of anything, regardless of how natural it might be) and was finally thrilled to discover Herban Cowboy. They are products marketed primarily to men, but their unscented, organic, non-icky deodorant is the best thing I’ve found. And it is legitimately scent-free, not reeking of lavender or rosemary or anything else like that. I love it. I don’t know about stores that carry it, but you can order it from drugstore.com, anyway (because that’s where I got mine).

    [Reply]

  • Lexi

    Just wondering if anyone has tried Organic Essence
    Their ‘about us’ claims:
    “All Organic Essence products are formulated with only 100% Certified Organic Oils and are free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, propylene glycol, petrolatum, artificial colours and animal derivatives. Organic Essence is 100% Australian made and owned and are not tested on animals. Proudly supporting the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, every sale contributes towards protecting and preserving our environment.”

    Which sounds great but I was wondering if anyone’s actually tried them/heard of them before. I stumbled upon them through Priceline and they sounded like an interesting company/product.

    [Reply]

    Narelle Chenery Reply:

    Lexi, if you can get your hands on an ingredients list (on the back panel) I could tell you whether they are the real deal or not :-)

    [Reply]

    Lexi Reply:

    Narelle, I don’t have any/don’t live near any stockists and they’re not listed on the website as far as I can tell, but this is the link http://www.organicessence.net.au/index.php?action=cms&act=discover-more-about-our-formulations-promises-prices in case anyone’s interested.

    [Reply]

    Narelle Chenery Reply:

    I checked their site already… as you noticed, they don’t list their ingredients. In my experience, that usually indicates they have something to hide. If you’re really keen, email the company and ask for their ingredients lists. If they don’t offer them to you, they’re definitely dodgy!

  • http://sweetlittlealicebluegown.blogspot.com aliceblue

    I had a preview clay wrap at the soon to open Red Hill Endota last week and I was pleased to discover that everything used in my treatment was Australian Certified Organic with no parabens, sulphates, synthetic fragrance, glycols, silicons or PEGS.
    The Endota brand products are all certified organic which has very strict Australian guidelines.
    So I might be trying a few of their other products.

    [Reply]

    aliceblue Reply:

    ooh and I put some photos up of the new spa at Red Hill here -
    http://sweetlittlealicebluegown.blogspot.com/2011/06/rapt-in-clay.html

    [Reply]

  • Paula

    Can someone please talk me out of getting a Brazilian Blowout?

    I know it’s all chemical laden and used to have formaldehyde in it. But right now it honestly a toss up of which I hate more: chemicals or my frizzy hair.

    I’m the only one of my friends who is concerned about whats in skin & hair care products and cosmetics. They’ve all gotten Blowouts with gorgeous results. They’re all telling me my hair is what the Brazilian Blowout was made for!

    Someone please tell me why I don’t want to do this!

    [Reply]

    LisaM Reply:

    Being the only one of your friends concerned makes you smarter than them. Show them that you are not a follower, but an unique individual who can make intelligent choices for yourself. You want to have the healthiest body you can, it’s got a very long time to live.
    The warnings are out there that this is a very dangerous product that causes blindness, cancer, breathing problems etc. So why would any intelligent person want to use it? For the sake of a trend or fashion. Trends and latest fashions pass, but your health is so very much more important.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    You know they use formeldehyde in preserving corpses for funerals, right? Do you really want that stuff on your scalp, then circulating in your veins?

    Honestly – give it three months, check our your friends’ dry and damaged hair, and tell me you still want it. These chemical straightening procedures come and go all the time because none of them ever really work long term, they just damage your hair. Then a new and “better” one comes along, which is basically the same crap re-packaged. I may or may not have three hair dressers in my family! :)

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