The Environmental Working Group’s skin deep database, http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/, allows you to view ingredient and rating information for thousands of skin and body care products, such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, sunscreen, and more. The EWG also has a series of consumer guides (including their water filter guide) listed on http://www.ewg.org/consumer-guides where you can read helpful information on a variety of topics relating to the selection of food, cleaning products, and more.
Sara’s basic body care tips
Sun and sunscreen
For everyday mild natural sunscreen, you can use jojoba oil or coconut oil, as long as they do not cause acne. Start sun exposure gently and gradually, and use shade, wide-brimmed hats and cotton clothing as necessary for additional protection. Use a safer sunscreen when out in the sun for longer periods of time. If you or your child burn easily, we can talk about increasing anti-oxidants in the diet.
Soap and shampoo
There are many products out there that are non-toxic and free of artificial scents. Personally, I find that castile soap, Aleppo soap and other olive oil-based soaps work just fine for my family. Castile soap is a liquid soap that can be used as a soap and shampoo as well as for numerous cleaning applications around the home. It can be purchased unscented or with the addition of any number of essential oils. Aleppo soap is a traditional bar soap made in Syria from olive oil and laurel leaf, which has a pleasant scent and mild antibacterial properties. We like to keep things simple and don’t have a huge love of having lots of different products lying around the bathroom. But if you enjoy the product concept, you can search the EWG database for options that resonate with you.
Avoid commercial deodorants, which usually contain aluminum and artificial fragrances. Avoid products containing crystal deodorants, which as this article explains, are aluminum salts that can be absorbed through the skin. Most people don’t actually need deodorant, but if you have a strong body odor, you can look for a commercial product or a recipe. Milk of magnesia can be used as a deodorant. Learn more here.
I recommend using toothpaste that is free of fluoride and SLS. If you can get a toothpaste that is free of glycerin, that’s even better. Glycerin may form a film over the teeth and actually make it harder to keep them free of buildup.
Be careful when looking at clay-based toothpaste options. Clay contains aluminum and incomplete spitting (especially the case in children) may result in absorption of aluminum.
I find that the only detergent I need for laundry washed in the washing machine are “soap nuts,” which are completely natural, easy to use, free of dyes and perfumes and very affordable. If you also wash clothing by hand, you can find a gentle liquid detergent on the EWG database.
Two common household product I consider completely useless are dryer sheets and fabric softeners, which are highly toxic. I haven’t used these products for many years, and my clothing is quite presentable.
Once you stop using products with added perfumes, you’ll really start to notice how noxious they smell.