Looking to make the switch to non-toxic living? Don’t know where to start? In this post I’ll talk about some of my current favorite non-toxic products, give you background information on common endocrine disrupters and review some of the pros to using non-toxic products. I hope you find this guide as a helpful resource, as always I am here if you have any questions around this topic!
I decided to toss the toxic products and make the switch to non-toxic living. I know it seems like non-toxic living is all the rage right now. And it is but for a good reason! We (as a society) are finally waking up to the fact that healthy living goes way beyond the food we eat. It’s also about the products we put on our bodies that get absorbed into our skin and the cleaning products we use around the house. Our skin is the largest organ. Many products (even some that advertise themselves as “natural” or “unscented”) contain harmful chemicals that we absorb into our bodies on a regular basis. Most of these products are also considered endocrine disrupters. This means they affect our hormones and can harm our reproductive system. Using these products on the skin means that they get easily absorbed and can result in immediate effects or even long term effects. Immediate effects may manifest in a skin reaction or irritation. A long time effect may eventually lead to fertility issues and hormonal imbalances in both men and women.
Some of these environmental toxicants are considered endocrine disrupting chemicals which can: increase production of certain hormones in the body, decrease the production of other hormones, mimic hormones, interfer with hormone signaling, bind to essential hormones and even accumulate in organs that produce hormones.
According to the EPA (Enviornmental Protection Agency) there are more than 85,000 synthetic chemicals in the products we consume and use on a daily basis including preservatives, flavorings, fragrances to pesticides, plasticizers & flame retardants. I know! I found this shocking too! Some enviornmental toxins to be on the lookout for are: BPA, dioxin, phthalates, Parabens, glycolethers and when it states “fragrance” on a product. When products list the word “fragrance or parfum, it essentially means a combination of different chemicals used to artificially scent a product. The main issue when it comes to this ingredient is that that term is extremely vague and non-specific. Companies are not required to disclosure what those “ingredients” are that make up the fragrance. So you could be getting any cocktail of chemicals some of which may be toxic and many harmful to our bodies. This can represent a combination of over 5,000 harmful substances. This unknown mixture of ingredients can be linked to reproductive harm, allergic reactions, irritation and an increased risk for liver and breast cancers.
Fragrance is considered a trade secret meaning cosmetic companies dont have to disclose what goes into their products and your label may not be reveling the whole truth. The Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling act of 1973 (requiring companies to label ingredients in products they create, except for fragrance) doesn’t prohibit companies from putting “unsafe” and “untested” chemicals into their products so consumers have no way of knowing what’s fully behind the label. Instead opt for 100% pure essential oils or get creative by making your own DIY recipe!
I know the idea of going through all of your beauty and household products may seem overwhelming trying to figure out which ones are considered toxic. And it can be, especially if you have a lot of products! I recommend doing it one of these two ways. You can do it all in one day (like I did) or if it seems more manageable just start with one product at a time. For some this method seems more approachable. Both work, it’s really up to you! Since I didn’t have a ton of household products to begin with it was pretty simple to make the swap, throwing away the toxic products and finding a non-toxic replacement. Some products I did order online. Now I have a more limited amount of products that use for cleaning which ends up making the whole process so much easier. I recommend doing it by room that way if you don’t end up finishing in one day you will remember where you left off.
The good news is, many of the non toxic products are multipurpose so you can use it for many different things from kitchen countertops to cleaning the shower. When it came to organizing my beauty products I did the same method. I went through all of my products, narrowed down my collection only keeping items I currently use and brands I believe in (their mission, ingredients etc). Choose whichever method works best for you! Everyone is different. If going 100% non toxic seems next to impossible, try going a majority non-toxic following the 80/20 rule. Just swapping out some of your products to non-toxic alternatives will make a HUGE impact on your health. It’s all about finding a balance that works best for you and having flexibility is important. Disclaimer: None of the brands in this post paid me to feature their products. I truly love and believe in these brands so I wanted to share them with all of you. These are some of my favorite go to’s at the moment.
Household Cleaning: 1.) Branch Basics (one of my favorite cleaning products. They have a great story. It’s a multipurpose liquid that you can use almost everywhere around the house) 2.) Everyone (one of the products I use from this brand is their unscented hand soap) 3.) Seventh Generation (I use the unscented hand soap) 4.) Better Life (I’ve been using the liquid detergent its also unscented). 5.) ECOS Dishmate Hypoallergenic Dish Soap which is free and clear. You’ll notice the trend here is everything I pretty much use is unscented- free & clear. I prefer that because I’m sensitive to smell and don’t like to mix scents. Plus, I like to avoid fragrances that are commonly added to products.
Hair: 1.) Reverie (Landon and I currently use this shampoo and conditioner and a bonus is it smells great! We love how natural it is. Plus, its great for fine hair like mine).
Body: 1.) Coconut oil (you can use any brand there are so many! I like to buy extra virgin and unrefined) 2.) Shea butter 3.) Cacao butter 4.) Avocado Oil. 5.) One of my favorite brands for body products is Osmia Organics. They even list on their website what ingredients they don’t use- LOVE that! 6.) Native deodorant 7.) Dr. Bronner’s (I love this brand! You can use their soaps to clean, wash your hands and can use it as a body wash. It’s great for multipurpose use.)
Face: 1.) Naturopathica 2.) Cocokind 3.) True Botanicals
These are just a few of my favorite products at the moment.
These are my five tips for avoiding unnecessary toxic chemicals (in your beauty and household products:
1.) Avoid products that don’t disclose all of the ingredients. If you cant find out what they are, dont buy it.
2.) If a products lists “fragrance” or “parfum” on the label, keep in mind that scent can be made from dozens if not hundreds of unknown ingredients many of which can be harmful chemicals so best to avoid. Opt for high quality pure therapeutic essential oils instead.
3.) Refer to the EWG’s skin deep database to look up individual ingredients & products.
4.) Check out madesafe.org. It’s a great tool for finding certified products.
5.) Use the Think Dirty app to scan products to check for unsafe ingredients and level of toxicity.
Listed below are a few of the commonly found toxic ingredients:
Parabens: a type of preservative used to prolong shelf life to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. They act as xenoestrogens in the body which can disrupt hormone function. It can trigger an increase in breast cell division and leads to an increased risk for breast cancer and reproductive issues.
SLS: aka Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a foaming agent that is typically found in shampoos, toothpaste, soaps and mouthwash. A known skin irritant that can cause allergic reactions on the body.
Phthalates: a plasticizer that is used as a binding agent and to make plastics more flexible. Found in household items, personal care products, fragrance, household cleaners etc. A known endocrine disrupter that has been linked to male infertility.
Aluminum: a metallic element that is commonly found in deodorant to produce anti-perspirant effects. A known neurotoxin that in elevated concentrations in the brain has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
Formaldehyde: a preservative used to prevent microbes from growing in skincare products. This highly toxic substance has been linked to cancer and allergic skin reactions.
As the consumer its up to us to be informed and support companies that are committed to creating safe, non-toxic, natural quality products. Being mindful, proactive and making small changes over time adds up to healthier lifestyle choices. Taking charge of your health and home environment is one step closer to creating a cleaner, less toxic, greener and healthier life! I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this topic just reach out! I’m happy to help!