Beauty and the Beast

A friend was recently talking about a website that rates products on their healthfulness and environmental accountability. She was talking about the fact (which is another reason I make my own products) that what we put on our skin goes directly into our body so we should be as careful about that as we are with food. I can’t find the specific site she was referring to ( I will ask her and post more later) but I did find a lot of information about ingredients that are harmful to living things. I knew about most of these before-that’s why I make as much of my own body and skin care as possible. The problem is that I am really forgetful, so while I retain the knowledge that many products should be avoided, I often forget the exact things I should be avoiding. I found many sites with lists, and this is the one that I found most helpful . They are all very similar but this one seems to have the most information and sources to back it up.
One of the chemicals I cam across on the top of every list was Sodium Lauryl Sulphate. Laboratories actually use this to irritate skin so they can them test healing products. It delivers nitrates straight into the body, which have been proven to cause cancer. Greeeeaaat. I was pretty sure my products were safe, but I decided to check. My Shampoo, is in a bottle I keep refilling and the ingredients have worn off. Kingston Soap Company doesn’t have an ingredients list on their website so I will have to ask them on Saturday when I go to the Farmer’s Market. The conditioner I have is Green Beaver and it seems to be good across the board-though it makes me head really itchy so I’m not going to buy more. I will try their other products though because they do seem to be actually healthy and “green”
I just dyed my hair with “Ice Cream professional dye” that I somehow convinced myself was a natural product. Ha ha ha. It has almost all of the EVIL CHEMICALS TO AVOID in it. Oh Dear! It has Ceateryl Alcohol, Glycerol Stearate Se, Ammonium Hydroxide, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Sodium Cocoyl Sulphite, Propylene Glycol , synthetic fragrance and more! EEEEK! OK no more hair dye for me (wipes tear from eye).
It amazes me how we ( I) can put vanity in front of so many things. The other day I rode my bike in high heels just because I got them for free and wanted to wear them. It was so stupid. My foot kept slipping off all over the place. Fortunately I didn’t have an accident. Dying my hair is kind of like that but way worse. With the bike scenario, I was really only hurting myself and maybe one other person (if I ran into someone, but that would. be unlikely as I couldn’t even get going!) The chemicals however, have consequences that far surpass my own body. What exactly are these compounds doing to the water and the fish, the air, etc.? And now that I have it in my home, how do I get rid of it. this is not the first time I have been faced with this type of conundrum (once it was Ritz crackers). I accidentally buy something terrible, and I don’t want to use it but I don’t know how to dispose of it.
So now what? The simplest solution would be to go without shampoo or conditioner and use simple things on your skin, like olive oil. Soap nuts are another option, as is making your own products or buying from me:) There are a growing number of products out there that are environmentally sound. Farmer’s Markets and Etsy or Hyena cart are a good place to look (though I suspect that the shampoo I get from the farmer’s market has SLS in it and that’s why my head is itchy).
As for hair dye, pure Henna seems to be the only good one and you have to look at labels carefully to make sure there are no synthetics added. Or we could all just be happy with the way we looked in the first place. Did I just say that? GASP? What about the economy!?!?!



Filed under personal care, personal products, Uncategorized

10 responses to “Beauty and the Beast

  1. The one that I have used is Skin Deep

    The Environmental Working Group has a few other websites and I noticed they have a site on sunscreen too (which is going to be handy here soon).

  2. When you’re thinking of all the other creatures affected by chemicals in hair dyes, etc., don’t forget the people stuck in factories making the stuff. A good book on this end of the story is The Secret History of the War on Cancer.

  3. Hi–My friend lydia just sent me this link to you–this is terrific. As an environmental artist–this year, I am trying to live plastic free–atleast disposable plastic. My blog is t THE LAST STRAW which you can find on my website. Anyway–I have been trying to figure out what i will do for face cream, body lotion when all I have runs out. Shampoo I finally got from LUSH–but the other stuff, I am not sure–any suggestions? thanks

    • Where are you located? In Toronto, there are a number of health food stores ( The big Carrot for one), plus Grass Roots where you can fill your own container of shampoo, conditioner cream etc. So you could bring a glass jar and fill it, but the original container the store is keeping the product in will likely be plastic. Other wise making your own products, as I suggested, or buying home-made from etsy (or me). Oh I have to get an etsy store up and running. The problem with ordering on-line is that you don’t know exactly what you are going to get in packaging.

  4. Angela

    For getting rid of partially used products, you can try freecycle/craigslist (the free part).

    Re Green Beaver: do they have multiple types of conditioners? Maybe it was a natural ingredient in that conditioner — tea tree oil can cause mega-itchies if you’re sensitive. Rosemary is drying, too.

    Have you looked at Manic Panic ingredients for hair dyes? I believe they’re vegetable-based, but that’s about all I know.

  5. Stacey F

    Hey there,
    It’s Stacey from Regina in case you didn’t know. Have you tried using shampoo in the form of a bar. Because it’s a solid it doesn’t require any preservatives. I found a seller at my farmer’s market that makes several different ones. I have really curly hair so I thought I would never be able to go without conditioner, but then I said to myself, ‘they used to not have conditioner, my mom told me once about when conditioner first came out and how exciting it was, but she managed before that, why couldn’t I?’ Well I can and do. I no longer use conditioner, but I do use an apple cider vineger rinse or lemon juice and grapefruit essential oil. Or I will mix an egg with vinegar and use that to wash my hair and then it doesn’t need anything else. The egg and vinegar make it SUPER soft and shiny and really clean feeling. Anyway, I liked your post and know where you’re coming from, although I’ve found liberation from cosmetic vanity since my babes was born, cause Jason guilted me out of using any make-up and hair dye by saying that I was showing L that she needs make-up to be beautiful. Oh, and my skin is totally clear and beautiful since I stopped washing it all the time with soap. If it feels super greasy I will very lightly use soap, but first I see if just water and a nice towel rub will fix it. Anyway, I’m babbling, I hope you’re well,

  6. Jackie Pan

    Hi! I’m a high school student at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, US and we’re doing this project in our biology class that deals with the issue of garbage. One of the requirements for the project is to create a Facebook group with at least 10,000 members. (
    Currently we are also trying to get the custodians to allow us to put different colored bins in the cafeterias in order to separately recycle paper, plastic, and organic items. There is more information concerning our group on the groups page on Facebook. Please join and invite all your friends! đŸ™‚

  7. Hi there. I’ve just been going through all of this too. It’s really hard as there are so many chemicals and it seems so few products which avoid using the chemicals. It’s been a real eye opener to me.

    I was going to suggest to you which is the site I’ve found most helpful but I see it’s already been recommended. The only problem with it is that you can’t really take it with you!

    Making your own products does seem to be one very good way out and with many things we need it’s the way we are going. Best wishes to you.

  8. Sorry that link should have been though the site is called Skin Deep.

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