Once I got into the groove with my new GF & DF diet, I started to think about other things I use on a daily basis that may or may not be serving my overall health. As I explored the world of personal care products, I began to uncover questionable, sometimes dangerous ingredients in many of the personal care brands that we all grew up with, know and trust.
For whatever reason, I started with looking at my deodorant. I can’t remember exactly what I used before the switch to a healthier alternative but I know I used to rotate through the popular name brands such as Dove, Lady Speed Stick, Degree, etc and let me tell you, the amount of nasty stuff in the standard stick is pretty disturbing, particularly antiperspirant. Here’s the Coles notes version:
PPG-14 butyl: Stands for propylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze and e-cigarettes. UM?! It’s so toxic its been banned in Europe and those who handle it in a lab must wear protective gear to avoid skin contact, as its linked to brain, kidney and liver abnormalities.
Aluminum compounds (like Aluminum chlorohydrate and Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly): Found in antiperspirants, aluminum clogs your sweat glands to eliminate the release of sweat and has been closely linked to prostate cancer in men as well as breast cancer in women with many lumps surfacing closest to the armpit. Coincidence… I think not! Regular use has also been linked to an increased chance of Alzheimer’s. Yay!
Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs): a thickener and solvent used in laxatives and antifreeze - often contaminated with carcinogens. PEG compounds often contain small amounts of ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide (found in PEG-4, PEG-7, PEG4-dilaurate, and PEG 100) is highly toxic — even in small doses — and was used in World War I nerve gas. Jesus…
Propylene Glycol: A petroleum-based ingredient, gives stick deodorant it’s firm texture and is usually derived from natural gas or petroleum.
Parabens: these synthetic preservatives act as hormone disruptors. They’ve been linked to hormonal imbalances both in early puberty and in females where they mimic estrogen, which could lead to a host of reproductive issues.
Triclosan: a chemical used to kill odor-causing germs on the skin. Like parabens, it’s as an endocrine disruptor that interferes with hormonal signalling and has been linked to breast cancer as a result. The FDA has banned its use in hand soaps but for some reason the chemical is OK for other products like deodorant. WTF?!
As if this wasn't enough, here's the cherry on top: It only takes 26 seconds for products we put on our skin to absorb directly into our bloodstream. So if you’ve been using a standard deodorant - or worse - antiperspirant, you’ve basically been mainlining this crap into your bloodstream on a daily basis for years. Shitty deal, I know.
But there’s hope! There’s a ton of great natural deodorant brands out there with so many new ones joining the roster on a daily basis. That said, all natural deodorants are not created equal and to find a good one took me some sometimes ripe- smelling trial and error. I'd love to save you some of the grunt work and money by sharing a few of the brands that I’ve found worked for me here.
Lavanilla The Healthy Deodorant: My favourite scent is vanilla (not shown) - somehow it's more effective than the other scents in terms of warding off ripeness. I’m usually good until the end of the day with it. If I’ve had a particularly active day and want to go out at night I reapply in the evening. It’s on the pricier side ($14 CDN) but you can find it at Winners once in blue moon, otherwise Amazon.
EO French Lavender spray deodorant: I don’t love this in the winter because spraying your pits with a cold substance when its cold outside just sucks but its lovely in the summer and like Lavanilla, lasts all day for me. This cheap and it's almost always at Winners.
Saje Exotic Deodorant: I bought this recently and at first I was a little put off by the hippie scent (it has patchouli) but after a few days the smell has grown on me and it works better than the EO I would. Bonus – it doesn’t sting on freshly shaved pits like EO does.
Once my pits were feeling fresh, I took a look at my other personal care products and not surprisingly, many of the same nasty ingredients showed up there too. Toothpaste, face wash, moisturizers, makeup, hair products, shampoo, conditioner, you name it- there was gluten and other bad stuff up in all that shit too so I to slowly began to transition all of these products to cleaner, greener options as well.
Rather than go into detail around the specific ingredients in these products or the many brands I tried along the way but didn’t love, I’d rather offer you a list of the amazing brands I’ve come to love and use daily, all of which are free of the typical yucky stuff: animal products, gluten, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, propylene glycol, benzene, mineral oil, petroleum, triclosan.
My favourite places to shop for these brands are: Winners (you can seriously find some great deals!), Well.ca HealthyPlanet.ca, Amazon and Sephora.
Himalaya Botanique Neem Toothpaste: Hands down the BEST natural toothpaste I’ve ever used. The whitening one works super well and it froths just like Crest which I find I miss with a lot of other natural toothpastes. I LOVE this product!
EO & Everyone: Deliciously smelling body lotions and washes at a super accessible price point and I often find the full line of products at Winners.
Matter Company Outdoors hand cream: I’m obsessed with this hand cream for my dry winter hands. It’s the only thing I’ve found that heals my many winter hangnails but it comes at a pretty penny at $20.
Pacifica Beauty: Amazing face, hair and body care products with the prettiest packaging. I’m currently using these two face washes and this hair texturizer, all of which I love.
Tarte: Makes great makeup and other face care items. I use the Amazonian clay mascara, which is incredible and also love their lip glosses and SPF face moisturizer in the summer because it doesn’t leave a white film over my skin like so many other natural SPFs I’ve tried.
North American Hemp Co: I love their night face moisturizer and exfoliating face wash and often find them both at winners. Hubby and I also use their Smoothing conditioner, which works well and doesn’t leave my short hair greasy after a day or so.
Arbonne: High-end face and body care purchased through my Arbonne rep (Shout out to Jess!). I splurge on their RE9 Advanced age defense daytime moisturizer with SPF and eye cream once in awhile when I’m feeling old (ha!) and every time I’m convinced it’s worth the money.
Derma E: I use their scalp relief shampoo, which works amazing for the psoriasis patches on my scalp and I love their Vitamin E 12,000 IU Cream for combating winter dryness on my face.
Lips (who doesn't LOVE lip stuff?! I probably own 30):
Conditioning: Dr. Bronners, Bite Beauty, Nature's Aid and Green Beaver Company
Colour/Gloss: Bite Beauty and Tarte (previously linked)
Tint: Glossier's balm dotcom
So there you have it - a peek into my now cleaner bathroom cupboards! Please know that this transition didn’t happen over night! It took time, trial and error and of course money - and it continues to evolve. I hope by sharing this it inspires you to take a look inside your own personal care routine to see what products you might replace with cleaner versions the next time you run out.
If you're ready to make the transition but feel you need some help, I offer bathroom makeovers where I'll visit your home to review the products you use, teach you about the not so safe stuff, and recommend cleaner and healthier alternatives that you can try and where to find them! Feel free to share this post if you find it helpful.
- Lisa xx