Hi, friends! Today I'm sharing a few of my favorite non-toxic personal care items. This is by no means an exhaustive list or final authority, but maybe it will help you switch to even one less toxic item in your own life, which would be a very good thing! We tend to tell ourselves, "Oh, it's just a little, it can't hurt that much." But think about how many products you use every day. A little bit of all those things combined adds up to a LOT! And it's not just lotions and soaps and such... it's flooring and and walls and furniture. It's much easier to switch out your hand cream than your couch!
In my opinion, we should use the least toxic products we can whenever we can so that when we don't have the choice (for whatever reason, money or circumstances out of our control) the impact on our health hopefully won't be so great. I don't carry my own hand soap with me everywhere I go (although I used to be that obsessive). Using the hand soap at the home or store I happen to need to wash my hands at is okay with me because I know that in my own home, where I wash my hands 95% of the time, I'm using something safe. It also helps me have peace of mind when I'm in places where I have little to no control, like the hospital (think PVC in IV tubes) or even in the home I rent (toxic padding under the carpet).
The truth is, we live in a toxic world. And worrying yourself about how toxic it is might be worse than the toxins themselves (STRESS). So take it slow... change one product out at a time. When you run out of shampoo, replace it with a better option. And you don't have to go from using Herbal Essence to shampoo bars in one shot. Even switching to something without artificial fragrances and parabens is a big step in the right direction! You'll find sites like EWG helpful and fun as you start your non-toxic journey. Definitely let me know if you have any questions!
My husband and I both use this deodorant (either the scented or unscented kind)! I tried making a DIY deodorant once and let's just say it was not successful. Then I found this one a few years ago and haven't looked back! You will still sweat a bit using this because it's not an antiperspirant, but for us it definitely helps keep unpleasant armpit smells at bay. Now you can't not shower for three days and expect this to keep you smelling great (ask me how I know, haha). Also, when I'm sweating because I'm stressed or nervous I tend to stink just a little in spite of the deo... it's just one of those things... but I think I'm the only one who can tell. I truly believe that conventional antiperspirants and deodorants are some of the most toxic things we use on our bodies and are absolutely worth swapping for a better option!
I have two "testimonies" to share involving this deodorant. I got my brother's fiance some for Christmas ("Here's some deodorant. Merry Christmas!") and she used it during a mission trip to the Philippines (where it was swelteringly hot). When she got home she went online and bought several more containers for herself because she loved it so much! I also recommended it to a friend during her journey to start using less-toxic personal care items. She later told me that not only did she love it, but that her very skeptical husband had ended up getting hooked, too!
I choose to make our own toothpaste because I have hesitations about glycerin in toothpaste and I can only find one store-bought toothpaste, Earthpaste, that doesn't contain that or some other crazy ingredients. It's so easy to make and cheaper than buying plus it works just fine, so at this point, this is one of my DIY options! Homemade toothpaste takes a little getting used to, but I haven't had conventional toothpaste in my mouth in over 3 years and I don't miss it ONE bit. In fact I think it would gag me because I'm not used to the frothiness of it. We use Oral-B electric toothbrushes and we also floss... I've had this box of Eco-Dent literally for years and I still haven't finished it off so maybe I don't floss as much as I would like to think, haha! No mouthwashes or anything at this point. We have tried oil pulling with coconut oil but we have never fully committed to actually doing it!
Shampoo and Body Wash: Apple Valley Natural Soap Shampoo and Body Bars
One time my mom said to me, "I heard you make Joey use a bar of soap to wash his hair. Poor Joey." Yes, my poor husband! I give him a frothy, delicious-smelling bar of soap MADE to be used as shampoo to wash his hair, protecting him from the toxic chemical concoction that mainstream shampoo and body washes are comprised of. I guess he's just gonna have to deal with my non-toxic torture! But really, although it was weird getting used to washing EVERYTHING with a bar of soap and my hair looked greasy for a while while it adjusted, I'm used to it now (and so is my hair) and I have no desire to revert back to what we used to use. Shampoo bars are made with certain ratios and varieties of oils that make them frothier than "normal" bars of soap. I love the ones made by Apple Valley Natural Soaps. The company is owned by a normal (honest and hilarious) Christian family who donates some of their profits to a pregnancy crisis center and supports some other really great causes. The customer service is fabulous, order ships crazy fast, and they don't use cheap “filler” oils like rice bran and soy oil which make soaps have air holes throughout them. They also offer great deals and I love their products. No, they aren't exclusively organic and some of their products do contain phthalate-free synthetic fragrances, but everything that does is CLEARLY marked so you can easily avoid them if you want. I've tried making my own shampoo and body bars and prefer to buy from soapmaking experts! I definitely recommend using a washcloth to scrub your body when you use this soap for some extra cleaning power. My husband likes to just rub it on with his hand and rinse it off and doesn't understand why he doesn't always smell or feel clean!
Hair Conditioner: Apple Cider Vinegar
Try it. It works. Do a 1:4 vinegar to water ratio. It's an amazing detangler. Even plain white vinegar works! I use it cold after I'm done washing my hair and don't rinse it out and sometimes don't even dilute it and I think it makes my hair shiny. So if you don't want shiny hair, try diluted, not cold, and even rinse it out if you want.
I LOVE THIS STUFF. It is truly my favorite lotion ever. There are so many "natural" lotions out there and most of them are seriously horrendous, from how they feel, to how they smell, and I've tried a LOT of them. This brand is perfect. I used to be a Bath and Body Works addict and I don't miss it at all! Okay, maybe just a little, but it's worth it to avoid all the crazy and concerning stuff in the mainstream lotions! For my babies and even for myself (just not my face or hands, I don't like when they feel greasy), I love these solid lotion bars or a DIY version. SO yummy and effective!
Hand Soap: Varies
I honestly use whatever is on sale and non-toxic and NEVER antibacterial. I used to be able to find A La Maison liquid hand soap at TJ Maxx or Marshall's that didn't have synthetic fragrances or other sketchy ingredients... I don't find it as much anymore. I like The Honest Co. foaming hand soaps. Good old Dr. Bronner's is always an option (although their packaging with all the words freaks me out, I cannot deny this) and there are tons of simple bar soaps that are classic non-toxic choices. Just check the ingredients but I guess you have to know what you're looking to avoid first and that's a post for another day!
Diaper Cream: The Honest Co. Diaper Rash Cream
My babe doesn't really get diaper rash. We use cloth diapers and a gentler detergent, I try to make sure I'm getting the diapers really clean in the wash, and I change him often. I also use cloth wipes with water to wipe him most of the time. So maybe those contribute to it, or maybe we've just been really lucky! When I notice some redness on him, I put a dab of this on and it clears it right up.
Face Wash: The Oil Cleansing Method
Baby Wash (Tear Free): The Honest Co. Shampoo and Body Wash
Sometimes I just don't want to worry about my toddler getting soap in his eyes, especially on those days when bathtime is a battle. This won't hurt him if it does get into his eyes and I'm not too worried about the ingredients.
I use a bit of it all. To be honest I've been pregnant and/or breastfeeding and not having to worry about "that stuff" for much of the last 3 years, so I don't even know what I prefer at this point! But whatever I use, I make sure it's non-toxic will all ingredients disclosed because there is no way donning a slew of mystery chemicals is a beneficial thing.
So makeup is way outside my area of expertise! The thing I wear most (like once every few weeks) is mascara and I will say that this mascara by Coastal Creations is HANDS DOWN the best one I've ever ever ever tried. I do not own stock in that company, I seriously just adore that mascara. I have some powder blush and eyeshadow by Au Naturale but really I know next to nothing about makeup and what works good and what doesn't... but I feel very comfortable using those two brands!
Laundry Detergent: Seventh Generation Baby 4x
Honestly, I found a bunch of this on sale, which is why I originally began using it. But even when I run out of my sale stash, I plan to keep buying Seventh Generation detergent. Not all their detergents are created equal, especially when it comes to washing cloth diapers! See HERE for details on that. But this Baby 4x formulation works very well for both cloth diapers and everyday laundry, and I use it on everything I wash. It's probably not the "least toxic" option on the market but it helps me avoid artificial dyes, synthetic fragrances, and optical brighteners and most importantly I don't have "stink issues" with my cloth diapers which means I don't have to use chlorine bleach as a result. So I'm sticking with it! I want to note that when I use it to wash my cloth diapers, I use a water softener as well because our water is hard. More on my cloth diaper wash routine HERE.
Clothing Softener: Wool Dryer Balls
I'm not sure these do much of anything. But hey, I have them so why not use them just in case they do! I absolutely cannot STAND fragrances on our laundry. I used to use scented laundry detergent, scented fabric softener, scented dryers sheets, SCENT CRYSTALS... I was an addict!
Lip Balm: The Honest Co. Organic Lip Balm Trio
So non-toxic lip balm is VERY easy to come by. You can even pick some up in the checkout line at Walmart (Ecos, although they're not all created equal). I very rarely use lip balm. I swear it's like my lips have been healthier after switching to non-toxic products! Let me say this: I used to keep Vaseline in business. For real. Apparently I wasn't the only one supporting them because I haven't used Vaseline in years and they're still in business! Anyway. Vaseline is petroleum jelly... petroleum jelly is a byproduct of crude oil. ENOUGH SAID? So to all you Vaseline addicts out there, there is life after Vaseline! I dare you to try living without it. (Jen Shebby, I'm talking to you!)
I still haven't really found a perfume I can recommend! I also use plain old contact solution and razors because the non-toxic market for these items is pretty small. We still buy Q-Tip brand cotton swabs because let's face it, they're the best, and Charmin toilet paper and Puffs tissues, don't judge, haha! I used to have more time to invest into finding great products... I don't so much these days. I've also lightened up a bit. I used to only allow my family to use the ABSOLUTE least-toxic options. Now I'm okay with "better than mainstream" if it's going to save us a headache or we're in a pinch. Below are a few really really really great non-toxic resources that I love!