Lately, there has been so much information shared about the harmful effects of cosmetics and personal care products we use. Also, thanks to Annie Leonard we have an easy to understand (but hard to stomach) video that debunks the myths we all had about the safety or bodies governing the use of harmful ingredients in the products we are sold, check out the Story of Cosmetics. You can also visit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for information on current legislation around cosmetics and up to date research that can help you protect yourself and advocate for better policy and protection from companies and products that are simply unsafe.
The majority of the products we use are filled with toxic ingredients and chemicals that are known to cause a variety of health problems. For example, a key contributor to cancer found in personal care products are endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors basically trick your body into thinking they are the proper receptor and cause your body to produce more hormones. Try to remember the lock and key from grade 10 biology here, the key, tells your receptor (the lock) to produce a hormone. Most often, these endocrine disruptors trick your body into producing more estrogen, this increase in estrogen increases your chance of developing cancer.
How do I know if what I am using is toxic?
If you want to learn about whether or not the products you use have harmful ingredients in them, check out the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep website. This website has a really amazing search engine, and you can look up almost any product you have to find out what is really in it, and how harmful it really it. You can also search information on common harmful ingredients, tips for safer products, and common cosmetic safety myths!
One Solution: Make your own personal care products!
Below you will find recipes we have tested and love. We also encourage you to share your recipes with us below, so we can test them and add them to our list.
Natural CHAMOMILE & Almond Shampoo (and soap!)
Adapted from: Organic Authority
- 1 cup pure Almond Scented liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronners)
- 1 cup Chamomile tea (brewed for 30 minutes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
Blend ingredients, put in a squeezable bottle and you are good to go.
Use: You only need a VERY small amount to get a lot of suds, so try about 1 tbsp to start and go from there. WATCH OUT not to get this in your eyes!
Best thing about this Shampoo is that you can use it to soap up the rest of your body, 2 in 1!
Peppermint hemp lip balm (as demonstrated on CTV – Watch now!)
- 1 TBSP Beeswax
- 1 TBSP Coconut Oil
- 1 TBSP Hemp Oil
- 1 TBSP Sweet Almond Oil
- 1 TBSP Jojoba Oil
- 16 drops Peppermint essential oil
Melt down the first five ingredients together in a double-boiler. Once melted, stir in the peppermint oil and pour into a reusable container of your choice for use. It will harden within a few minutes. Recipe makes approximately 8 tubes. Enjoy!
Whipped shea body butter
- 5 oz (142 grams) shea butter of any kind
- 2 TBSP coconut oil (or any other lightweight oil)
- 1 TBSP jojoba oil (optional)
- 2 TBSP vegetable glycerin
- 1 TSP cornstarch (or arrowroot) powder
- 1/4 TSP Vitamin E (tocopherol)
- Essential oil – any scent you like as long as it’s skin safe (optional)
See and follow photos and step-by-step instructions from the recipe here. Note this recipe has about a 6-month shelf life.
Yoga Mat spray
- 1/2 cup distilled water (or regular water)
- 1/4 cup Witch Hazel (or white vinegar)
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil (or scented oil of your choice)
Mix together in your bottle and shake. Spray yoga mat with cloth and wipe clean. Air dry afterward.
Brown sugar scrub
This recipe is adapted from Wellness Mama’s and is tried, tested and simple.
Combine a 1/2 cup brown sugar with 1/4 cup oil (olive or coconut are great). Add 1/2 tsp Vitamin E oil if you like (or gel from capsules). Mix and it’s ready for use!
Check out additional recipes to make your own green cleaning products.