Have you ever tried to read the ingredients list on the back of a jar of face cream or a bottle of shampoo? Even if I had a biochemistry degree I’m not sure I’d be able to decipher what ingredients are harmful and which are helpful.
If you had to narrow it down there are about 17 extremely toxic chemicals found in common personal care products. Of these a few are always on my radar: parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate & propylene glycol. These and their jar mates are known to cause asthma, skin irritation, liver and kidney damage. They are known hormone disruptors, carcinogens and neurotoxins. They seep in through our skin and we inhale them (nail polish is at the top of every toxic cosmetic list I have ever seen).
I worry less about all of this since I stumbled upon a couple of great websites that help guide me to products that my family and I are comfortable using.
Guide to Less Toxic Products (http://www.lesstoxicguide.ca/), is run buy the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia. They offer a “Best” and “Good” rating system for a great variety of personal care products. They also explain what is so worrisome about the most dangerous chemicals commonly found in personal care products.
Skin Deep is a cosmetic safety database that is maintained by the Environmental Working Group out of the U.S. (http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/). This database rates the toxicity of thousands of cosmetics using an easy-to-follow, colour-coded system: green, yellow and red. You can search on cosmetics you already have (to decide if you need to toss them) and use it to help decide what products fit within your comfort zone.
Fortunately more and more cosmetics companies are making their products (or at least some of their products) safer. Avalon Organics, Burt’s Bees and Kiss My Face are a few brands to look for in local stores. Superstore carries a selection of these in their natural food section and Healthy Start carries many of the same products.
Green Beaver is a line of healthy, Canadian-made personal care products. You can find these at The Feel Good Store on Germain Street.
If you’re looking for something higher end, New Brunswick-based Olivier in the City Market sells natural soaps, shampoos, face and body creams, scrubs and deodorant. Their products are made with pure, natural ingredients.
Arbonne is another high-end skincare line that uses natural ingredients and is committed to making their products as safe as possible. Tracey Bujold (http://www.tbujold.myarbonne.com/) sells the products locally through in-home sales and they are also available at the new Salon Soleil.
Whether it’s toothpaste, shampoo, face cream or lipstick, making healthy choices for you and your family can be complicated. But it’s important. (Ignorance really isn’t bliss.) If you take a bit of time to read labels and tap into helpful resources you’ll feel better about everything that’s in your bathroom cupboard.
This article was previously published in KV Style (www.kvstyle.com)