| I've been examining the safety of cosmetics all over again in the past few months. A few years ago, I switched all of my personal care products from mainstream to alternative (and hopefully safe). Then last year, an issue came to my attention. Did you know that there's barely any regulation whatsoever on organics in personal care products? That means that if your shampoo says it's organic, well... that means nothing. (If it has the USDA Certified seal on the label, THAT means it's organic.)
Hmm. So, my Aubrey Organics shampoo might not be organic? Nope, not organic. "Organics" is just the brand name! And the product makes no other claims that it's organic. Fortunately, a look at the ingredients shows that at least some of the ingredients are organic, so the name's not a total lie. And, in the scheme of things, it's not a bad product.
Organic might be my ultimate goal, but many beauty products out there aren't even safe. That was the topic of Annie Leonard's new Story of Cosmetics. Yikes! I just did an article for Alternet on two endocrine disrupting (and pretty much useless) common ingredients in soaps, toothpastes, shave gels, and more: triclosan and triclocarban. The EU bans 1300 harmful chemicals from its personal care products. Why don't we? A bill in Congress - the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 - would actually regulate the safety of our personal care products. You know, if Congress actually passed it.
In the meantime, I recommend using the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database to find safe cosmetics. And, to save you some trouble, I'll report on what I've found (below).
|A number of the safest "shampoos" listed in the database are actually "shampoo bars" - they look like bars of soap but you use them on your hair. And they are cheap! Awesome! Better yet, if you use these, you won't need to waste plastic bottles anymore. I bought one and tried it, with terrible results. (That doesn't mean they are all bad, but oh boy was this one bad!) I ended up with all kinds of gunk in my hair that I couldn't get out, no matter what I tried. Finally, I went in for a haircut and the hairdresser used some spray on my hair that he said he usually uses for swimmers. That fixed it.
How about Dr. Bronner's? In the past, I've used this as hand soap and body wash, but how about using it as shampoo? The label calls it 18-in-1 because you can use it for everything. As shampoo, it works great. And I think I'll start washing my dishes with it too. I can refill bottles of Dr. Bronner's at my co-op and thus re-use the bottles.
Another one I've wanted to try for ages is Terressentials Pure Earth Hair Wash. This brand is so crazy organic that you can even EAT most of the products because they use food-grade organic ingredients. You might not want to eat the hair wash because it contains bentonite clay, but you probably can eat it. (Survivors of E. coli are often told to eat bentonite clay because it helps their digestive tract.) I finally caved and bought a bottle to try it. It works great! The only downside to Terressentials is that it costs a fortune.