With a society so obsessed by eating organic, and staying fit and healthy it is amazing how many chemicals we haphazardly slap onto our body without even a second thought as to what side effects these chemicals may have on us. Modern life has become dependent on so many products - mascara, foundation, eye cream, moisturizer, perfume and lip gloss, to name a few, that it is almost impossible to completely eliminate chemicals from our daily routines without going totally make-up and product free (Nooooooooooo!).
In order to try and start detoxifying my bathroom, I am going to start with a basic: Shampoo. Most shampoos, soaps, detergents and toothpastes often contain these three nasty chemicals:
-Parabens : These bad boys act as a preservative prolonging the shelf life of many of our cosmetic products. Recent studies have linked Parabens to certain types of cancers, most significantly breast cancer as it increases levels of estrogen. Aside from this, Parabens also rather ironically contribute to hair and scalp problems such as removing the protective cuticle and making hair dull and brittle. Why would we want our shampoo to do that?!
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS): SLS is used as a foaming agent. Unfortunately, not all of its effects are good, and it is actually known to be irritating to the skin and is even used as a standard skin irritant in clinical studies! Again ironically for a shampoo, SLS can cause scalp problems such as an itchy, flaky scalp when used frequently. SLS has also been linked to other undesirable effects such as its ability to penetrate the cornea of the eye, even if absorbed through the skin, where it can accumulate and then be released slowly. No thanks!
-Phthalates: Phthalates act as gelling agents, and in fragrances to make the smell last longer in many cosmetic and beauty products. Phthalates are known as "endocrine disruptors" which mimic the body's hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage. Excessive exposure to Phthalates has also been linked to weight gain in adults and children.
Aside from the very serious cancer links with these chemicals, I personally have enough trouble keeping away from the chocolate without my shampoo contributing to weight gain too! Many chemicals can and do penetrate the skin, and with these three nasties floating around, I am trying to detoxify my bathroom products as much as I can.
First on the list is finding a good SLS, Phthalates and Paraben free shampoo.....(drum roll please).......Jason Natural Care to the rescue! Jason have been providing "natural products containing only pure, nutritional, and organic ingredients". Given my naturally wavy (read frizzy) hair, I decided to try their Smoothing Sea Kelp Shampoo at £6.29. Like any seasoned shampoo-er, I enjoy a good lather in the shower so despite the clear benefits I would get from an SLS free shampoo, I was not looking forward to giving this up. Luckily this product still manages to give a great lather and smells delicious. After using this shampoo for a good month, my hair feels moisturized, much smoother and I have much less breakage.
Although Jason is SLS, Phthalates and Paraben free and it is a definite step in the right direction from other mass-produced super market brands, despite their tag line ("natural, pure, nutritional, organic") it still does have a few chemicals in it.
This is one of the hardest things about detoxifying your products - labeling does not always clearly show what is in the product, and unless you have a science degree they can be hard to understand. Labeling laws should be much stricter on this issue so ingredients are completely transparent for users. Labeling on food items is much stricter, yet food must go through the whole digestive system (which can eliminate chemicals) before reaching the blood stream, where as any products applied to the skin go straight into the blood stream. Thus I shall continue my search for the perfect 'free from' products and keep you guys updated!
If you have found any excellent 'free from' shampoo or other products, I would love to hear about them!