Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Think" Before You Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I love that America is all about awareness; I also just came across this website, Think Before You Pink.

 I challenge each of you who would like to support a cure for breast cancer to check this website out before you purchase products that are Pink.

Let's support this cause by supporting awareness of all cancers AS WELL as products that don't contain toxic chemicals.  :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To Stink or Not to Stink...That is the question....

Wikipedia defines Deodorant and Anti-Perspirants as the following:

Deodorants are substances applied to the body to affect body odor caused by bacterial growth and the smell associated with bacterial breakdown of perspiration in armpits, feet and other areas of the body. A subgroup of deodorants, antiperspirants, affect odor as well as prevent sweating by affecting sweat glands. Antiperspirants are typically applied to the underarms, while deodorants may also be used on feet and other areas in the form of body sprays. In the United States, deodorants are classified and regulated as cosmetics by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Antiperspirants are classified as drugs by the FDA.

Hmm...interesting...never knew all that.  Especially the part about how differently these two products are classified......

I've read a lot about the toxic aluminum compounds that are in anti-perspirants.  I've also read a few articles that suggest not using anti-perpirants because they block or "stop up" your sweat glands in your arm pits, which is one way your body rids itself of toxins, (the others being, by urination or bowel movements).  Some go as far as saying that this might be a cause for breast cancer (starts in the armpit lymph nodes - toxins can't get out of body so they sit there and make your cells mutate).  

I personally just wanted to see if I could find something that kept me smelling good and was less toxic than the typical commerical brands on the shelves in the grocery store.  

I had asked around (family, friends, coworkers) to see if they had tried any deodorants/antiperspirants along these lines.....yes, some had (tried the crystal deodorant, Tom's of Maine, a few other brands I've never heard of) but none had found much success or were happy with the results. 

Well, darn it.  This means we will just have to go by trial and error.  I decided to start with a website(  I had ordered castille shampoo from.  Even though the shampoo didn't work out for me, I thought I'd see what else they had to offer.....

I found a pretty non-toxic deodorant on their site and its worked very well for me.  Its homemade by a lady in Illinois and she makes several other products from essential oils and other natural, organic ingredients.  I've tried the solid deodorant, the roll-on and the deodorant powder.  I found I liked the solid deodorant the best.  I did find that my armpits did get wet while using it if I was doing alot of strenuous or stressful activites, but I never started smelling bad (have to remember this is not an antiperspirant).  My armpits just got wet.  And to be honest, they dont stay wet for long, so it really hasn't been a big deal for me.  I've kind of gotten used to it.  I also have tried their deodorant powder (a light dusting ) over the solid deodorant and that has seemed to help some with the wetness.  

My husband tried the solid deodorant it and he liked the smell (very "herby" smelling) and it worked ok but it got stuck in his armpit hairs.....not too bueno.  He tried the roll-on but it didn't have much lasting power.  (It doesn't seem to last long on me either) So still looking for another alternative for my hubby there.

For deodorants and anti-perspirants - there may not be a perfect organic/natural alternative out there that works just like the commercial brands.  This kind of change really is a personal choice because everyone is so different.  Some people sweat constantly and constant wetness may not be an option for you.  Very understandable.  I personally don't sweat a whole lot - never have.  So, for me, a little wetness here and there under my arms, is not a deal-breaker.  but it may be for you.  However, you can bet that I will keep a bar of commercial Secret antiperspirant/deodorant on standby in case of the situation where there's no room for "error" - (think job interviews or some other socially uncomfortable event).  I'll definitely be bringing out the Secret for those occasions. 

HOWEVER, I am still searching for that "perfect" natural alternative - so I will be sure to let you all know when I find it!  And if you find it before me - please share your discovery  !!  :))))))))

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Not all soap is created equal.....

I'll be the first to admit - I have a soap /bath products fetish.  It is extremely difficult for me to walk into a Bath & Body Works store or a Victoria's Secret and not walk out with some new perfume, body wash or creamy lotion.  Pure bliss.......well, that was then.....(a few months ago....)

This is house has almost been purged of the likes of any bath products such as these - and all products used on my body and my baby's now must pass the test of the database. " What? " you say?

Yes, this all started when I saw came across a video called "The Story of Cosmetics".  You can google it.  Its a little cartoon - and yes, I will admit now - they did use alot of scare tactics in the video.  And yes, I was VERY scared after watching it.  However..........I did learn about the existence of a Cosmetics Database*.  You can go to the online database, enter in your beauty/bath product and it will give you a synopsis of all ingredients in the product and whether or not any of them have been linked to or are known carcinogens, reproductive toxins, etc....basically bad for you.  Each product is given a score from 0-9.  0 being the most safe, 9 being highly toxic.  The database has quite a few products in it but not everything.  But, for those products that are not in the database,  I have found that I can look up the ingredient(s) in it. 

*You can find a link to the Cosmetics Database on my list of Noted Websites.

I first used the database to find a "safe" or "toxin free" sunscreen for Ruthie this past summer.  I found one I was pretty happy with by the brand of Badger.  I started looking up the soap, wipes, ointments, etc. that I was using on Ruthie and was surprised to see that quite a few had some pretty toxic substances in it.  Do I know how much of the "toxins" were in the product?  No, I decided I didn't want to expose her at all -  if I could help it (or afford it!).  Now yes, I understand the arguement that all of us who are parents now have probably been exposed to all this stuff since we were infants too and we've all turned out fine........well, maybe. 

So I changed the baby wipes I used as well as the soap/shampoo I used on Ruthie.  I now use California Organics baby wipes on her - they are great, relatively inexpensive and are devoid of most of the chemicals that other brands have in their products.  My gifted friend, Katie, found a great recipe for making your OWN baby wipes - this means you can make them with whatever you want!  How cool is that?  You can check out the recipe - she posted it on her blog:
(Yes, I did try to make some myself, but used the wrong kind of paper towels - you need to use something that's got a little strength to it otherwise they fall apart in your hands -not so bueno.  To be continued....  :)

So, the first soap I tried on Ruthie was a castille based soap (made from olive oil) and it worked ok.  I decided to get some for myself to try.  Hmmmmm....well that didn't go so well.  I could not get the castille soap out of my hair!  And it did not lather at all.  I'd wash my hair and dry it and it would look like I hadn't washed it in a week!!!  It looked and felt extremely oily!  It was awful!  (I was thinking to myself - how do people use this stuff?!?!)  UGH!  Well, I was about ready to give up on it all and found that if you rinsed your hair afterwards with vinegar it got rid of all that "gunk" worked pretty well - except the comments from my husband that I smelled like vinegar.....hmmmm..not very attractive.  Ok, time to look for another alternative.  I researched other's suggestions online for using organic made soaps/shampoos and found many of the problems people had encountered were largely in part to having hard water.  We were meaning to get a water softener installed anyway because we already knew we had very hard water.  So, the soft water helped but the castille based soap still just wasn't doing it for me......taking a shower had turned into a chore - no longer a nice, relaxing experience :/

I started looking for other soaps to try and found a company called Soap for Goodness Sake*.  Many of their soaps had low ratings on the Cosmetics Database so I thought I'd order some samples and try them out.  It took some getting used to using a bar of soap on my hair for shampoo but they lathered up so well and the lather was so luxurious that I was over that in no time.  :)  AND they smell heavenly - some very herby, and some very yummy.  I no longer pine for the body washes and soaps from the chain stores I used to frequent.  I think the best part of all for me is it simplified my routine.  I use one bar of soap on my hair (no need for conditioner anymore), face, body and for shaving.

*If you'd like to check out the soaps by Soap For Goodness Sake, you can find a link in my list of Noted Websites.  And no, I am not being paid to endorse them - I just wanted to share my positive experience with their products. 

On another note, my face has cleared up dramatically - my deep pores no longer get clogged constantly.  I dont' use the myriad of face products anymore - just the bar soap to clean, witch hazel to tone when needed now and then and dab an essential oil on here and there for moisturizing - as needed.  I used to have VERY oily skin.  No longer.  My face feels good all the time and I am not doing much to it.  I hardly put much makeup on either - haven't needed it.  Its truly been a liberating experience for me.  I feel good and I like what I see when I look in the mirror.

Its alot cheaper too - I dont spend a fraction of what I used to on facial products.  One bar of soap costs me $4-5 and that's about all I need. 

So, I am back to enjoying my guilty pleasure of lathering up with some incredibly scented soap in the shower and feeling like I am doing something REALLY good for myself and my family.  :)