The Why: First of all, moisturizers are having sex in my linen closet. It is the only possible explanation for why I own 11 different moisturizers. Either that or people who don't know what to give me for Christmas or my birthday pretty much always give me moisturizers and lotions. Maybe I look dry?
But seriously, there are a lot of weird ingredients in the products we are marketed and sold for the sake of beauty. Go ahead and type some of the ingredients in any ordinary shampoo into the Skin Deep database and you'll see what I mean.
Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to consumer and marketing issues, or because I don't own a television and haven't seen a cosmetics commercial since 2006, but I really think that it is kind of strange that we rub products that contain dubious chemicals all over our bodies in the name of beauty.
I would like to opt out of a consumer culture that is constantly trying to sell me (and my daughters!) the right products to make us all look like supermodels. In fact, I know this is a little counter-cultural, but I want to embrace the idea of growing old with grey hairs and laugh lines.
Well, I do most of the time, anyways.
The How: Since this project started we've been reassessing our products as they run out. When a bottle of a certain product became empty we would ask ourselves if it was really necessary, and if so, what is the safest product we can find to do that job. We've been using GoodGuide.com to choose items that we feel are safe enough for our family.
Today I went through and disposed of products we won't be using (such as the absurd amount of yummy smelling moisturizers). This is what we are left with:
This is every bath and beauty product we own!
- Shampoo. We chose Aubrey Organics Blue Chamomile Shampoo because it is currently the second highest rated shampoo on GoodGuide.com. It's mostly just for the kids (since hubby and I have dreadlocks and wash our hair with soap).
- Soap. We use Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap in Almond as a body wash. Luke and I use it (diluted) to wash our dreads, and I've been using it to wash my face too ever since I ran out of face wash, and I am very pleased with the results.
- Deodorants. Because of the available selection at our local stores, Luke and I settled for deodorants that were safer than many other options but still have some questionable ingredients. In the future, we may order a safer product online or consider making our own, but for now these are a step in the right direction.
- Razors and Shave gel. I've always been too cheap for shave gel, so I've been shaving my legs with just soap for at least 10 years. I'm pretty sure Luke just buys whatever shave Gel is on sale. We've both chosen razors with reusable handles because it seems awfully wasteful to throw away a perfectly good handle when all we really need is a new blade.
- Moisturizers and lotions and creams. We kept three. It's interesting to note that the regular grown-up lotions that we happened to have scored much better on both GoodGuide.com and The Skin Deep Database than either of the two "gentle" baby lotions we had! We also kept a Bee Silk bar and some Sweet Almond Oil.
- Toothpaste. We've been using Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free Toothpaste for ages now and love it. My favourite flavour is Fennel! (My kids don't like the fennel flavour that much, but our bathroom isn't a democracy so I buy the fennel anyways!)
- Lip Balm. We are using a Peppermint Lip Balm by Made On Skin Care. It contains only 4 ingredients: coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax and peppermint essential oil.
- We also have plain ol' hand soap in our soap pumps. I wasn't sure if that counted as a bath and beauty product, so it's not in the photo.
Things we are happily doing without:
- Specialty dandruff products. We've discovered that an apple cider vinegar rinse can help with dandruff. Put about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a 250ml mason jar, fill the jar with water, and slowly pour the mixture over your head. Let it sit for a minute or two, and then rinse it out. Although your hair will smell like vinegar when it's wet, I find the smell goes away once the hair dries.
- Specialty kids' products. I have found that kids products such as baby soaps and lotions and kids toothpaste almost always score worse for the safety of their ingredients than the grown up counterparts!
The Verdict: The other day I had to go to the drug store for some razor refills and I was pleased to see how little I needed in that store. It felt good to take my one little item up to the cashier and be in and out in minutes.
And I really don't think that our larger selection of bath and beauty products was really ever doing anything to make us cleaner or better looking. Between you and me, I think it's all just a scam....
We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!