The Pits

I’ve been aluminum free for 10 days now and I am happy to report that it’s been easier than I anticipated.  Thanks so much for the feedback that, no matter what form of deodorant you use, you will go through a stinky period when you eliminate the chemicals.   In the past I’ve used the natural stuff for a few days then tossed it aside for something stronger because I figured it wasn’t working.  Now I know that my body is in an adjustment period and nothing but (natural) soap and water will keep me completely fresh.

Over the last week I’ve been using the apricot stuff I bought a while back and while I don’t love it, it’s okay.  I loved getting all of your suggestions in the comments to the original post and look forward to trying some of the products recommended but for now I’ll stick to the ones I’ve already purchased (waste not, want not ;) ).

I would love your help with some more natural product recommendations!

What’s your favorite green clothes detergent?  How about face soap? Hand soap?  Shaving cream?  I am almost out of these products at home and while I’ve been buying green for over a year, I have yet to find a brand I LOVE.

Have you seen the amazing video The Story of Cosmetics put out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics?

I am very sensitive to sensational claims and extreme accusations so I don’t necessarily believe everything in the video or that I need to go 110% chemical free.  I do however believe that for many companies consumer health is not their biggest concern because it’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint whether it was their product that caused harm.   I also believe in putting my money into companies that illustrate a concern and respect for my health, the health of their workers, and the health of the planet.  

It can be really challenging to distinguish “natural and green” from “chemical laden and nasty”.    Regulations surrounding the claims natural and organic are vague and I do not believe that they have the consumers best interest at heart.  What’s a girl to do?  More and more I’ve been seeking out companies with full transparency about their ingredients and mission statement.   Burt’s Bees is one of those brands, what are some others?

Do you think “greening” up your cosmetics and cleaning products is necessary?  Do you think it’s a waste of money?  Have you noticed a difference in your health by switching to green products?  I know that I will be exposed to trillions of “unwanted” substances in my life: soaking in through my skin, my lungs, and from what I eat, but I feel good about proactively limiting my exposure and supporting companies whose beliefs align with my own.

 

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40 Responses to The Pits

  1. I’ve just recently purchased Dr Bronners, and although I haven’t received it yet I have used it in the past and loved it. I do believe its an all natural product as its mostly coconut oil and jojoba oil which are both soothing and mild. I also stick with Tom’s deodorant and toothpaste. I would like to eventually move to natural cleaning products as well.

  2. Ellie says:

    I still haven’t found all of my favorite natural cosmetics. The truly natural ones are so expensive I’ve ben toying with the idea of making my own. My favorite laundry detergent and household cleaners are made by biokleen. They are a vancouver, wa company so you may have trouble finding them on the east coast. Or not, I really don’t know.

    • gracefulfitness says:

      I’ve used Biokleen before but maybe it was when I lived in Portland, I can’t remember if I’ve seen it here, I’ll take a look.

  3. Kristy says:

    I’ve found it’s difficult to go 100% chemical free, but I agree that it’s best to spend money on products made by companies that care and are transparent. There are even some products that can be made at home, like laundry detergent, which is what I’ll be experimenting with soon. But in the meantime, I really like Seventh Generation for cleaning and laundry products. As far as shaving gel goes, I have been using Dr. Bronner’s unscented and I LOVE it. A tube is kind of pricey, but a little goes a long way so each tube lasts me several months. Good luck :)

    • gracefulfitness says:

      Let me know about you adventures in making detergent.
      7th Generation seems to be a very solid company, I should get their laundry soap. Thanks for the shaving gel tip! It’s one of those things that I’ve been buying the cheap stuff and then it hit me the other day that it’s not any different than lotion or face soap and I realized it was time to pony up a few more $$. I am often discouraged in the store at the price of things but then when I start to use it I realize that it breaks down to very little per application. And it’s totally worth it!

  4. Jessica says:

    I’m kind of like you and haven’t found any the I’m super loyal to yet. I do like Auromere toothpaste and have had a better track record cavity-wise in the last few years that I’ve been using it.

  5. April says:

    I thought it would be difficult, but after much trial and error, I’ve managed to switch all of my products to natural products. If you haven’t checked them out, I highly recommend http://www.Vitacost.com. They offer the cheapest prices anywhere on some of my favorite brands! I’m a big fan of Beauty Without Cruelty products, especially their Lavender Highland Shampoo & Conditioner. I also love Jason Tea Tree Face/Hand Soap, Avalon Organics Shave Cream and Kiss My Face Bar Soaps.

    • gracefulfitness says:

      Thanks so much for the suggestions April! I am a big fan of tea tree oil anything, especially face soap since I tend to breakout, and Jason’s a great brand.

  6. Best cosmetic decision I ever made–switching from store-bought face wash to raw honey. That’s it. Honey. I usually mix it with flour or raw sugar if the honey itself isn’t crystallized (I want the exfoliant) . I’ve had super-oily skin and acne since mid-elementary school (I now know this is a symptom of my PCOS) and while it did somewhat calm down after middle school, it was still on par with common pubescent skin flares until a year or so ago (I’m 23). I first stopped using products with salicylic acid (ironically used to clear up acne) and regular moisturizers, and my skin got a little better. Then I stopped using face wash altogether and switched to honey and it REALLY cleared up! Now I only flare pre-menstrually or when my androgens are abnormally high. Or when I get lazy and use my sister’s face wash when I visit. Honey leaves my skin clean without stripping it of moisture, so I don’t need to use moisturizer on my naturally super-oily skin.

    I also use Bare Minerals makeup now. The mineral-type makeup I used before actually irritated my skin. Bare Minerals does not. I wouldn’t say that Bare Minerals is necessarily making my skin *better* but it’s not doing it any harm.

    • gracefulfitness says:

      This is awesome info, thanks a lot Michelle! I am excited about giving honey a go. I am also prone to break out and was obsessed with salicylic acid face washes. These days I use Desert Essence tea tree face soap but it kind of strips the moisture out off my face.

  7. Kamaile says:

    Just wanted to thank you for the original post on not using deoterant with aluminum. I must live under a rock because I had not idea it was so harmful to my health! I stopped using my usual Dove I day after I read that post and haven’t used any thing since then. I’m going to try homemade when I get some coconut oil.

    • gracefulfitness says:

      Wow Kamaile, I commend you for taking action right away! Did you read through the comments? There are tons of great suggestions for homemade and favorite brands.

  8. Sabina says:

    I like the following products:

    laundry detergent – ECOS
    hand dish wash soap – Shaklee
    hand soap – toss up between Soapworks bar soap (various scents) or Nature Clean liquid
    all purpose cleaning – 20% vinegar diluted in water with a few drops of Dr. Bronners or essential oil; baking soda

  9. gracefulfitness says:

    Thanks Sabina!

  10. Jess says:

    I love seventh generation products for laundry and dish soap (it is also local to me here in Vermont). Dr. Hauschka products are amazing-yet pricey. It is also easy to make your own sugar scrub- sugar, almond oil and vanilla. I do love alba botanicals- some are organic and some aren’t. Kiss my face lotions- especially a&e are great. Alaffia is a great product for lotions, it includes Shea butter and is free trade and some of the profits are donated to an organization in Africa. .

    • gracefulfitness says:

      I’ve heard such amazing things about Dr. Hauschka products that I think it’s time to cough up the coins!
      Never heard of Alaffia but I love the global responsibility aspect!
      Thanks Jess.

  11. Andrea Groves says:

    This may be more work than you have time for, but I hear that this homemade stuff really works! http://wellnessmama.com/1523/how-to-make-natural-deodorant-beating-the-b-o-with-natural-deo/

    • gracefulfitness says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, I hadn’t seen her blog before but I’m excited to check it out-looks right up my alley!

  12. Frances F. says:

    Faith
    Have you ever tried one of the Salt Crystals for deodorant? That’s what I started using a few years ago and after awhile I weaned off deodorant completely…I haven’t used any type of deodorant for years and I’m quite active, as you know, and it’s never been an issue.
    Another super all-natural trick is to rub a little bit of baking soda in your pits to deodorize.
    Have you tried Soap Nuts for laundry? Kind of a cool idea…I did it for awhile, but I kept accidently putting the bag of nuts in the dryer which ruins them, so I went back to using Seventh Generation detergent (which isn’t perfectly clean, but it’s fine and not too pricey).

    • gracefulfitness says:

      I tried baking soda and corn starch for a while but didn’t love it.
      I looked up soap nuts the other day but I didn’t quite understand what they are, do you reuse them?

      • Frances F. says:

        in terms of the deodorant issue, i found the rock crystal much better than the baking soda…and from there it was totally easy to transition to no deodorant at all.
        the soap nuts are reusable for up to 10 loads of laundry or so…they really work… and you can add a little essential oil (lemon is a good choice because of all it’s antimicrobrial juju) to the bag of nuts and that makes your load of laundry smell nice too.
        if you want to try them, i still have some left and i will give them to you.

        • gracefulfitness says:

          I’m a little slow sometimes but I just realized that soapnuts are actual nuts! So cool! Yes, I’d love to try them!

  13. Heather A. says:

    Hi Faith,
    First of all, I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful blog! I am in the process (and have been for the past year or two aha) of gradually realizing how harmful things are, and getting them out of my life (everything from food, beauty products, habits, etc.) – and your blog gives me a lot of inspiration and ideas!
    As far as natural beauty products, I work in a store that is all about natural beauty products, so maybe I can help you out on this one?!! It is called Olivier Waterloo (Olivier does have other stores, it is from eastern Canada – but we have brought in a number of other product lines so we are not exclusively Olivier).
    Some of my favourite products:
    -Olivier’s Day Cream
    -Olivier’s Dry Skin lotion
    -Hollybeth’s Rose Geranium Toner
    -EOS lip balms (*note! SOME of these have some nasty things in them, some are fabulous)
    -Noblessence Mascara
    -Pretty’s Facial Cleansing Grains (Black Tea & Raw Cocoa – the purple one)
    -Pretty’s Beautiful Hair (one of their “herbal wellness oils”)
    -Soap & Paper Solid Perfume
    -Olivier’s soaps!!
    …I would absolutely love to give your more details on anything if you’re interested – but realize that this comment is turning more & more into a novel by the minute so am going to wrap it up here!
    Heather

  14. Jessica V says:

    Pangea Organics and MyChelle are the best facial skin care products I have found. They have trial packages available also :)

  15. Mia says:

    Like others, I love Dr. Bronners – I use the liquid unscented baby soap for everything – face, hand, and body. Sweet almond oil (I get it from Amazon) to moisturize body. I also like derma-e skincare products – available at Whole Foods or online. I haven’t done much research on the company (I probably should!) but everything on the label sounds good. I like 7th Generation dish soap and Biokleen all-purpose cleaner – it’s actually quite economical because it’s concentrated, so I just mix a little in a spray bottle of water, and a little bit goes a long way.

    I’ve seen really good reviews on the Amazon Herb Company (http://www.amazonherb.com/) – they sell supplements and skincare products. I got a skincare set for my mom. It IS pricey though, but she loved it. I’ve been wanting to try Annemarie Gianni skincare (http://www.annmariegianni.com/). Her skincare received very positive reviews by the “Health Ranger”/Natural News – which usually is very picky – in a good way – about products they endorse. However, her products are beyond my budget right now :)

    I can’t necessarily say that I’ve felt the effects of “greener” products on my health – of course the effects are probably cumulative and happen over time. I’m fortunate to be in a situation where I can make that choice among many options, so I do – I figure that we are already exposed to so many chemicals to begin with, that are harder to control, so I try to make a “better” (hopefully) choice on things I CAN control.

    • gracefulfitness says:

      Thanks Mia, I especially appreciate and agree with your last sentence. I like Derma-E product too, I should look into their quality and mission more.

  16. Have you heard or tried Norwex? They make micro-fiber, anti-bacterial cleaning clothes – no soap needed and face clothes. I’ve switched to their face clothes and now I just use water and the wash cloth and my skin has never been better. Less blackheads, less dry patches, less deep acne, even less acne scars!

    I love their products for cleaning too – no chemicals, just their rags and water!

    • gracefulfitness says:

      Norwex is new to me but I love the idea, I’ll check out their website, thanks Katie.

      • No problem! I know it sounds gimicky but the lady I buy from rubs a raw chicken leg on a mirror, swipes with health dept kit to show bacteria and then cleans the mirror with water and the norwex rag and re-swipes. No bacteria in the second swipe.

        I really love not using chemicals to clean and on my body. No more body wash or soap and I’ve never had better skin head to toe. My razor burn, chaffing and in-grown hairs have been greatly reduced!

  17. Meghan says:

    Thanks to your post I switched to an aluminum free deodorant on Saturday (Tom’s of Maine fragrance free roll on). I had heard a few years ago from a woman in my church who had been diagnosed with breast cancer about the dangers of aluminum and it has weighed on my mind since even though I hadn’t done anything about it until now.
    So far, no stinky issues even with working out! I did warn my boyfriend to let me know if he noticed anything. Although he did catch me checking myself yesterday while we were running errands (it looked like I was doing the ‘flap your wings’ part of the chicken dance).
    Talk to Kath from katheats about the soap nuts. She used them over the summer I think it was with great reviews.

    • gracefulfitness says:

      Nice work Meghan! I’ve been caught sniffing myself over the last few weeks too…;)
      Kath and I are good friends, I will check out her soapnuts review, thanks!

  18. Jo says:

    I love all of the suggestions from all of the other commenters!
    Here’s what I use:
    Shampoo/Conditioner: Alba organics for shampoo and conditioner, then Dr Bronner’s when my shampoo runs out first (like it always does) – eventually I’d like to try the “no poo” but I have very greasy hair.

    Dry shampoo: Arrowroot powder

    Laundry detergent and dish soap: Seventh generation – the only two cleaning supplies that I still buy!

    All other cleaning supplies: I still have some old ones that I bought that I’m trying to use up, but mostly I just use baking soda, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol for everything. I bought a book in the discount section of Barnes and Noble a couple years ago with a bunch of recipes but you can just use google to get some good ones. It works like magic!

    I’ve also been itching to make this: http://peasandthankyou.com/2011/12/21/gifts-you-can-eat-but-shouldnt-lavender-rosemary-gel/

  19. Sarah says:

    The best ‘natural product’ I use is coconut oil for my skin! I used to have such a hard time trying to find cleansers and moisturisers that helped clear up my acne-prone skin, were free of weird chemicals, and weren’t hugely expensive. But now I use only coconut oil both for cleansing (massage into my face and then wipe with a warm facecloth) and moisturising. The oiliness was weird at first, especially since I was paranoid that it would cause me to break out even more, but now my skin is the clearest and softest it’s ever been! I love it!

  20. Allie Finch says:

    I also love coconut oil for skin.
    We make our own laundry detergent, dish soap & detergent, & cleaning solutions. To reduce waste, I’m going to start just using the dish soap for our hands too (which is primarily castile soap anyway). In the bathrooms we use simple glycerin bar soaps that come without packaging.
    I do think it’s worth eliminating harsh chemicals, though not all “natural brands” are what they hype up to being. My focus is eliminating more waste & packaging, so I’m making a lot of our own stuff (even experimenting with “no shampoo” hair washing & such.
    What I would love are cosmetic recommendations from people. Mascara, etc.
    p.s. Burt’s Bees is now owned by Chlorox, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It was interesting we could feel a definite shift at the OR Show in SLC the year it happened (we didn’t know about the transition until afterward).

  21. Ashley says:

    So glad I found your blog! I’ve been researching natural deodorants for a couple months now. I just bought the Toms of Maine lavender deodorant, but it gave my armpits a rash! So I had to return it. I haven’t found what I’m going to try next…any one used the Weleda spray deodorant? I don’t care if I sweat…I just don’t want to stink!

    • gracefulfitness says:

      Hi Ashley, I’m glad you found it too. :)
      Reader Lauren of The Talking Kitchen just started using coconut oil and baking soda and swears by it, I’m going to try it after my shower today. Coconut oil is good for sensitive skin so maybe that’s a good option for you. Just rub a little bit of oil in your pits and dust with baking soda.
      I’ve heard amazing things about Weleda but haven’t tried it personally.
      Keep us updated!

  22. Moca says:

    Hello, a great site with lots information here. Speaking of natural products, I’ve started to change my old-day habits involving with chemicals to be more natural after my baby is born. For:
    Kitchen oil stain remover – baking powder
    Cloth diaper/loundary – Country Save
    Dishes – wipe grease out first, run through hot water, then wash again with sponge
    Face/body/hair moisturizer – extra virgin olive oil/coconut oil/Alaffia shea butter (shea butter calms down my baby’s eczema, just slower than cortisone)
    Cooking – cast iron, no more teflon pans

    Cheers!

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