So I’ve been into body care DIYs lately. Soap, face wash, bubble baths and the like. The other day my husband came out of the bathroom with the handsoap in hand and demanded, “What’s this?”
“It’s soap. It works. Use it.”
“Did you make it?” he asked suspiciously.
“Yes. It works. Use it.”
He reluctantly used it and I heard some complaints later about weird soap. “Why can’t you just buy stuff like a normal person?” he wanted to know.
This is a good question.
Cosmetics and our health
I’ve had various health issues most of my life, starting when I was a teenager. Since discovering some of the causes a few years ago, it has made me a lot more aware of what I put into my body. Learning the impacts of too many antibiotics and other medications on my body has made me realize how complex an ecosystem our body is. It’s also an amazing thing that can heal itself if given the right environment. Reducing stress in our lives can bring tremendous change, eating better can bring so much more energy, but also removing certain chemical stressors that we don’t know are or could be impacting our health is something I’m interested more in.
Canadians are fairly lucky in that our government does a pretty good job at monitoring what is helpful and harmful for its citizens. However, we don’t always know everything there is to know about every substance we interact with. I remember growing up watching commercials that advertised laundry detergent without phosphates, because they had recently been banned due to the realization it was harming the environment. From what I can see, Canada sits between the US and the EU when it comes to food and drug regulations. The US is much more lax on these things, and the EU far more strict.
When it comes to cosmetics, the EU has 1,400 substances banned, Canada has about 500 banned, while the US has only 11 banned. My husband pointed out that the EU is complicated in that sometimes it bans things for trade purposes, so that they are more economically self-sustainable. So maybe these numbers are a bit skewed. According to David Suzuki and a few other concerned parties, there are at least 12 substances that we should be more aware of that we are putting in and on our bodies because they are suspected to disrupt hormones and/or interfere with reproduction and/or lead to cancer.
Everything Causes Cancer
For awhile I had the attitude that we’re all going to die of cancer so why don’t we just live our lives. While that may be fine for me to decide for my self, if there are simple ways to reduce the negative impact on the lives of my family and children, then I’m going to do what I can.
Replacing my soaps, shampoos, and the makeup I wear each day is pretty simple. In most cases it’s really simple and cheap as well (makeup is less cheap, but I’m finding cheaper alternatives). It’s much simpler than doing a diet overhaul. I’m certainly making my choices. I do eat at McDonald’s. I’m by no means a total granola mom who doesn’t feed her kids sugar, and snacks on only veggies.
Want to give some DIYs a try?
Here are a few of the simplest cosmetic DIYs to try if you want. Finding the containers is the trickiest part. You can reuse other soap containers or you can buy them at well.ca.
- Rich and Creamy all-natural hand soap from Body Unburdened (this is the one I made).
- The Best homemade shaving cream (haven’t tried it yet, it’s my next one).
- Here’s my pinboard for more DIYs ideas. Try not to freak out.
Note: when it comes to essential oils, please make wise choices. Many are not safe for children under 2 or while pregnant or breastfeeding or can interact with various medications including SSRIs and blood thinners. To learn more check out Using EOs Safely.
Just want to buy safer alternatives?
I started by splurging on BeautyCounter, because I was relieved I found a legit brand that I didn’t need to research. But the cost felt too high for me to really invest. If you can afford it, BeautyCounter is a great option (this links to my friend Emily‘s store). After enjoying the products (because they’re great), I was motivated to find less expensive alternatives. It turns out there are some really great ones! Some end up being cheaper than making yourself once you buy all of the containers etc, or they’re comparable in price.
- Andalou Naturals body care. You can buy this at Loblaws/Provigo in the organic/health food section or well.ca where it’s currently linked to. It’s also at my local health food store. They’re FANTASTIC face washes and creams.
- Physicians Formula makeup. You can also buy this at Loblaws/Provigo in the organic section or on well.ca.
There really are a lot of options once you start looking into it. More importantly, looking into it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. I looked to see what was at the health section at Provigo, then checked my local health store, and looked at well.ca. Then I compared them to the Environmental Working Group’s “Skindeep” database that rates the cosmetic. An easier option is to browse what you want on the “Green” section of well.ca, then check a product’s rating on the EWG database.
Have a recipe to share? A product you love? A fear you have? Want to share more information? Comment away!