Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Chemical Break-Up

Two posts in one day! I bet you just squealed. Okay, maybe it was just me. So, I couldn't resist because my vintage shopping/pseudo green action inspired me to start looking through our bath products. Having had the eye-opening experience of watching the documentary about harmful chemicals in products, I have become a bit obsessed with how we can decrease these. PS--you should totally check out the documentary here. So I went to Target on a mission. Now, here's what you have to know first: (besides, yes, I absolutely broke down and went to Target) one of the most harmful chemicals that we can be exposed to is sodium lauryl sulfate. It is linked to infertility, PMS, breast cancer, as well as an array of other scary sh*t we don't ever want to encounter.

Upon checking out our household products, we found that the exact chemical we want to avoid at all costs is the first or second ingredient listed on almost every single one of our household and bath products. If you actually followed the link and read about SLS, you'll know they use it all the time because it's dirt cheap. Guess what isn't? Cancer. So it's time to start making a change, and I'm starting with the dirty girl in the mirror.

I was actually very surprised at Target's chemical-free product selection. Now, beware of your favorite product brands that just slap the word NATURAL across their bottles. If you take the time to read the list of ingredients, you'll see that the only thing natural about the product is that it's naturally a fib that there's nothing harmful in it. The FDA does not regulate the use of the word natural, safe, or pure on products. It's literally just a marketing ploy. So, I really took the time to weed through the products on the shelves, and this is what I have come up with.

I know it's blurry, but right there, second ingredient, SLS. 
**First: I perused the laundry detergent and dish soap aisle thinking I could just purchase some chemical-free stuff rather than whip it up here at home. BUT the only chemical-free claims I found were from Method and Seventh Generation. I've been an avid Method hand soap user for years, but upon further inspection, all of their products contain SLS. B-A-D. Joel depended heavily on Seventh Generation in Nashville (where it's cool to be green), so I trusted they'd do much better for us. Boy, was I wrong. Not only did the products all contain SLS, but they claim on their packaging that SLS is simply a safe, plant-derived chemical. Think about those words paired together. B.S. Shame on you, Seventh Generation. So I guess it's back to market for 5 gallon buckets and ingredients for home made cleaning products. At least I'll get some awesome guns from all the stirring.

On to the good stuff:

Shampoo and Conditioner: This is a toughie because I have really dry, flat, curly, frizzy, and down-right unruly hair that also happens to be color-treated. Joel has soft, straight, silky beautiful hair (with not a gray in it at 42--the bastard). So, alas, I couldn't settle on just one brand. I did find many that claim to be sulfate-free and many that were awesomely organic yet ridiculously rank. (Yes, apparently, I am addicted to fragrance.) But here were the winners: Burt's Bees Very Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner with Pomegranate. Smells amazing, the ingredient list reads like a food label, and not too badly priced. $7.99/10oz each (Please remember I'm a product whore and will not blink an eye at spending $32 for 8 oz of shampoo). And because I'm indecisive, I also got Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Shampoo in Colorific Plumeria. This smells like a dream, promises to be 100% vegan, and has no artificial colors, parabens (also super bad), phthalates (yup, those too), sodium lauryl OR laureth (SLS's sneaky brother), or sodium methyl sulfate (which I don't what that is--google it). For this, you get 12 oz for $8.29 a piece, and I'll be the first to say I can't wait to get this on my scalp! I just hope I smell like it for the rest of the night, because it's truly amazing.

Face Cleanser: I looked at a lot but this one seemed like the most bang for your buck (6oz for $9.99) and is specifically for sensitive skin (if you so much as think about the skin on my face, I have an allergic reaction). Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser with Cotton Extract. I don't really know what cotton extract is but if that's what my face feels like after I use it, I'm in. (I am going to wait on face lotion as I really do break the hell out every time I switch, and I just dropped almost $60 on bliss face lotion with spf 30.)

Acne Control: We can't live without this stuff in the C/O (that's Clark/Osborne) house. Burt's Bees makes a great one. It wasn't the cheapest, but it looks the most legit so we'll try it and see.

Sunblock: Also a staple in our house because we spend so much time outdoors but are terrified of getting burnt or skin cancer. I sprung for Alba Botanica SPF 45 green tea sunblock. We prefer spray (and I may or may not have bought some Neutrogena spray, but I've been reading there's not so much terrible stuff in sunscreen so we'll see). Also this one was way cheaper than Burt's. This was $6.99 and Burt's was a whopping $18.99. Sorry, Burt. Me no likey.

Bug Spray: Again, staple for farm-living. We went with Burt's this time only because he's the only one that makes it, and it was only $7.99. (Side note: Joel bought this stuff online called Swamp Gator that is chemical-free but after one use, we decided it was called that because it smells like it came out of a swamp gator's ass. No thanks.)

Bonus: Evolution of Smooth (EOS) Shave Cream. You can pretty much recognize everything on the ingredient list, and it was a mere $3.29 for 7oz.

Here's the loot!

Okay, that's where I stopped. Partly because I was exhausted from reading all those big words, and partly because I was worried my credit card would get declined. It's a good thing I saved all that money yard saling this morning. And I wouldn't dare total it up for you guys because, frankly, I'm embarrassed at how much I spent on this stuff. But if it takes a little moola to keep us from getting cancer and other miserable diseases, it's worth it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go naturale!!

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