We’ve talked a lot about what we put into our bodies, but not so much what we put on our bodies. I think that when shopping for beauty products, we should read the labels just as closely as when we’re buying food. I don’t know about you, but when buying packaged food, I have a list of ingredients to avoid, like certain dyes, preservatives, and chemicals. I have a similar list when I’m in the shampoo aisle. The first ingredient you’ll often see on a shampoo bottle is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This ingredient causes shampoo to get all foamy and well…make us feel like we’re cleaning our hair, but in reality, it’s actually pretty bad for our hair. It can cause damage (what we’re trying to avoid!!!) and can irritate the sensitive skin on our scalps. My next rule is that I avoid anything with the word “alcohol” in it. Isopropyl Alcohol is a common one you’ll see, but not only in your shampoo but also in wood finish and antifreeze! Gross! Two other not so healthy ingredients are formaldehyde and propylene glycol. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and skin irritant, and glycol breaks down healthy hair proteins. No way I’m lather, rinse, repeating with that stuff.
When it first came to my attention that maybe the shampoo I was using wasn’t so good for my hair, I went to my local natural foods store to see what they had in stock. I found Everyday Coconut. This coconut based line of body washes, shampoos, and conditioners is awesome for several reasons. First, the list of ingredients is short and sweet. Next, it’s a company that I love to support. Everyday Coconut is fair trade, and they support the communities where their products come from in Africa. They use 10% of sales to empower women in Togo through education and maternal health programs. Now this is a shampoo conditioner combination I’m happy about using. Read more about it here. As far as how it worked, my hair feels great. It’s shinier and healthier without being weighed down by extra ingredients. I do have to throw in a little extra oil in it when I get out of the shower because the conditioner isn’t as powerful as I’m used to, but when you can get a tub of virgin coconut oil from Trader Joe’s for $6, why not?
Another shampoo and conditioner I’ve fallen in love with is Gud from Burt’s Bees. No animal testing, and no parabens, phthalates or petrochemicals. There are a few ingredients I’m not sure about in it, but it’s better than most things on the market and it smells amazing- I mean seriously, people stop me to tell me how good I smell when I shampoo with this stuff.
After realizing how mainstream shampoo isn’t the best for my skin, I started questioning my other beauty products. Now my beauty routine looks like this:
Face: 100% Raw Organic Honey (just scoop some out and wash your face like normal. If you have issues with redness, throw in some ground cinnamon too. Your face will be soft and break out free, since honey is antibacterial. A face wash you can eat is always fun!)
Body: Local lavender goats milk soap
Hair: Everyday Coconut products
Skin: Hemp lotion with Shea butter (anti-inflammatory and healing). If my skin is especially dry, I’ll use avocado oil or coconut oil.