Detox Part I - Personal Care Products
Think about all the personal care products you likely use on a regular basis. In the shower, or for your skin, or perhaps even more importantly - on your child! Unfortunately there are SO many common ingredients out there that are best avoided. Want to learn about WHY detoxing your products matters, and HOW to do it? Keep reading!
We LOVE Young Living, and they have tons of great products besides oils. For each category I'll give you my favorite YL products, as well as safe non-YL alternatives, AND some DIY recipes. Something for everyone! Enjoy:)
OK, let’s get started with the super basics. Here are some words that come up a lot in this class, and that you have probably heard or read and wondered - what is THAT?! Well, here you go!
PARABENS are chemical compounds mainly used in products as an effective preservative. However, as effective as they might for preserving cosmetics and hygiene products, they are estrogen mimickers that can bind to the cellular structure and have been identified in numerous cancerous tumors, especially breast tumors. Parabens have been banned in the European Union due to safety, and in Scandinavian countries in products for children. You CAN find products without parabens...chose those!
How to find them: Listed as the suffix “paraben”, for example, methylparaben.
PHTHALATES are used in personal care products to keep things soft, flexible, and to add fragrance. It is one of many reasons that artificial fragrances should be avoided! Researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. Many countries have banned phthalates (The EU, Canada, Japan, South Korea and China) due to health concerns. Phthalates are a little trickier to avoid, because they are everywhere. Control what you can!
How to find them: most commonly listed as fragrance or parfum. Why it is SO important to avoid artificial fragrances! Also - anything in a package that “smells like chemicals” is likely filled with phthalates. Look for “no artificial fragrance” at a minimum, but preferentially the product should state where the fragrance comes from (for example, “vanilla bean”).
ARTIFICIAL COLORS are made from petroleum. Yep - seriously. The kind in your shampoo AND the kind in your food. How to identify them in your products: petrolatum, PEG, paraffin, mineral oil, DEA, toluene. Why avoid petroleum products for you skin? They are considered carcinogenic, and are also thought to be endocrine disruptors as well. Stay calm - keep reading:)
How to find them: listed as “Blue #1, Yellow #6” and similar, as well as the ingredients listed above. Look for “no artificial colors” as a preference. Many things can be colored naturally with fruit or vegetable dye. These types of dyes (for example, beet powder to make something pink/red) are not a cause for concern.
ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS (triclosan, parabens, BPA) are chemicals that alter our normal hormone function. This happens with products you use on your skin, plastic toys in your child’s bath, and touching receipts from most major department stores. Hard stuff to avoid! So let’s get out as much as we can. Major concerns - cancer of various types, thyroid dysfunction, obesity, and early puberty for children, particularly girls. Stuff you don’t want! More info from EWG.
How to find them: read your labels carefully! Avoid parabens, BPA, triclosan and chlorhexidine in your products. Avoid plastics as much as possible. We know this is hard!
Go to Environmental Working Group's Database and type in your shampoo and/or conditioner. What kind of score does your product get? 1-2 is low hazard, 3-6 is moderate, and 7-10 is high. Products are scored by their ingredients for the following concerns: overall hazard, cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity, and use restrictions. It will break the product down into the specific ingredients and give you detailed information about what you are using.
Not all products are in the database. Young Living products are not. You can however look up specific ingredients and get an idea that way. All YL shampoos are sulfate free, and have no parabens, phthalates, PEG, or artificial fragrances. There is a lavender mint version and a copaiba vanilla version (each come in shampoo and conditioner).
I don’t make my own shampoo and don’t want to offer a recipe that might not be amazing. Also, I know some of you are into that no-poo thing, but I’m just not an expert and can’t offer advice. My hairstylist friends cringe at the idea of baking soda on your hair! I also have friends that do this and love it. I do however have a dry shampoo recipe for you!
Essential oils of choice (citrus is good, or lavender, or your other favorites!)
Blend together to desired color. If your hair is pretty light you can use just arrowroot, if it’s darker then blend in some cocoa. Store in a glass jar or an old dry shampoo bottle if you have one you like. Add a few drops of essential oil, shake, and you’re done! To use, apply a small amount to roots, in sections, massage in slightly, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then brush out.
Top ingredients to avoid: Parabens, Synthetic colors, Fragrance, Phthalates, Triclosan, Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), Formaldehyde, Toluene, propylene glycol
Young Living Bath + Shower gels have NONE of the ingredients above. I like the unscented base and adding my own oils. Young Living also makes some AMAZING soaps.
OTHER SAFE OPTIONS:
Alaffia Everyday Shea Moisturizing Body Wash (get the unscented and add your own)
Acure Unscented Body Wash
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
*all of the above are available at Whole Foods or similar
Castile soap body wash
½ cup liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s mild baby unscented)
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vitamin E
25-30 drops of essential oil (try lavender or peppermint, or your other favorites)
Gently heat all ingredients and stir until mixture comes together. Remove from heat and add essential oils. Store in a plastic pump bottle (since there aren’t citrus oils in this recipe, you will be fine using plastic). This body wash is thinner than store bought shower gels or shower creams, but it lathers like a champ and smells pretty darn amazing!
Baby wash & lotion
This is one of the most frustrating for me! As parents we just want to do the best we can. Unfortunately, there are (very common!) baby products out there that may seem like they are OK, or even “the best”, when they are full of toxic ingredients that should never been on your baby!
If you want to replace your baby wash and lotion with YL products, I like the unscented bath gel and adding a little lavender oil (Young Living only please!). I prefer after bath oil for babies/kids over lotion. Almond or a mix of almond and coconut oil is nice, add a little lavender or Gentle Baby for relaxing and calming benefits before bed!
Bonus recommendations for babies/kids - Young Living’s Kidscents Tender Tush ointment (amazing as a diaper cream!) and Young Living’s rose ointment (great alone or for applying over oils, and especially good for dry skin, eczema and other skin rashes).
OTHER SAFE OPTIONS:
California Baby Shampoo and Body Wash
Everyday Shea products that are available at Whole Foods! Get the unscented ones and then add your own oil.
The Beautycounter baby products also score very low on the EWG ratings.
Bonus non-YL product - Honest Baby Co Organic Healing Balm (nice thick cream, safe ingredients.)
Foaming Lavender Baby Wash
1/2 oz Castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner's Baby)
1/2 oz fractionated coconut oil (I use Dr. Adorable)
10 drops Young Living Lavender oil
Mix the above ingredients in a 6oz pump bottle. Fill remainder with distilled water, approx 5 oz. Mix all ingredients in bottle, gently invert, and you're ready to go! As with all my homemade products, I recommend distilled water. Using regular tap water can promote mold and bacteria. Unless you are using a product immediately, use distilled water. Note - This recipe is very mild and gentle for babies. If you need "a little more cleaning" for older children, just increase the soap content a bit.
What do you use to clean your face? A fancy cleanser, a bar of soap, whatever is in the shower? Is there an ingredient in your face wash you don’t recognize? Look it up on the EWG website if you're not sure what it is.
Ingredients to avoid: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), PEG, phthalates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, colors/dyes.
Young Living offers two great options, the Orange Blossom face wash and the ART Gentle cleanser. The ART cleanser is great for most people. It’s non drying but also gets everything off. The Orange Blossom one is especially nice. It will rival any fancy cleanser you have used. The trick with this one is to just use a TINY bit of it. You don’t need much at all. Use just a drop and mix with water in your hands and then wash your face. A bottle will last you for months!
OTHER SAFE OPTIONS:
Beautycounter Cleansing Balm
Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash - great for oily or breakout prone skin, may be drying otherwise. They make some other ones too I believe:)
Another option is oil cleansing. This is where you take a blend of carrier oils (typically something like castor oil with sweet almond or jojoba oil) and massage that into dry skin for a couple minutes. Then wring out a hot washcloth, and place over your face for a minute. Use this to remove the oil. This will take makeup off just fine. While it might not seem like a good option to add oil to oily skin, this can actually be a great way to balance oily or breakout prone skin.
By now you guys are getting the hang of this! What you put on your skin is absorbed and can affect your entire body. Choose wisely!
Ingredients to avoid: Parabens, synthetic dyes and fragrance, phthalates, formaldehyde, and petroleum products such as petrolatum or mineral oil. Why avoid petroleum?? Well - it’s considered a carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor. It’s also really not nourishing or moisturizing to the skin.
ART Light Moisturizer - a great everyday moisturizer, alone or mix in a drop of your favorite oil.
Boswellia Wrinkle Cream - frankincense and sandalwood based cream for lines/wrinkles.
Sandalwood Cream - this is a really nice, thick cream for moisturizing and aging concerns.
Sherlume Cream - for brightening and balancing skin. A tiny bit will do!
Bonus! - Young Living Essential Beauty Serum is nothing short of amazing. This special blend of oils can be applied to skin directly or put into your regular facial carrier oil or moisturizer. I’ve also heard some people swear by putting a couple drops in their hair after showering. Just a tiny bit!
OTHER SAFE OPTIONS:
Desert Essence Facial Moisturizer
Juice Beauty (they make several nontoxic moisturizers)
I like 100% pure argan oil with a drop each of frankincense and lavender.
Bonus! Raw honey and a drop of lemon oil makes a great beauty mask:) Apply to clean skin for 20 minutes, remove with warm water and a washcloth.
Most chapsticks are petroleum based, and many have parabens or other preservatives as well. Be honest - have you checked the ingredients in yours?! Go see!
Young Living makes some great lip balms! They come in lavender, grapefruit and cinnamint. If you’re looking for something with a little bit of color, the L’Briante lip glosses are perfect. They have a lip gloss on one end and an essential oil blend on the other. It comes in 3 colors.
Peppermint Lip Balm
2 tbsp each of coconut oil, Shea butter, and beeswax, and melt.
35 drops peppermint essential oil
Melt beeswax pellets, coconut oil, and shea butter in a double boiler. Once fully melted, remove from heat and add peppermint oil. Stir and pour into tubes or lip balm tins. Makes about 16.
Toothpaste & Mouthwash
Ingredients to avoid: Fluoride, Triclosan, Chlorhexidine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Artificial Sweeteners, Propylene Glycol, Diethanolamine (DEA), Microbeads.
And fluoride...can be a heated topic! As with most things, I suggest doing your own research and doing what is right for your family. If you have excellent oral hygiene (brushing at least twice a day, and either flossing or using a Waterpik), then fluoride may not be necessary. Fluoride does bind to heavy metals and may cause negative effects in the body. There are neurodevelopmental concerns as well. On a personal note, I don’t want to use something that doesn’t clearly have a benefit and may be harmful. We’ve been a fluoride free family for many years, and I’ve never used fluoride for my almost 4 year old. A few years ago I finally “came clean” to my hygienist that I stopped using fluoride, and I was surprised to hear she was FINE with it. Again, because of oral hygiene. We now have an Integrative dentist that doesn't recommend fluoride and has Young Living and Dental Herb Company products in the office. Yay! Read up and make your own best choice:)
Thieves Aromabright - my favorite! Brightening power, great flavor, safe and nontoxic.
Kidscents Toothpaste - kids version, flavored with orange oil and stevia
Mouthwash - most store brands are full of dyes, artificial flavors, often cancer causing artificial sweeteners, and antiseptic ingredients like triclosan or chlorhexidine. What if there was a way to kill the “bad” bacteria in your mouth without causing other problems?! Well - there is! Thieves Fresh Essence Mouthwash combines essential oils with colloidal silver to safely and effectively clean your mouth. Colloidal silver is a great option for helping to combat infections in the mouth.
Mouthwash - Dental Herb Company Tooth and Gum Tonic
OK so we all want to smell good right? Unfortunately, artificial fragrances in perfumes and colognes are not your friend. They are full of phthalates, benzene derivatives (carcinogens), endocrine disruptors and more. In short - they can cause problems as mild as respiratory irritation and allergies, to as severe as birth defects, cancer and neurodegenerative disease.
Want to use your oils as a fragrance? Some female favorites: Joy, Lady Sclareol, Jasmine, Lavender, Frankincense, Stress Away. You can simply add one of the metal roller tops available from YL or you can make a diluted roller and do your own custom blend. Citrus blends are popular too, just avoid using on areas that will get a lot of sun exposure. Citrus oils and sun can cause a rash, particularly bergamot.
Have a man in your life? You MUST get him some Shutran. Smells divine, and helps boost confidence as well. Other “manly” oils to try - Idaho Blue Spruce, Northern Lights Black Spruce, or the blend Mister.
OTHER SAFE OPTIONS:
I had a really hard time finding truly safe, nontoxic fragrances that are not simply essential oils! If you have something you love please share.
Lavender Vanilla Perfume
½ cup vodka (high proof)
2 tbsp vegetable glycerin
1 cup dried lavender flowers (try Mountain Rose Herbs!)
2 whole vanilla beans
15 drops Young Living Lavender Essential Oil
10 drops vanilla extract (or Young Living Stress Away Essential Oil blend)
Slice open vanilla beans with a sharp knife. Place the beans and lavender flowers in a large mason jar. Pour the vodka into the jar and replace lid. Let the mixture infuse for 7 days. Strain and discard the vanilla beans and lavender flowers. Add the glycerin, lavender essential oil and vanilla extract (or Stress Away) to the reserved liquid. Replace the lid and allow the perfume to age for 4-6 weeks. Strain the perfume once more through a paper filter and transfer to decorative spray bottles.
This can be a hard one to replace for many people! But let’s be honest, you’ve likely heard that the aluminum in your deodorant might not be so good for you. It can take a little experimenting to find a natural product or recipe you love, but there are lots of options!
Young Living deodorants are safe (Mountain Mint or Meadow Mist) or try making your own - recipe below.
Bonus! Some people LOVE their YL toothpaste as deodorant.
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp shea butter
2 heaping tbsp beeswax pellets
3 heaping tbsp cornstarch (you could also use arrowroot powder)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp Vitamin E Oil (or 4 capsules)
7 drops Young Living Lavender essential oil
3-5 drops Young Living Tea Tree Essential Oil
Put all ingredients except the baking soda, cornstarch and essential oils in a medium sauce pan. Melt slowly over low heat, stirring often. Once the ingredients are melted, remove from heat and slowly stir in baking soda and cornstarch. Mix thoroughly. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then stir in essential oils and pour deodorant into an empty deodorant tube or a 4oz mason jar
Hello...propane?! Yes, seriously! Unfortunately most typical shaving creams are full of junky stuff. Ingredients to avoid: parabens, phthalates, SLS, artificial dye and fragrance, and triethanolamine. Ready to clean up your act? There are two amazing products that YL offers, full of skin nourishing goodness and nothing questionable. Have a safe non-YL product you love? Share with me!
Shutran Shave Cream - Created for men but I hear that women love it too! Made with pure essential oils and moisturizing botanicals, Shutran Shave Cream delivers an incredibly close, smooth shave. Combining hydrating palm, grape seed, and olive oils, naturally derived vitamin E complex, and mango and cocoa butter, this luxurious shave cream provides a frictionless glide to reduce razor burn and nicks.
Mirah Shave Oil - One bottle seriously lasts forever. Mirah Shave Oil is formulated with a rich blend of essential oils, emollients, and botanical ingredients for a luxuriously close shave. Exotic baobab, meadowfoam, and avocado oils work together with our exclusive Mirah essential oil blend to reduce razor drag, bumps, and nicks.
You can also use a very thin layer of a safe nontoxic conditioner as well:)