Read any good product labels lately? Too many personal care products, even on health food store shelves, abound in questionable ingredients like parabens, phthalates, chemical emulsifiers, artificial colors, alcohol, synthetic fragrances (which can have up to 500 unlisted components), artificial flavors, sweeteners, and numerous other multi-syllabic synthetics.
According to the Environmental Working Group, the average adult absorbs up to 5 pounds of chemicals in their care products every year – many of which have been shown to contribute to hormonal imbalances, cancer, eczema, and a wide range of other conditions. A lot of these chemical additives are banned in other countries, yet still allowed in the United States. Moreover, many of these ingredients, aside from being outright harmful, are very drying to the skin, such as alcohol and water (usually the first 2 ingredients listed on most “moisturizers”) or otherwise counterproductive, especially to chemically-sensitive individuals.
Why spend a lot of money on things you can make yourself with fewer and far better materials? Here are some easy-to-do items:
(FYI: ingredients in Crest Cavity Protection toothpaste: sodium monofluorophosphate, dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, water, glycerin and/or sorbitol, sodium lauryl sulfate, cellulose gum, flavor, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, sodium saccharin.)
Mix thoroughly 7 parts baking soda and 1 part seasalt. Put in a small jar.
To brush your teeth, simply ration out a quarter-sized amount of the powder into your palm. With a wet toothbrush, scrape the powder off your palm and start brushing. This salty, grainy mix may take a little getting used to, but it is well worth it. The baking soda cleanses and seasalt remineralizes the teeth.
For a little more pizzazz:
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 1-2 tsp. seasalt
- 5-7 drops essential oils such as peppermint, orange, clove or lavender
Mix well and place in a small wide mouth jar. Use a small spoon to put the paste on your brush. (May solidify in cooler temperatures.)
(Listerine mouthwash contains, among other things: water, alcohol, sorbitol solution, flavoring, poloxamer 407, benzoic acid, sodium saccharin, sodium benzoate, FD & C Green No. 3, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 cup boiling (preferably distilled) water
Place cloves in a heat-proof container (such as a small pot or canning jar). Pour boiling water over cloves. Cover the container with a lid or plate and leave mixture to cool. Once cool, strain out the cloves and pour the clove-infused water into a clean container. Rinse mouth with approximately 1 teaspoon of the mixture. This refreshing mouthwash will keep approximately one week.
A little more punch:
- Oil of Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
- 8 ounces pure water (preferably distilled)
Add 3 drops of the oil to the water. Swish around mouth in small amounts and spit out.
Oil of oregano is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-cancer and has high antioxidant properties. Make sure you get oregano oil that contains at least 75% Carvacrol, and that is organically grown. Most health food stores and pharmacies carry it.
(Ingredients in Chapstick: Arachidyl propionate, camphor, carnauba wax, cetyl alcohol, D&C red no. 6 barium lake, fragrance, isopropyl lanolate, isopropyl myristate, lanolin, light mineral oil, menthol, methylparaben, octyldodecanol, paraffin, pheny trimethicone, propylparaben, saccharin, white wax)
Pure unrefined coconut oil does the trick for relieving chapped lips. Put some in a small wide mouth glass container, plus a drop or two of essential oil, like peppermint, orange or lemon, for a refreshing lip treatment. Mix around a bit with the end of a spoon. Another option is simply mixing 1 part raw, unfiltered honey and 1 part unrefined coconut oil. (Both mixtures will harden in cooler temperatures.) In either case, immediately after applying, it is highly recommended that you kiss someone.
(Ingredients in Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream: WaterAquaEau, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Petrolatum, Tridecyl Stearate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Dipentaerythrityl Hexacaprylate/Hexacaprate, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) ExtractExtrait D’Orge, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, PEG-100 Stearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Tromethamine, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Yellow 6 (CI 15985), Red 33 (CI 17200).
- ½ cup unrefined coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon liquid vitamin E
- 5-7 drops lavender essential oil
Combine coconut oil, vitamin E and lavender in a bowl. Mix well. Store in a glass jar. (In cooler moths it will become hard; just rub a few dabs in fingers to soften before applying)
(Ingredients found in conventional DEET insect repellents:DEET (n, n-diethyl-m-toluamide), 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, diethyl phthalate, diethyl carbate, metofluthrin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus, picaridin and ethyl hexanediol.)
This is a water-based insect repellent that is easy to apply without staining clothing like oil-based concoctions:
- 40-50 drops of essential oils (choose any combo of citronella, rosemary, clove, lavender, eucalyptus, cedar, mint, catnip, lavender, cinnamon)
- 4 ounces (preferably distilled) water
- 4 ounces of emulsifier (e.g., aloe vera gel, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, vodka)
Mix water, emulsifier and essential oils of your choice. If you don’t use vodka as your emulsifier, add several drops to preserve the formula. (Don’t worry, you won’t smell like “Happy Hour.”) Store in a spray bottle or jar. Apply before going outside and enjoy the great outdoors! Reapply often as essential oils evaporate quicker than synthetic chemicals like DEET.
“Their hair fell out. Should the FDA have the power to act?” by Eric Lipton and Rachel Abrams
“Toxic Ingredients in your toothpaste “- Cornucopia Institute
“20 + DIY Natural Beauty Recipes” – WellnessMama.com
“How to make Natural Insect Repellent” – AnnmarieGianni.com
“DIY Body care products you can make using essential oils” – AnnmarieGianni.com
“Homemade lip balm” – VicariouslyVintage.com
“Simple Homemade Moisturizer” – LiveSimply.me