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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Favorite Non-Toxic Body Care Products

The more I've immersed myself into the holistic health world, the more I've come to learn that what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in our bodyOur skin, our largest organ, absorbs a large percentage of the products we slather on it, meaning many of the ingredients in those products enter our bloodstream. According to a study done by a natural deodorant company, Bionsen, the average woman applies 500 chemicals to her body a day! And many of those chemicals have been linked to cancer, allergies and birth defects. Yikes. 

According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, the cosmetic industry is the least regulated industry under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FFDCA does not require safety testing of cosmetics before they go on the market. Issues are only addressed after the products are released and on shelves to be sold to consumers. Even more, The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health reported to the government that 884 of the chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products are hazardous to our health, contributing to genetic damage, mutations and cancer. 

Because there is limited regulation, the cosmetic industry consistently uses misleading advertisements and false claims. We often see "all-natural" or "chemical-free" thrown around on various product labels, not just on personal care products but on food and home products as well. The ironic thing is, many organic or "green" products have chemicals in them too. Most all products do. Even zinc oxide, used in mineral-based sunscreens and known to be the safer alternative to other chemical sunscreens, is a chemical. It all boils down to the chemicals level of severity and potential for serious health risks. The point is, very few products are truly "all-natural." 

Since we clearly cannot count on the cosmetic/personal care industry, or any industry for that matter, to protect us from harmful chemicals, it's crucial that we take responsibility for our own health and read labels to distinguish the good from the bad so that we can make the best decision possible for ourselves and our families.

Purchasing cosmetics and personal care products is like voting. Are you voting for good health & integrity or illness & deception?

Ingredients to avoid in cosmetics/personal care products:

Aluminum - commonly found in deodorant and antiperspirants. This deodorant is my favorite.
Artificial fragrances - companies are not required to list all of the chemicals used for synthetic fragrance, meaning there may be hundreds of chemicals used yet only listed as 1 ingredient often seen as 'fragrance'
Artificial dyes & colors - made from petroleum and coal tar... bleh, that just sounds disgusting. You'll often see them listed as letters followed by a color & number much like FD&C Red No. 40
DEA, TEA, MEA (diethanolamine, triethanolamine, monethanolamine)
Formaldehyde - commonly found in nail polish
Lanolin - can be contaminated with the neurotoxic pesticides DDT, dieldrin & lindane
Oxybenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate & retinyl palmitate - found in chemical sunscreens. Opt for mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. This sunscreen is my favorite.
Parabens, including methyl, propyl, butyl, & ethyl parabens
Petrochemicals (PEG), including mineral oil, toluene (found in nail polish) & petroleum oil
Phthalates (DBP, BBP, DEHP)
Propylene glycol
Sulfates (sodium lauryl & sodium laureth)
Talc - commonly found in make-up
Ureas - may also be listed as DMDM hydantoin & sodium hydroxymethylglycinate

* Sources: EWG, Cinco Vidas, CPC

Also important - avoid companies that test on animals. It's truly unnecessary now that scientists have the ability to effectively test cosmetics in other ways without causing distress to and the suffering of an innocent animal.

Luckily, we can reduce our toxic load by choosing to eat nutrient-rich foods, consisting of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, drinking plenty of filtered water, and by using high-quality, gentle skin care products that nourish our skin without the use of unnecessary chemicals and additives.

Below are a few of my very favorite holy-grail body products including two body washes, a moisturizer (body oil) & an exfoliant. I've been on the hunt for the best effective but non-toxic skin care for years. And like many, I've spent an embarrassing amount of money on products that have been both ineffective and harmful to my health due to the plethora of dangerous chemicals they're loaded with. Recently, I've discovered a few gems that have become staples in my daily body skin care routine and I couldn't be more relieved! My face skin care routine is soon to come, but for now...

Please join me in welcoming my latest and greatest VIP (Very Important Products)!

Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Bar Soap: Tea Tree Oil has developed a loyal following the past several years thanks to its natural antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. This versatile oil is highly effective in treating skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as dandruff, burns and rashes. I've been using this soap for several months on my chest to treat dermatitis, and on my neck, shoulders, and back to treat acne. Dr. Bronner's tea tree soap has worked wonders for me! It has cleared the dermatitis on my chest, the acne on my neck, and greatly reduced the acne on my shoulders and back. It is a million times more manageable now and I've been able to move on with my life a lot less stressed knowing those problem areas have been taken care of, and in a healthy manner to boot.

The liquid form works just the same too and is probably preferred. You only need a few drops - it lathers beautifully.

Click here for reviews by some consumers who swear by Dr. Bronner's castile soap for acne treatment. :-)

* Even with all of the benefits of tea tree oil, I want to share this enlightening article on how even natural ingredients should be used with some caution and in lower concentrations to avoid resistance to the ingredient or resistance to antibiotics. I typically switch up my products after I've used them for awhile to avoid overuse. Use at your own discretion.

• Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap (16 oz.): I love & adore this soap so much because I can rest assured that all of the ingredients are working to not only clean off the day's dirt and grime but are actually nourishing my skin as opposed to stripping my skin with preservatives and other chemicals. The bottle claims that it has 18 uses, though I have only tried a few of those uses -- I use it as a body wash and hand soap. From what I've read on other blogs, it's useful as a produce wash, shaving cream, shampoo, laundry liquid, and general house cleaner. This soap gives a tingly, cooling sensation to the skin, as you would expect from peppermint. Dr. Bronner's offers several other scents too. I hear the almond variety is divine.

Dr. Bronner's is easily one of my all-time favorite brands. For one, they use certified fair-trade and organic ingredients and they're 100% vegetarian. Also, their products have a short ingredient list of names that you can pronounce and are familiar with. Minimal ingredients that are both gentle and effective? That's a slam dunk in my book. Dr. Bronner's represents the 3 E's: Economical, Environmentally-friendly & Effective. Boom!

You can choose from a variety of sizes and scents on their website with options for babies too (including unscented). I first sampled the soap by buying a 4 oz. bottle before buying a larger bottle just to test it out, which is an awesome option to have.

Other retailers that carry Dr. Bronner's: Amazon, Target, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and The Vitamin Shoppe.

• SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Body Wash (13 oz.): I've been using this body wash for a month now and couldn't be more impressed! It claims to be anti-aging, hydrating & rejuvenating. With a blend of organic raw shea butter, coconut oil, and frankincense & myrrh extracts, no wonder my skin feels so lusciously moisturized and soft after use. Raw shea butter has been used for centuries to heal, hydrate, and repair the skin. It contains vitamins A and E, which work to maintain supple, smooth skin and help to rebuild collagen. Frankincense & Myrrh possess anti-inflammatory properties to heal the skin. And the coconut oil gives the skin an extra boost of nourishment with Vitamins E and K and essential fatty acids.

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Bath, Body & Massage Oil (8 oz.): I use this oil as my daily moisturizer all over my body except for on my face. It claims to brighten and tone the skin with the help of coconut oil to moisturize, hibiscus flower to heal and soothe & Vitamin E to protect from free radical damage. It smells like a tropical paradise with an obvious coconut scent, meaning it ignites a piƱa colada craving every time I get a whiff. ;-) I massage it into my skin right after I get out of the shower to lock in the moisture. Honestly, my skin has never looked or felt better. And the only reason I can co-sign it 100% is because it's formulated without harsh chemicals. It's also the perfect complement to their body wash.

SheaMoisture is a new discovery of mine and man am I glad that I found this company! Besides bath and body products, they also offer hair products. SheaMoisture uses certified organic ingredients that are ethically traded and sustainably produced. And again, their ingredient list is small and contains only healthy ingredients, no harsh chemicals, like most products on the market today. The side of the body wash bottle states: No parabens, phthalates, paraffin, gluten, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, PABA, synthetic color, sulfates, or animal ingredients. I would argue that this company is close to being as "all-natural" as it gets.

SheaMoisture is currently re-designing their website due to growing demands for their products but you can find them at these online retailers:, & Their products can also be found in all Walgreens stores and select Target, CVS, Bed Bath & Beyond, Buy Buy Baby, Christmas Tree Shops, Harmon Face Values, Duane Reade and Meijer stores. *I found mine in stores at Target. I've seen their products at Walgreens stores too.

Whipped Sugar Scrub: This is my favorite body exfoliator due to its minimal ingredients sans any unnecessary additives. It is made up of olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, raw, organic sugar, peppermint oil, & vanilla beans - that's it! The sugar is effective in ridding the skin of dead skin cells while the oils seal in  moisture. This scrub has one of the best scents I've ever smelled. I want everything to be made of this scent - body oil, candle, lotion, body wash, laundry detergent... everything!

I was delighted to discover this small but rapidly growing business through Twitter. All products are made with familiar, organic, raw ingredients suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. It's no wonder Whipped Body Goods has been so successful in such a short amount of time. Their high-quality products include everything from body butters and oils to cremes and scrubs for the face, body and hair - including products for men. Each product is hand made and whipped to perfection. Dare I say... a body care love affair. Most definitely.

Research the ingredients in products before you buy them HERE! I use this resource religiously.

Until next time!

"Skin is a body organ, like the heart. We must treat it with the same respect." Britta Aragon


  1. I love Shea Moisture products! Great blog spot Claire!

    1. Thanks so much, Angel!! I appreciate your support. :-) So nice to see your beautiful self on here.

  2. That was great to know!.. I prefer buying body care products online... I love buying popular products but will try this one too... Thanks.


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