Thursday, October 22, 2015

If You Can't Pronounce It, Avoid It

For the last few years I was using a wonderful organic shampoo that was homemade by a small business. It only had 6 ingredients and no fragrance, plus it worked great in my hair! I was SO thankful for this awesome product! Then as of August, the company was no longer in business. =(

So I began searching for an organic shampoo to replace it. I read almost every shampoo label in the health food store. I scoured the internet. Weeks and weeks of searching and I still haven't found a satisfactory product. In fact, I was shocked by what is sold as "organic" shampoo. The only truly chemical-free product I found was made out of olive oil, but it had borax in it. I don't have a great history with borax, so I didn't want to try that one.

Otherwise, these so-called "organic" and "natural" shampoos still contain various ingredients that are chemical or toxic in nature. You wouldn't believe the kind of ingredients I found in "organic" baby shampoos even! I guess companies assume that if they label their product as "natural" or "organic" consumers won't bother to read the labels and investigate the ingredients.

So, I've decided that my basic rule of thumb is this - "If you can't pronounce it, then you better avoid it."

In the process of my search I found this great website that has a list of many of those unpronounceable ingredients. I think it's a great resource for when you need info on a specific chemical. This link is for the information on an ingredient called "phenoxyethanol." When I read that on a baby shampoo label, I was pretty sure it couldn't be a "natural" ingredient. I was correct. Here's the info on it, rather scary if you ask me.

The Environmental Working Group also has a helpful database, which lists specific details about all kinds of cosmetic products and what toxic rating each product has. I found the info in this database enlightening, but unfortunately I still didn't find a suitable shampoo.

For the moment I'm using a "natural" shampoo that has less than 10 ingredients. Unfortunately it does contain parabens, a kind of preservative used in many cosmetics. (Parabens are endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer.) Thankfully, I found out this month that my organic shampoo maker is back in business! So hopefully I'll soon have my healthy shampoo again. In the meantime, I encourage you to read the labels on your shampoo and find the least toxic option you can. And with all your personal care products, remember this rule of thumb:
If you can't pronounce, better avoid it."

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