Sources for ingredients & containers:
- Rainbow Grocery [San Francisco]
- Juniper Tree Supplies [Berkeley; recommended by Dorothée]
- Whole Foods
- Mountain Rose Herbs [online; recommended by Dorothée]
- Starwest Botanicals [online; recommended by Dorothée]
- Bulk Apothecary [online]
- Amazon [really!]
Websites, apps & other resources:
- Good Guide [safe, healthy, green, & ethical product reviews based on scientific ratings]
- Environmental Working Group
- Rosemary Gladstar [Dorothée’s herbal guide]
Toxins in cosmetics:
- The Story of Cosmetics
- What is Prop 65? [lots of details]
- Ingredients to avoid in body care products, from TreeHugger:
- Coal Tar: A known carcinogen banned in the EU, but still used in North America. Used in dry skin treatments, anti-lice and anti-dandruff shampoos, also listed as a colour plus number, i.e. FD&C Red No. 6.
- DEA/TEA/MEA: Suspected carcinogens used as emulsifiers and foaming agents for shampoos, body washes, soaps.
- Ethoxylated surfactants and 1,4-dioxane: Never listed because it’s a by-product made from adding carcinogenic ethylene oxide to make other chemicals less harsh. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found 1,4-dioxane in 57 percent of baby washes in the U.S. Avoid any ingredients containing the letters “eth.”
- Formaldehyde: Probable carcinogen and irritant found in nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos. Banned in the EU.
- Fragrance/Parfum: A catchall for hidden chemicals, such as phthalates. Fragrance is connected to headaches, dizziness, asthma, and allergies.
- Hydroquinone: Used for lightening skin. Banned in the UK, rated most toxic on the EWG’s Skin Deep database, and linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity.
- Lead: Known carcinogen found in lipstick and hair dye, but never listed because it’s a contaminant, not an ingredient.
- Mercury: Known allergen that impairs brain development. Found in mascara and some eyedrops.
- Mineral oil: By-product of petroleum that’s used in baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels. It creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.
- Oxybenzone: Active ingredient in chemical sunscreens that accumulates in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight.
- Parabens: Used as preservatives, found in many products. Linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity.
- Paraphenylenediamine (PPD): Used in hair products and dyes, but toxic to skin and immune system.
- Phthalates: Plasticizers banned in the EU and California in children’s toys, but present in many fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, lotions. Linked to endocrine disruption, liver/kidney/lung damage, cancer.
- Placental extract: Used in some skin and hair products, but linked to endocrine disruption.
- Polyethylene glycol (PEG): Penetration enhancer used in many products, it’s often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens.
- Silicone-derived emollients: Used to make a product feel soft, these don’t biodegrade, and also prevent skin from breathing. Linked to tumour growth and skin irritation.
- Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES): A former industrial degreaser now used to make soap foamy, it’s absorbed into the body and irritates skin.
- Talc: Similar to asbestos in composition, it’s found in baby powder, eye shadow, blush, deodorant. Linked to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems.
- Toluene: Known to disrupt the immune and endocrine systems, and fetal development, it’s used in nail and hair products. Often hidden under fragrance.
- Triclosan: Found in antibacterial products, hand sanitizers, and deodorants, it is linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. Avoid the brand Microban.
Simple Deodorant (contributed by Rose)
Makes one 4 oz jar.
- 1 TB coconut oil (you can use more of this if you find it too dry)
- 1 TB baking soda
- 1 TB arrowroot powder
- 4-6 drops of an essential oil of your choice
- Put the coconut oil into the glass jar, and put the jar into a small pot over low heat with water up halfway on the jar, or in the microwave for about 30 seconds [or until the oil melts]. It should be completely liquid before mixing in the other ingredients.
- Add the arrowroot and the baking soda, and stir everything together while the jar is in the pot, or just after taking the jar out of the microwave.
- If using pot on stove: After everything is combined, pull out the jar.
- Mix everything one more time and add the essential oil.
- Put the jar in the fridge for an hour or so, until the mixture solidifies.
- Apply with fingers.
(image from nourishingminimalism.com)
Luscious Lip Balm (contributed by Dorothée)
- 1 cup olive, apricot, almond, or grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup granulated beeswax
- A few drops of pure essential oil to taste
- Optional: alkanet, to add reddish tint
- Simmer the oil in double boiler or saucepan over low heat.
- If tinting with alkanet, add alkanet to oil before essential oil and beeswax.
- Strain alkanet powder out of oil with cotton cloth. Compost alkanet residue, put oil back in pan over low heat.
- Stir in essential oil and beeswax until it is melted [about 10 minutes].
- Pour into 1/4 or 1/2-ounce containers.
- Don’t let the mixture cool too much before pouring. If the lip balm begins to solidify and cling to the edges of the pot or measuring cup, quickly reheat the oil.
- Let cool completely before putting lids on containers [balm will solidify and change color]
(Image from Mountain Rose blog)
Salt Glow Body Scrub (contributed by Dorothée)
- Fine sea salt, enough to fill your container 3/4 of the way
- Olive, grapeseed, apricot, or almond oil, enough to saturate salt in container
- Dried herb(s) of choice (optional), approximately 1c
- Essential oil of choice (optional)
- To infuse the oil, place dried herbs and oil in blender.
- Blend on high for 3 minutes.
- Place the mixture in the sun for 2-8 hours.
- Blend on high once more for 3 minutes.
- Strain the herbs out of the oil with a fine cloth.
- Place the salt in a widemouthed jar and pour the oil over it.
- Mix in your essential oil of choice.
- Combine the ingredients with a spoon. Store in a cool area.