Everyone loves clean shiny hair. Using shampoo comes with the promise of not only the feeling of clean, healthy hair and scalp but also the experience of seeing and feeling it become clean with those luxurious lathery bubbles we have all come to associate with cleanliness. The thing is, that lather and those bubbles might not only be damaging your hair but also putting you at risk for disease, hair thinning and scalp damage.
The main culprit behind these risks with shampoo is Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS). SLS studies have linked it to serious skin and scalp irritation and disease, hair loss and damage and the ability of the chemical to create nitrate compounds which have been linked to cancer and cell damage. SLS is often disguised in shampoo by its other derivatives Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), DEA, TEA or MEA. It is a chemically toxic surfactant, which means it is a wetting and foaming agent. The purpose of SLS is to lower the surface tension in the water, allowing the shampoo to spread out more easily and to penetrate when it is applied to the hair. Additionally, since manufacturers believe that consumers equate lots of suds with cleaning strength, SLS gives a high level of foaming power to the product. It is a chemical ingredient very similar to liquid dishwashing soap. In fact, traditionally, it was used in industrial factories as a compound to degrease engines. In “Dangerous Beauty” by Mark Fearer, it is revealed that “… in tests, animals that were exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, along with depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation, corrosion and death.” Take a look at your bottle of shampoo next time you’re in the shower.
Natural Alternative: Bumble and Bee Really Good Shampoo - Peppermint and Tea Tree
A classic soap bar is usually made of a combination of lye and some type of fat and/or oil. Commercially produced soap that you find nowadays is vastly different as additional ingredients are included, many of which are considered to be dangerous chemicals. For example, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (see the theme here?) is known as a “mutagen” that can alter cellular materials. Others like Benzyl Acetate are carcinogens that have been linked to certain kinds of cancers, while Benzaldehyde and the like can depress the nervous system. These kinds of toxins are terrible for your body and only add to the above-mentioned dangers of classically-formulated soap. Why not go back to the traditional version?
Natural Alternative: White Squirrel Soaps
Pretty much everyone can appreciate a fresh, clean mouth - it’s one of the quickest ways we assess whether someone is clean and healthy or not, just check out that smile but did you know there are many ingredients secretly lurking in toothpaste that aren’t so good for you? First, let’s start with fluoride. Straight up, it’s a neurotoxin. A Harvard meta-analysis found that 25 of 26 studies on fluoride resulted in reduced IQ’s for children under 6. In fact, just read the back of your fluoridated toothpaste and you’ll see the FDA warning telling you to keep out of reach from children under six and if swallowed to contact poison control. That’s pretty powerful.
Beyond fluoride, here’s a little run-down of the other potentially harmful ingredients you might find in your toothpaste:
- Saccharin has been on the on-and-off list of FDA for causing cancer. Xylitol is safe not only as a sweetener, but has many other benefits. Recent studies show encouraging results for decay prevention, helping with dry mouth and even gum disease.
- Antimicrobials, whether natural or synthetic can include tea tree oil, alcohol and triclosan among others. These days antimicrobials are found in many products, such as deodorants, dish soap, hand and body soaps, and some shampoo. Center for Disease Control warns that with overuse of antibiotics, the result can be antibiotic resistant bacteria. MRSA and other resistant to antibiotic strains are proof.
- Abrasives are meant to remove stains, but can be harsh in many toothpaste brands, with their claims to whiten teeth, and can actually cause sensitivity. "Abfraction" is a term used by the dental profession for tooth sensitivity that may be caused by aggressive brushing or abrasive toothpaste.
- Chlorine dioxide is an industrial bleach, used for bleaching wood, flour, and disinfection of municipal water. This ingredient is sometimes added to toothpaste to fight gum disease.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS - here it is again!) is a surfactant and industrial detergent added for foaming and cleaning. Studies report it may cause canker sore, dry mouth and allergies.
- Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also known as lye or caustic soda, is a metallic base, used in textiles, drain cleaners and industrial detergents. It's used in toothpaste, even some natural ones, to neutralize the pH of certain ingredients.
- PEG/PPG (polypropylene glycol) is a surfactant used as a wetting agent, and dispersant in leather finishing. Large quantities are required to cause health damage, however, accumulative amounts even with low amounts absorbed daily, have not been tested.
Just like toothpaste, mouthwash is also completely associated with fresh, clean breath. Again, we all desire to be clean and healthy but as you’ll see once again, some of those “healthy” products may not be so healthy for you. While bacteria in the mouth get a bad rap for producing stink, there are also significant health benefits to them being there. The good mouth bacteria uses compounds from the air you exhale and converts them into potent chemicals that dilate blood vessels and normal blood pressure. Mouthwash kills off bacteria in exchange for that minty fresh breath you want which can dramatically increase blood pressure. If you have blood high blood pressure, it’s time to ditch the mouthwash and you may just find out that you can ditch your blood pressure meds too!
Natural Alternative: Oil pulling.
Oil pulling is an ayurvedic technique of swishing around an oil in your mouth for a period of time and then spitting it out. You can use any oil you’d like but I would recommend coconut oil as it has a fairly pleasant taste to it. To do it, put about a teaspoon of oil in your mouth. Swish it around in your mouth for 5-20 minutes. You’ll want to start out short just to get used to doing it. When you’re done, spit the oil out - get as much of it as you can out and try not to swallow. Toxins and bacteria will be removed from your mouth and so swallowing it just moves it down to your stomach where it doesn’t belong. Try to brush your teeth after you spit out the oil. Once you get used to oil pulling it just becomes a part of your routine. You’ll notice fresh breath and whiter teeth from doing so.
You expected this, right? I mean, we are a deodorant company. If you’re using a commercially manufactured deodorant, you’re exposing yourself a variety of potentially toxic and cancer causing ingredients. You can find evidence of this all over the internet. Things are especially bad if you’re using an antiperspirant. All antiperspirants by definition, contain aluminum. Aluminum in deodorant has been linked to breast cancer, alzheimer's disease and endocrine disruption. A host of other potentially harmful ingredients beyond aluminum also exist. For more information you can read our blog post Meet the 6 Toxic Chemicals in Your Commercial Deodorant.
Why take the chance of exposing yourself to potentially hazardous materials when you can get the same all day odor protection with a product that uses natural ingredients that you can recognize? Our deodorants combine natural ingredients with the odor fighting power of probiotics but wait…...there’s more! We go the extra step in that we include bentonite clay as one of our rockstar ingredients. When bentonite clay contacts moisture is reverses its electrical charge and attracts toxins, pulling them out of the body. You get a daily detox just from putting your deodorant on everyday!
Natural Alternative: Green Theory Natural Probiotic Deodorant