Be Kind to Yourself (with a Chemical Crackdown)
It’s a common sight in many households - bathrooms filled with bottles and jars containing all kinds of lotions and potions. A shampoo to add volume to your hair, a conditioner to stop split ends, a masque to make it sleek and smooth, shaving foam to help your razor glide easily across your skin, deodorant to make you smell like a field of wildflowers, gloop to iron out your wrinkles... But do all these chemical-laden products make our lives better, or worse?
If we’re honest with ourselves, we probably don’t recognise half the ingredients found in most bathroom and self care products in the supermarkets, let alone know what side effects they might have. Yet as a society we have blindly been using them daily, with the belief that someone is looking out for our best interests. If you a little deeper into some of the ingredients, however, you might find some worrisome information.
Deodorant, in particular, has been linked to many diseases including breast cancer and Alzheimer’s due to the chemicals and aluminium compounds found in antiperspirants. Many shampoos and soaps also contain ingredients such as sulphates, parabens, silicone and phthalates that can disrupt our hormones and damage the environment.
It seems only sensible to avoid these ingredients wherever possible, and there’s a lot of consumers now choosing products that don't carry some of these controversial ingredients and saving money by eliminating them from their daily routines. In most cases, some of our bathroom mainstays can easily be swapped for a chemical-free (and often also plastic-free!) alternative.
Make the Switch
There are some fantastic deodorant alternatives on the market. Brands like Earth Conscious produce natural deodorant and don’t use any nasties like triclosan, which has been linked to skin and thyroid problems. In fact, you can find natural, plastic-free versions of almost anything these days including toothpaste, floss, shaving soap, conditioner, bath bombs and body lotion. Just take a look in our Plastic Free Bathroom collection and explore brands like Georganics and Friendly Soap among others, all natural and free from controversial ingredients.
One of the easiest swaps in the bathroom is to buy a good old fashioned bar of soap. In fact, the FDA (the US Food & Drug Administration) published a study in 2014 that used over 40 years of data to confirm that washing your hands with chemical-laden antibacterial soap is no more effective than traditional soap and water. Not only does soap do the same job as the liquid hand soap we’ve all become so accustomed to, it is a great alternative to the vast array of shower gels that come in plastic bottles. Soap comes in a huge range of luscious scents and there are plenty of options using natural ingredients, Vegan and PETA approved. You could even try your hand at making your own!
There are also many companies that make shampoo bars and these are rising in popularity thanks to their natural ingredients, ease of use and lack of plastic packaging. Looking like a regular bar of soap, these shampoo bars really lather up well and make your hair squeaky-clean. You’ll have to try a couple out to find which one best suits your hair type – or if you’re feeling really brave, you could join the current trend of going ‘no-poo’ and using nothing but water to wash your hair! You may find you need to use a cider vinegar rinse if your hair is left a bit 'claggy' (especially if you have oily hair). This will restore the natural pH balance of your hair and scalp.
Another brilliant bathroom swap is to ditch the plastic razors for an old-school metal safety razor with replaceable blades. Over 5.5 million plastic disposable razors are discarded into landfill in the UK each year. These razors will definitely save you money, as well as the environment, in the long run and are often reported to deliver a much better shave. If you’re feeling a little daunted by the prospect of using such a ‘Jack the Ripper’ looking instrument, check out the wide range of helpful videos available on YouTube from people who have already made the swap. There's also a great guide to shaving your different body parts our our razor page!
So maybe it’s time to reconsider what kind of products we’re applying to our skin on a daily basis and whether they could be doing more harm than good. With more natural alternatives available, it’s the perfect time to make the switch.