While I was pregnant I happened to do some research on safe products for babies, as I was aware that some contain toxic chemicals. The more research I did, the more I was horrified and shocked at just how many toxic ingredients are in ALL the mainstream products sold for babies and adults (with the biggest baby brands being the worst!). I was very adamant about buying only safe and natural products for my baby… but only recently I thought to myself, if I’m doing this for him, then why are my husband and I not doing it for ourselves too. I know it can be more expensive and often difficult to find (as supermarkets don’t stock natural products), however in my opinion it is definitely worth cutting back on other stuff in order to go natural… as what we put into our bodies is very important. After A LOT of research and testing various products, I have managed to find our favourites (which I have made a list of below).
Everyday chemicals, including organophosphates, flame retardants and phthalates, can be found in food, plastics, furniture, food wrap, cookware, cans, carpets, shower curtains, electronics and even shampoo. They are pretty much everywhere around us. Scientists and researchers are concerned that many of these chemicals may be carcinogenic [having the potential to cause cancer] or wreak havoc with our hormones, our body’s regulating system. But the impact of these chemicals may be most severe on the developing brain – Nadia Kounang, CNN.
Labels on cosmetics and body care products are a tough code to crack. The industry is so shockingly unregulated that it’s usually impossible to trust the claims that manufacturers place on their products. A word such as “natural” can be used by anyone for anything. Even “organic” is misleading. Companies are supposed to use an organic label only if all ingredients are certified-organic, but they can also say it’s “made with organic” if it contains a minimum of 70 percent certified-organic ingredients. Regardless, 30 percent still leaves a lot of room for toxins. The whole industry has a “innocent-till-proven-guilty” approach to ingredients … The best thing we consumers can do is read ingredient lists carefully in order to avoid chemicals that are known to be harmful, even though they continue to be widely used – 20 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid, Tree Hugger.
I won’t cover everything that contains toxic chemicals in this article (as it is simply too much to include). Apart from the things mentioned above, they can range from cleaning products to beauty products and toiletries, etc. I will recommend a list of our favourite natural toiletries and products for babies and adults.
If you are interested in looking into this further, there is a fantastic website which I always refer to: Gimme the Good Stuff (if you are in the UK or anywhere else, all of the suggested products may not be available as this article was written in the US). It is worth familiarising yourself with the main toxic ingredients to look out for and doing your own research on any product you buy; as mentioned above, even those that claim to be ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ may still contain many harmful chemicals, so check the ingredients of products and don’t believe everything they say on the label.
As I don’t want to advertise shops or supermarkets I won’t include suggestions on where to buy them, so if you type the items in a search engine online you should be able to get a list of places that sell each one; however I will provide links to the product’s website just so you know what it looks like. I would also recommend shopping from local individual stockists rather than chain shops or supermarkets.
Most of these products can be used from newborn as they are that gentle. I would strongly recommend staying away from the main baby brands such as Huggies, Pampers and Johnson’s, as well as Supermarkets’ own brands; as ALL of their products contain the most harmful chemicals.
- Wet wipes: Water Wipes
- Nappy cream/all round moisturiser: Kokoso, or any virgin coconut oil will do and is a lot cheaper!
- Shampoo and body wash: Kokoso (the softly scented one is my preferred choice)
- Toothpaste: Jack N’ Jill or Green People Organic Children (these are both fluoride free so we will be using it on our baby until he learns to spit toothpaste out and not swallow it)
Kiss My Face (they have both a fluoride and fluoride free toothpaste for kids – but please note that the fluoride toothpaste is only recommended for kids that can spit toothpaste out and not babies)
- Shampoo and conditioner: Faith in Nature (I personally found their coconut scented one to be the best)
- Skincare: Faith in Nature or Shealife shea butter hand cream has worked great on me (and i get eczema on my hands)
- Soap/shower gel: Faith in Nature (again I would recommend the coconut soap and the lavender shower gel, which doubles up as bath bubbles)
- Handwash: Faith in Nature (I love both the coconut, and the grapefruit & orange ones)
- Toothpaste: Sarakan (fluoride free) or Kingfisher (with or without fluoride)
- Deodorant: I tried MANY natural deodorants and as someone who sweats quite a lot, the only one that worked for me personally and that was worth the money was Soapwalla (this deodorant is made in the US so can be quite expensive and difficult to find here, but if you search for it there are a few online stockists that sell it in the UK). However there are other brands such as Jason or Lafes which I know many people use and are happy with. You may have to be patient and try a few different brands with this one!
My husband has found that the crystal rock deodorant has worked well for him.
- Make up wipes: for this I used to use Natracare baby wipes; as they do the job just as well as make up wipes but are more gentle on your skin, plus you get more for your money (don’t be fooled by brands such as Simple, as even they have many toxic ingredients).
However, I have recently discovered a magic make up remover cloth which you buy once and wet to use, and it works wonders (even on waterproof mascara!) which is available all over the internet.
- Feminine hygiene products: Natracare
This is a tricky one as options are limited. We currently use Ecover washing up liquid, household sprays (their oven and hob one works amazingly!), cream cleaner and toilet cleaner… however, this brand has been on the sneaky stuff list on Gimme the Good Stuff and is now on ‘the best of the worst’ section, with an explanation of why on the above link.
If you are feeling brave enough, you can attempt to make your own cleaning products (I know many people that do!). I have recently discovered a great article by Happiness is Here which gives a list of all the recipes the family uses for each cleaning product! So this is my next project, to make my own, by following these recipes!