Posts Tagged ‘shampoo’

What’s Old Is New Again

Reducing plastic usage and conserving water are two imperative things we must do to help the environment. Reusable shopping bags help eliminate non-biodegradable plastic bags from ending up in the ocean, and taking shorter showers and turning off the water when brushing your teeth helps conserve water. Bar shampoo is another simple idea that eliminates plastic and conserves water.

Bar shampoo is a solid bar of soap made specifically for hair using natural ingredients. It has been around for a long time and was commonly used before the invention of shampoo and conditioners in plastic bottles. J.R. Liggett,’s a producer of old-fashioned bar shampoo, has been in operation for over 30 years.

According to, a New Zealand eco-conscious bar shampoo manufacturer, shampoo, bodywash and conditioner can be made up of up to 80% water. It doesn’t make sense to pay for water, and package it in plastic, when there already is water in the shower. So far, Ethique has prevented 50,000 bottles, jars and tubes from being made and disposed of. With their “Give Up the Bottle” program, they hope to reach 1 million by 2020.  

Natural bar shampoos don’t contain harsh chemicals, which are not only bad for you and your hair, but for the earth too. Many people find increased volume, faster growing hair, reduced dandruff and less frizz using bar shampoo. My daughter recently switched to bar shampoo and loves the experience of using it. “With my long hair, I can get a more accurate and even spread of the lather throughout my hair, and with the 100% natural ingredients, my hair has never been shinier. I feel really good about my impact on the environment.“

Bar shampoo is usually cheaper than bottle shampoo with some bars lasting 2 -3 months. It’s convenient for traveling or camping too!

Much of the country has been experiencing severe extended drought; scientists estimate by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. We must act now to help reverse these devastating trends.  While this seems daunting and nearly impossible, reducing your plastic and water usage with bar shampoo is a simple yet impactful step towards that goal. What’s old is new again, and often better.

Bar shampoos can be found on line and in natural food markets.


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Information compiled from and


Safe Cosmetics

You might not realize that the make up we put on our faces or the hair and body products, sunscreens, and nail polish we use on a daily basis have a host of dangerous chemicals, endocrine disruptors and allergens like mercury, lead, parabans, pthalates, and others.   According to watchdog organization, Environmental Working Group, “On average, a woman puts 168 chemicals on her body each day.” In addition to the many known hazardous chemicals, there are many other synthetic compounds, like fragrances, without enough information to know whether they are safe or not because federal legislation regarding product safety hasn’t been updated in 75 years. The Environmental Working Group estimates that of the more than 10,000 chemical ingredients in personal care products, 89 percent have not undergone safety testing.

Are these chemicals necessary?

Given the known and unknown dangers of all these chemical additives, I think not! Who needs cherry-scented rubbing alcohol? Some American cosmetic companies sell the same products in Europe without the chemical additives. That’s because the European Union strictly regulates the extremely hazardous chemicals found in everyday products in the United States and has banned about 1,100 chemicals, while the FDA has banned only ten!

Safe Alternatives? Of course!

The average woman “eats” more than 6 pounds of lipstick over a lifetime, just one of many cosmetics used.  Fortunately now there are many lines of organic personal care products. Whole Foods Markets and independent natural food stores carry several, like Dr. Hauschka, Mychelle, Badger, Burt’s Bees.  Local farmer’s markets often sell homemade and all natural insect repellant, body scrubs and soaps.  CVS also carries Burt’s Bees.

Be sure to read the labels however, some products are “cleaner” than others and be wary of names too long to pronounce.  A knowledgeable sales person will be able to help you find the safest products.

Organic cosmetics and personal care products are not only better for your health, but better for the earth too!  When discarding them, fewer chemicals will go down the drain or in the trash, seeping into our valuable water supply and landfills.

For more information or to rate the toxicity of your personal care products, visit, which does an online safety assessment of 75,223 products.


Information from and  

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How Safe Are Baby Wipes?

I was recently chatting with one of my readers who mentioned that both her daughter and her daughter’s baby had painful eczema, especially on her fingers and the baby’s bottom; she wondered if the baby wipes had anything to do with it.  I remembered that I had terrible bouts of eczema on my fingers when I had babies and ended up making my own wipes because of it.

Most baby wipes contain a common preservative known as Bronopol, or 2-BROMO-2-NITROPROPANE-1,3-DIOL, which according to the Environmental Working Group has the highest hazard score possible and is a known human immune system, lung and skin toxicant.  It is listed by the European Union as a toxin affecting wildlife and the environment.  Bronopol is used in baby wipes in place of alcohol and other preservatives and because it is a highly effective antimicrobial ingredient.   Wipes can also contain phthalates (a group of synthetic chemicals that act as a softening agent but are also known endocrine disruptors) and other skin irritating chemicals.  While eczema can be hereditary, people with it usually find that chemical irritants can trigger an outbreak.

Whether you and your baby have eczema or not, I recommend erring on the side of caution (small, developing bodies are more susceptible to the dangers of toxins than adult bodies) and encourage you to buy one of the purer, alcohol and fragrance-free brands like Seventh Generation or Tushies, make your own, or try the “waterfall” method recommended by a French pediatrician in Manhattan. He encourages new moms to set up a changing station near the kitchen sink and hold the baby under the faucet to clean them.  It cleans better than wipes and cuts down on diaper rash.

For those of you who want to save money and have the time to make your own baby wipes solution, I have listed a basic recipe below.  You can also find many recipes using a variety of essential oils or specific anti-fungal recipes on-line.

The Environmental Working Group site offers baby product suggestions, including shampoo, soap, wipes and diaper cream that are safer alternatives to conventional brands loaded with toxic chemicals. Go to

Basic Wipes Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons chemical-free baby shampoo or wash
  • 2 tablespoons oil (almond, olive, or jojoba)
  • 2-4 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel

Shake will in a jar or mix with whisk and then pour over wipes (soft wash cloths, tee-shirt or cotton squares) quickly before oil begins to separate.

Information compiled from and