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Rethinking the Shampoo And Toothpaste I've Used For Years

Thursday, May 03, 2012

"The worst of the shampoo ingredients are SLS and SLES--the chemicals that make your shampoo foam up in your palm. Their main gig is to pick up the dirt so it can be rinsed...The part that really blows my mind is that sulfates are known to corrode and stunt hair growth. What the fu*k is it doing in 95 percent of shampoos? Other god-awful detergents in the bottle include DEA, MEA, ammonian laureth sulfate, and PEG."

Kim Barnouin, Skinny Bitch Home, Beauty & Style

Since I had to scrub clean and declutter my bathroom, I decided it was a great time to get out my prescription reading glasses to read that teeeeeny, tiny print on the back of my EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System shampoo and conditioner and many other personal care products I use on a regular basis. And it definitely felt like my heart has been trampled even as I knew the truth.

Of course, EverPure sounds like it should be a green forest with a babbling brook, perhaps mountain spring water in the distance, but actually the shampoo and conditioner both contain so many chemicals that it takes up quite a bit of the packaging. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacete, disodium lareth sulfosuccinate, sodium lauroyl sarcoshnate, and yes, propolene glycol.

One website says that Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate carries the same risks as sodium lauryl sulfate, and that is definitely not appealing. So what is the alternate?

According to the author of the new Skinny Bitch book, our hair actually needs to detox from all the toxins we have poured over it for a lifetime. Once w let our hair get weaned off the chemicals, we will find out hair is much more healthy and vibrant. We won't need all the chemicals to manage our hair and will escape the truism that the more chemicals we use, the more we will have to increase that use.

The Skinny Bitch author picked amazon Beauty Rahua Shampoo and conditioner, Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, Sukhair Clean Balance Shampoo, and Glory Locks.

Alexandra Spunt and Sioban O'Connor, authors of "No More Dirty Looks," wrote their own page about their experience. They wrote, "Understand that the more you use, the more you need. something magical happened when we stopped washing with harsh, foaming shampoos, silicone-and fragrance-laden conditioners, and handfuls of leave-ins. Our hair started to behave for the first time since our teens."

They found that coconut oil in the hair for 20 minutes BEFORE shampooing made a great hair mask and great results. Terrific conditioners included coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil and jocoba. They actually have a blog site where they experimented with different home made and store bought preparations. And of course, they urge people to rethink that hair dye, so often full of toxins, and stay away from the hair salons full of toxic chemicals.

When I began researching coconut oil as part of a raw vegan diet, so highly recommended by David Wolfe, I discovered a lot of people were putting it on their hair and skin with great results. Earlier I had learned that coconut oil can make the hair very shiny, too.

When I first purchased the EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System, I was just happy to have something sulfate free, as I don't do well with sulfates and I also knew it was very bad news for hair. The product is advertised as an antifade system, 100 percent sulfate free, no harsh salts, natural botanicals, 100 percent vegan.

I begin googling ingredients, feeling like I need to get a chemistry degree. I discover that Sodium Lauryl Sulfocacete is better than some previously used ingredients but is moderately toxic to aquatic life. Not so great. There are questions. Another one of the ingredients is used to clean car engines, and that does not appeal to me.

I do have several tubes of shampoo and conditioner left from a recent sale, but I am now ready to experiment with different ingredients to find an alternative shampoo or even make up my own combination some day.

What else? I use Crest 3D and still have a few tubes left. The ingredients are not pretty. Sodium lauryl sulfate is on the list, along with sodium saccharin, titanium dioxide, and several other ingredients that don't sound very healthy. The author picked Desert Essence Natural Tea Oil and Neem toothpaste, Jason Powersmile All Natural-Whitening Toothpaste, and Weleda Toothpaste.

She also named strawberries, baking soda, orange and lemon peels, as ingredients that can help keep teeth extra white.

Of course, I need to rethink what toothpaste I use, too, just as she writes, that the cool minty breath could be coal tar, the saccharin can cause cancer--and "cause allergic reactions, asthma, headaches, and irritation to the gums and oral tissues. Sweet!"

And yes, to keep toothpaste from drying out, she notes that propylene glycol and PEG are often used. The propylene glycol,also in my shampoo, is apparently used in antifreeze. The potential complications include damage to the brain, kidney, and liver. PEG can be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1, 4 dioxane--both of which are linked to cancer.

It is tough for me to change basic thoughts about needing a certain kind of toothpaste to protect my teeth and get good dental visit results, but I know that I need to rethink this, too, along with Listerine, the hair dye that can cause blindness if it gets into my eyes (how good can that be?), and many other beauty products. (I don't wear make-up, so I can at least skip that chapter.)

Finally I felt ready to read those long lists of chemicals in products I've used for years, and I'm ready to begin to explore more. I need to do this for my health and well being, too.

Note: Here is the blog site for "No More Dirty Looks." I noted that they, too, are on the smoothie mission!

For those who want to check out products recommended by the Skinny Bitch author, here are a few:

Note: Some of the shampoos are more expensive, but at least one or two is available on discount at Target or

Here are some of the natural toothpastes recommended:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIV2RIDE 5/4/2012 3:22PM

    I think I have to try this "no-poo" method. I don't spend a lot of shampoo and conditioner but it would be nice to get it out of my life.

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MBSHAZZER 5/4/2012 11:19AM

    I have not washed my hair since October and it's never looked better! I have to be honest, vanity was the driving force behind my "no-poo" movement, but as I started researching more, I am relieved to have all of those chemicals out of my life!

I have VERY curly hair and sodium laureth sulfate makes hair FRIZZY! Once I ditched the shampoo, my curls just sprang back! I have nice, smooth (ish) ringlets!

2x per week I "shampoo" my hair with a baking soda / water mixture (1 tbsp baking soda and 1 cup of water) and "condition" with a vinegar / water mixture (2 tbsp vinegar - preferably apple cider vinegar but any kind will do - and 1 cup of water)

TRY IT!! It can take a while for your hair to adjust. All of the sites I've been on suggest that it can take 2 - 4 weeks for your hair to "de-tox" but if you can make it through that trial period, you are rewarded with gorgeous hair!

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IMVEGAN 5/3/2012 9:00PM
R>Here is a site that tells you how to use baking soda and apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner.
My daughter uses it and says it works really well.

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DARA52 5/3/2012 7:02PM

    Whoa! Eye opener! I have been trying for healthier brands, but NOT! Thanks! Back to the drawing board.

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PARKERB2 5/3/2012 6:23PM

    Wow, that's an eyeopener. I have mamaged to use milder shampoos but they probably have bad things in them too. I didn't look when I bought them. You know, we go a lot by the commericals we see and heard on Tv, in magazines, etc based on its popularity, etc. Thanks for the info.

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