I would like to think I’m a fairly “eco-aware” person because each year when we go camping, I refrain from washing for three full days as to not contaminate the lake water.
No, come on! I do more than that. Biking to work counts, as does reusing, reducing, and recycling. When I was a kid, we had a compost in our backyard but urban living and hyper vigilant neighbours no longer allow this unique contraption.
But, have you ever thought about what your beauty routine is doing not only to the environment but also to your body? I hadn’t considered this at all until I read “There’s Lead in Your Lipstick” by Gillian Deacon. Wow, this book has really opened up my eyes to the plethora of harmful chemicals in everything from a bar of soap to toothpaste and face cream.
There is a list of the most 20 most harmful chemicals in the back of Deacon’s book and when I started checking my products…I found these in almost everything. Example? Lauryl Sulfate is in my shampoo – it’s a probably carcinogen. My lip balm is made with petroleum derivatives.
Chemicals seep into our skin regardless of where it’s applied; feet, hands, head, or legs. The toxins enter our blood stream and may impact one our multiple systems in our body. All toxins eventually end up in the liver which may become overloaded over time leading to a weakened immune system. An overtaxed immune system can’t combat allergies and diseases, and cancer. This isn’t to say that toothpaste is causing cancer but anything we can do to reduce the load on our liver will help your overall health and wellbeing. It’s of course, also better for the environment.
Soooo…I tried one of the recipes in the book and created my own deodorant. I decided to try it out on a day where I was biking 20 km’s and working in a hot kitchen and let me tell you, I did not stink! Tested on my main squeeze El Branno, my co-worker Amrita, and classmate Emily, I did performed a “drive-by” where they were forced to smell my pits and all reported no stench.
Here is the recipe:
1 tbsp shea butter + 1 tbsp coconut oil + 2 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp cornstarch + 15 drops lavender oil. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in a small pot. Remove from heat and add other ingredients. Mix well and store in glass pot/jar. It takes about 1 day to thicken into a paste which you can then use! Shea Butter and Lavender Oil can be purchased at any health store. If you’re in Toronto, check out Essence of Life in Kensington Market.
Another DIY project I test out was a moisturizer face mask consisting of 1/2 an avocado mashed and mixed with 1 tbsp of honey. I added a tbsp of oats and 1 tbsp of water as well since I have sensitive skin. Smooth it on your face and rinse after 10 minutes. My skin felt soft and had a nice sheen.
This book is FULL of amazing DIY recipes for every beauty product you can imagine. It also suggests truly safe and organic store-bought products in case you’re pressed for time or have no desire to create a mess in your kitchen!
Check out David Suzuki’s “Dirty Dozen” chemicals to avoid in your beauty products: