I often find that the clients I work with are not only concerned about managing their health concerns naturally, they are concerned about doing everything as naturally as possible. They are often times aware of the chemicals found in everyday household products and do their best to make safe choices when it comes to non-toxic cleaners, bath products and cosmetics. My female clients especially will often ask what I personally use and recommend. There are a lot of good products out there that are relatively low in toxins, but for the purposes of keeping this blog entry manageable, I’m going to run a few of my own personal choice products through the “toxicity gauntlet” and see how they come out. For simplicity’s sake, I used the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/) as my test gauntlet for each individual ingredient I looked up. In cases of limited information, or a moderate to high toxicity rating, I also ran the ingredient through Google to see what other sources had to say.
First up is L’Bri Pure and Natural Deep Pore Cleanser. The list of ingredients is as follows (in order on the label):
Aloe barbadenisis leaf extract (aloe)
Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Sucrose Cocoate = carrageenan (red seaweed extract)
PEG-7 Glycerol Cocoate (a synthetic polymer based on PEG and fatty acids derived from coconut oil)
Pine bark extract
St. John’s Wort extract
Chamomile flower extract
Bee pollen extract
Needle leaf extract
Balm mint extract
Retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A)
Tocopherol acetate (Vitamin E)
Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
Allantoin (naturally occurring nitrogenous compound)
Most of the ingredients on the above list score low on the toxicity rating scale, making them safe for topical use. In the case of PEG-7, needle leaf extract, and tocopherol acetate, EWG noted some concern of contamination occurring during the extraction process. The one ingredient that rated high was retinyl palmitate. Digging into this a bit further, it appears that any type of Vitamin A will cause the skin to be more susceptible to sun damage. Therefore, the way to get around this is to wear sunscreen to protect yourself if you are using a moisturizer containing Vitamin A. I’ve noted below the EWG’s take on this ingredient, as well as Ann Marie Gianni’s take on this ingredient, giving both sides of the coin.
All in all, I think L’Bri comes out fairly non-toxic based on my investigation. Looking into my own skin care products and cosmetics led me to stumble upon the Ann Marie Gianni website and, although I’ve never tried her products (which do look pretty awesome, by the way), I do like all of the education she provides around toxicity in skin care and which ingredients to watch out for: https://www.annmariegianni.com/category/ingredient-watch-list-2/. Compared to the EWG website, which can be overwhelming or sometimes not provide complete information, I think Ann Marie’s website is much for functional for folks truly looking for advice around non-toxic skin care products. For example, I ran stearic acid (an alcohol-based ingredient in the L’Bri Gentle Moisture Lotion) through the EWG gauntlet and although it rated very low on the toxicity rating, I got an entirely different and thought-provoking perspective on using products that contain alcohols from the Ann Marie website: (https://www.annmariegianni.com/alcohols-in-skin-care/)
Just to end by highlighting a few of my other personal favorite products that are fairly non-toxic by the EWG (and my own) standards:
Dr. Bronner’s soaps – I love the hand soaps as well as the all-purpose soaps (both liquid and bar soaps) and you can find them almost everywhere (including Walmart).
Morroco Method shampoos – LOVE these shampoos! They take some getting used to at first since they are low lather, but I have noticed my hair is much healthier since I converted about a year ago.
No Miss cosmetic products – available online through Thrive Market. The eye cosmetics and nail polish are really pretty non-toxic but also surprisingly affordable! And, I think they apply well and have really good staying power (which is sometimes a concern with natural cosmetics).
Auromere toothpaste – great toothpaste on all fronts. The ingredients are safe. It does not contain toxic fluoride (if you are not familiar with the toxic effects of fluoride (an entirely different blog entry!) I encourage you to do some Google research or rent The Great Culling). It has good foaming action, great flavor (I personally like the licorice flavor, but mint is an option too), and cleans teeth well. I’ve tried some clay based and other natural toothpastes and always return to Auromere.