Have you been following the Spring Cleaning Carnival over at Kitchen Stewardship? So far we’ve learned about getting rid of antibacterial soap, gluten, plastic, refined sugar….and now it’s my turn to talk about how to get paraben preservatives out of our daily body care routine!! In my guest post at Kitchen Stewardship today, I explained what parabens are and why we don’t want them in our products. Now, I’m here to help you drastically reduce and possibly eliminate parabens from your home forever!
To begin your paraben-free mission, you need to know where parabens hide and how to recognize them. On a product label you will find parabens listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben. They are typically found at the end of the ingredient label because they are added in small amounts as preservatives.
A surprising number of personal care products may contain parabens, including the following:
- Lotions and creams (including sunscreen products)
- Bubble baths and liquid soaps
- Shaving products
- Baby products including wipes and diaper rash cream
Check the ingredients lists on the products you have currently have at home to see whether or not they contain parabens….PRONTO!!
Kicking it Up a Notch
The next step is commit to switching over to paraben-free products wherever possible. Some people may decide to immediately toss any products containing parabens, others may choose to use up what they have to avoid waste. It’s really up to you. My tendency is to use things up, unless it is something I didn’t particularly like in the first place.
So you’re ready for some new products….how do you know what to buy? Start by looking at the label to see if it says paraben-free anywhere. If not, check the ingredient list for the specific paraben ingredients that we talked about above.
Finally, there are a couple of seals of approval that specifically ban parabens. If you see these seals on a product label, you can be certain that there are no parabens inside!
You can also do your research at home by using the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. Look up products that you have at home or are considering purchasing to find out whether or not parabens are on the ingredient list.
Going All Out
How would you like to have complete control over what goes in your beauty and personal care products? You can if you make your own! It may sound intimidating but I’m telling you it’s really quite easy!! Here are a few tips:
- Recipes for homemade beauty products are easy to find both in books and online. The book Natural Beauty at Home by Janice Cox is an especially good book chock full of enticing recipes. I have checked it out from the library more than once!
- Most ingredients and supplies are readily available at natural food stores or co-ops but can also be ordered on line if necessary. My local co-op carries many things in bulk like shea butter, beeswax, sweet almond oil and more. I’ve heard that Mountain Rose Herbs is a fantastic online resource although I have not ordered from them myself.
- Keep in mind the shelf-life of your homemade products will be limited (typically 2-3 months) because there are no synthetic preservatives.
To get you started, here is a recipe from my book, Practically Green: Your Guide to Ecofriendly Decision-Making for a lovely shea butter body cream. You will be amazed how easy it is to make and how luxurious it feels on your skin! It makes a great gift too!
3 T shea butter
4 T sweet almond oil
8 drops each geranium, orange and sandalwood essential oils
Heat shea butter in the top of a double boiler until melted. Stir in the sweet almond oil. Remove from heat and stir in the essential oils. Pour into a glass container. Yep, it’s that easy!!
Next week the Spring Cleaning: Get the Junk Out Carnival will be hosted by Lenetta of Netacow on the topic of food additives. I’m really looking forward to this topic – there is so much to know about what’s in our food these days!