Hey there! 🙂
If you’ve been following my blog, by now you’ve probably noticed that our family leans towards using natural products. There are a lot of benefits to using more natural products (they tend to be environmentally friendly and cruelty free), but for us a lot of it comes down to our health. There are a lot of ingredients that we simply cannot be exposed to due to chemical sensitivities and allergies, many of which are in your standard bathroom products like shampoo, soap, toothpaste and so forth. There are even some things in our water that we avoid!
Here are our natural bathroom essentials and why we use them. I will be talking a little bit about specific ingredients and allergies/reactions I had. Please be aware, if you have concerns about specific ingredients, you’ll need to ask your doctor about them because I am not a medical professional and I don’t play one on TV. 😉
#1 Dental Care Products
Did you know some conventional toothpastes have an ingredient called polyethylene? Polyethylene is plastic, and it breaks down over an extremely long period of time. You can get that plastic stuck in your gums and it can cause a lot of problems. You may be asking yourself, “What purpose does plastic serve in my toothpaste?” The answer is none. In fact, Texas and California have taken steps to ban it (Source).
In addition to polyethylene, a lot of toothpastes contain dyes, artificial flavorings and heavy metals. None of which are necessary to get your teeth clean. When I started reacting to my conventional tooth paste, I began trying different ones. Unflavored, no dyes, and a whole host of other criteria until most toothpastes were eliminated and I still wasn’t out of the woods. It was a long time before I could finally brush my teeth without breaking out in a horrible rash around my mouth and having a scratch in my throat. Day after day I’d experience the same red welts along my jaw line and mouth after brushing my teeth.
While for me, it seems I developed an allergy to an ingredient that we were never able to solve, the process led me to a toothpaste that was much better for me. I use Xlear Spry Tooth Gel now, it has a short ingredient list and is the only one I can use, even in the natural market. It doesn’t have any of the same ingredients as the conventional tooth pastes I had tried, so I am left to assume it was a common ingredients in them that I reacted to. I also reacted to dental floss and mouth wash but ended up finding Spry Dental Floss (which I really like apart from it being a little flimsy) and Tea Tree Therapy Mouth Wash, both of which I can use with no problems.
While I don’t know what exactly I reacted to in other toothpastes and dental products, I am thankful it took me on a journey to find one that I wasn’t constantly exposing myself to unnecessary additives. While some ingredients are still considered safe, I believe that even “safe” ingredients can cause unintended outcomes. The longer the ingredient list, and the more unpronounceable the words, the harder I try to avoid the product.
#2 Shower Products
Making the switch from conventional shower products was actually something my husband and doctor had been recommending for a while before I actually bit the bullet and did it. Their recommendations were prompted by my complaints of sores I had been developing in my hair and on my back. They felt and looked like boils and burns, horribly uncomfortable and unsightly.
I drug my feet for a bit because despite their insistence and concerns about the dermal reactions I appeared to be having, I didn’t expect their alternative recommendations to work. My doctor had recommended I check the EWG website (while I don’t always agree with it, it is a good resource) to see how my current shampoo and body wash ranked. The website spelled out all the potential concerns with the ingredients in the products, and it wasn’t pretty. While it is impossible to avoid every substance that could be dangerous and impact your health, it is always a good policy to be informed.
One of the ingredients, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, is a substance that has been highly debated and controversial. A quick google search will provide you with a significant amount of articles from each side. For us (we are sensitive to it), we avoid it. SLS happens to be in many shampoos, body washes and soaps. That said, it is one of the criteria we go by (making sure it isn’t in our products) when picking out products.
When I made the switch to natural shower products, my doctor recommended J.R. Liggett Bar Shampoo. The doctor had some of the same issues I had with conventional products and told me he used this for himself and his wife, so he could vouch that it didn’t just work for short hair. I had never heard of bar shampoo and was very skeptical at how it could possibly work, but I was tired of the burns and sores on my skin.
At first, my hair went through this horrible transition phase. It didn’t look normal, it was extra oily and in general impossible to manage. I thought surely that it was due to the soap being ineffective, but a few weeks later my hair was healthier than it had ever been before! I switched body soap to Dr. Bronners Mild Unscented Soap to start out since it seemed like the least likely to break me out. Between the new shampoo and new body soap, my sores began to heal quickly and went away completely after a month or so.
It was wonderful to be able to take a shower and not be covered with sores and hives! I had been dealing with them for close to a year before I finally cracked and decided to go cold turkey on conventional products. The only thing I really missed about them was that there was more variety for things like shower gel and body lotion. Recently though, my husband bought me a handful of products (makeup and the like) from 100% Pure that I am in love with! One of those products just so happens to be a shower gel that I can use! It is called 100% Pure Organic Eucalyptus Shower Gel and let me tell you, I am thrilled to have a girly thing to myself that smells good and doesn’t break me out. 🙂
#3 Water Filters
As I mentioned before, we are very picky about what is in our water, whether we are drinking it or showering/bathing in it. The main thing we avoid is chlorine. Chlorine is often added to water supplies to clean and sanitize them. We feel it is best for our family to minimize exposure for several reasons. I personally avoid chlorine because it gives me headaches, makes my hair break easily and causes my asthma to flare up, but it is also known to cause skin and eye irritation (Source).
To avoid chlorine in our water at home, we use the New Wave Enviro Splish Splash Bath Filter for bathtime. It is a little sack that attaches to the spigot of our bathtub and filters the water while you are filling it. After it is filled, you take the sack and pull it around the bathtub a few times. Our toddler thinks it is a pretty cool process and likes to try to drag it around himself.
For our shower head we have the New Wave Enviro Shower Filter System. My husband installed it while I was pregnant after I began taking showers multiple times a day to recover from intense episodes of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (extreme morning sickness). I was increasing my exposure to chlorine by doing this, and while pregnant that was really the last thing we wanted to do, so we installed the filter and I noticed a huge difference. The smell that our water had previous had (that contributed to my nausea) was gone and my skin and hair felt better.
I highly recommend both filters, especially if you are sensitive to chlorine. It is so much more comfortable to shower without having your eyeballs feel like you’ve gone underwater in a pool. 😉
#4 Bathtime Products
The last few items are things I use for bathtime. The first is epsom salts!
I have a really hard time absorbing magnesium via supplements (my body just doesn’t absorb magnesium through my stomach very well), so sometimes I take an Epsom salt bath. We just put some Epsom Salt in our bathtub after using the water filter and I get to take a bath. There are a lot of benefits to magnesium, including reduced inflammation (Source). I don’t get to do this very often, but it is very relaxing when I do. 🙂 After taking an Epsom salt bath, I use a Dry Brush. Dry brushing has several benefits, but most notable for me is it stimulates lymph nodes (Source).
So there you have it! This list is just a snapshot at some of the things we use most often. 🙂 Many of the things we use are more expensive than their conventional counterparts, but they do not include the fillers and other junk. I’d rather pay more for the actual product than be nickled and dimed to death buying the less expensive conventional version that is mostly filler!
Leave a comment below and tell me what your natural bathroom essentials are!
Disclaimer: I may receive compensation in the form of products, services or money to review or include a link to a product on this blog. If you would like to know more about this, please see my Disclosure & Policy. I will accept offers and/or promote products that I use and love. All opinions are my own and given honestly regardless of compensation.
*Rebecca Lemke is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.*
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