Now, I know I heavily emphasized homemade in this series about transitioning to a sustainable, healthy, eco-friendly household. I do truly believe that is the best option. It is more cost effective and you know exactly what is in your product and where the ingredients came from. However, I know first hand that it is very difficult making this transition and you may not be ready to put the time and investment into making your own products (especially the difficulty of finding the best place to find your ingredients). As I discussed in my last post, I haven’t finished my own transition and still have products I will continue to buy when I run out.
The key to buying natural, eco-friendly products is to not be tricked into buying the “natural” or “organic” label. You may end up paying much more for something similar to standard commercial brands. It is very important to read the ingredients before you buy. I’ve seen natural products with sodium lauryl sulfate and natural toothpastes with glycerin. Don’t know what it is? Don’t want to put it on your skin (your largest organ)/in your body (that includes inhaling cleaner fumes)? Don’t buy it.
I know, it’s painful to hear that some organic products may not be that great. But have no fear! If you’re willing to look, there are some good products out there! I still highly recommend making your own shampoo, conditioner, and cleaning supplies. Water, vinegar, and baking soda can provide almost everything you need. Cheap, easy to make, and easy to find. But for other products, look around and see if you can find something you and the planet will be happy and healthy with. Here are three store bought options I like:
Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap: I studied abroad in Greece and one day our group went to an olive oil factory. We listened to a bunch of old Greek men tell us that Italians will say they make the best olive oil, but they are wrong. The Greeks do. I then bought some delicious olive oil and olive oil soap from their store. My family loved the soap and went looking for more when we used it up. We settled on Kiss My Face brand, just the original unscented. It has 3 ingredients and although my family prefers products made in America, Kiss My Face olive oil soap is made in Greece, so I’m okay with that. It is also good for shaving (for this I don’t lather it at all, just rub the bar over my skin).
Earthpaste Toothpaste: I talked about this in my toothpaste post, but I wanted to bring it up again for reference. This is a really great toothpaste that works really well and has, in my opinion, the perfect ingredients. It is expensive, which is why I make my own, but if you’re willing to pay for it, I highly recommend it. You can get free samples periodically from their Facebook page.
Light Mountain Henna Hair Coloring: I don’t dye my hair, but my mom does. She recently found this great, natural hair dye that is henna based. It is completely chemical free. The box she buys has three ingredients (henna, indigo, and senna)! Some boxes only have two of those ingredients! What?! Plus, she can get a box for $5 at our local co-op and she only needs half a box to dye her short hair. It’s only semi-permanent and will wash out eventually, but at that price, you can afford to go get another box. Plus, you aren’t putting harmful chemicals on your hair, skin, and down the sink. My mom can’t tolerate chemical dyes anymore, but the other day she fell asleep for over 2 hours with this dye in her hair. No irritation or hair damage at all. In fact, this hair dye helps strengthen and protect hair. It will only darken your hair (check their color chart to see what it can do), but if that is your goal (this includes covering grays), it is an amazing option.
I haven’t been discussing food throughout this series, but I would like to point out that these tips are even more important when it comes to food. Homemade is best and always read the ingredients before you buy. For all products in your life, I recommend looking at three things: what is in it, how it is made, and where is comes from. Make sure the ingredients are good and you support the labor practices involved in its manufacture. I buy as many Made in America products as I can. Items made in your state (province/region/etc) are even better. When you buy items made locally, you are supporting the local economy and jobs. Don’t let convenience stand in the way of the products you buy lining up with your values. And remember, if the product doesn’t have to travel very far to get to you, less fuel will be used and the product will therefore have a smaller environmental impact.