In addition to listening to my body and staying on top of my doctor visits, I’ve also been busy researching and incorporating new products into my life. I know that there are certain things that I simply cannot do without (i.e. deoderant and sunscreen in the summer), but I figure there has to be options that are less chemically (yes that is a word).
After my trip to NC with First Descents, I really dug into researching and reading product reviews. I found a lot of useful information on the Environmental Working Group’s website. I love how you can literally type in any personal product you use (i.e. shampoo, make up, deodorant, toothpaste, etc) and see product details, ingredients and high/moderate/low concerns regarding the product’s ingredients. I have spent an obsene amount of time on this website. They also have a really great guide to sunscreen.
I first started by rating some of the products I currently use (or should I say used). I knew that I wanted to make some very specific changes and needed to see how my current products rated. Specifically, I wanted to switch to products without parabens and with a rating of 2 or less (okay I might be able to settle for a rating of 3).
Note about parabens: Although there is no definitive research for a direct link between parabens and breast cancer, it has been documented that parabens are found in a high percentage of breast tumors. Therefore, I just decided for myself that I would eliminate parabens from my personal care products.
I quickly realized that I needed to make some changes because not all of my current products were meeting my requirements. However, some of the products that I was using were not all that bad. For example, the Lancome mascara that I love had a rating of 3 (scale is 0 to 10 with 10 being the worst). But that same mascara contains parabens. At $26 a pop, I was not too sad to say goodbye to Lancome – especially when I found a paraben free mascara with a rating of 1 for less than $8. And it has a cute name: “Honeybee Gardens.”
See, safe(r) cosmetics do not have to be pricey!
I won’t go through all the products that I switched from and to. But here are some of my new favorites:
- Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Make-up – I bought a foundation and a bronzer, both at a rating of 2.
- Yes to Carrots (and Blueberries) Products – I’ve tried their face wash, bodywash and body lotion. The specific kinds that I bought have ratings of 1 and 2 and all are paraben free.
- Avalon Organics Facial Moisturizer with SPF – another product with a low rating, yippee!
I also love products from Aubrey Organics. Although I ordered everything online, I also like that I can easily find these brands and products in Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Target. Some of the other products I bought are not easily found in stores, but Vitacost.com is a great site for discounted stuff. And I also love Amazon for the product reviews, which I made full use of. After reading a crazy amount of reviews, I narrowed my search down to 3 types of sunscreens and just decided to buy all 3. My main concern was not how well they rub in (as some reviewers complained) but how well my skin is protected from the sun. Last weekend at the beach, I tried out the Jason Mineral Sunblock (rating of 2!) and was very pleased. It was thick and therefore harder to rub in than say Coppertone, but I returned home with no sunburns!
I bought a ton of other stuff too, but I won’t bore you with product reviews. Basically, I’m just trying to make some more healthy changes in my every day life! I have heard that Whole Foods has some really great products too. Sadly, the nearest Whole Foods is about a 45 minute drive from our house. And it has just been too nice out lately to spend my Saturdays driving in a car to go shopping when I can buy stuff online!
Two other areas of interest for me are cleaning products and deodorants. I have been buying a lot of the Seventh Generation and Method brand items. But, there are a lot of “recipes” out there for home-made household cleaners that just use vinegar and baking soda. I think I might try them out for my next house scrub down. And I stumbled across a really simple “recipe” for home-made all natural deodorant that I want to try. It is just coconut oil, baking soda, cornstarch and essential oils (optional).
I have not actually opened my jar of coconut oil yet. But the more I read about it, the more intrigued I am. I paid about $9 for a 16oz jar of extra virgin organic coconut oil. There are so many different versatile uses (think cooking, smoothies, facial moisturizer, shampoo – the list goes on and on) for it that I am simply amazed – to the point where I just want to sit home all weekend and play with coconut oil.
Have any other cancer patients/survivors and or healthy folks in general incorporated new changes into their personal care regimes? I am really excited about all of these changes and eager to hear what others are doing – now if I could just lay off the ice cream and sweets…