I decided to do a little experiment on a few of the products which I am still using. While I’m intending on switching to purer, organic products (and have already begun to do this), I did decide to use up some of the things I already owned first. From a waste/economical perspective I thought this made sense. So, the picture above shows some of the products which are still in my shower and on my dressing table. As you can see it’s a mixture of hair care, shower and face washes, body lotion, fake tan and sunscreen.
I’m going to put all of these to through the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database and see how they score on a scale of 0 – 10 (0 being good, 10 being pretty toxic). You may be interested in the results…
Low Hazard: 0 – 2
Aveeno Oil for Bath and Shower (2)
I picked this up in Boots a while ago as Aveeno is one of the few brands in there I have always considered to be safer than the rest. I have often used their Skin Relief Body Lotion as it’s nice and thick which I like (I get quite dry skin and like something that feels really thick and nourishing on it). To be honest I haven’t found much use for the Bath and Shower Oil though, although I have actually nearly used the whole bottle. I tend to slap it on after shaving my legs in the shower for an immediate hit of moisturiser, then rinse it off. But I haven’t found it makes any significant difference and probably wouldn’t bother buying it again. It’s good to know that at least one of my products comes in at low hazard though!
Moderate Hazard: 3 – 6
Burts Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate Shampoo (4)
I’ve always liked the Burts Bees range and before it was available in the UK I used to hunt for it when I was in the States (I have family over there). This shampoo doesn’t really do it for me though; it’s not moisturising enough. In fact I am yet to find a more natural shampoo/conditioner which can do the job as well as my salon brand (chemical ridden) stuff. I’ve always had problematic hair. In fact it’s not so bad now, but when I was younger, before the birth of GHD’s, I would spend literally two hours with a round brush and hair dryer trying to tame my long, thick, curly mane. Of course, five minutes outside in English weather left me looking like I’d been electrocuted. Somehow it’s got a bit thinner, less frizzy and much more manageable over the years – part of which I put down to paying a premium for high-end salon products such as Kerastase, Redken and Aveda. However, as you’ll see below, my beloved Redken doesn’t look like the most healing option.
Again, I’ve always quite liked the Aussie range as a more mid-range option and something you can easily pick up in Boots. When I was a student and couldn’t fork out for the salon stuff I often picked up Aussie products instead. I’m sad to find that according to the EWG this probably isn’t the best option if you’re looking for a more natural, healing choice. I can’t find the exact range which I have at present in the database but the majority of the other shampoo and conditioner ranges by Aussie rank between 5 – 7. The famous 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor is a 7 which is a shame because that’s worked well for me in the past.
St Tropez Self Tan (6)
I’m actually surprised this doesn’t coming in at ‘high hazard’ as fake tan has always worried me – anything that can change the colour of your skin has got to have something unnatural in it, right?! I try to use it rarely which is why I prefer to do the full on St Tropez which gives quite a dark shade immediately, rather than use a daily gradual build one. I also get good results with this provided I am thorough with the application and use a good mitt. However, I know there are more natural fake tan options out there so next time I purchase I’ll be testing out some of these instead. We’ll see if they can compete.
Crabtree & Evelyn India Hicks Island Living Shower Gel (6)
This is actually one of my mother’s products which I don’t use but was interested to see how it faired. It’s far too strong smelling for me; it is as pungent as perfume and since I vary rarely wear perfume and, as you might have noticed from this blog post, don’t really like strong smelling products, this really isn’t my thing. Even before developing any kind of interest in natural beauty, I never did get the point of getting perfume branded body washes and lotions for Christmas (you know those gift sets you get?) They’re just far too overpowering for me, not to mention overpriced.
Jergens Naturals Ultra Hydrating Body Moisturiser with Jojoba Oil (6 – 7)
Now again I wasn’t able to find this exact product in the database as it’s a new range, but I was disappointed to find other Jergens products ranging from a rating of 6 – 7. This isn’t great for a ‘natural’ brand really is it? The label says it’s made from 96% natural ingredients and is paraben and cruelty free. So those are some good things. But I’m afraid for me it’s not scoring high (or low in fact) enough for me. Whilst I quite like the smell of the jojoba oil, I find this lotion too sweet and on closer inspection, as I suspected it contains added parfum. It’s also not as nourishing as the Aveeno Skin Relief so if I had to pick something up in Boots and had the choice, I’d prefer to re-purchase the Aveeno instead.
High Hazard: 7 – 10
Redken Colour Protect Shampoo and Conditioner (6 – 9)
Again, I couldn’t find this specific range in the EWG database but other shampoo and conditioner from Redken range from a 6 to a 9. I have to say I’m not that surprised as the brand doesn’t claim to be natural or chemical-free so I expected it not to fair too well. It is very effective though; I bought the Colour Protect after battling with getting my hair colour back to its natural dark brown after years of highlights. Whilst other shampoos were stripping my colour straight away, this kept the colour whilst being really moisturising. I’ve been complimented a lot by hairdressers recently on how healthy my hair looks, which, if you read the aforementioned hair story above, is quite rare in my history! I’ll have to keep searching for an alternative to this however if I’m to be true to my quest of reducing the amount of chemicals I put on my body.
Hawaiian Tropic Sunscreen, Factor 15 (7)
Sunscreen is something I didn’t know much about until recently – and wrote a post about based on the EWG’s 2010 Sunscreen Study. I knew they contained a lot of chemicals but I’d sort of presumed this was necessary in order to protect yourself from UV rays (a lesser of two evils I suppose). I was really pleased to find out that there are in fact loads of better sunscreen choices out there, most notably mineral based protection. I can’t wait to try them out and see if they work for me.
The other products in the picture I’m afraid weren’t in the database; as it’s US based some of the English brands don’t make it in there I suppose. So the Simple face wash, the nail polish remover, the Radox hand wash and the Palmolive Naturals shower gel are going to remain a mystery for now. I’m pretty sure though that it’s safe to say I could find more natural and healing alternatives to all of those listed, without having to look them up.
I hope this was interesting and do feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below :)