Many years ago, I became pretty alarmist about all of the chemicals I was coming into contact with on a daily basis. Like, break out the tin foil hats, join a gridless commune in upstate New York, bathe only in triple-filtered water siphoned from a mountain stream and hauled on the backs of pastured goats kind of alarmist.
To say the world became a very scary place is an understatement. I went into full hyper-panic mode, and probably lost my damn mind for a minute. Luckily for everyone around me, it didn't last for long. But it did begin a slow and progressive move away from commercial products that I had always used without much consideration. While there are many alarmist blogs and tons of false information floating around out there, I decided to simplify my home and bath products where possible.
I began choosing household cleaners with ingredients I could understand. With my history of PCOS, I stopped buying anything with petroleum products and bleach. Petroleum is a major endocrine disruptor, and while I can't escape it in my environment (seriously, it's in our furniture and home goods, as well as in the air), I could choose to reduce it where possible.
As my commercial cleaners and soaps ran out, I replaced them with more food-based ingredients. Same with my body products. I wanted to take good care of my body in this way, and also the environment. A great side effect is that I actually ended up spending less money on cleaners, detergents, and other products, and could put that money towards higher quality cosmetics (which are hard to find within non-toxic guidelines since the FDA gives no bothers about lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals in our makeup).
So, here is how I very slowly reduced my dependence on non-environmentally friendly products, and: You can do it, too.
1. Stop using scented things.
The air you breathe is important. I know you love your Yankee candle that smells like birthday cake. But it's not good for you. Go ahead and stop using that febreeze and other air freshening sprays. You can pick up a natural citrus spray or burn a little incense if you're jonsing for a good scent. You can also use essential oils, but I'm not touching that conversation.
2. Replace your cleaners with baking soda, white vinegar, and biodegradable dish soap.
I know. You love your blue glass cleaner and green bleach bathtub scrub. But there are very few things bakind soda, white vinegar, or biodegradable dish soap can't clean. They are also incredibly cheap. You can also find some other green cleaners to replace them if you don't want to make your own.
3. When you run out of detergent and other soaps, opt for free and clear or castile soap.
Dr Bronner's is a well-known, versatile soap, and can be used for just about everything. It's highly concentrated, which means a large bottle will last forever.
4. Switch out your lotion for food.
Avocado oil, coconut oil, shea butter, almond oil, and jojoba oil are all great for your skin. If you are looking for lighter moisturizer for your face, try Alba's aloe vera emulsion. It's oil-free and perfectly hydrating.
5. Put your tin hat away.
Choose your battles. Don't get extreme about it. Make small changes over a long period of time and don't be afraid to experiment with what works for you. Treat your body and your environment with respect and love.
Go forth and embrace your inner green goddess. Or at least give her a hi-five.