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Take the Garbage Out: Detox your Beauty, Personal Care and Household Cleaning Products for Better Wellness

The Well-Intended: Clean and Green in 2019

When I was pregnant with my daughter, a couple things happened outside of the obvious:

  1. I became acutely aware and concerned about the unintended toxins I was exposing both myself and unborn child to that could sabotage our health
  2. I developed a sense of smell like a purebred Bloodhound that has continued to be both my superpower and Achilles heel today

These two realizations (as well as my functional, integrative practitioner reinforcing the direction to ditch the junk in my life to maximize wellness – paraphrased, of course) led me down a path of reading-up on the scary effects that chemicals in beauty, personal care and household cleaning products (among other things) can have on your body. That resulted in a subsequent mass purging of my drawers and cabinets and reevaluation of how our family would live more “clean” moving forward.

It’s always a work-in-progress for the best decision making based on evolving knowledge, cleaner product availability, and frankly, a hesitance to walk away from some products that I have used for most of my life – change can be intimidating, I know!  But, I’ve found some helpful tools and guidance to achieve the cleanest, greenest lifestyle for myself and my family that help us feel better (mentally and physically) by minimizing exposure to toxins that could result in a lot of frightening effects that you may or may not feel today…but could suffer from eventually.  No, thanks!

Here are some of the worst toxins (not comprehensive) to watch for in your beauty and personal care products*:

  • Ceteareth (-12, -20, -25, -30)
  • Coal Tar
  • Fragrance
  • Hydroquinone
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Lead and Mercury (Thimerosal)
  • Nanoparticles
  • P-Phenylenediamine
  • Paba (Para-aminobenzoic acid, 4-aminobenzoic acid, p-aminobenzoic acid)
  • Parabens
  • Mineral Oil
  • Proplene Glycol (PG), Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), Butylene Glycol, Ethylene Glycol, Diethylene Glycol
  • Talc (Talcum powder)
  • Titanium Dioxide (this can be safe or unsafe depending on its use – be sure to research for yourself)

Here are some of the worst toxins (not comprehensive) to watch for in your household products*:

  • Ammonia
  • Benzene (Nickname: Naphtha)
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • 2-Butoxyethanol (Nicknames: Butyl Cellusolve, Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether)
  • Chlorine Bleach (Nicknames: Hypochlorite, Sodium Hypochlorite, Hydrochloric Acid)
  • Ethanolamines (Nicknames: Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), Triethanolamine (TEA))
  • Formaldehyde
  • Ethlene Glycol (Nicknames: Ethylene Dihydrate, Ethylene Alcohol)
  • Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE)
  • Petroleum Distillates (Nickname: Naphtha)
  • Phenols
  • Phosphates
  • Phthalates
  • Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) (Nickname: CB)
  • Sodium Hydroxide (Nickhames: Lye, Caustic Soda)

With that watch-list now in your brain, here is a preliminary short-list of solutions you can employ in addition to purging your home and starting fresh!*

  • Look for plant-based ingredients
  • Look for full-disclosure of ingredients
  • Avoid synthetic fragrances and dyes
  • Check for third-party certifications (ex/ Green Seal, EcoLogo, etc.)
  • Scan the label for warnings like “Danger,” “Poison,” or “Caution.” – seems obvious, right?

Another literally green solution I like to help purify my home? Plants! There are a number of houseplants out there that can help suck up the really bad pollutants (like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.)*

  • Reed palm (Chamaedorea siefritzii)
  • Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Pothos ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum Mauna Loa)
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)
  • Snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
  • Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens)
  • Lacy tree philodendron (Philodentron selloum)
  • Elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum)
  • Red edge dracaena (Dracena marginata)
  • Corn plant (Dracena fragrans ‘Massangeana’)
  • Janet Craig dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’)
  • Striped dracaena (Dracena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
  • Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
  • Gerbera daisy or Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Pot mum or florist’s chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
  • Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)

Finally, this summary above was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to information and guidance on the subject of detoxing your life.  Be sure to tap into some of the many sources out there.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Read: “Skinny Bitch. Home, Beauty & Style. A No-Nonsense Guide to Cutting the Crap out of your Life for a Better Body and a Kinder World” By Kim Barnouin 

2. Download the “Think Dirty” app

3. Consult The Environmental Working Group (EWG)

4. Follow The Green Queen at: http://thegreenqueen.com/blog/

Happy cleaning!

*Source: “Skinny Bitch. Home, Beauty & Style. A No-Nonsense Guide to Cutting the Crap out of your Life for a Better Body and a Kinder World” By Kim Barnouin

Danielle has a degree IN advertising from Michigan State University (Go Green!) and a degree OF sarcasm in life.  Her perfectly imperfect pursuit of wellness is rooted in the research and practice of wellness in efforts to revitalize her mind, body and spirit after 20 years as an executive in the advertising industry and a hobby of collecting home addresses in Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta. You can reach her on The Well-Intended social channels or at danielle@thewellintended.com.

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