Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolution: Clean Up and Green Up Your Personal Care Products

As we turn the calendar page to 2009, many of us will be setting goals for the upcoming new year. Travel plans, new projects, and thoughts of renewal will be on our minds. During this time of reform, I suggest that we also take a look at the personal care products on our shelves and make a resolution to clean up our acts. After all, the skin is our body's largest organ, absorbing whatever we put on. We pay attention to the ingredients in our food that nourish our internal organs, why not start paying attention to those in our soaps and shampoos as well? By eliminating products containing the ingredients listed below, we can maintain and enrich our body's first line of defense. Make a resolution for good health from the outside in.

The Bad Guys:

The following products are common additives to personal care products that are harmful to our bodies. Next time you pick up a bottle of lotion or deodorant, be sure to check out the label and steer clear from anything that contains the following:

sodium lauryl sulfate: This ingredient is used as a detergent, emulsifier, and foaming agent in thousands of cosmetic products. It is produced synthetically by the sulfation of lauryl alcohol. Sodium lauryl sulfate irritates the skin and dries the skin and hair due to its degreasing abilities.

propylene glycol: This is one of the world's most largely used cosmetic ingredients. It is a derivative of natural gas that is used as a moisture-carrying vehicle in everything from moisturizers and toothpastes to antifreeze and artificial smoke.

parabens: These preservatives are produced from synthetic chemicals and are considered toxic and allergenic to the body. Research done in the European Union has led many to believe that these chemicals alter hormone function and increase the risk of certain cancers and infertility.

synthetic fragrance: These synthetic substances used to impart odor into cosmetic products can trigger allergic reactions in many individuals. Common forms of synthetic fragrance, phthalates, have been shown to be mutagenic, cancer causing, and adversely affect human male sperm.

The Good Guys:

The above list may sound ominous but don't worry, there is hope. Certain companies have been reviewed by our staff and given the "Wedge Award". This award guarantees that none of the products offered by the company contain any of the nasties listed above.

Here are a few top of the line brands to look for just to get you started:

EvanHealy: A revolution in skin care and hands-down Wedge Co-op & Wedge Worldwide staff favorite. These products are worth their weight in gold. Clean as can be, purifying, and nourishing, these skin care products are made to order in small batches and sent directly to us. Discover the radiance that rosehip treatment oils, floral hydrosols and clay masks can bring to your skin.

Sensuous Beauty: These "sensual" botanical formulations are made entirely from fresh food and plant-based ingredients. Formulated by hand in small batches, this company uses organic and ethically wildcrafted herbs in their cosmetic concoctions. Check out items like their line of body pleasure products.

Dr. Hauschka: A complete line of holistic face and body care products, this company has offered us the highest quality of products for over 40 years. Their commitment to sustainable practices is evident in their use of biodynamically grown and harvested herbs in their products. If you haven't indulged yet, now might be the time. Their bath products are dreamy.

Alaffia: Sustainable skin care products made with fair-trade, hand-harvested shea butter - the highest quality available. Aditionally, 10% of the company's profits go back to the African communities that produce their raw materials. Try their luxuriously moisturizing soaps, shampoos, lotions and creams... or my favorite, unrefined shea butter.

Scrub Your Butt: An all natural, locally (Minnesota) based company offering a variety of different body washes made from organic based soap. Great products with whimsical names like our best seller "Stinky Hippie" patchouli body wash.

written by Katie Frerker