Not all soap is created equal
We all have favorite go-to products that we love to use, but should we be using them?
Not all soaps and lotions are created equal. For many of us choosing skin and hair products is both trial and error as well as brand loyalty. It can be scary, especially if you have sensitive skin to try a new product. If you are looking for a better product, because you need a change, it isn't working anymore, skin sensitivities, are trying to be more aware of what you are putting on your body, or are trying to be more environmentally conscious, we have provided you with a few things to look for in a product.
When choosing healthy food we look for short and simple ingredient lists because we want to know what we are putting into our bodies. How often do you check the ingredients of your beauty products? What we put on our bodies can be just as harmful or beneficial as what we put in our bodies. When choosing a beauty product it is best to look for a short and simple ingredient list. When we look at some food and candy wrappers it is hard to find ingredients that are actually food.
If your cheese says, "cheese-like product", it probably isn't cheese. If your soap doesn't say soap it probably isn't soap. (Wash, cleanser, scrub, etc..)
In fact most soaps are actually detergents. Detergents are great at cleaning but aren't the best for our skin or our environment.
Some common detergents you will find in you soaps, shampoos, body wash, etc.. are:
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Ammonia Laureth Sulfate (ALS)
Ammonia Lauryl Sulfate
These detergents can irritate skin, causing it to dry out, and by disrupting your skins natural biome, natural bacteria found on the skin. Your skin, like your gut needs certain bacteria to maintain a healthy Ph level and protect it from other bacteria. Healthy skin is well hydrated and balanced skin.
Detergents are the aren't the only chemicals that can damage your skin.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA). These products can irritate your scalp, and they destroy all the good stuff in your hair like Keratin and other natural oils in your hair. This damage will dry out hair and cause damage.
Alcohol, Parabens and Formaldehyde can also be found in your shampoo. They can severely irritate and dry out the scalp and even cause hair-loss if the scalp is exposed to to much of it.
Propalyne Glycol, helps to keep the product from freezing while being transported. It is also known as the antifreeze you put in your car.
This is just the beginning of the list of chemicals that aren't good for your skin. The products that contain these chemicals also have a large carbon footprint.
**If you have sensitive skin you should also avoid products with any artificial coloring and scents.**
Liquid soaps, washes, shampoos, etc. tend to have a 25% larger carbon footprint than bar soap and shampoos. The chemicals that go into the liquid versions of these products also take more energy to produce.
Those are ingredients that we should avoid for the health of our skin and environment.
Good for us but bad for the environment
What about ingredients that are good for our skin, but not always the best for the environment?
While there are plenty of ingredients that can help us, we need to make sure those ingredients aren't also doing harm.
Palm Kernel Oil and Shea Butter, these products are great for our skin, but you need to make sure you are using the best version of the ingredient.
Where does it come from?
Palm Kernel Oil, is mainly harvested on large plantations in Africa, South America, Asia and recently New Zealand and Australia. These plantations can cause large land disruptions changing the landscape and reducing the amount of plant and animal species that can live in the area. These large plantations often abuse the land and their workers.
This doesn't mean that you can't find a source that is environmentally friendly and sustainable, as well as treating their employees well. Look for Palm Kernel Oil that is certified by Rainforest Alliance, International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), or Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
There are ethical and environmentally friendly ways to harvest everything, you just need to be mindful of the source. Look for products that say Ethically Sourced or Sustainably Sourced.
How is it processed?
Shea Butter is a product that you want to make sure is as close to raw as you can get it. If Shea butter is overly processed it loses all of its skin nourishing properties. When choosing a Shea Butter product you want to make sure it is unrefined and off-white or yellow in color. This coloring is an indicator that the product still has all of the wonderful vitamins and minerals in it, as well as the moisturizing fatty acids.
Over processing uses a lot of energy, bleaches and other chemicals to make the product look better. None of this processing adds any benefit to the product. White Bread looks better and is softer than Whole Grain Breads but it isn't as healthy for you. Whole ingredients that are closest to the source are better for you and the environment.
These are just a couple of things to look for, but they are a good place to start.
There is no way to be a perfect consumer, because products aren't perfect, but we can all do a little better to make sure we are using products that are better for us and better for the environment.
At Wind Song Acres we are constantly looking for ways to make more environmentally responsible products that aren't only good for you, but can quickly become your favorite go-to choice.