So (see previous post) I've been obsessed the last few weeks with researching the chemicals in all the little various bottles cluttering up my bathroom. The StarTribune ran an article a few weeks ago about health concerns in cosmetics, and I ran into an article at Health.com recently which listed common products suspected of increasing the risk of breast cancer, like plastic water bottles, shampoos with parabens, and phthalates.
Most helpfully, Environmental Working Group has a website, Skin Deep, which rates thousands of products on a scale of 0-10, 0 being good and 10 being dangerous. It isn't foolproof, because some items are listed more than once with different scores depending upon how accurately the ingredients were listed. But you can check your shelf of products, see what sort of numbers you are working with, and work to find products that are lower.
I've done this off and on for years, and I try to get all my soaps and stuff below a score of five or so, but then I get amnesia and go buy something with an 8 or something. I love cosmetics gifts bags, and I've trusted Aveda for years. (That's how I ended up coloring my hair again.) I forgot, though, that Horst Rechelbacher sold Aveda to Estee Lauder, and I suspect, but don't know, that the formulas changed. Horst is now working on something called Intelligent Nutrients, obscenely expensive care products that you could eat. (If I want to use the stuff in my kitchen I'll follow the recipes in Annie Berthold Bond's book, Better Basics for the Home.)
I don't know all I'm allergic to: the formeldehyde on new clothes, para-Phenylenediamine (probably), and some other mysterious chemical. So I'm trying to get my product score closer to zero, or at least under 3. Then I'll be exposed to fewer chemicals and perhaps I can save some money, too.
The trick, of course, is not getting amnesia again -- forgetting all about this and succumbing to a cute gift bag in the store, or believing it when someone says I need a little "lift" and telling myself that the chemicals aren't really that bad, or thinking that it must be fine because the government lets the companies sell the stuff after all, even though the FDA doesn't test personal care products. Of course most change for me is cyclical -- a few steps forward, some back, and try again. Here we go.