DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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19 March 2014

Do you know what's in the cosmetics, cleaners and skin products you use?

Making gifts - homemade soap with organic cotton face cloths.

Recent research by the American organisation Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has shown that women in the US use an average of nine personal care products every day. In those products are over 100 different chemcials.  I'm sure it would be a similar figure for women in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Click here to see more information about that study. 

In another piece of interesting news, Johnson and Johnson have started removing cancer-causing hormones from some of their products and other companies, namely Avon, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Procter and Gamble and Unilever have been asked to do the same.

The FDA in America require an assurance from cosmetic companies before they go on sale that the product is safe to use but they aren't allowed to pre-test to confirm that assurance. They rely on the integrity of these companies to sell safe products.  Fragrance is another cause for concern. Fragrance used in room fresheners, cleaning products and cosmetics has been linked to breast cancer. The US Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act allows fragrance ingredients to remain a trade secret and because of that, no one really knows what's in these products.

Making laundry liquid in the kitchen.

 Set up with about six months supply of homemade soap and laundry liquid.

One of the things I wanted to do when I gave up work and started working in my home was to make this place as safe as it could be. I want my entire family, and yours, to be safe and now that we have grandchildren, that decision is even more urgent. I want to live a long and healthy life and I will not jeopardise that by using any of these products now. Skin is the largest organ in our bodies, what you put on it, what touches it and what it absorbs has the potential to harm you. Please be careful. I don't want any of you to become sick or die; I want you to live a long and healthy life too.


I encourage you to check the products you're using. Many companies put their ingredients lists online now. For example, here is the ingredients list for Cold Power with Cuddly, made by Colgate:

Cold Power with Cuddly - Front Loader

Ingredients (INCI Name)Purpose
Sodium carbonateAlkalinity agent and cleaning aid
Sodium sulfateProcessing aid
Sodium tridecyl benzene sulfonateCleaning agent
Pentasodium triphosphateWater softener and anti-redeposition agent
Sodium aluminosilicateAnti-redeposition agent
Bentonite clayNatural softening agent
Sodium silicateAgglomerating agent
C12-15 Alcohol 8 EOCleaning agent
Sodium anionic terpolymerProcessing aid
Lauryl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorideCleaning agent
Antifoam compoundFoam regulating agent
CI Flourescent brightenerWhitening agent
EnzymesCleaning agent for enzymatic stains
FragrancePleasant scent

Notice the last on the list? Fragrance. Phhhhht. 

If you're doing your washing with that product, or any of the others that are similar, you're sleeping on sheets and then wearing clothes that have been washed in all those chemicals. The laundry liquid I use has got four ingredients: water, soap, washing soda and borax. It works as well, if not better than the commercial brands and it's much much cheaper. Here is my laundry liquid recipe and soap recipe. Laundry liquid will take you about 15 mintues to make up and will last a couple of months. Soap will take about 45 minutes of work, spread out over a few hours - it's a weekend job. My recipe for sun infused calendula salve is here.

Calendula salve made with organic calendula petals grown in the backyard.


I tried to find ingredients lists for various bar soap and shower gels but they're not showing them. Hmmmm, I wonder why. Here is one I did find, however, it's Imperial Leather bar soap. My soap recipe has four ingredients, one of them is rain water.

Ingredient
Function

Surfactant
Emulsifier

Surfactant
Aqua

Solvent
Parfum

Fragrance


Glycerin

Solvent
Moisturizer
Palm kernel acid

Emollient
Tetrasodium EDTA




Benzyl Benzoate

Solvent
Fragrance
Eugenol

Fragrance

Fragrance

Fragrance

Fragrance
Alpha-isomethyl ionone

Fragrance
Geraniol

Fragrance

Pigment

Pigment

Pigment

Pigment
CI 77891


Pigment
Sunscreen


This is important. Even if you think you're bullet-proof, this is worth some of your time to check the soap, shower gel, washing powder or liquid, sun screen, insect repellant and cosmetics you're using. Do some research online into those products. If you can't find anything, email the company and ask.

I would love to leave you with good news but instead I'll leave you with this to read - it's an article about the FDA's rejection of the cosmetic industry's draft legislation. It is dated 6 March 2014.

Part of it: Writing that "the draft industry bill could put Americans at greater risk from cosmetic-related illness and injury than they are today," Taylor expressed he no longer saw common ground with the industry in a 14-page memo that detailed how industry’s proposed changes would weaken the FDA’s already very limited regulatory authority over the safety of cosmetics and personal care products.

Do you think that profits are more important than customers?

♥::♥::♥::♥

Rose is leading a very interesting set of organising challenges over at the forum this month. The current one is: Today is Stop Driving Ourselves Crazy Day. Today we face up to one thing we are doing which is driving us mad and we do something about it. If you have trouble organising yourself or doing what you want to do, have a look at the challenge. It may help get you on track. Just click on the link to go there, if you're not a  member, you can join up free here.

31 comments:

  1. Great post Rhonda! I totally recommend Sukin products to your Aussie readers, they are vegan, Aussie and pure.

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  2. Rhonda, I have been making my own soap for a couple of years now and it is so nice knowing what is in it and it is so easy to do as long as one is careful and it can also become addictive. It is scary knowing that ingredients that are detrimental to our health are allowed to be added to products commonly used in households. Making your own is really worth it for peace of mind.

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  3. A great website is the EWG i think or google skincare data base, you just type in the ingredients and it tells you if they are ok or not so ok. I also love the book chemical maze again easy to use and it also tells you food preservatives too not just skin care.

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  4. Your soaps look simply gorgeous! I bet they smell heavenly too.

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    Replies
    1. I add no fragrance, Welsh House. Many ladies do add essential oils, and these are not a health hazard, but I prefer the smell of clean skin.

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  5. You remind me I need to make a new batch of soap - my supplies are running low and I'm going to have to dip into the ugly browning batch whilst the new soap cures!

    Do you suppose the old soap is still okay once it starts to discolour? I don't smell any rancid smells, it's just a colour and texture change (going clearer, and softer).

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    Replies
    1. It's fine to use when it discolours. Are you sure the discolouration is not just from different oils? Some are lighter, some darker. It's a good idea to not make more than six months worth, just to be sure you don't waste any.

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    2. I'm not sure what's causing the colour change. This was the first batch I ever made (olive oil and copha), and maybe I didn't mix it with the stick blender enough before I put in in the moulds. They stayed white for many months though. :)

      The second batch was much better and I gave heaps of it away at Christmas time, which is why I don't have much now! :)

      Thanks for the reassurance. I will use up the older stuff whilst the new batch cures.

      Delete
  6. Morning Rhonda....I'm having some trouble getting into the forum...it seems some links are not working. I couldn't remember my password so did all the necessaries to change it, the link to the settings/account page I was sent to to reset it took me to a page saying 'invalid page url', contact the administrator, but no link to the administrator there, so I went back in via the link on here, clicked on 'administrator' link, but was taken to the opening page of the Forum where I was told I'm not authorized to be (fair enough, I wasn't logged in) but left with no way to contact the administrator....that's you I'm guessing?.....so needing some help now thanks.

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    Replies
    1. LOL, what a great system I set up and didn't know it. I just checked your account Nanette and changed your password. I've sent you an email.

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  7. Fantastic post, Rhonda! I still haven't ventured into making my own skincare but I've collected a few recipes and I will try it soon. In the meantime I use 'Grown', they're all natural and smell fantastic!

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  8. Rhonda, are your laundry soaps low sudsing and suitable for a front loader machine, please? I have a Bosch which is great on getting things really clean, uses little power or water. I never use the manufacturer's recommendation of the amount of detergent needed. A third that amount still works well.

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    Replies
    1. Yes they are, Jan. The commercial brands actually add a chemical to make a big lather. Mine makes no suds at all. I've been using it in my front loader for many years with no problems.

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  9. Two things I do regularly in my skin care routine is to whip up one egg white with a fork and put the egg white on my face allow it to dry approximately 10mins and wash off with warm water. This is an instant face lift. For silky smooth skin I cut the end off a lemon, put a couple of drops of honey on the cut side of the lemon and rub on my face. Leave this on for 5mins then rinse off. Quick and Easy.

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    Replies
    1. Lovely! Thanks for the tips, Miirih.

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  10. I'm almost 31 now, and I remember how naive I was until I read a few books in my mid twenties on WHAT IS REALLY IN the popular SKIN CARE products. It terrified me. I always thought, no, strongly believed (!) that things you buy in shops CAN NOT do any harm to you, and oh boy, was I disappointed when I discovered the truth. I always wonder how many teenagers (with their delicate skin) really know what they put on their skin? How many young mothers are daily bombarded with free "gifts" of toxic baby products like I was when I was expecting? It is so important to get this information out there for them, as most of them are simply as naive as I was and simply clueless, so please, readers, do your family and friends a favor and encourage them to discover for themselves what ingredients are in their mascara, lipstick, foundation, shampoo, nappy cream, baby body oil and other things. I bet they will be keen to help you to prepare the next batch of soap and are more likely to use more natural alternatives for other things. My skin product shelf contains couple of bottles of natural oil (like apricot kernel or jojoba, or rosehip), tooth paste (I do my own) and three bought items 1) natural deodorant, 2) simple and natural moisturiser which I use on top of the oil, and 3) a natural lipsalve. For the last 5 years my skin never was better, and I get plenty of compliments from my friends, who spend hundreds on "wonder ingredients" and still have problems with their skin.

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  11. Hi Rhonda, what a timely post! I've been looking into various recipes for making my own clothes washing liquid because I am so fed up with all the commercial brands. They completely destroy my clothes and fade out beautiful fabrics, even the 'colour safe' ones. I have to admit, I didn't notice this because I had been bringing in washing powder from the EU as Australian washing detergent has always been too severe for my clothes, but now the EU brands have caught up with the bleachers, brighteners and over perfumed fillers commonly used in cold wash Australian detergents and I can't find a good quality liquid that cleans without slowly eroding fibers. I will certainly try your laundry liquid recipe and see how I go with it.Thank you for posting your recipe.

    I did just want to quickly comment on the ingredients in makeup and cosmetics too. I know you don't like to shop much, but I'm sure you'll be aware of the $2 shops we have in almost all shopping strips nowadays? Well I was in one the other day when a woman came in and returned some cream she had purchased, it had completely burnt her face and arms - chemically burnt her that is. I really wonder who (if anyone) checks all the creams and cosmetics coming into these shops straight from China? It's a real worry.

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    Replies
    1. It's not the Chinese you need to worry about - it is the regulations in this country and our government not policing them. It is the major corporations that choose to purchase these products from China cheaply (the chinese just make what is demanded) and sell them in this country for large profits. That is where the problem is - don't blame China, they're not the one's making the huge profits, the corporations in our country are.

      Delete
  12. I have been on a quest to detoxify my home for the last three or four years. As a result, I make my own laundry soap, I no longer use dryer sheets, my skin care consists of Dr. Bronner's soap, rosewater and coconut oil for moisturizer. I also use a weekly facial masque of honey and aloe vera gel. I now cook from scratch as much as I can and I use a homemade deodorant powder. I really identify with your post and am glad to see others going "natural". It is important.

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  13. I got quite sick a few years ago with immune system issues. As a result, I seeking out ways of cutting down on chemical based products, and quickly discovered how easy it is to make your own, not to mention cheaper and safer. Thanks to Rhonda, I've now been making soap for a couple of years, I use coconut oil for moisturiser, and my own washing powder.

    Something that hasnt been mentioned here is deodorant. Let's face it - we all need to use it. And it's being applied daily to a very sensitive area of the body. I make my own deodorant which is not impossible as you would think. The recipe I use is very effective, as well as being safe and cheap.

    For anyone who wants to give this a whirl, this is the one I make:
    http://www.thankyourbody.com/homemade-deodorant/

    A bonus is you don't get the crispy white under arm stains on your clothes that you do with standard deodorant. Due to the coconut oil, you do eventually get some darkening under the arms of the clothes, but some dishwashing liquid takes care of the oil. Another thing to be aware of is that due to the changing texture of the coconut oil (ie liquid in warm weather, hard in cold), you can't use it in a cleaned out wind up deo container - as I know some have tried. It does best in a sealed shallow container - like the one Rhonda has her calendula salve in. Definitely worth giving a go.

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  14. good article. we have need to know, what chemical use the commercial company their cosmetics?

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  15. and ladies, just when you thought it was in your bathroom and laundry, look at your pantry.

    Do you use raw sugar? it is as highly refined as white sugar and brown sugar, is the white with some molasses added back at the end of processing. This sugar is devoid of any nutrients, due to the process they use to make it and only serves to keep us addicted and wanting more. It creates acid in our body and thickens our blood, porridge (some doctors call it), that is why our society has so many people on warfarin.
    There is antioxidants in olive oil, that they don't even have to list in the ingredients (because they are under 5% of the total product) and they are toxic to our bodies.

    If you want to live a simple life - make it an exceptional one and include a whole foods diet (as close to nature as it gets)

    Rapadura sugar (dried sugar cane juice) is an unprocessed sugar.

    I also hate to say we have hybridized our wheat so that it's toxic to our bodies, even the organic stone ground stuff, again causing our bodies to be too acidic and causing headaches and excess weight, that puffy look in our faces, necks, arms and legs. The alternative is spelt or some ancient grains.

    Wheat is one of the major causes of sickness in our society along with processed sugar and refined oils like canola.

    We need to start encompassing the ingredients we use in our simple life, from our washing detergents, soaps, cleaners and food and make them healthy and as close to nature as we can get. Simple! right.....

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  16. I had to stop using all bought cosmetics, cleaners and skin products a few years ago when I became extremely sensitive to Limonene/Linalool which is added to many 'natural' products as an essential oil, it is in everything including toothpastes! I now make most of my own including deodorant and washing powder. I still buy soap, the one I buy has two ingredients, olive oil and salt I use this for many things including washing my hands!

    Since I have stopped it is the smell of everything that amazes me. I am really conscious of it, some shops smell so strong I have to leave. They are so strong they make me feel nauseous and headachey, it is amazing that people can put that stuff anywhere near their skin.

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  17. Pears Soap which was beautiful once started with about 8 ingredients & has ended up with about 40.
    Deodorant as mentioned above is over used. I sweat on my head & down my front but not under arms.
    Totally agree, far too many chemicals.

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  18. Great article. I too worry about the dozens of unpronounceable chemicals we put on our bodies. No wonder there are more and more people with cancers and other immune diseases! I make your laundry liquid and soap, it's cheaper, easy and better for us!

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  19. Thank you for posting on this subject of homemade laundry soap, Rhonda. I have been hoping and waiting for it, as I have a number of questions, because I have been wanting to get started with making my own soap.

    1. Our wash water becomes part of a greywater system that waters the soil in the garden area. I have read that borax can be a problem for plant production systems. How do you handle the disposal of washing water ?

    2.Why aren’t the soap flakes used “as is” - why are the other ingredients added?
    3.Why don’t the commercial soaps contain borax?
    4.Have you ever made borax free soap? Can you share any insights into their effectiveness in cleaning clothes?
    5.I have used a commercial soap with washing soda (according to instructions) and it “destroyed” the elasticity in the new underwear in 1 month of use. Any suggestions? Because of this, I have been hesitant and not yet delved into homemade laundry soap.

    Thanks so much for your time to address my questions.

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    Replies
    1. csaugust, I don't have the time today to answer all your questions but someone else might, otherwise, go to the forum and ask there.

      However, on the subject of borax, in soil it turns into boron, and boron is harmful to plants. Just leave it out or replace it with bicarb, although that will alter your soil pH. It's in there because it helps with stain removal and shifting things like perspiration.
      I think you're a bit confused with the borax in soap. We don't put in in soap, it's in laundry liquid and powder.
      Commercial soaps generally use other chemicals, borax is quite a gentle chemical.

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    2. There are many different laundry soap recipes out there, and not all of them use borax. The one I have been making comes from here: http://www.lensgarden.com.au/hintsNtips.htm scroll down about 2/3rds of the page to find it. I have 5 x 4 litre plastic jugs that I store it in, and for my family of 6 it lasts about a month.

      Delete
  20. Hi Rhonda,

    I don't expect that you'll remember me, but I wrote last year explaining how I was trying to make so many changes to my house that it was overwhelming me. I was chuffed when you turned my comment into its own blog post, and I received some great advice!

    I've been plodding along with the changes, and being kind to myself. It's OK if I buy the occasional loaf of bread! However the changes have been so satisfying and the momentum has been growing. So in addition to cooking and baking from scratch, my husband and I moved on to preserving things from our garden and then into the bathroom. We use Castile soap in the shower, and I pop some coconut oil in the bath for the kids. I've even starting making my own toothpaste and deodorants...they have been fun trial and error! The kids have Sukin bubble bath as an occasional treat but it's more cost effective for us to use coconut oil or Castile soap.

    This is a great post, the message is getting out there slowly but surely...my friends are now asking me for my recipes!

    Sara

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  21. You use rainwater as an ingredient, but how can you guarantee that this is clean and pure and does not hold harmfull ingredients. Or ingredients which react and give harmfull reaction products in your product?

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    Replies
    1. It's RAIN water, we are surrounded by forest, I drink the rainwater. Besides, I don't have to guarantee anything, I don't sell the soap. I've been making soap like this for years, and I'm still here.

      Delete

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