Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Of crunchiness and caution labels

I found a "caution: keep out of reach of children" label on my facial scrub yesterday. I'm not sure why I hadn't noticed it before. I have to admit, up until now I've been a bit skeptical of all the hype surrounding the dangers of conventional personal care products. I love the idea of having perfectly safe soaps, cleansers, makeup, and lotion, but the reality is that they can be expensive. In addition, many "natural" brands aren't necessarily much safer than the conventional ones. They're just much more expensive.

I rationalized yesterday that I'm just washing the scrub off right away, not allowing it to linger on my skin. I've used it for years and I love the scent. But it terrifies me to think about it being a danger to my children. If it's dangerous for them, how safe is it for me? I've tried the en vogue method of facial cleansing, the oil cleansing method (OCM) which is simple, easy, and inexpensive. However, I have yet to find the right balance for my skin - I break out like crazy whenever I use it for more than a couple of days. So that's a possibility. I'm just not sure how long the breakouts will last, hence my resistance.

I've come across the same thing when purchasing products for Emily and Erin. It's hard to know which is safe and which is just labeled as such. It's also hard to resist the traditional clean baby aroma from that familiar pink bottle. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. After all, the bottle makes a lovely changing table distraction, so we'll be keeping it even if just for that.

I read the book Organized Simplicity a few years ago and was enthralled by the idea of using simple household ingredients to make your own personal care products and cleaning supplies. I've realized, though, that unless I take a week's vacation from household chores and work, it's unlikely to happen. I might have the time to mix up one or two things, but there's just too much going on to make that work consistently. (See yesterday's post.) So, for the moment, I do my best to buy what's safest for us, while still trying to purchase things that are enjoyable and functional enough to get used. Sometimes that means striking a balance between that yummy clean-baby smell and the castile soap. Sometimes it means bleaching the white laundry - including a badly stained cloth diaper. And sometimes, like with the OCM, I take the plunge and make my own. It doesn't happen very often, though - this mama just isn't that crunchy ;)

What about you? Where do you strike a balance? What are your favorite conventional, green, and homemade products?


  1. Yeah I'm not super interested in making my own stuff. I replace things with just plain coconut oil sometimes, but I can't get into making my own laundry soap or cleaners.

    I just check the skin deep database which rates beauty products based on how toxic they are and try to pick the ones that are the least damaging.

  2. Sometimes you just need bleach but a great alternative, depending on what caused the stain, is laying the stained item outside on a sunny day. As far as I know, this only works with organic stains (it's awesome for poop stained diapers!) and the cloth needs to be wet but it works amazingly well. Also, it saves a bit of electricity since you're not drying the clothes in the dryer.

  3. The oil cleansing method didn't seem to work for me either. Guess what is working for me though? I mask of cinnamon and honey. I put it on my face, let it sit a bit, scrub it around to exfoliate, then clean it off. My face is a million times better since I started doing it.