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HEY, THERE! I’m so glad you’ve decided to take charge of your health by eliminating endocrine-disrupting, carcinogenic toxins from your body and home. First, let me apologize for using the buzzword “nontoxic.” Unfortunately, you can’t rely on buzzwords alone. How easy would it be if we could? I can’t tell you how many “natural,” “nontoxic” products I’ve purchased, only to learn they still contain endocrine-disrupting phosphates, sulfates, and artificial fragrances. Chances are the safe, nontoxic, cleaning product you picked up from the grocery store isn’t as safe as you think.Chances are the safe, nontoxic, cleaning product you picked up from the grocery store isn't as safe as you think. Click To Tweet
I first learned about these nasty toxins a year and a half into trying to conceive my first baby. #Infertility. Desperate to conceive without medical assistance, I spent all my free time researching how to improve our chances of conceiving naturally. When I learned the ingredients in our food, body products, and cleaning products were probably absorbing through our skin and messing with our hormones, I immediately began the process of replacing everything in our home.
IT’S A HUGE LEARNING PROCESS.
Maybe you’ve begun the process yourself. Maybe you’ve already learned what to avoid and think you’ve found the perfect product, only to find it smells funny, gives you a rash, or just doesn’t work. Then you finally find something that works– maybe from a local farmer’s market or an Etsy shop– and the quality is inconsistent. So you find a DIY recipe on Pinterest, and it’s a huge fail. I don’t know if you’ve been through this entire process, but I have, and it’s taken years.
Finally, after years of trial, error, and disappointment, I’ve found fertility-friendly, family-safe products to cover every surface of your home and body. I’ve read ALL the ingredients (not just the buzzwords) and feel confident that these products are must-haves for every family wanting to cut the crap and live their best, healthiest lives.
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. This is a recent find. It only has 9 easily-pronounceable ingredients and works for Ev. Er. Y. Thing. Body soap, shave soap, hand soap, fruit and vegetable wash, laundry detergent, dish soap, dishwasher detergent… Yes! DishWASHER! It can even be used to bathe the dog. The instructions for each use are on the label. No need to scour Pinterest. For some uses, you just dilute it with water. For others, you may need vinegar. It can be tricky if you have hard water, particularly as laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent. For example, I have hard water, and to use castile soap in the dishwasher, I have to sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher before use, set the machine to the sanitize cycle, and it won’t clean plastic dishes (which we really try not to use anyway.)
It’s been hard to find a natural shampoo that works! Shea Moisture has so many products and scents, you won’t know where to begin. Their Cleanse & Tame shampoo and conditioner smell so yummy. Of course, they work well and have good ingredients too! I also love their detangler for my long, straight hair. They have hundreds or organic, natural, fair-trade, and cruelty-free products for men, women, and children of all hair and skin types. We want to keep those nasty chemicals away from our whole families, right?
Another favorite is Zero Xeno Kombucha Shampoo, which ships from Canada. The founder’s story of how she reversed her PCOS-related infertility by eliminating harmful toxins is a must-read and one that inspired me down that xenoestrogen-free path I’m on now with my husband and my own two boys.
Castile soap also works as a shampoo. I tried once and didn’t care for the texture, but then again you’re supposed to rinse it out with an acidic rinse to balance the pH, which I didn’t do. I’d be willing to try it again with the appropriate rinse.
Cow tallow works nicely as a natural, deep moisturizer. Flying Cow Tallow is my favorite. I’ve spoken with the founder multiple times. She is passionate about what she does and is always friendly and helpful. Let’s not forget her products work and smell good!
Shea Moisture Fragrance-Free Ultra-Sensitive Baby Lotion is more cost-effective and works for everyone in the family! It’s nice and thick, absorbs well, and works as a facial moisturizer as well.
Less ingredients are always better. Products for kids and babies tend to have less ingredients, so I like to use them for myself and my husband as well. This is a good tip if you have sensitive skin.
Organic grapeseed oil is a one-ingredient moisturizer that also works as a facial moisturizer and seems to absorb better than coconut oil. Coconut oil very popular as a moisturizer, but in my experience, it didn’t absorb well and made my hair greasy.
Pacifica Beauty has a variety of enticing scents from floral to fruity to tropical. I only recommend the spray perfume or the perfume roll-on, NOT the Perfumed Hair and Body Mist. Normally, I only recommend products from brands I trust with every product, but these scents are too good not to share!
Natural fragrances such as essential oils don’t last as long as you would expect from most commercial perfumes. This is a GOOD sign of a natural product, as synthetic fragrances are specially designed to last a long time.
With Pacifica Beauty, the scent from the spray perfumes are more potent than the roll-ons and therefore tends to last longer. These scents are SO good. My favorite is Indian Coconut Nectar. Oh, if you could smell it through your computer screen!
I’ve never worn makeup regularly. For each season of my life, I’ve had a different reason for not wearing makeup. The most recent reason would obviously be to keep toxins to a minimum. I didn’t know of any makeup brands that used nontoxic products, and I didn’t care that much to do the digging.
Until now. It’s time for a change. I asked my IF Mama community for makeup recommendations, and they came through. 100% Pure Cosmetics uses organic, nontoxic, unrefined, vegan ingredients free of water, synthetics, or fillers. They have 24 shades of Fruit Pigmented Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick and 19 shades of Fruit Pigmented Full Coverage Water Foundation, which I am LOVING after 15 years of dealing with hormonal acne. It gave me the full coverage as promised and as easy to blend, even for a makeup newbie like me. Mascara, primer (this smells so good), makeup tools, sunscreen… the list goes on and on. I don’t know much about makeup yet, but this is impressive, right? They also offer hair and body products! I don’t know about you, but I’m about to take advantage of their free shipping over $50 and stock up my makeup bag! Who’s with me???
This has been tricky for me. I’ve been battling hormonal acne for 15 years but feel I am close to a breakthrough! I had been using an oatmeal facewash for years that I loved. It was homemade, smelled great, and seemed to keep my breakouts pretty level. Unfortunately, the company disbanded (from what I can tell), and I was left to search for a new (hopefully more effective) way to clean my face.
That’s when I discovered oil washing. Years ago, I read in an article, “You should nourish your skin, not punish it.” That stuck with me, and since then, I have been searching for the perfect way to nourish my skin and calm away my hormonal acne. Oil washing is gentle, natural, and simple. It smells good, feels good, and my skin is loving it! It is based on the basic chemistry principle of “like dissolves like.” You can use just about any oil for this– coconut oil, hazelnut oil, castor oil, grapeseed oil– but my favorite has been cow tallow.
Blackhead treatment: activated charcoal. This ingredient is all the rage right now, and many companies are using activated charcoal in the product that contains less-than-desirable ingredients. That’s why I turned to my toothpaste as a blackhead and spot treatment. That’s right. My Magic Mud Whitening Toothpaste with activated charcoal, coconut oil, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil is awesome for treating blackheads and blemishes. (And by the way, it’s good for teeth too.)
Periobrite fluoride-free toothpaste. I’ve been using fluoride-free toothpaste for a few years, ever since I learned the potentially harmful effects of fluoride on fertility. The studies on fluoride are currently mixed, so whether or not to use it is something you have to research and decide for yourself. Here is a good place to start.
My Magic Mud Whitening Toothpaste. Yes, I use this as toothpaste too. This is also fluoride-free. I have to say, I put off trying this toothpaste for the longest time because I was weirded out by using black toothpaste on my white teeth. Finally, I tried it, and IT FREAKIN’ WORKS! In 2 minutes, this toothpaste got stains off my teeth that took a dentist 30 minutes and a lot of tools to remove! It gives your teeth that nice dentist-clean feeling. A whitening toothpaste that ACTUALLY whitens. Who knew? Don’t worry; it rinses off easily.
Jack and Jill Natural Toothpaste. This one’s for the babies and the kids. All natural, fluoride-free (safe if swallowed), sugar-free, and free of artificial colors or flavors. There are lots of flavors, including raspberry, blueberry, and banana. Let’s just say my toddler LOVES brushing his teeth.
Hello! How could this chapstick addict not share with you her favorite chapstick? Dr. Bronner’s Naked Organic Lip Balm, of course. Few ingredients. Organic. It works. Are you seeing the pattern?
Maybe you’ve heard of the link between aluminum and Alzeimer’s disease. While some brands are aluminum-free, and I imagine several have recently removed aluminum from their formulas, there are still several carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting ingredients in many commercial deodorants, such as parfum (fragrance.)
I’ve tried several natural deodorants, all with varying degrees of success. Some didn’t work at all. Some worked as a deodorant but not as an antiperspirant. (They stopped the stink but not the sweat.) Some were sooo close to working but irritated my sensitive skin. I believe this was from the amount of baking soda in some natural deodorants, which is abrasive and can cause irritation, especially on sensitive underarm skin.
So what do I use? Schmidt’s! Tried and true, Schmidt’s is a brand I can trust, and their deodorant works! It’s kind of their thing. Their Fragrance Free formula was my first love. It does have baking soda but never irritated my skin. Now I am all about Pineapple Coconut. It’s been a while since I’ve had a drink, but this girl once loved piña coladas, so I knew this was a scent I had to try! As a bonus, it’s one of their several formulas for sensitive skin with no baking soda. It feels nice and smells amazing. Have you ever had that problem where your deodorant fragrance mixes with your sweat and just doesn’t smell right? Is that just teenage me..? Well, it’s not a problem with Schmidt’s deodorant. Check out all their scents!
Our family goes to the lake all the time during the hot and humid summer of Upstate NY (we live right down the street!) We probably only remember to bring the bug spray half the time, and we can definitely tell the difference when we don’t remember it! Our favorite is Nantucket Spider Natural Deet-Free Bug Repellent for Kids. It smells good and keeps the bugs away! If you choose to use this, you’ll want to spray it directly onto any exposed skin for its full effect, not just on your torso.
Another product designed for babies. Do you own a pool or know someone who does? We do! That means we spend a lot of time in the pool during the precious summer months of the North Country. One good coat of Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream keeps my fair-skinned toddler’s skin glowingly white. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label for safest use. It goes on white and is a little difficult to rub in, but my family’s health is worth the extra couple of minutes it takes. The active ingredient here is non-nano zinc oxide, which is a natural mineral not shown to disrupt the endocrine system. As a bonus, the larger size of the non-nano zinc oxide particles makes it even less able to absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream as many toxic body products do.
I ONLY USE THREE PRODUCTS TO CLEAN EVERYTHING IN MY HOUSE.
Cleaning products can be the worst. You can smell the chemicals just walking down the cleaning aisle at the grocery store. Does anyone else get a headache from that? Here are my three nontoxic, all-purpose cleaners that WORK to clean everything in my house. How did we ever get away from this stuff?
Force of Nature Cleaner
Did I say earlier that I use castile soap for everything? Well, I use Force of Nature Cleaner for everything else. Counters, sinks, clothing stains, carpet stains (Yep! Coffee AND ketchup!), deodorizing shoes and dog beds, disinfecting surfaces, sanitizing hands, sponges, sippy cups, and toothbrushes… There are also uses you wouldn’t expect from your cleaner like spraying produce and elongating the lives of plants. I’ve personally used it for ALL of these things!
The solution is made of three ingredients: water, salt, and vinegar. (It has a light pool scent.) The Starter Kit comes with a small machine that electrolyzes the solution, turning it into a cleaner that’s as powerful as bleach but more importantly DOESN’T smell like vinegar. Once you have your one-time Starter Kit, you just buy solution packets as needed. The Starter Kit actually comes with one plastic bottle, but I like to have two glass bottles (one upstairs and one downstairs) in order to limit my family’s exposure to endocrine-disrupting plastic.
Subscribers to THIS SIDE OF IF get 40% off Force of Nature Starter Kit plus other special offers.
As mentioned above, I use Dr. Bronner’s Baby Unscented Pure Castile Soap for everything from dishes to laundry to washing produce.
As in Shark Steam Pocket Mop. The idea of pushing around dirt and germs around with a reusable mop dipped in a mixture of lukewarm dirt water and smelly, toxic floor cleaner makes me cringe. It’s not sanitary or effective (or am I doing it wrong?) Cleaning with good ole fashioned water in the form of steam removes those mystery sticky spots on your floors and sanitizes while saving you from the harmful chemicals.
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