Written by Denise Deby.
In my quest to find healthier and more sustainable personal care and household products, I’ve come across a few that I’d like to tell you about.
As you know, many of the soaps, shampoos and cosmetics available on store shelves contain substances that have been documented as harmful to human health and the environment. According to Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith, authors of Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health and Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World, synthetic chemicals such as phthalates and parabens are among the toxins that find their way from consumer products into our bodies and our ecosystems.
Fortunately, healthier alternatives are becoming more widely available. Here are three that I’ve discovered recently:
Oneka shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. By happy circumstance, I received an Oneka gift pack after entering a contest on the website of local writer Tudor Robins. (Tudor blogs on writing and occasionally on environmental and community issues–check out her website here. She’s a wonderful writer, with an engaging young adult novel called Objects in Mirror, and a second novel, Appaloosa Summer, out this spring.) Thanks to Tudor and Oneka, I’ve tried out Oneka’s angelica and lavender shampoo, unscented conditioner and goldenseal and citrus shower gel–all great.
Oneka’s products are organic plant-based, paraben-free and sulfate-free, vegan, biodegradable and not tested on animals. Some are unscented, a must for those of us with scent sensitivities. The company, located southeast of Montreal in Frelighsburg, was founded by Philippe Choiniere and Stacey Lecuyer, who’ve had sensitivities themselves. You can find their products at Market Organics and sometimes Rainbow Foods, or order online.
Purple Urchin soap. Purple Urchin is based right here in Ottawa, and makes handmade natural, biodegradable and vegetarian–some vegan–products, also not tested on animals. I picked up some of their soap at terra20. Purple Urchin bar soaps come in a variety of ingredient combinations (think “Luscious Lemongrass” or “Coffee Bitters,” for example) but I went for the unscented Goat’s Milk bar, which is nice and creamy without being oily. Purple Urchin’s soaps, shampoos, facial and other products are available at their shop (884 Somerset St. W.) and quite a few other spots around town.
Purelygreat deodorant. I have to say this is an amazing discovery. Many “green” deodorants aren’t very effective, but this one works really well. It was recommended by a customer service staff person at terra20 in Wellington West, who told me it works even for her hockey-playing brother. It’s an unscented, cream deodorant, containing only sodium bicarbonate, zea mays (corn) starch and glycerin. You have to stir it on opening, and you apply it with a finger—but don’t let that stop you; you get used to that quickly, and it’s not much different than applying some other cosmetics. Purelygreat is located in Toronto; several Ottawa shops sell their deodorants.
You can even make deodorant yourself, if you’re so inclined—check out the recipes on the A\J blog.
Have you found any other great personal care products? Please let us know in the comments section.