Toxic Talk Tuesday: Personal Care

We use products on our bodies and hair every day without giving it a second thought.  We figure if it’s on a shelf at the store, it must be okay to use. Why would it be harmful?  Chris and Andrea Fabry welcome us into their studio again for the third installment of Toxic Talk Tuesdays.  This time the topic is Personal Care.  Andrea, with her wealth of knowledge and experience, challenges many of the assumptions we have about personal care products and their safety, explains certain components that are particularly harmful, and gives us natural, safe (and frugal!) alternatives. Again, this post will be a conglomeration of direct quotes, paraphrases, and my own input.  For the complete broadcast, find the link below.

Andrea states that our personal care products are an unseen danger.  “The packaging is very attractive, the scents are great, it just looks and smells so smooth, and yet it’s not what it seems. It’s not what we want to believe that it is.  And the reason is, there is so much we don’t know. It’s not that we know something and then are ignoring it, we really don’t know and the more you study what is in these products the more you understand it’s probably not a good risk for us because most chemicals are made up of petroleum. Would you put gasoline on your hair knowingly? Or on your skin? Why does this matter? 60% of any chemical will go through 5 layers of skin into the bloodstream.

90% of the chemicals we have on the labels of shampoos, lotions, toothpaste, etc. have never been tested for health. This is because cosmetics are not claiming to cure any disease or make a health impact, so they do not fall under the same legislation as drugs do.

Toxicant of the Day: Phthalates. A derivative of petroleum. Endocrine disruptors, even in small amounts.  Wikipedia states “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Specifically, they are known to cause learning disabilities, severeattention deficit disordercognitive and brain development problems.”

Phthalates are a chemical prevalent in plastics. But it is also used in shampoos, lotions, and skin care products to preserve the fragrance. This is not listed on labels, it is simply under “fragrance.” The ingredient “fragrance” can include all sorts of neurotoxins, but it is not subject to the same health and safety testing as are drugs to prove its safety.  95% of fragrances are derived from petroleum, a known neurotoxin.  If nothing else, look for products that say “fragrance free.”

Our bodies can become conditioned to the chemicals on the market so that we do not immediately feel their negative effects.  However, this does not mean they are not having a negative effect.  These chemicals whittle down the receptors in our nose, which is directly connected to the brain.  As we breathe these substances in, we are burning down and disrupting our ability to smell, and this is also affecting brain development.  This is why our ability to smell decreases with age.  If you remove the chemicals, our receptors can restore themselves.

Closing thought: All of this information can be overwhelming, but simply do the best you can with what you know. Anything is better than nothing!

Recipe of the Day:

Queen of Hungary Water

  • 6 small handfuls lemon balm
  • 5 small handfuls calendula flowers
  • 4 small handfuls rose petals
  • 3 small handfuls comfrey
  • 1 small handful rosemary, lemon peel, and sage

(Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these herbs; feel free to use what you have.)

Place herbs in a gallon glass jar. (You can halve this recipe for a 1/2 gallon jar.) Cover the herbs completely in raw organic apple cider vinegar. Screw on lid tightly. Let sit for 4-6 weeks. Shake the jar several times a week.

Strain the mixture. Combine remaining liquid with equal parts witch hazel extract. Rose water may also be used.

Dab on face and massage into skin. Queen of Hungary water also makes an excellent rinse for hair. Can be stored indefinitely.

This makes an excellent gift!  Many of these ingredients can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs

Practical Tips:

  • As a shampoo or to relieve dandruff, massage baking soda/washing soda/rhassoul clay into your scalp. Rinse with raw apple cider vinegar/coffee grounds/lemon juice. Rhassoul clay is a mineral and has been used for centuries and has wonderful antioxidant qualities. When adding a mineral to your hair, it needs to be balanced back out with an acid. For more information on its many uses, read here.
  • Baking soda or bentonite clay in combination with an essential oil can be used to brush your teeth. Recipes here and here.
  • Natural dandruff control: Dandruff is an external result of an internal condition, so make sure you’re getting proper nurients.  To treat the irritation, tea tree oil is antifungal. Combine with what you’re using and massage into skin.  You can also use grape fruit seed extract. Dead sea salt baths are great for excema.
  • Soap is overrated.  Suds are overrated. Babies don’t actually even need soap, and many days we don’t need it either, but if you want to use something, use pure castile soap or rhassoul clay.
  • Baking Soda neutralizes acid.  Use baking soda as a deodorant. Mix baking soda, water, and a drop of tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spray under arms.  Another recipe using zinc oxide and witch hazel can be found here.
  • Use raw apple cider vinegar as a skin toner! Then moisurize with kefir. (Health Benefits of Kefir or How to Make Kefir.
  • After chlorine swimming, get a pure vitamin C spray and spray your skin and it will neutralize the chlorine. Or bathe in a vitamin C powder. This can be found at your local health food store or here.

For further information 

Toxic Talk Tuesdays: Laundry Care

Toxic Talk Tuesdays: Naturally Clean Kitchens



Minimalist Beauty

Chris Fabry Live! September 20 broadcast


7 responses to this post.

  1. […] be found outside someone’s front door in God’s creation! As I learned more about the harmful components in personal care products, I determined to find natural options for hair and skin care.  My reaction to trading out my old […]


  2. […] To continue in our series of Toxic Talk Tuesdays, we join Chris and Andrea Fabry once again for Chris Fabry Live!  We have already explored the laundry, the kitchen, and personal care products. […]


  3. […] naturally occurring elements, you can cleanse, hydrate, and tone your skin without the risk of harmful toxins present in most commercial products.  And these things can double as your hair care and far […]


  4. […] naturally occurring elements, you can cleanse, hydrate, and tone your skin without the risk of harmful toxins present in most commercial products.  And these things can double as your hair care and far […]


  5. This is really helpful! 🙂


  6. Which podcast is the one affiliated with this post? I’d love to hear it.


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