Have you ever glanced in the mirror to check your hair and thought to yourself, boy, I could really use some Isostearamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Ricinoleamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Sodium Styrene/Acrylates/Divinylbenzene Copolymer, Ammonium nonoxonyl4-Sulfate, Methylparaben, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Sodium Chloride, FD&C Yellow 5,F&DC RED 4, and a bunch of other combinations of letters pretending to be words?
I know I certainly have. Because that would be the average bottle of 4 dollar brand name shampoo. Nonoxonyl 9 is a manmade chemical spermicide which can also kill the HIV virus. Nonoxonyl 4 might be 9’s little brother, but still, does that REALLY need to be in my hair? And are all the dyes really necessary? Does shampoo clean your hair more effectively if it comes out of the bottle in a pretty color?
Michael and I have started shopping for shower products by finding the bottles with the fewest amount of ingredients and the fewest amount of nonsense words. This is also true of cleaning sprays, dish soap, etc. I know the epic awesomeness that is Trader Joes has not reached all 50 states yet, but for those of you lucky enough to have one nearby, making the switch to organic and earth friendly cleaning products isn’t nearly as expensive as one might think.
1. Renpure Organics – Shampoo and Conditioner – no dyes, preservatives…or spermicide. A few nonsense words, but also lots of nice simple things like “pomegranate”, “green tea”, and “sunflower oil”. All ingredients are certified organic. Regular price is 6.99, but I’ve already found it twice in the last 3 weeks on a “buy one get one free” special – once at Whole Foods, and once at Walgreen’s.
2. Shikai body wash. This stuff is great. Its 2 dollars per bottle cheaper at Trader Joe’s than at Whole Foods (5 vs. 7 for a bottle). I love the cucumber melon and gardenia scents. 100% organic, no dyes, no parabens. It doesn’t come with fancy light refracting sparkles or “moisture ribbons” or any of the other ridiculous marketing gimmicks you see advertised on most body wash products, but guess what? I don’t need my body wash to do tricks. It cleans skin, and it smells nice. End of story.
3. The Marcal “Small Steps” line. No more excuses about earth friendly products costing more. The Small Steps toilet paper, tissue, and paper towels are made of 100% recycled paper, and are all the same price or cheaper than non-recycled brands like Bounty or Kleenex. Its pretty basic stuff, so you won’t see a smiling animated bear wiping his ass or a golden retriever puppy snuggle with this toilet paper on TV any time soon, but really, can you survive without hammocks for your puppy out of your toilet paper? Or walking around the forest caressing your face with it? Its for your butt. It doesn’t need to be made out of clouds or quilts or angel hairs soaked in aloe. Seriously, save money AND trees. I promise you will survive.
Not pictured (because cleaning products aren’t as fun to look at as puppies and bears frolicking in toilet paper): 7th Generation and Simple Green cleaning products (kitchen wipes, cleaning spray, dish soap, glass cleaner, and carpet cleaner). All available at Target, sometimes on sale. The 7th Generation products tend to be a bit pricier than the common brands, but not expensive enough to noticeably change our monthly expenses. They smell less chemically (the all purpose spray smells like orange, and the 7th Generation wipes smell like lemon) and I feel better about not using harsh chemicals and bleach on surfaces the cats frequent.
Give just a few of these products a try, maybe just start by replacing one product at a time, and you’re well on your way to being a CLEAN hippie – no sandalwood, pachouli, or birkenstocks involved!