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3 ways to green your personal care routine

written by: Stephanie Michael•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 5/24/2011

If you're trying to green your life you've probably looked into ways to save water, save energy, and recycle trash but have you looked in your medicine cabinet. Personal care items like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, makeup and nearly everything else can sometimes contain sometimes harmful, unnatural

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    What's in your bathroom and on your body?

    We are all trying to do our part to help the ailing planet by greening the way we live. It's easy to forget that the personal cosmetics we use on a daily basis contribute to the pollution in the brown water, or waste water, that gets sent to treatment plants and sometimes released into our streams and waterways. Those trace ingredients are then being absorbed by the skin everyday. Trying to replace everything at once can be stressful and expensive. instead try finding key products in your home, the ones you use most, and replace those. Lets look at some of the most commonly used personal care products and what kind of alternatives you have.

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    Shampoos and Conditioners

    Its important to have clean hair, and for most of us its important to have soft and shiny hair. The great news about using green shampoos and conditioners is that the natural ingredients wash quickly from your hair leaving little to no chemical residues. This means your hair is free to shine and bounce, since it isn't weighed down by all that gunk. I've found and tried a lot of brands and have success with a few brands John Masters Organics gentle Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing shampoo and Hair Reconstructor is great for my hair. I do a lot of damage with my straight iron and love the silky feeling I get after washing but at $26 I find it to be a little expensive for everyday use. At $9 a bottle Alba Organics Gardenia Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner gives me similar results for a much better price. If you cant find what your looking for in your local stores, then try Whole Foods and Trader Joe's or look online. I've found a lot of great sites that sometimes have specials for free shipping.

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    Body Washes and Lotions

    Similarly to wanting clean shiny hair we all want clean and supple skin. Organic body wash is a little harder to find than organic body soap but as long as its full of natural ingredients its ideal. Something I didn't realize until I switched to organic body wash is that the chemicals in my “moisturizing” body wash were actually drying out my skin which is why I needed such heavy duty moisturizer Now that I'm using more natural products I find I need much less lotion after. One of my favorite brands is Avalon organics. They make about 6 different kinds of great smelling body wash. At about $11 a bottle its priced in about the mid range of what I could find in stores and online. Avalon organics also makes moisturizers and I'm currently enjoying their lemon hand and body lotion. Considering our skin absorbs these products, sometimes before our eyes, I like to know that I'm not willingly putting any foreign chemicals into my body.

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    Deodorants

    Deodorant is something that is applied to your skin liberally and daily. It keeps us dry and keeps odors at bay. For women who shave under their arms, the deodorant is usually applied to more sensitive and possibly broken skin. Have you ever stopped to try and read the unintelligible ingredients in your favorite brand? Many new studies are showing that the chemicals seeping through your skin from the deodorant may lead to hormonal imbalances, breast cancer, and Alzheimer's. One of the most commonly found ingredients is Aluminum Chloride which is an additive used to stop perspiration. No one wants to be sweaty but the body perspires in order to keep you from overheating and in order to release toxins. Ive found that spray deodorants usually work best and that antiperspirants do not exist outside of a chem lab. My favorite so far has been Weleda’s citrus deodorant spray, which is $12. If you're willing to spend a little extra I have heard nothing but great things about Dr. Hauschka's deodorants which are about $23 but have been recommended for super active lifestyles.

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    Small steps=Big change

    Making small changes to your personal beauty routine every few weeks will eventually lead to a complete green overhaul in the bathroom. You'll feel better knowing you are contributing less to an industry thats poisoning its customers and you can also feel better knowing your putting less potentially harmful ingredients into your body.

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    Sources:

    Why makeup can be bad for you, http://themedicalsanctuary.com.au/articles/cms/15/why-make-up-can-be-bad-for-you

    Cancer Causing Chemicals in Personal Care Products, http://www.healthy-communications.com/5cancercausingchemicals.html