Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Innocent little shampoo...

Ignorance is bliss...  when you don't know you feel no duty or obligation to change things... except that sometimes.. what you don't know can potentially hurt you.

It occurred to me today to look up the ingredients in my daughter's shampoo.  She hates having her hair washed  so I figured if I let her pick a shampoo the bath time struggle would come to an end.. but I was wrong... either way I eventually got her to trust me to tilt her head all the way back to let me rinse her hair.

The Shampoo she picked.. a pink strawberry one with a bright cartoon character.. of course people who study years of marketing know how to make a  product seem kid friendly while appealing to the kids. And I admit they definitely appealed to my pocket.

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Dimethiconol, Carbomer, Fragrance, Polyquarternium-10, Sodium Citrate, Tea-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, PEG-150 Distearate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylsothiazolinone, PPG-9, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Red 33

I want to list every ingredient and what I found but it is too much to list so I will give you links and a small snippet  to the ones I found most disturbing..  There's a thing to this.. my daughter would complain of burning in the eyes.. which I did not believe (she tends to over dramatize certain situations) and I blamed it on her not liking the water to hit her face.. I mean after all the darned thing said it was tear free! (man I feed bad now.. you will see why)

Sodium Laureth Sulfate  Both Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and its close relative Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpastes and other products that we expect to "foam up". Both chemicals are very effective foaming agents, chemically known as surfactants.

Unfortunately, both sodium laureth sulfate and its cousin are also very dangerous, highly irritating chemicals. Far from giving "healthy shining hair" and "beautiful skin", soaps and shampoos containing sodium laureth sulfate can lead to direct damage to the hair follicle, skin damage, permanent eye damage in children and even liver toxicity.

So why is a dangerous chemical like sodium laureth sulfate used in our soaps and shampoos?

The answer is simple - it is cheap. The sodium laureth sulfate found in our soaps is exactly the same as you would find in a car wash or even a garage, where it is used to degrease car engines.

In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, SLES also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. It is also well documented that it denatures skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin.

This denaturing of skin proteins may even be implicated in skin and other cancers.

DMDM Hydantoin For dead humans, they won’t probably mind getting a good dose of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is used in embalming and it is also emitted by imidazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydatoin. These two formaldehyde-emitting chemicals are found in most of our personal care products in the market today. This substance can be in liquid or gas form, colorless and with a very distinctive smell.

Initially, formaldehyde is used for synthetic resins and textiles. Nowadays, it can also be found with your makeup, lipstick, baby shampoos, and moisturizers. For personal care products, they inhibit bacterial growth thus prolonging shelf life. Other uses of formaldehyde are for waterproofing fabrics, enhancing dyes, production of adhesives and binding construction materials.

This substance is known to cause cancer. Aside from that, it can also induce skin blisters, skin inflammation or dermatitis, dryness of skin and severe breathing problems. When absorbed in large doses, it can cause cancer while if inhaled, it can induce serious irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.

I googled more but found nothing as shocking.. though a lot of them were labeled carcinogens..
in my quest I also found this article about the safety of your baby wash..

in the same blog you will find How safe is your shampoo/conditioner.. (L'Oreal kids shampoo score SHOCKING!) and How  safe is your toothpaste
I know there are many untapped natural products out there.. a very commonly known California Baby  I discovered when looking for a safe Sunscreen I could use on my 3 month old since I was taking her to Palm Springs and she needed sunscreen but most say under 6 months to consult a Dr.  I gulped at the 20 dollars but decided it was well worth it.. and it was that thing lasts forever!
The Shampoo.. sure.. $10-14 dollars  for a shampoo seems like a lot compared to that $2.94 shampoo.. BUT I keep reading that it ends up lasting 4-6 them most I heard.. 8 months!  So it comes out to about the same!  EUREKA! Just how I discovered detergent with out all the chemicals and additives worked better for my laundry.. Personal care products work the same way..
I am changing our products.. one at a time.. especially for the sake of my children. Sure we can say carcinogens chemicals are everywhere BUT if we can have one less agent attacking them it can only be good for their health when it comes to the big picture right?
Besides the fact that you would be buying most likely from companies that don't do animal testing and that are environmentally responsible.  And made in the U.S!
I later that night stumbled onto this.. Conscious living manifesto I invite you to check it out!
Other places to check out
Conscious community facebook
One Natrion Under Mom
Non-Toxic Kids.net 
California Baby on facebook
Got any advice? DO you have favorite chemical free products? Are you an expert in no-poo? Know of more pages like this? Any suggestions?  please feel free to share! <3


  1. To help with the water in the face problem...we picked up a Sassy Suds and Sun visor >$5. It is PVC free and fits our now 7 yr old with no problems. We have found that flipping it upside down ( so the bill is facing upwards) during the shampooing and rinse process has proved the most effective in not getting water or suds on her face. We have also used this product and method on my nephew who has Aspergers and does not like water on his face at all and had great success.

  2. Here is a link I used in the past to ensure some sort of safer products: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/

    Now I use Dr. Bronner for our body and dish soap, Hugo Naturals for bath bubbles (with Epsom salts)and hair wash, essential oils of Lavender (too many amazing properties to mention here) and peppermint (deodorizer) and Pink Solution for the home and laundry.

  3. OMG now I have to throw everything out. I breastfeed, ap parent, we eat local and organic food blah blah but how stupid am I that I didnt even THINK about shampoos I use on my kids and baby. Thanks for this post!

  4. For rinsing, Catelyn takes a dry washcloth and covers her eyes. She hasn't complained about it sense. She washes her own hair from time to time, and I can tell you left to her own devices a bottle wouldn't last her 4 months. Maybe, I might get a week out of it. :-) I didn't know about all the crappy stuff in it, but we quit using the suave because Catelyn's hair seemed super dry, and now it makes sense. :-) Fantastic post.

  5. I highly recommend looking into shampoo bars. I started out with a Lush bar but they're very expensive and apparently Lush isn't actually a very great company.

    I am experimenting with this product and it's sisters: http://www.amazon.com/Lavender-Shampoo-Total-Body-Bar/dp/B0002KAIPA/ref=sr_1_41?ie=UTF8&qid=1299687455&sr=8-41

    And overall just lowering use of shampoo results in your hair getting oily much slower--turns out those chemicals and frequent washing induce extra oil production. It takes time to adjust, but some people ultimately go "No-Poo" and just use baking soda and vinegar concoctions once every week or so.

    One other thing: Have you looked into toothpaste? It turns out paste is a relatively new product for cleaning your teeth and it might not be a very effective one. I've switched to tooth soap but there are also powders and alternatives that make use of the Neem plant from India.

    Also, sorry for the horrendously long post. This type of stuff came up in my first year of parenting and I'm still very excited about it. I even switched to home made deodorant. Works like a charm. :)

  6. http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/

    this site has tons of info on what skin care stuff is safe. From sunscreens to baby products to make up and hair care stuff. Lists carcinogens and all that.

  7. I make my own soap and milk bath, but I absolutely love yes to carrots. We have the yes to baby carrots, and I love washing her with it and it has not irritated her sensitive skin.

    The list of ingredients is: Yes To Carrots Fragrance Free Baby Shampoo/Wash
    Water (aqua) Decyl Glucoside Glycerin Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil* Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Juice* Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) Retinyl Palmitate Calendula Officinalis Extract* Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract* Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil* Citric Acid Potassium Sorbate Sodium Benzoate

    I also LOVE their version of makeup remover. It is all natural and easy (squeeze a little onto hand and rub it on face, rinse away makeup). They have a whole product line too, I have found them in Target and Babies R us. I am going to try to make my own shampoo soon though.

  8. Hi! Blissful Booty has a line of Natural Products that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate. It is derived from coconut and palm oils. It is a safe, skin-friendly surfactant (foaming agent) for both skin and hair. This mild plant derived surfactant creates a rich, luxurious lather that effectively removes surface oil, dirt and bacteria, without stripping or drying sensitive skin. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is also attracted to water (hydrophilic), which enables it to dissolve more readily in water, thus providing superior rinseablility.

    Although an ingredient's name may sound similar to another, it does not mean that the molecules are similar with respect to shape, size, performance or even function. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate sounds similar to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, however, the two molecules are very different. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is a large molecule ingredient. Large molecule ingredients are considered to be mild, gentle, and non-irritating, as they cannot penetrate the skin. In contrast, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a small molecule ingredient, and is capable of penetrating the skin, which can increase the occurrence of skin irritation and dermatitis. I just wanted to clarify the huge difference between the two so people wont get confused when looking at labels. :) Thank you!!

  9. I'm proud to say that my 3.5 month old is so far completely soap free - for all the reasons that you mentioned! We wash him with water and a wash cloth and moisturize with olive oil.

    I know that eventually we will have to start using soaps (maybe when we start solids in 3-4 months), but I'll research which one in the cosmetics database - truly an awesome resource.

  10. @Diapers and Design,,, no not stupid! I mean.. 5 yrs later and I'm barely figuring this out? lol.... funny thing is I use a sulfate free shampoo and I never thought about my kids..

    @Cathy, thank you for the clarification and yes I advice everyone to research ingredients on their own if they are interested We are blessed to live in n age where informacion is so readily available.

    I looked at Cosmetics database as well when doing this post but the site really did not stand out to me.. However the links I posted have great resources too..

  11. Agh, my son uses the same brand shampoo. We've been working on getting rid of all these chemicals. I figured I would make my own after we used up what we had but I'm definitely thinking of just starting now. I didn't want to waste money but that's no as important as our kiddos!

  12. We love Yes to Carrots over here as well - We use the grown-up shampoo & conditioner and have the baby stuff as well. (I've also used their lip products and face wash, although their face products are mighty spendy for their size.) Earth Mama Angel Baby is expensive but another fave, and the only thing I've ever used that is 0 all across on Cosmetics Database.

    Ignorance really is bliss about a lot of it. My husband recently bought a PVC shower curtain (because it's mold-resistant) and I feel guilty steaming up the bathroom now. I use a not-so-green salon conditioner once a month or so and I feel guilty when my son puts his mouth on my hair. Everyday I weigh the pros and cons of my commercial deodorant versus stinky underarms. And these are just the bath & beauty woes.

  13. holy crap! my ten year old totally uses (used now) that shampoo. we use dr. bronners on the baby, fluoride-free tom's toothpaste, free and clear detergent for dishes and clothes... and it never even occurred to me that the super innocuous looking shampoo had formaldehyde in it. breezed right in under my radar. good looking out. thanks :)

  14. I had no idea ick. I use the Suave kids soap & Target Brand shampoo but Im going to check out California Baby. I currently use Sparklehearts hair detangler its 99.6% Natural & organic. They have other products as well.


  15. I got a little freaked a while back and started switching things. I make my own laundry detergent now and I buy a natural crystal deodorant from Sprouts. But what I really love (and what was the initial reason I started switching) is Pure Visage. I use it to cleanse/moisturize my face. It's amazing and totally natural and chemical free. Since I'm pregnant I'm extra careful about what I put on my body since I know it's going to baby, too.

    Thanks for being a careful mama and for putting this info out for the rest of us!



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