Cosmetics are another case of 'ignorance is bliss,' but if you care about the environment, your health, and your baby's health, then it's important that we investigate what we're putting in and on our bodies and share that information. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has done a great job of putting a lot of info into the following cartoon:
So what can we do as consumers?
1. Research the companies whose products we use. Is there lead in that lipstick? Carcinogens in you
r concealer? If so, it's time to switch to companies who offer both a commitment to safe products and complete transparency in production. Skin Deep offers a comprehensive searchable database of cosmetics and personal care products.
2. Go naked! I stopped wearing makeup earlier this year and after a few days of reaching for all the stuff I got rid of, suddenly it became really...normal. And it felt good. My skin looks and feels great. The NYTimes profiled a number of people who are opting out of a regular showering or shampooing routine and finding that they're still pretty clean, which means that if you do choose to go without, you're not alone. Incidentally, that doesn't work for me.
3. For everything else, make it yourself. Or buy it from people who do (check out Etsy). You can make everything from cleaning products to your own shampoo, and it's surprisingly easy and quick. I love all Dr. Bronner's soaps and recommend Sal's Suds for house cleaning, which I use for dishes (by hand and in the dishwasher) and laundry. Passionate Homemaking also has a simple recipe using Dr. Bronner's castille soaps as a versatile base for shampoo. Coconut oil makes a great body moisturizer (we buy it in gallon tubs from Mountain Rose Herbs) and is my favorite oil to cook with. I also use it as a face moisturizer, which helps out in the dry Massachusetts winters. I also make my own moisturizer with vitamin E, lanolin, beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter, and whatever essential oils I feel like smelling, and it's the best moisturizer I have ever used in my life, bar none.
4. For babies, it's important that products are as gentle as possible, which to me means as natural as possible. We can make our own (a good pregnancy activity maybe? Check out Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health), or buy from others. I got a lovely gift basket from Flying Bird Botanicals for some friends expecting their first baby, and will definitely shop with them again in the future.
Have fun and good luck!