Small Steps to Sustainability: Personal Hygiene

I talk a lot about food on here. I love food. Talking about it, making it, eating it… it all makes me happy. But as it turns out, there are a few things other than food that are worth my attention. Once I started paying attention to what I was putting into my body and how the food I purchase affects my community, the environment, and the world, I started thinking about what I put ON my body too. It’s been a real eye-opening journey realizing how many hundreds of toxic chemicals are in a basic body care products. These toxins are not only absorbed directly into our body, but also make their way into the environment when we wash them down the sink or throw away that mostly empty bottle of shampoo. 

I’m still working on making changes to less harmful products, but I thought I would share some of the basic personal hygiene areas where I have made changes and the products that I use and love! And if you looking for more information check out the Environmental Working Group’s consumer guides, especially their Skin Deep database, which allows you to search different products to see how safe they are!

Soap/Body Wash


Dr. Bronner’s is my all-time favourite soap. I use it as a body wash and for shaving, but it can be used a million other ways (like as shampoo or as a veggie wash). The ingredients are completely natural, with most of them being organic and fair-trade. I feel good using it knowing it’s less harmful to the environment, to those that grow the ingredients, and to my own body. And it actually works really well! Another bonus is the bottle is made from recycled plastic. My favourite scents are peppermint and lavender!



Pretty much every conventional antiperspirant or deodorant you can find on you local grocery store’s shelves are chock full of bad stuff, like aluminum, parabens (estrogen mimickers), and triclosan. Antiperspirants of any kind are not the best for you, because sweating is a actually good thing– expelling toxins, cleaning pores, and maintaining optimal body temperature. I’m not looking to mess up the good thing my body has going, so I just stay away from antiperspirants unless I have a big presentation or a job interview.

That leaves me with natural deodorants. I’ve tried quite a few, and most of them didn’t work. That was until I found Primal Pit Paste! I used it all summer, where I worked outside on a farm in 90+ degree heat, and I didn’t send anyone running from my stench. It does take a little time to get used to natural deodorants, and sometimes there is even a short period where you seem to sweat more and stink worse. But if you just hang in there, it’s worth it! Lavender and Jasmine are my favourite Primal Pit Paste scents so far. I have used both the stick and the paste, and I like them both equally, but the stick is a lot more convenient for travel.



I tried going totally crunchy and did the no-poo method, using a baking soda wash and apple cider vinegar rinse, for about 5 months. It actually worked quite well, but my hair just didn’t feel as soft or have as much body. So I switched back to store-bought shampoos and conditioners. Instead of going back to Dove or Herbal Essence, I sought out a more natural formula, especially one without parabens and phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors (they mess with your natural hormone system!) Currently, I’m using the Jason line of products and I’m quite happy with it. I have also used Hugo Naturals with success! These brands are typically easy to find and don’t break the bank. 

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