When I open the medicine cabinet in our bathroom, what I see is mesmerizing. About 7.5 of the 8 shelves in there are jam packed with mysterious creams, tonics, and scrubs that my wife Michelle swears by as part of her beauty regimen. On the remaining half shelf that has been assigned to me (nomadic Neanderthal husband), sits my toothbrush, herbal deodorant, dental floss, a razor, and a tube of natural toothpaste. You could say Michelle owns this particular piece of real estate in our house and until recently, she alone knew what each of those little bottles of goo were good for.
But while I was down in the Amazon, I came across some ancient beauty treatments still in use today that sparked my curiosity about what women in the States use on their skin and hair. Once I got back to California, I began looking at the contents of some of Michelle’s products and was pleasantly stunned to see that most of the active ingredients are not new. In fact, many of them have been used since antiquity.
The main difference is that: a) the key ingredients in these new formulas are diluted with a bunch of filler substances, b) there is no saying where these new products are sourced from – in fact, only 70% of the ingredients need to be organic to fulfill the FDA’s “Organic” requirement, and c) most of these natural products actually contain a number of potentially toxic chemicals.
I brought it up to Michelle and according to her, the only way to get 100% natural and effective skin and hair tonics is to either make them yourself, or seek out a mom & pop shop on a mountaintop somewhere. A sad state of affairs that will hopefully change soon, because the chemicals that these major natural brands are sneaking into their stuff are not good.
Inspired by this apparent blind spot in the beauty industry, we did a bunch of digging and found some effective and fun ancient beauty formulas that you can make at home. But before we get to those, here are a few of the sneaky intruders that you should be on the lookout for in your favorite organic lotions and shampoos:
1.) Parabens – An extremely common preservative that has been shown to disrupt estrogen production and has also been detected in malignant tumors.
2.) Phthalates – Usually hidden under the word “fragrance, ” a known hormone disruptor linked to reproductive defects
3.) Benzoyl Peroxide – Known skin and eye irritant; linked to the promotion of tumor growth.