beauty product detox

I’ve been slowly trying to evaluate the household products (including personal care items) that I use to determine my level of exposure to endocrine disruptors. It’s been almost two months since I started doing the research and realized what was actually in the products I use (many for more than 10 years). Here’s an update on what I’ve done so far. (For the record, none of these companies know I exist. These are just my own opinions about the products. I’m linking to the products I recommend so you can see what they look like and look at the ingredients for yourself, not because they are affiliates.)

Household products:
We had already switched to Method cleaners for our bathroom and kitchen surfaces awhile ago and we continue to like them for those purposes. With cleaning supplies, I’m mostly concerned about toxic fumes and residue, as these products aren’t being applied to my body directly, so I am okay with some chemicals being in these products that I am spraying on my bathroom or kitchen counters. Method also has this handy list of disclosures about all possible ingredients in their products. I am always a big fan of companies that value transparency.

We just switched to Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent, and we’ve only done a few loads, but so far so good. I actually like that there isn’t the strong fake scent of lemon coming out of the dishwasher after washing, and I did notice that my Camelbak didn’t have that funky dishwasher smell after cleaning.

Beauty products:
The big three that I wanted to address for beauty products were deodorant, shower gel and shampoo, since I use those most frequently, especially at the rate I work out. I first compiled a list from my research of the big things I wanted to try to avoid. This is what I came up with:

DMDM hydantoin
imidazolidinyl urea
phenol derivatives
TEA (triethanolamine)
sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate
benzyl salicylate
fragrances and dyes
aluminum (in deodorant)


I looked at the ingredients of several deodorants to try and choose one that might meet most of my criteria. I settled on Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Women’s Deodorant in the Beautiful Earth scent. Well, it did its basic job, keeping odor away when I was sitting at work or at home in the air conditioning. But because it wasn’t labeled an antiperspirant, I wasn’t surprised when I noticed much more sweat than usual. This deodorant doesn’t contain aluminum, which is the main antiperspirant ingredient in these types of products. So it worked when I wasn’t concerned about wetness. But when I worked out for the first time with it? Fail – on both the odor and wetness fronts. Definitely not a product that was designed for heavy sweating, whether in hot weather or exercise (and definitely not hot weather exercise). So I will probably use this product from time to time, but it won’t be a long-term solution for me for daily use. 

Shampoo and shower gel
I was having major problems even finding a shampoo to try because so many of them are advertised as “natural” but only remove a few of the most toxic substances. That’s good, but not good enough for me for the amount that I shower. I happened to read about the Honest Company from another blog and decided after looking at the list of ingredients and the breadth and depth of their product lines to take a chance and order the sampler pack of the Essentials. It came with hand soap, lotion, shampoo/shower gel, laundry detergent, and healing balm. I tried not to let myself simply be enchanted by their lovely graphic design and really test them out to see if they worked. 

I immediately loved the shampoo/shower gel hybrid. It has a very faint orange/vanilla scent that doesn’t linger long, but it is very clean. It also doesn’t leave a film in my hair or on my skin. It’s also kind of nice to use the same product in my hair and as a shower gel, since the scents don’t compete with one another. It also has one of the cleanest ingredients lists I’ve found in any shampoo/shower gel.

The hand soap smells very clean as well, with a hint of lemongrass. When you use it, you don’t feel like you’ve taken a bath in perfume. The lotion seemed like any other lotion, and the healing balm was particularly nice to use on my blistered right foot that has been battered by running this summer.

The laundry detergent is fragrance free, which is something I will have to get used to, since I’ve been a Tide girl since college. But the clothes still smell clean after use.

I am definitely a fan of all of the products I got in my sampler, so we decided to go ahead with a subscription. You can choose your delivery date for each shipment, everywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, and each time you choose 5 products from their very large line and can add up to three extra products at a 25% discount. Buying it in the bundles saves money off of the list price. In the first bundle I’ll be getting some of the other beauty products, including some conditioning hair products that should hopefully help tame my humid weather frizz.

I should note that this is more money than I’m used to paying for cleaning or personal care items, even with the discount, but I’m impressed enough with the products that I’m willing to pay the extra cost. If I’m willing to pay more for healthy foods to put IN my body, I should be willing to pay more for safe products to put ON my body. I want the satisfaction of knowing I’m doing the best I can to limit my chemical exposure.


  • Jonelle Cosgrove

    I can ask my sister what cleaning products and personal products she uses if you like. She’s all about “natural” and “organic” since her breast cancer. (Thankfully still cancer free!) I know she uses a lot of Seventh Generation – but not sure what and I can’t remember what deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste she uses. I’ve seen Tom’s but can’t remember what all it was. She doesn’t workout (no gym, etc) so her deodorant wouldn’t be as big of deal as what you’re looking for with running, etc.

    Let me know and I’ll ask her. :)

    • Joanna Taylor Stone

      That would be great! I’m always looking for recommendations on things to try, for cleaning and personal products both.

  • Susan Vandervort

    Thanks for posting this!

    I make most of my own cleaning stuff anyway. Several years ago I switched to Goat Milk Stuff products for body/hair washing. I *love* them. I will admit to occasionally using conventional shampoo because my hair seems to get “used” to a certain product and then won’t get clean until I change up the product I’m using. I’m going to try the Honest products.

    I have all the ingredients ready and when we get home from vacation I’m going to be making my own body lotion using a recipe from Mother Earth News.

    I would like you to do a post (if you have already and I missed it, please direct me to it) on your endocrine issues! I’m currently in treatment for thyroid cancer. I had my thyroid totally removed last month and have to do radiation treatments to hopefully ensure/cure the rest of my body from stupid freaking cancer. I had no idea (and really, I bet most people do not!) that so many chemicals can disrupt the endocrine system.

    • Joanna Taylor Stone

      Do you have any recipes for the cleaning stuff you make at home, or do you use Mother Earth News for that too?

      I’m kind of nervous about how long the shampoo will work with my hair too, but I’m giving it a shot and will reevaluate later if I notice a film or nasty buildup. Everyone’s hair type is different and it responds differently.

      Wow – thyroid cancer. How have you been adjusting to not having the thyroid?

      I’ll definitely do a post on my endocrine issues and what I’ve done to respond to it. I’ve only just mentioned in passing what I do to limit chemical exposure, but I’ve been doing research on clinical studies that support some of these things and can put that together into a post next week. I’m mostly concerned about the build-up of the chemical exposure over time, as my thyroid function has just continued to decrease.

  • Susan Vandervort

    Also, I have a couple crunchy mama friends who SWEAR by using plain old coconut oil as deodorant. I use it for moisturizer most of the time, but I had the same problem with Tom’s as you did… so I’m still searching for the best product for me!