Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Cleaning Carnival - Get the Parabens Out!

It's spring cleaning day again! This week, Micaela at Mindful Momma is educating us on parabens. You can read the first part of her story at Kitchen Stewardship and the second part at Mindful Momma. You can also see the previous and upcoming topics here. Finally, go check out the lotion giveaway going on at KS! (whew.)

I'll admit that parabens have not been on my watch list. We all have priorities based on the many and varied dynamics of our household. I really appreciate the opportunity to educate myself on things like this, though, and as I continue baby-stepping my way toward healthier living, I never know when a bit of info I tucked away somewhere will suddenly click.

One thing that concerns me to learn about parabens is that they are prevalent in baby products. Yikes! (See how I make homemade baby wipes and spray detangler for my little one - just make sure you use paraben free inputs!) It was interesting to note that parabens are mainly used as preservatives. We typically think of preservatives in food, but it certainly stands to reason that health and beauty products "go bad" as well.

So, what's a mama to do? Micaela tells is in her post how easy it is to make our own products, and that way we know exactly what is in them. She also gives us permission to use up our paraben-containing products rather than throw them away immediately, and this also gives us time to find a good replacement!

Katie tells is in her Monday Mission at Kitchen Stewardship how she wears less makeup, uses homemade deodorant, and has gone to the no-shampoo method of caring for her hair. I never really got into the habit of wearing much makeup in the first place, and have worn it even less often since my daughter was born. The less you put on, the less you have to take off! I'm not sure I'm quite ready to give up my deodorant yet, but a quick glance at the ingredient list didn't show any paraben-containing ingredients. (Aluminum is another story, sigh.)

If you haven't heard of the "no-poo" method of caring for your hair, I encourage you to check the link above. It is important to note that there is a period of acclimation, but it's survivable. :>) Up until last summer, my hair was past my waist and my relationship with my conditioner rock-solid. I've since had my personal stylist (aka my mother!) cut more off every time and my hair is now the shortest it's been since middle school or so. Perhaps it's time for me to give the no-poo method a try? Well, I have a handful of bottles of Suave shampoo and conditioner tucked away, so perhaps not quite yet.

That isn't to say that I've not made a baby step at all, though it wasn't exactly intentional. I'm not quite there yet in my "About Me" series, but just after Christmas in 2006, we lost power for a week due to an ice storm that took down miles and miles of power lines and poles. During that time, we stayed at Hubs's grandmother's place along with Hubs's parents.

Our bathing choices were limited to a 1950s style added in shower in the basement (if you've ever seen - or showered in! - one, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about - if not, consider yourself lucky) or the teeny tiny bathtub. And either way, we had to be quick, because the water was pumped by electricity. Please note that I was 7 months pregnant with Goose at the time! So during that week, I took one "bath" in the tub (there was so little water, it barely qualified) and one shower at a friend's house in a nearby town that had their power restored much more quickly than we did. I still think about that pink-tiled piece of heaven...

My point is, my body soon adjusted to bathing less. Since I was due to deliver a baby in the next several weeks, I just kind of went with the reduced bathing schedule. Turns out it was one of my better decisions as skipping showers with a newborn left much more time for the important things like sleeping, eating, sleeping, and sleeping. Did I mention sleeping? :>)

Admittedly, while I don't want to like parabens, I am pretty sure I've been supporting their inclusion in ingredient lists because living in the middle of nowhere means that I prefer to have an extra of [insert item here] in the cabinet (or six of them). And these preservatives mean I can do just that. But just as I'm learning how to make do with fewer preservatives in our food, I think I can learn how to make do with fewer preservatives in the other items we use.

Next week, it's my turn to host the Spring Cleaning Carnival on getting food additives out. I'm learning a lot as I go, and looking forward to learning from others next week! I hope you can join us!


Mindful Momma said...

Thanks for participating in the carnival this week! Starting slow is a fine way to go....just being aware of parabens is a big step!

Looking forward to learning all about food additives next week!

Kim said...

If you want to do the no shampoo thing, this post I ran across was most helpful. I'm tempted to try it.