Reader Questions: GMO-free Personal Care

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Today I’m veering slightly off topic to answer a reader question.   Remember, if you have a question about health, wellness, cooking or green living please contact me.

Rebekah asked:

Q: Where can I find corn-free, soy-free, GMO-free soaps, shampoos and personal care products?

A: Frankly, I do not use many personal care products at all; however, I was able to dig up some recommendations for you.

Soaps: I have ultra-sensitive skin so don’t often use soap and when we do, we use locally made soaps or castile soaps which are made from olive oil and lye and sometimes scented with essential oil.   If you have a good farmers market in your area, you can probably find some hand-crafted soap.   These handcrafted soaps are usually corn-, soy- and petrochemical-free.   Alternatively, check out Lush which offers a huge array of natural, organic soaps and personal care products.

Shampoos: I have a secret to share: I haven’t shampooed my hair since June of 2006.   I’m going on three years!   Don’t worry, it’s not as funky as it sounds.   You can even check out a picture of me on the About Jenny page. Since ditching the shampoo, my hair has been stronger, healthier and its natural highlights have returned plus I’m not sending funky chemicals down the drain and into the water supply.

My basic routine is simple: warm water, followed by a dilute lemon rinse and another shot of cold water.   A few times a week, I’ll use Burts Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar, regular natural soap or a paste of baking soda and water followed with another dilute lemon juice rinse or, occasionally, a dilute apple cider vinegar rinse. Every 4-6 months or so, I condition my hair with olive oil and egg yolk but I find that the need is pretty low.

Moisturizers: Mostly, I find that a cold rinse in the shower keeps my skin from becoming dry.   I do, however, use Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Night Cream when I don’t have time to make my own moisturizers out of beeswax, filtered water and natural carrier oils like sweet almond oil or olive oil.   I’m considering starting a new blog about natural skin care so stay tuned for that!   I use olive oil and coconut oil as body moisturizers as well.

A Note on Sunscreen: While you didn’t specifically ask about sunscreen, it seems to fit the topic.   We no longer use sunscreen in our home for a variety of reasons.   Instead we eat a healthy diet and use coconut oil or sesame oil both of which have a natural SPF of about 5.     I prefer coconut oil because it smells nicer. Check out these posts on ditching the sunscreen: To Screen or Nourish at Local Nourishment and Natural Sunscreen Protection with Real Food.

Remember, if you have a question about real food, green living or anything else please contact me and I’ll do my best to help you out.   I love hearing from Nourished Kitchen readers.

GMO-free personal care is cross-posted at the No GMO Challenge.

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What people are saying

  1. B~ says

    Thought I would add my two cents about natural shampoo. My husband and I use Borax and filtered water (1 inch of Borax in the
    bottom of a gallon container; fill with water and shake well) and rinse with Citric acid and filtered water (1 teaspoon in one gallon
    of water).

    Just pour the Borax water over hair; massage scalp and rub hair. After this, pour the citric acid water through to remove the borax residue. Citric acid is the only product that will remove borax, plus, it maintains the proper pH.

    Your hair and scalp feel so incredibly clean and conditioned

  2. Jenny says

    Callam – Oh no! I’ve used their products for YEARS and had no idea they’d been purchased by Clorox. Well, they’re off the list now. Jeez … now I’m going to have to go back to making my own.

  3. Vandy says

    I’d love to find out more about natural skin care, esp. if its Jenny’s blog. When I was studying your hair in your picture,I noticed that your skin is lovely, too. I quit using conditioner a couple of years ago, and my hair is shinier and smoother than ever. And my showers are shorter. Do you use coconut oil just from a jar? Do you reapply it? I hate putting sunscreen on my kids. When it washes off in the water, it blocks sun for the plants that it sticks to.

    • Kacey says

      Melaleuca is not a GMO free company. Please call your product information line for proof if this statement. I think it is irresponsible to market a company as non-gmo when it actually is not.

    • Erin M says

      I have been doing some research as well. My understanding is that the Melaleuca we have trusted is not GMO free and has dyes and other toxic additives. I have no idea how these companies get away with out and out lying.

    • says

      The Melaleuca Company is not chemical-free: check your labels. If you can’t pronounce it and it’s clearly not the Latin species-subspecies identifier of a plant ingredient, it’s a lab-created, industrially-processed chemical that has no business in a “natural” product. (Tell me what Sodium Laureth Sulfate is, and why it should be in your toothpaste, your shampoo, your body wash AND your dish detergent.)

      I find it interesting that the only product from Melaleuca’s entire lineup that I can find on the (very extensive) database at the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) is their Sei Bella Nail Polish – and that’s a toxic nightmare.

      I use Herbal Choice Mari products for personal care, which I believe in enough to carry at my own website – GreenCorvid.com (no link, out of respect to the blog owner – I do not mean to spam). I even use it on my five-month-old, and she is the light of my life – if I ever found out that I was unintentionally inflicting harm on her, it would devastate me. I could never forgive myself for allowing harm to come to her… so I am very picky about what products I allow into my house.

  4. Leah says

    I love pure, unbleached shea butter for wintertime dry hands and feet. I got a vast amount online for a very reasonable price. If you buy it at Whole Foods, it’s three times as expensive AND it’s bleached.

  5. Angela says

    I recently started doing the baking soda as a shampoo thing, diluted ACV or lemon juice as a rinse, and once a week conditioning with an olive oil, honey, rosemary essential and egg yolk mask and I can’t believe how thick and healthy my hair looks!
    My hair has been starting to get thinner over the years and I’m so glad to see it returning to it’s healthy state.
    Thanks, Jennifer! Love your blog. :)

    Oh, and as a holistic esthetician, I’d love to see more on natural skin care and what works for people. I don’t put anything on my clients’ or my skin that can’t be ingested. Even the essential oils I use are such high quality, they can be used as an internal herbal medicine. And along with facial massage and real foods, it all works way, WAY better than any of those peptide or other scary skin care products that are out there. :)

  6. Joan Mercantini says

    Check out http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com to get the rating of the cosmetics you are using. If the product is not listed you can enter the ingredients and get a rating.

    Some companies state that their products are non-gmo and chemical free but this is not always so. Check out the ingredients on the database to be sure.

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