For years I have had to avoid perfumes because they triggered debilitating migraines. I have gone to the ER several times because once the migraine began it refused to go away. The longest one I had was almost three weeks. I have had to actually send home students who came to school after playing in their parents perfume or, even worse, after shave cologne.
I clearly remember my mother scrubbing and cleaning every square inch of the house when I was a kid. She loved Spic & Span for cleaning the floors and Formula 409 for washing the walls. Next she would use Pledge furniture polish and make every wooden item in the house shine so that you could see your reflection on the surface.
In addition to that came several loads of towels and linens all washed with bleach and then hung outside to dry. By the end of her spring or fall cleaning she would sit back and breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy her sanitized home. I, on the other hand, would be in my bed in a pitch black room in agony from a headache so strong it would make me nauseous.
As I got older this reaction to strong smells never went away. All those lovely smelling soaps and beauty products that women swoon over I can’t use. The only scented candle I can tolerate is Macintosh Apple from the Yankee Candle Store. Everything else will make me horribly sick.
When my youngest was born he often broke out in rashes. I learned to use only Free & Clear Type detergents on his soft skin, but even then he would still break out, just to lesser degrees.
Then, about two years ago my oldest son started to have migraines too! That really was the last straw for me. I started to do a lot of research on fragrances, chemicals, and what the heck was really in the cleaning products, toothpaste, laundry detergent and body care products we were all using.
What I found out left me traumatized, and if you knew everything it would scare you too! Suddenly, I understood why 1 out of every 6 couples is experiencing infertility issues. Suddenly, I understood why ADHD seems to affect half of my class room every year. Suddenly, I understood why every single adult I know takes a medication for some condition or illness.
I have since made a lot of changes in our house. All kinds of new products showed up, some from Costco, some from the drug store, and some from The Honest Company.
Below are the new products that we have been using for almost two years now and they are all performing very well.
In the Laundry Room
I love ECOS laundry detergent. It is free of all toxic ingredients and scented only with essential oils (think aroma therapy). It really does get our clothes clean with a tiny little amount. I love that this item is sold in bulk size at Costco. If you have read my previous posts you know we are Costco lovers here. So I can do 210 loads of clothes for $12.99. That is an amazing price.
If I am doing an extremely dirty load (grass stains and car oil) then I will toss in an Honest Oxy Boost. Bye-bye stains. I also buy the Honest Laundry 4 in 1 pods, but I mostly use those for going up north. I toss a few pods in a sandwich bag and we are good to go. I don’t have to worry about spills in the trunk.
In the Kitchen
I love the Honest Dish Soap. It cleans the dishes and the Grapefruit Oil does not cause a migraine. Apparently my brain can handle real smells, just not chemically concocted ones. I have the Honest Hand Soap as well. At first my husband was not a fan of this hand soap. It is a low suds soap and took a bit of time to get used to but now he likes it just fine.
In the Bathroom
It will probably surprise you to learn that I use the exact same products my kids use for the most part. (Casey uses Tom’s of Maine Strawberry Toothpaste, I use Peppermint)
When it comes to oral care I love Tom’s of Maine. The toothpastes are flavored with real mint extract and nothing else. No dyes or artificial chemicals. The same is true for the mouth wash which is minty but without the burn.
The sunscreen I apply every day is Babyganics SPF50. Yes, I use baby sunscreen and it works perfectly on my pasty white easily burning skin. The stick version goes on nice and even on top of my makeup without wiping my makeup off.
I use Honest Shampoo & Body Wash and Honest Conditioner on my hair. They do a lovely job and because they are so gentle they don’t strip my hair color away. After a shower I add a few drops of Honest Body Oil to a little bit of Honest Face and Body Lotion and rub it all in. It leaves my skin feeling soft and dewy but not slimy or sticky.
I used to use Olay Daily Facial Clothes but have since switched to Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleaning Clothes. I can’t tell a difference. I am make-up free when I am done.
Gross fact~Did you know women eat about 7 pounds of lipstick over the course of a lifetime? Since I can’t give up lipstick I like to use Burt’s Bees 100% natural Lip Shimmers. Great color and totally non-toxic. Top it off with a little gloss and you are date night ready.
When it comes to Antiperspirant I had to make a compromise. I tried Tom’s of Maine Aluminum Free version and after two hours I stunk. I can’t walk around being smelly, it just isn’t going to happen. So I switched to Tom’s of Maine Naturally Dry Unscented. It is free of all toxins EXCEPT aluminum. No more pit sweat and no more stinky.
I hope this review of these products motivates you to try some of them and remove a bunch of chemicals from your home and life.
Also, since we made the switch there has been no rashes on Casey and AJ has had only two migraines in the past two years.
If you have discovered great products please share below. I love to learn about new products to try.