Apologies in advance, I’m about to Alex Ruins Everything for you moms
You do not need Bath & Body Whatever or (insert your favorite smelly soap, shampoo, lotion, etc)
I first started thinking about this when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a holistic doctor who told her all the things that were thought to be endocrine disrupters which can lead to certain types of cancer. “Fragrance” was a big one. The research may be out on this but what’s for sure is that in the US cosmetic companies use lots of chemicals that are banned in other developed countries and companies do not have to disclose the ingredients in their proprietary formulas. I won’t go into a big research discussion but you can read more here.
So I started switching brands and that’s when I first uncovered the illusion of choice. Most “brands” are owned by a few major corps and the products are nearly the same but labeled differently. Then I went looking for alternative personal care products and what I found were a ton of direct sales companies who also did not disclose their secret sauce. I can’t formulate sodium laurel sulfate and I wouldn’t want to if I could but apparently they’re afraid of that.
So, down the rabbit hole I went and tried many different products with lots of trial and error. The more I used shampoo, even phthalate and paraben-free, the oilier my hair became. The more I moisturized my face, the more it dried out. I was constantly chasing my tail to find a great product.
I had an epiphany.
Biology says the body is constantly striving toward homeostasis. Your body produces oils and harbors good bacteria to protect your skin and hair. As you “cleanse” yourself you strip the natural oils and your body works overtime to replenish them. When you moisturize you send a signal that you don’t need to produce as much oil so your skin cells turn down oil production. Hence, even drier skin.
Hate to break it to you but companies who are selling you these products want to addict you for life. Not only have they convinced you that your natural face is ugly and you need to smell like fresh rain for some reason, but they’ve also tricked your sebaceous cells into near obsolescence so the products can do their job.
Here’s my advice, take a week and don’t wash your hair. You may be a hot greasy mess for a bit but that’s what mom buns are for. After that, wash only your scalp with a shampoo bar, goats milk soap or skip shampoo altogether and go straight to conditioner if you like. Aim for 2 weeks before the next wash. It’ll take a while for your hair to reset but you’ll be surprised how NOT greasy it is the LESS you wash! Same goes for your skin. Use a good brush or highly dense microfiber cloth and wash your face with just water. (Be sure you get all the makeup off first.) I personally experienced far less acne when I stopped trying to exfoliate, clarify, and benzoyl peroxide my skin into oblivion.