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Shaving creams and gels contain a cocktail of chemicals to give you a soft, supple shave, including triethanolamine (TEA), which is also used in nitrogen mustard gas.[1] Choose a natural shaving cream to avoid letting these dangerous substances make contact with the environment—and your skin.

What to look for when choosing natural shaving cream

When choosing natural, eco-friendly shaving cream, look for the following:

  1. Avoid antibacterial agents: A recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that triclosan—the main antibacterial agent in soaps—can be linked to cancer in lab animals, may disrupt hormone function in humans, and is a non-biodegradable toxic agent that pollutes ecosystems and threatens wildlife when it is discharged into the water stream.
  2. Look for plant-based, biodegradable ingredients: Conventional shaving creams are made from petroleum-derived chemicals that persist in the environment, creating pollution and threatening human health. A standard shaving cream recipe contains about 8 percent stearic acid, 4 percent triethanolamine, .5 percent lanolin, 2 percent glycerin, 6 percent polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate, and 80 percent water. Shaving creams that use plant-based ingredients and essential oils for fragrance replace these dangerous ingredients with ones that are healthy for you and the earth. In particular, try to avoid ingredients like parabens and phthalates, and seek out soaps labeled as biodegradable.
  3. Go organic: Because the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spends only a tiny portion of its budget investigating the chemical composition and toxins in skin care products, shaving creams can tout their use of organic ingredients and still have up to 30 percent synthetic materials, even the ones labeled "organic" or "made with organic ingredients." USDA OrganicThe only way to be sure that the product you are purchasing is, in fact, organic is to look for the USDA Organic Seal on the label. This seal guarantees that every ingredient is organically produced as defined by the National Organics Standards Board, which bans the use of harmful pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and genetic engineering.
  4. Look for shaving creams that do not contain animal fats or employ animal testing: While you're contemplating green attributes, you may also wish to join the cruelty-free movement. Just keep in mind: a company may claim that they don’t employ animal testing for their products, but without third-party verification, it’s hard to know whether these statements are in fact completely true. Leaping BunnySo stick to those products certified as cruelty-free by looking for products with the Leaping Bunny Logo or the Certified Vegan Logo. You can rest assured that no bunnies (or monkeys or cats for that matter) were harmed in the making of these non-animal-tested products.

Find it! Natural shaving creams

Natural shaving creams and gels swap chemicals with soothing, sometimes organic, plant-based ingredients.

Before you buy

Keep in mind that if you choose a specialty shaving cream concocted with green ingredients in lieu of an easy-to-find variety, you'll likely be confronted with a higher price tag as chemicals generally come cheaper than botanical, organic certified ingredients. For example, a can of Gillette Foamy Shaving Cream will set you back $2.79 while Alba Botanica's Coconut Lime Moisturizing Cream Shave cost $5.79.

Choosing natural shaving cream helps you go green because...

  • They rely on ingredients found in nature, not in a chemist's lab. These ingredients have natural healing properties and do not pose risk to those with chemical sensitivities.
  • Like other conventional skincare and cosmetic products, shaving creams contain petroleum-derived components. Petroleum is a non-sustainable resource with various eco-repercussions.
  • Many makers of natural shaving creams also practice green business practices, such as using recycled packaging and harnessing renewable energy sources like wind power.

Like other beauty, hair, and skin care products, such as lipstick, deodorant, and shampoo, many popular shaving creams contain petroleum-based ingredients. The production of the petrochemicals used in bath and skin care products pollutes the environment by releasing hazardous chemicals into the air and water. These products support the hazards of the petroleum industry, which include about 2.6 million gallons of oil spilled every month during transportation and about 71 million pounds of toxins released into the air and water during refinement.[2]

Supplementary preservatives in conventional shaving creams can include parabens, known endocrine disrupters that are not only detrimental to human health, but also destructive to animal hormones and development. (Studies have found higher levels of parabens in tumors from human breast tissue, but, because the potential damage to the endocrine system has yet to be proven, the controversy surrounding the toxicity of parabens is still being debated.)

And the list of not-so-friendly ingredients goes on. The potent synthetic antimicrobial agent triclosan, used in some shaving creams and other personal care products, has been found in 55 percent of streams examined in 2002 at levels high enough to disrupt the natural life cycle of frogs. While diethanolamine (DEA) is infrequently used in skin and hair care products because it is a known carcinogen, the more commonly used chemicals TEA and MEA are often contaminated with diethanolamine. Lauryl/laureth sulfates are common skin irritants that can dry out the skin and hair with longterm use.

Fragrances

The fragrances in shaving creams and gels pose risks as well. Fragrances are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which add to air pollution, are persistent in the environment, and contaminate waterways and aquatic wildlife. An estimated 5.72 million Americans have skin allergies to fragrance, while around 72 percent of those suffering from asthma claim that their condition can be triggered by synthetic fragrance.[3] Shaving creams with artificial fragrances can shaving cream#phthalates | phthalates]], widely used industrial chemicals that are estrogenic or anti-androgenic. Studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health reveal a link between monoethyl phthalate, a chemical used to preserve scent in perfumes and colognes, and sperm damage. Click here for a breakdown of the leading chemicals found in fragrance products and their related health effects.

Controversies

The personal care industry is in turmoil trying to agree upon a set of standards for organic labeling of personal care products. While the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains clearcut standards for organic food, the same can’t be said for body care products. Some companies use the USDA certified organic food standard, which requires 95 percent of the ingredients to be organic. Others use the less stringent California state standard for organic cosmetic products, which requires at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients. And still others label their products organic without meeting any external criterion. Fortunately, the guidelines for labeling a soap as "100% Organic" are strict. Products carrying this label maus contain all organic ingredients.

To clear up this confusion, a nonprofit standard-setting group called NSF International has released a draft set of rules for organic personal care products and a group of 30 cosmetic companies recently devised their own set of specifications called Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards (OASIS). How it all washes out remains to be seen.

Glossary

  • DEA: Diethanolamine (also related to the additives TEA and MEA). Suspected carcinogen, used as an emulsifier or foaming agent.
  • parabens: This family of synthetic preservatives (which includes methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, and butyl-parabens) can possibly disrupt the endocrine system.
  • phthalates: Additives commonly used in plastics and other materials, mainly to make them soft and flexible, that may damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, particularly the developing testes, according to animal studies.
  • triclosan: An antibacterial agent that may form dioxin and chloroform in the right circumstances, both probable carcinogens.
  • volatile organic compounds (VOCs): Organic solvents that easily evaporate into the air and may cause immediate and long-term health problems.

External links

Comments

04/30/2009
4:58pm
tntapparelcanada

TNT Hemp Shaving Soap +++
is highly therapeutic and easily absorbed into the skin. It will moisturize condition and soften the beard. This soap made especially to pamper you with luxurious oils and delightful aromas.Contains: Certified Organic Hemp Seed Oil from Manitoba, Canada; Neem oil from India; Shea Butter from Africa and Olive Oil are the main components of our soaps that help to lock in moisture while providing a creamy and gentle cleansing for even the most sensitive skin. Additives of therapeutic grade essential oils:French lavender,peppermint,rosemary,tea tree and flowers grains and clays include: kelp powder, benzoin, lavender, calendula, chamomile, peppermint, jasmine, oatmeal.Natural hand made in small batches, in eco-friendly environment and manner on Texada Island.Carefully perfected recipe is our own original creation.We've been making this soap for the last 4 years and ,almost,every customer coming back for more. 125ml jar,take it everywhere with you (no mags or cups needed).
Price:$29.99 each (quantity update from shopping cart) + shipping, PayPal:
http://realsoap4you.blogspot.com/

05/16/2009
4:15pm
Baron

I've purchased your shaving soap about 2 months ago and very pleased with my shopping experience and result:the package arrived on 5th day after I ordered (confirmation e-mail said about 11 business days),it was wrapped like a gift from high end store with very nice touch:"thank you" card.The shaving soap:I have sensitive as well a dry scaly,itchy skin and tried so many shaving creams, soaps,etc... after,about,10 days using your shaving soap,I noticed that my skin looks..."healthier" no dry flakes,no blue-red marks,soft feeling.I ordered as a gift for my friend and asked your suggestion for an additional face soap from your list for his acne problem. Yesterday I've got call from my friend, he was SCREAMING "it works!!!it works!!!it works!!!!FINALLY!!! it works!!!" He was a little sceptical about your "hemp oil-honey-mask" tip for acne, but not anymore. Thank you very much for good products, your hard work is truly appreciated! I am going to order shampoo, soaps and, may be, some underwear.

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