Going Chemical Free

chemicalsHave you ever looked closely at what was in your shampoo? Or your face wash? Your face cream? Toothpaste?

Well I hadn’t. And I was shocked the first time I realised that the products I was using on my skin everyday were full of chemicals, some of which could be harmful to my health.

How could it be that multimillionpound corporations were using chemicals in their products when they weren’t sure of the possible health ramifications?

Why were they not using their vast resources to research chemical free alternatives?

I had been using Estee Lauder products for years. My mother has used them for a lifetime and my sister and I just sort of followed suit.

I always liked the products, they felt lovely on my skin but in winter my skin would get very dry and no matter how many of their creams I bought for ‘very dry skin’ they didn’t really help. Nor did they help when my skin became problematic and broke out in spots and blemishes.

After reading an interview with an actress who swore she wouldn’t use anything with any parabens or SLS in it (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) I decided to see what was in my creams.

And I wasn’t happy.

All my daily staple products, creams, facewashes, shower gels, Vaseline, the list goes on… had multiple parabens (preservatives) in them and pretty much anything that foamed or lathered had SLS in it.

Parabens are not supposed to be directly related to cancer, but in a recent study of 160 tissue samples from women with breast cancer, 99% had at least one paraben in their tissue sample while 60% had five parabens.

This is by no means conclusive, as the study did not take tissue samples from women without cancer, which could mean that tissue samples taken from cancerless women might also have parabens in them. It does however require further investigation.

Parabens are simply preservatives and pop up in all kinds of things. On the Liz Earle website it states under their FAQs that:

“Parabens occur naturally in many fruits and are used as preservatives in some of our products, but only used in very small quantities. We use parabens where we have found that they are the most suitable preservative for the product and our priority is to always produce products that are 100% safe for our customers.”

I’ve also read comments from Liz Earle herself complaining that the whole paraben debate is a lot of fuss about nothing as sometimes not using the preservatives in products can be more dangerous than using them.

You’ll often find that paraben free products are packaged slightly differently to make up for the absence of the preservative.

How do you tell a paraben on the back of your face cream? Well the most common parabens include methylparaben (E218), ethylparaben ((E214), propylparaben (E216) and butylparaben.

So if you see any or a few of these on the back of your product it has parabens in it. I’ve often found that there are at least one or two in a product and they tend to be at the end of the very, very long list of ingredients.

When I started to look at what was in some of my products I was horrified by the sheer number of ingredients and as I gradually made my way through them was even more horrified by the fact that I didn’t know what any of them were.

Were they English? Some words I recognized but had no idea how they had found their way into my cream -‘cholesterol?’

On closer investigation I found that my shower gels and hand washes contained Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Laureth Sulphate, my Vaseline was made of ‘petrolatum’ and ‘soft paraffin’ (both mineral oils), my deodorant had aluminium in it and my toothpaste had hydrated silica in it.

Carrying on using them without a care in the world just didn’t seem like a good idea. These were products I lathered all over myself everyday, onto the biggest, most absorbant organ on my body. So I had a look into these chemicals and made some changes.

For more information about chemicals to avoid check out the following links:





In the articles that follow I’ll share with you which chemical free products I now love and use everyday.

Watch this space!


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