October 26, 2011

Palm Oil Invasion

Wish I had my photos... I could show you a lady I know.

Right before bed last night I read an article about palm oil. In addition to the damaging effects I knew about (deforestation, rampant species extinction, encouraging poverty), the article describes how is encourages child labor and slavery. For many months I've been reading the ingredient list on all of the packaged or processed foods I buy (which actually isn't very much) looking for palm oil and palm kernel oil. Turns out I should be looking at the products in my shower, too.

Sodium laureth sulfate is an ingredient in many shampoos and body washes. I recognize this ingredient because for the last two years I've wondered if it's a contributing factor to having irritated skin in certain areas and have been trying to find shampoos that are both cruelty-free and sodium lareth sulfate free. Know how hard that is? I checked the bottles in my shower this morning, including my beloved St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea body wash and Apricot face scrub, and lo and behold SLS. I honestly woke up saddened at the realization that SLS is in fucking everything and then got even more sad as I discovered the ingredient in products I've loved for years. For most of the day I felt a sort of helpless. I really try to make environmentally conscious decisions every day: how many paper towels I use when I dry my hands at work, running errands close to work or home so I'm not driving out of my way and wasting gas, making sure the lights are turned off, turning off my fan every morning... yet by buying products I thought were good for me and good for the Earth I'm actually contributing to loss of forests and the extinction of species.

But this story isn't all bad. On my way home from work I stopped at Sprouts to pick up some groceries and my face lotion. While I was there I figured I was in a good place to check out body products that meet my standards. Turns out Sprouts is a very good place for that! There's a great variety of brands that are within my price range, have the leaping bunny logo, and even many that are sodium laureth sulfate free. I understand my price range for these products is significantly higher than most people's but for what I'm getting I think it's worth it. Knowing the things I use on my body aren't tested on animals, that the money I spend isn't contributing to species loss and also not irritating my skin is well worth the nine bucks.

But it looks like I'm now in the market for a new body wash that meets those specifications and also moisturizes super well, so, you know, if you've got one I'm interested. Otherwise I'll be spending the next several months testing out various brands until I find one I like enough to stick to, which was a rather expensive and disappointing 2 year process with shampoos.

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