Smart Swaps: Switch to Toxic-Free Family Essentials!

By | 2017-01-13T10:42:54+00:00 December 20th, 2016|Categories: Smart Swaps|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Smart Swaps, The Series


Smart Swaps are healthy, effective, non-toxic alternatives to common store bought items that you and your family use every day.



Welcome back to my series, Smart Swaps, where I will give you tried and tested alternatives to common store-bought items. I promise you all of these items are just as effective as the ones you are accustomed to using, only better and healthier!

I’d like to tell you to rush into your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room and toss all of the chemically laden products lurking in your home, but I get it, you spent money on those. You can transition slowly, it’s much easier thank you think. Take a look at my Detox For Life Guide for tips on how to live a toxic-free life.


In today’s guide, I’m going to take a look at family essentials. These are items we all use every single day and the last thing any of us wants is to be slathering ourselves with a chemical concoction of crapola. Our skin absorbs a lot of what we put on it, so it’s important to be as mindful as you can.

I am also going to share some of my effective, healthy DIY recipes. That will put some of that green back in your wallet.



Soap & Body Wash

Smart Swap: 
Ella’s Botanicals Skin Soother Beauty Bars, $6.50


I have, to be honest, transitioning to natural soap 15 years ago was really hard to do. When I started using Ella’s products, I fell in love.
This scent free bar works on all skin types, even babies with eczema and the oats prove a soft exfoliating grit, which I love. They are also palm oil free, you can read more about why that matters here.

Body Wash: Pure+simple – Organic Spearmint Face + Body Wash, $16.95

The refreshing spearmint will definitely get you going first thing in the morning. It lathers nicely and I love the fact that I can use this on my face and my body. Aren’t double duty products the best? Saves time and money.

Hand Sanitizer

Smart Swap: Dr. Bronner Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer, $7.49


Is at the top of my list for sure. I love that the alcohol used is organic and fair trade (from Ecuadorian sugar cane). If you are traveling with your family this is a perfect carry on, but I have to say that good old soap and water do the job just fine.


Smart Swap: 
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap Peppermint all-in-one toothpaste, $9.79


I have to admit natural toothpaste used to really gross me out. I was recently introduced to Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste and I have to give it 5 stars. It’s SLS free. It’s fluoride free (conventional toothpaste even comes with a warning not to swallow it) and it’s 70% organic and fair trade, which means no GMO’s and synthetic fertilizers. Fair Trade assures every person who contributed to making this product is treated fairly and paid a good wage! LOVE THAT!!


Smart Swap: Kaia The Takesumi detox Juicy Bamoo Deo, $21


Worth every penny! It took me a long time to find a natural deodorant that worked for me. It’s such a personal thing and I have to be honest the one I have been using (Tom’s Antiperspirant) is not the cleanest one on the market. My good friend and skin care formulating superstar Mary over at Kaia Naturals launched a new deodorant only a few months ago called The Takesumi detox made with activated charcoal. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first but I a have to say I am now fully converted. It’s vegan and aluminum free and smells really lovely. Love the fact that she has travel sizes too.

Shampoo & Conditioner

Smart Swap: Acure Organics, Ultra-Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner with Argan Oil, $18.99


The best I have tried is Acure Organics. My hair always feels soft and silky and very manageable too, I also don’t need to wash it as often (a bonus for sure). Love the price point too.
The clarifying shampoo and conditioner smell wonderful and since I”m obsessed with lemongrass and argan oil, these are perfect. They are also vegan, sulfate free, paraben free and cruelty-free.


Smart Swap: It’s complicated!

Sun care is a very contentious and controversial subject. There is so much misinformation out there as to what’s safe and what’s not. It’s important to keep the following tips in mind when choosing a sunscreen:

Your first line of defence is to cover up and look for shade, make sure you are using a good sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 which blocks 93% of UV rays wear a hat (always) not a baseball hat but a large brimmed hat that will protect the whole head, wear UV protective sunglasses, limit time spent outside especially between 12pm and 4pm,
and check the UV index daily in your city, the higher the number, the more likely you are to burn.

I also want you to read more about sunscreen here.
And take a look at Health Canada’s sunscreen rules.

Probably the most important thing to think about when choosing a sunscreen is the ingredient Oxybenzone (a UV blocker that has been deemed a hormone disruptor) and Retinyl palmitate (a kind of vitamin A) linked to skin tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin.

The problem with Vitamin A can be found here and this article will help you pick the right one for you and your family.

Sunscreen Smart Swap: DeVita Natural Skin Care Solar Protective Moisturizer, SPF 30

I work on camera and this is the ONLY one that does not mess with my makeup. Non-greasy and perfect under foundation.



ARTIFICIAL MUSKS (nitro musk such as musk xylene, musk ketone): found in some products that contain Fragrance or Parfum, various hair products, moisturizers, cosmetics, even those labeled “unscented”. Potential environmental contaminants due to their bioaccumulation. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) & BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene): found in moisturizers, makeup, and some fragrance. Allergens, developmental toxicant and endocrine disruptor. Harmful to fish and wildlife.
COAL TAR DERIVED COLORS (P-Phenylenediamine or PPD): found in hair dye. Allergens, neurotoxic and possible carcinogens.
FORMALDEHYDE RELEASING AGENTS (Quaternium-15, 1,4-Dioxane, DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazo-lidinyl Urea, Methenamine, and Sodium Hydromethylglycinate): found in various hair products, moisturizers, and cosmetics. Immune system toxicant, skin irritant and probable carcinogen.
PARABENS (Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Butylparaben or Propylparaben): found in various cosmetics and moisturizers. Allergen, male reproductive toxicant, immune system toxicant and endocrine disruptor.
PETROLATUM (Petroleum Jelly): found in various lip, skin and hair products. Can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are allergens, skin irritants and have been linked to cancer.
PHTHALATES (Dibutyl Phthalate, DEHP, DEP): found in nail products and scented products. Allergen, linked to asthma, reproductive and developmental toxicant, an endocrine disruptor.
SILICONE CHEMICALS (Cyclomethicone, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclorhexasiloxane): found in various hair products, moisturizers, and cosmetics. Skin irritant and environmental contaminant due to bioaccumulation.
SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE & SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS/SLES): found in products that lather, like shampoo, toothpaste, and body wash. Skin irritant. Can be contaminated by 1,4-dioxane which is a respiratory irritant and possible carcinogen.
TRICLOSAN: found in products labeled “antibacterial”, such as antiperspirants/ deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers. Environmental toxicant and endocrine disruptor

“Scary stuff right? Don’t worry, there’s good news. There are so many wonderful clean, green and mean products to choose from.”


For a full listing of important background information > click me.


For a full listing of all resources > click me.

By | 2017-01-13T10:42:54+00:00 December 20th, 2016|Categories: Smart Swaps|Tags: , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Candice is an award winning eco-journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates, whose been sharing tips on how to live a more sustainable life for over a decade now. Currently, she calls CTV’s "The Marilyn Denis Show” home. As the resident on-air eco expert (and producer) , she provides viewers with the tools they need to live happy, healthy, green lives. From DIY recipes to saving energy, Candice has you covered.

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