Blog · Lifestyle

Go Phthalate-Free

bottles of health and beauty products on white background

Phthalates are a group of chemicals widely used in plastics, cleaning and cosmetic products and are nearly everywhere in our lives. These toxins are especially problematic as they alter the levels of hormones in the body, cause oxidative stress and disrupt the natural function of the endocrine system. Phthalates have been banned in toys for years due to the serious risks posed on human life. Interesting that these toxins are still widely used in many other areas harming many if us including pregnant mothers and their unborn children.

In her recent book, It Starts with the Egg, author Rebecca Fett goes into great detail about the specific dangers of phthalates and their effects on preconception, fertility and pregnancy. Fett provides various studies that prove phthalates are one of the most critical pieces to take into consideration when planning a healthy pregnancy. Three studies to highlight include the following:

  • This study showed that phthalates were detected in 95% of pregnant women.
  • This study conducted in 2012 showed that higher phthalate levels result in a higher level of miscarriage.
  • This study conducted by the CDC, Harvard and University of Michigan showed that an increase in phthalate levels in the third trimester resulted in earlier deliveries.

Fett urges parents to remove phthalate containing products from the home, beginning with the bathroom; lotions, hair products, cosmetics, nail polishes, and perfumes.  The advice is to look for the word phthalate buried in the ingredient list as well as the term “fragrance” which can include phthalates.

Actions to consider:

  • Switch from wearing conventional nail polishes, perfumes, and lotions to organic, fragrance-fee varieties.
  • Switch household cleaning supplies to more natural and organic brands that are labeled phthalate free.
  • Replace your cosmetics with more naturally derived varieties. (YES, I miss my MAC makeup, especially my studio-fix, but my Susanne Sommers brand is quite good.)
  • Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of nylon or polyester.
  • Locate an organic salon that uses organic hair colouring agents, cosmetics and nail care products. I found a GREAT salon in Hong Kong which I have written about below.

Emmanuel Spa in Hong Kong

I have been searching high and low for an organic salon that can work with my hair. Because it is already so fair, most salons cannot highlight with “natural” ingredients. I am fortunate I found Emmanuel salon as I am able to prepare for pregnancy and still give myself a little pop of color along the way.

Emmanuel Salon is run by Emmanuel himself and his wonderful wife Severine (who worked on me). After working for many years in a toxic environment the couple began to realise it was vital for their own health to seek out a more natural way of conducting their business.  Today they use a wonderful organic product line from France and have expanded to also include a natural spa.

Some of the highlights:

  • Severine used cloth strips in place of aluminum (to hold color).
  • I was placed in a cozy, dark hair washing station with starred ceilings;  gave me the feel of camping under the open sky.
  • The wonderful, luxury service. My robe was tied for me (oh-la-la) and I was offered a variety of tea and coffee for my pleasure.
  • I was greeted and escorted out by their warm and friendly salon Manager, Nancy.
  • There is a full service organic salon next door that offers massages, nail care and makeup services.

I must say my favorite part of my visit was my discussion with Severine. Learning about her vision of the company and how it has evolved into what it is today was not only interesting, it was inspiring. She is also extremely professional and sweet.  I have finally found my salon.



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