Saturday, March 3

Shampoo Prepping: Quantity vs. Quality?

In a recent clip I watched about preparedness, or "preppers", I saw that one family was stocking up on personal items such as toilet paper and shampoo. It seemed, from looking at the contents on the shelf that their shampoos and conditioners of choice were Suave and Vo5. And they had quite a selection.

When thinking about prepping, these brands do offer a very cost effective solution. You can get a bottle of Suave or Vo5 in most stores from under $2.00, and they are often on sale for less. If you have a coupon, then you could walk away with getting a bottle almost nothing. And in the world of budgets and stocking up, this is smart spending.

But what about the cost to your body? Saving money is one thing, but I also want to use what is safe.

One website I went to rated Suave Shampoo as "highly toxic" and refers to it as a "chemical soup." It contains potentially harmful ingredients such as DMDM HYDANTOIN and COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE which have been linked to cancer, as well as ethanol which is linked to infertility and pregnancy problems. Penetration enhancers such as PROPYLENE GLYCOL and TETRASODIUM EDTA are also present which increase exposures to carcinogens found in the shampoo. Methylisothiazoline causes neurological damage. More than 10 other ingredients are listed including Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, FD&C RED 40, AMMONIUM CHLORIDE, and SORBITOL.

Searching around on the internet for chemical free shampoos, dangers found in cheap shampoo, etc, is a daunting task. There are websites out that that claim just about everything and a lot are trying to sell you something. Finding the plain facts is not as easy as I thought. basically, i just have to go back to plain old common sense. The less ingredients, the better. The less chemicals, the better. They are absorbed through the skin into the blood stream just as if you'd eaten them. Would you eat a tablespoon of your shampoo?

But the question remains, when prepping, do we go for quantity or quality?

I know that it is just about impossible to get away from all chemicals in personal care products. However, I am not willing to risk some of the nasty side effects some of the more harmful chemicals cause. Studies have linked everything from abnormal brain development in unborn babies to the development of Alzheimer's disease and other nervous system disorders to these dangerous chemicals and additives. Companies use them because they are convenient and cheap.

Disruptions in brain function, cancer, liver disorders, rashes, skin conditions, endocrine disruptions - all these things that can be caused by slathering sweet smelling, cheap products on your skin and scalp.

The information on natural products is also all over the place in terms of getting to the bottom line. Products claiming to be natural, false advertising, organic vs. non-organic. You don't have to expose yourself to toxic chemicals to take care of personal hygiene, but I have found that just about every shampoo has some sort of ingredients that are questionable.

The organic sections of grocery store and specialty shops are full of safe alternatives - just read the labels and use your common sense and good judgement. Burt's Bee's Shampoo is the one I use. Yes, it does have chemicals, but it is a lot better than Suave. Dr. Bronner's soaps can be used to make more natural shampoos, and I guess you can also just wash your hair with a plain old bar of goats milk soap if you had to.

If and when the sh*t hits the fan, I am most certainly going to want a supply of soaps and personal products. Stores will run out of these items just as fast as they do food and flashlights. It comes down to quality vs. quantity. Do you want a large stock of possibly dangerous products that could give you cancer or do you want a smaller stock of safer alternatives? The cheaper stuff is easier to stock up on because it is just that - cheap. Being on a budget and trying to store things away dictates frugality and maybe a little deviation in what we are willing to use.

The more expensive and maybe safer alternatives are always more desirable, but you will most likely have a smaller stash of them due to cost. So you will be able to feel much better about washing your hair with generator pumped water, but it is not going to last as long. And, if something does happen, who knows how long it will take to get the stores supplied and running again?

I am taking the 50/50 approach. I currently use safer alternatives and when there is a sale, when I have a little extra in the budget, or when someone asks me for gift suggestions, I get the safe stuff. But I will have a stash of the cheap stuff in the back of the bathroom prep closet just in case. I think that if things get bad, I will most likely have much more pressing matters to fret over then shampoo chemicals.

The bottom line: If something bad happens, I think that we will be less concerned about the chemicals in or shampoo as we are about putting food on the table and home security. Sadly, our priorities will change until things calm down. If that means Suave and Vo5 for a while instead of going around with very dirty hair, then I think I will lather up and cut my losses.

I am interested in what you think about this. Quality or quality in the prep cupboard?


  1. I guess if things get that bad, we can do the no "poo" shampoo using baking soda. It strips hair color, though. Guess I won't be using hair color if things get that bad! Blessings from Bama!

  2. Bama - Yes, I have been thinking about that myself - if things get that bad, I really don't think I will care of my grays are showing!