Bawdy of Consciousness

Bawdy of Consciousness

The big impact body wash has on our skin and the environment.

When we hop into the shower after a vigorous workout or long day of zoom calls, we tell ourselves that this time is self-care time. That this moment we have to ourselves, when we aren’t entertaining the kids or listening to our partner gripe about who-knows-what, is well-deserved, necessary, and good for everyone. Because, when we “fill our cup,” we have more to give. This ritual is a good thing.

And it is. Caring for ourselves is a must. But what if we told you that it might not be as good for everyone as we thought? What if we told you that we could do better - for our skin as well as for our environment?

Each year, the typical U.S. consumer washes 388 ounces of body wash down the drain. That’s over four gallons, per household, that are slathered on our skin only to be washed away moments later. While 70%-90% of traditional body washes are made up of water, there are five main chemical ingredients that can wreak havoc both on our skin and the environment.

The “clean beauty” movement has been around since the 2010s. Recently, though, companies like ourselves have been surging forward, ellevating the evolution of the clean and green movement by making each touchpoint in the supply chain, from production to the end of the product’s lifecycle, transparent, sustainable, and clean.

It’s Body WASH; How is it Not Clean?

It’s true; we use body wash to clean our skin, ridding it of dirt, oil, and dead skin. And many body washes do this very well. What they also do very well, is include chemical additives to give consumers a false sense of cleanliness with foaming agents and richness with thickening agents. 

Additionally, many personal care products and cosmetics use preservatives to prolong shelf-life of the product. Let’s be clear - these foaming and thickening agents, known as surfactants, and preservatives do nothing to help cleanse your skin and our often irritating or toxic.

So What are the Surfactants and Preservatives Found in Typical Body Wash?

There’s generally a prevalence of two surfactants and two preservatives found in personal care products, including body wash. The duo of surfactants includes Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) and Cetearyl Alcohol (CA). The two preservatives found are Sodium Benzoate (SB) and Dimethyloldimethyl Hydantoin (DMDMH). A recent study found that SLES was the chemical with the highest concentration while DMDMH showed the least.

OK. Why are They so Bad?

Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) is a foaming agent that can be found on David Suzuki’s Dirty Dozen list because it more often than not contains known human carcinogens (ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane). Additionally, Ethylene oxide can harm the nervous system and the California Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a possible developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development. Furthermore, it doesn’t easily degrade, remaining in the environment long after it’s rinsed down the shower drain.
Cetearyl Alcohol (CA) is used to create smoother creams, thicker lotions, and more stable foam products. It’s also a suspected to be an environmental toxin.
Sodium Benzoate (SB) is primarily used as an anti-fungal agent but also has some effectiveness against bacteria. A large concern over the use of sodium benzoate is its ability to convert to benzene, a known carcinogen. Additionally, it has been known to cause skin irritation in some people. The good news here - it’s considered safe for the environment as it’s readily biodegradable.
Dimethyloldimethyl Hydantoin (DMDMH) is an antimicrobial agent and form of formaldehyde. It can be a strong irritant to many people and Japan has restricted its use in some products. Again and luckily, this one is not suspected to be an environmental toxin. Phew!

Don’t Water Treatment Plants Catch These Chemicals?

Bodywash, compared to shampoo and conditioner, is the most used personal care product in the U.S. as well as France and the Netherlands. That means every water treatment facility is faced with processing these chemicals. However, it’s possible that each water treatment plant addresses these and other chemicals differently. Guidelines, all the way down to the community level, can vary.

Therefore, a water treatment facility along, for example, the Susquehanna River in upstate New York may be able and required to break down or filter out some or all of these toxins. Great! BUT, a facility along this same river in Pennsylvania isn’t held to the same requirements and doesn’t have the capability to do so. Uh oh.

Scenarios like this are why our streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans are suffering. Scenarios like this are why aquatic animals suffer hormonal effects and toxicity.

What Makes BAWDY Wash Better?

Simply put, it’s good for everyone.

From production, packaging and shipping all the way down to and through the drain, we made sure that our water-activated body wash is something we can all feel good about using. Since it’s a lightweight powder, it saves water during the production process and reduces fuel emissions during transportation.

The BAWDY Wash is sustainably packaged with 97% post-consumer resin. Additionally, one bottle of The BAWDY Wash replaces five bottles of traditional liquid body soap, further diminishing its overall footprint. Finally, non-toxic vegan ingredients leave your skin and your drain clear of harsh, toxic chemicals.

The Bottom Line

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. On a micro level, if ingredients are harmful to us, they’re most-likely harmful to the environment and the beautiful creatures who call nature, home. On a macro level, water is a limited resource so lets maybe not mindlessly wash toxic chemicals down the drain and into our struggling oceans.

Let’s choose to be conscious about what we do. Let’s choose to use clean products with nourishing ingredients. Let’s choose to use products that allow us to unapologetically care for ourselves while protecting our waterways.