Living in the heart of a big city with a young family comes with adventures, and challenges. Montreal blogger Emily Morrice knows this lifestyle all too well. In her blog, Our Nest in the City, Emily documents her daily life as an urban, globe-trotting mom of three small children. We recently met with Emily to talk about her family’s journey toward using safer and greener personal care products. In this second article dedicated to understanding what’s behind the label, ATTITUDE analyzed the composition and revealed the (not so secret) ingredients of concern found in her favourite shampoo.
Tell us about yourself.
I live in the Plateau Mont-Royal in Montreal with my husband and three young kids. I’m a writer and a blogger, and I spend a lot of time at home with my kids. I stayed at home with them for many years. Then I started writing, freelance blogging and keeping up with my lifestyle blog.
I’ve always been passionate about sharing whatever journey I’m on. I started my blog seven years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. So my blog contained tons of pregnancy posts. And then I had young kids, so I was blogging about young children. When we moved to the city, I blogged about city living and travel.
As we went on the journey towards healthier products I’ve been blogging about that a lot too. As I go through life I write about it.
What does healthy living mean to you?
Healthy living can mean so many things. It can mean spending time taking care of yourself. It can mean limiting screen time, and making sure you’re teaching your children the value of play and reading. I definitely think it involves food and drink and what we put into our bodies. But it also includes the products we use on our skin or on our hair… all of that plays into healthy living for us.
What are your healthy habits?
With three young kids, I would be totally neglecting my children if I spent as much time in the kitchen as I would like to. So I’ve learned to strike a balance by inviting my children into the kitchen to cook with us. They do groceries with me. They help me prep food. It has become kind of a family thing, so that we don’t have to cancel out time as a family just because we need to prepare lunches for the week or dinners.
When did you start integrating safe products into your life?
Honestly I didn’t put much thought into it until I had kids. I think that’s a real eye-opener for a lot of parents. For myself I was much more laid back. But when it came to my kids I was more responsible from the get go: reading labels and making sure I wasn’t putting too many fragrances or harsh chemicals on their skin.
But because we started with our kids we were actually adapting those habits too. So first we bought shampoo and bodywash for our kids that was more responsible. Now our whole family more or less uses the same products.
What is your relationship with your hair?
I think we’re friends now after 30 years of figuring it out. I went through a stage in high school when I washed my hair twice a day and it was always greasy. And I was dying my hair a lot and overusing too many products and too many tools. And then I struck a healthy balance after I had kids. All of a sudden I didn’t have time or money to be coloring my hair every six weeks. So now I just color the tips a little bit. I wash my hair every three days. And I use a curling iron — that’s my trick.
How many products do you use in your hair on a weekly basis?
In the shower I use shampoo and conditioner once every three days. And I use dry shampoo every day. Dry shampoo is probably bad [laughs]. It’s a spray that you put underneath your hair and it makes it really dry, so it zaps oil and it gives your hair more volume. Even when my hair is totally clean I sometimes use dry shampoo to make it more voluminous.
We know that you now use ATTITUDE shampoo. Why did you make this change?
It was a big decision to switch our shampoo because we have five heads in our family that need washing. I found a lot of natural brands didn’t actually wash my hair very well. When I found ATTITUDE shampoo, I really liked it because it did give that really clean feel after, but it wasn’t full of bad stuff. I looked up ATTITUDE products on EWG.org and saw that they were safe. So I felt like I could trust this brand.
If you could choose one hair product you couldn’t live without, what would it be?
Dry shampoo. Because I feel like it allows me to go longer without washing my hair. It’s a quick fix; you spray it on and you’re good. It is my dirty pleasure. It’s like that extra glass of wine or that piece of chocolate cake.
You just told us how much you love your dry shampoo. We analyzed its ingredients. Would you like to know what’s behind the label?
Isobutane, Propane, Alcohol Denat, Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Butane, Fragrance, Isopropyl Myristate, Silica, Cyclopentasiloxane…One hundred percent of the ingredients in your dry shampoo are ingredients of concern. Even Silica, the one ingredient that could be harmless, becomes potentially harmful when it’s airborne in aerosol according to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.
Most of the ingredients here are also flammable, which makes your dry shampoo more like a lighter than a hair care product. It goes without saying that this is not an eco-friendly product.
How does it make you feel?
I’m a little regretful that I’ve been using this every day for years. It serves a purpose, but at what cost? I’m kind of wondering if this cancels out anything good I’ve done… This is more than a dirty pleasure.
You don’t have to stay in the dark!
We’re here to help you learn about what’s in your shampoo:
- Take a picture of the ingredients list on your shampoo bottle.
- Share the photo on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #whatsinmyshampoo.
- Our experts will decode it for you!
You can also take a minute to look up your personal care products in The Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which analyzes and rates the ingredients in more than 70,000 popular personal care products.
At ATTITUDE, our scientists create the products they would use and trust for themselves and their families. We apply strict criteria to ensure everything we produce is free from cancer-causing contaminants, allergens and endocrine disruptors. You will find 0% of ingredients of concern in our products. How’s that? Learn more about our development process.
Photo credits: Torontrealaise.