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Day 20: Avoid Wearing or Using Chemicals #30DaysofGOOD

For October's challenge, we're asking you to get healthy, from your feet to your teeth to your brain.

Welcome to The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD). Each month, we challenge our community members to do something that will improve the world around us—and our own lives. The challenge for October? To get healthy. In an effort to help us all rise to the occasion, we're going to assign one small task every day. Each morning, we will post the challenge on and Twitter, along with a testimonial from someone on the GOOD team who's already completed it. We invite you to complete all 30 mini-challenges with us! Today, we challenge you to:

Avoid wearing or using chemicals.

Every day, I slather a ton of chemicals on my face and body. But until I was asked to reduce my chemical intake for a day for GOOD’s 30-day challenge, I had no idea just how central synthetic chemicals were to the products I use on the regular: Contact solution, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, face soap, body wash, shaving cream, moisturizer, deodorant, sunscreen, chapstick, lipstick, concealer, perfume, pomade, hair spray, sometimes nail polish, other times nail polish remover. I even ingest a ton of this stuff, including the lipstick that slowly disappears from my lips (presumably into my mouth), the preservatives in my breakfast cereal, and whatever Diet Coke is.

I wasn’t eager to give up all of this stuff—I need chemicals to protect me from the sun and keep me awake in the afternoon, after I ingest all of my lunch chemicals! But I could seriously cut down on my intake. I started by swapping my regular soap and shampoo for Dr. Bronner’s natural version, and my bright blue-and-white toothpaste for Tom’s (how is it that a more “natural” toothpaste makes your teeth feel so much more unnatural?). I successfully ditched all my other regular skin, beauty, wakefulness, and vision-enhancing chemical products. Then, lunch happened.

Is the mayonnaise in my apple and cranberry salad pumped full of chemicals? Are there chemicals in bread? Cheese? Isn’t water a chemical compound? What does “chemical” mean, anyway, and how do I identify it on the back of a box? The most difficult part of today’s challenge wasn’t going without hair spray—my hair is valiantly unpredictable for the cause!—but realizing that I have no idea exactly what I’m putting on my skin or in my stomach on any given day, and am unequipped to differentiate between the 20-letters-long chemical compounds listed on my shampoo bottle.


-Amanda Hess


Ready, set, go! Good luck completing today's challenge. Share your experience on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook by using the hashtag #30DaysofGOOD, or let us know how it went in the comments section below.

Tomorrow's challenge: Clean out your pantry.

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