No Batteries Required

Prompt: World’s Best Widget
You’ve been granted magical engineering skills, but you can only use them to build one gadget or machine. What do you build?


I invented this thing today. It’s called awareness.

It is a rare beast,  because most people find awareness too distracting, too inconvenient, or too disturbing.

Awareness can apply to almost every area of your life, from the mundane to the immensely meaningful. It can help you dictate what you eat, what you wear, who you believe, how you pass your time, how you relate to people.

Today, I’m offering to  distribute awareness in the realm of your body. Your temple. Your brain sac. The thing that transports you around.

Do you bathe, and shampoo your hair? Of course you do.

Do you ever wonder why you strip your body and hair of oils, only to put them back on? You might respond: After a day out there, there is grime and germs that stick to my body’s natural oils. I need to wash away the grime, which happens to have set up a civilization on the oils. I want healthy, clean skin. Fair enough.

You have probably heard of a cleanliness routine that involves bathing with pure water only, no soaps or shampoos or conditioners. A lot of people swear by it. They say that after a couple of weeks the body adjusts from being thrown out of whack by the constant stripping of/ adding oils, so that it produces natural oils a balanced way. They have not been overcome by germs, somehow.

These people are not culturally isolated, or criminally stupid. Most are not averse to cleansing the potentially smelly bits, including crown jewels and feet. And they’ll wear deodorant. Some don’t eliminate all products to help keep their bodies clean– they’ll use a natural resource like gentle amounts of baking soda or vinegar, with alleged wonderful results.

Why don’t we all toss our commercial soaps and shampoos into the trash, and bathe as god intended?

The answer is partly because our bodies are not all the same (my mother inherited very dry skin, for example) and our activities are not all the same and in general, our requirements are different. Partly it is brainwashing by manufacturers, the media, and our culture, which values and has strict standards for “attractiveness” and so struggles to help us achieve it.

This has led to products that are not only illogical–  taking something away and then putting it back  –but harsh and harmful, all under the guise of keeping us clean, fresh, healthy, and attractive.

How does one kill germs? With chemicals. Many soaps claim to kill germs, and they do, because they contain toxic chemicals that are also toxic to us. To actually kill germs, such substances need to sit untouched on our skin for two minutes or more, which is not how we bathe. If we did, there would be lots of time for the toxins to enter our bodies, too. So it makes no sense, in any way, to put germ-killing chemicals like Triclosan into personal cleaning products. The EPA (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) lists Triclosan as a toxic pesticide with the highest scores regarding risk to both human health and the environment. Yet we slather it all over our bodies. Maybe we wouldn’t if we were aware.

You’ll often see Sodium Lauryl/Laureth/dodecyl Sulfate (SLS) cheerfully listed as ingredients in shampoo. They are cleaning and lathering agents. They clean by stripping away fatty acids, moisture and amino acids from your hair and skin. They increase dryness, roughness, and skin irritation. There are scary studies regarding these chemicals, which I won’t repeat here. We love a good lather, though.

Guess what makes most commercial soaps feel so soft and smooth? If you said petroleum products, then BINGO! Diethylene glycol or triethylene glycol are petroleum products that remove essential skin lipids, so they themselves are actually drying and damaging our skin. Some glycols are used in antifreeze and deicing solutions for cars, airplanes, and boats and as solvents in the paint and plastics industries.

DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), & TEA (triethanolamine) are hormone-disrupting chemicals is restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic effects, but in the U.S. they are used to create foam in products like shampoo, shaving creams, and bubble bath.

Do I have to go into fragrance in cleaning products? Do I have to tell you that about 95 percent of the makeup of a “fragrance” is synthetic chemicals, many of which are designated as hazardous, including methylene chloride, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, ethyl alcohol, and benzyl chloride? Moving right along…

FD&C colour pigments. Avoid them. They suck.

Ok, these are just a few of the synthetics, chemicals, plastics, and toxins that we willingly subject our bodies to. This list may be outdated already: many manufacturers, sensitive to the perception of selling, say, carcinogenic compounds, switch out ingredients or make minor changes to the additive so that the name of it can be changed. It is a challenge to keep up.

But keep up. If you can’t keep up, then be aware.

Take advantage of a free offer for this invention of mine, called Hair and Body Product Awareness.

You get:

  1. Literacy, which you probably already possess, but now you get to utilize it!
  2. Eyes to see, read, and notice. (Or a translator of the written word, if you are sightless.) Of course you can see and read. So why don’t you? Read the labels, all the labels.
  3. Thought. Nothing too strenuous here, just the ability to put two and two together and get something close to four.
  4. Common sense, or logic. If we know two and two equals four, why don’t we apply it in our daily lives, instead of pretending that five is an adequate answer, or seven, or twenty?

But wait! There’s more. Redeem you free offer in the next 24 hours and get, at no extra charge, this handy paring knife.

paring knife

Some restrictions apply. Offer void where prohibited by law.