Dive Deeper Blog

Eco-Friendly Mask Defog – Why you should NEVER use baby shampoo again! 
01/08/2020

Some divers are blessed – they carry around the most eco-friendly defog possible – their own spit!

But, with everyone rinsing their spit-filled masks in the communal rinse bucket, this does sort of creep me out.

Also, my spit is defective.  It doesn’t matter how much I prepare my mask either. I have scrubbed and scrubbed, “toothpasted”, flamed, and scrubbed some more.  I always fogged.

Besides spit, the next most common defog you will find on a boat is baby shampoo.  If it was bought at the local health food store, it’s probably safe for the environment.  But, unfortunately, the typical product you can buy at the dollar store, and the one most likely to be used by operators, is NOT eco-conscious.

One of the threatening components of dollar-store baby shampoos is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate aka Sodium Alkyl sulfates (AS). They are used in laundry powders and are widely used in specialty products such as shampoos, cosmetics, and even toothpaste!  Other ingredients to be aware of are preservatives like parabens and other harsh surfactants like DEAs and MIPAs.

“Aquatic algae have exhibited toxicosis at AS concentrations from 10mg/l to 1000 mgfL. and terrestrial plants are adversely affected by concentrations as low as 1 mg/L in applied water. One study indicated that waterfowl may be subject to increased risk of hypothermia in detergent-polluted waters; AS (19 mg/L) was found to dissolve the waterproofing oils in feathers of exposed ducks.” Read more: https://www.aciscience.org/docs/11_Alkyl_Sulfates.pdf

As Stream2Sea grew, and our eco-conscious body care products which are free of Sodium Alkyl sulfates became popular, I kept getting testimonials on how well our shampoo worked for a mask defog. I had what we’ll call a “light bulb moment.” I thought, “Why hadn’t I tried that before?”  Needless to say, It worked brilliantly, but I knew we could do a bit better.

So, I jumped into the lab and whipped up a batch using our tested and proven eco-safe ingredients.  I removed the fragrance, UV protector, and conditioning agents. I like my defog a little thicker and believe the guar gum can also leave a slight film on the lens to help reduce fogging, so added that.  It worked great for me, so gave samples to friends and Divemasters – they all loved it!

Our friends at Rainbow Reef Dive Center and the Illustrious Juliet Charter sure had some great feedback on our first round of testing:

“Great product all around, good for the environment and the wallet.”

“It’s a fantastic product that I can’t wait to use with my students.”

“This is my new favorite defogger.”

So, I finally had this great formula that worked better than anything I had previously used. Now, I needed a great package.  I custom ordered 10,000 bio-based bottles made from sugarcane resins and was ECSTATIC when I found a sprayer made from post-consumer recycled bottles.

I personally like the spray bottles.  It disperses the gel evenly and prevents big globs on the lens.  I tested it out on a dive when all of the sudden… The dust cap came off, hit the deck, and rolled right overboard! I reached out to the supplier to see if we could order the sprayers without the added dust cap to no avail.  So, flip top cap it is (made with 100% PCR).

So you can feel safe and confident using Stream2Sea Mask Defog is based on our shampoo that is tested to be biodegradable and safe for fish AND it works brilliantly!  Testimonials have been rolling in that it holds up to multiple dives (I can use it on a 3-hour CCR dive with no issues), and our bottles are sustainably made from sugarcane resins and recycled plastics. Our mask defog is just another way to protect what we love and see clearly while doing so!

Consciously,

Autumn Blum
Stream2Sea Founder, Avid Diver and Cosmetic Chemist

Want to learn more?  Have a listen to our founder and Women Diver Hall of Fame member Autumn Blum talking with scuba guru and dive professional Tec Clark about environmentally safe products including our mask defog here.

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