I used to think that anyone who was too preoccupied with ultra-natural, clean cosmetics and skincare was sort of paranoid. I mean, do we have to worry about EVERYTHING? Between watching what we eat, exercising, avoiding too many vices, and staying away from known environmental carcinogens… it’s downright overwhelming at times. Here’s the clincher when it comes to beauty products and skincare, however: Our skin is our body’s largest organ and it does in fact absorb at least 60-64% of what we put on it. So if we are going to go to great lengths to eat well, and take care of our bodies and environments, we really MUST address skincare.
As important as avoiding carcinogens is, there are also chemical ingredients that act as endocrine disruptors and can wreak havoc on our hormones. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any more help in this area. And even if a specific chemical doesn’t have an outright harmful or toxic effect, what about those that don’t actually serve a purpose, other than extending shelf life and profitability? I don’t want that on my skin! Alcohol, water, and artificial preservatives have no benefit to us, so why on earth should we pay for them in our skincare? Next issue? The FDA really does not regulate the cosmetics industry. There are labeling restrictions but they are pretty loose, especially compared to food labeling. “Organic” and “natural” can be thrown around with little (if any) ramification.
So what does this all mean? We have to be the ones to take charge of educating ourselves, reading labels, learning the “chemical-ese” and code for what we are putting on our bodies. I remember walking by a store in the late 80’s (sigh) that had a really frightening image of what animal testing looks like. It is a terrible thought still. But here’s what should make us all downright fiery. WE are the animals being tested on! That’s right! Because the vast majority of chemicals (and there are at least 12,500 unique ones in the $50 billion dollar industry) have not been fully researched and tested. So when we buy products with a bazillion chemicals in them, we are the living breathing testers. NO. MORE. So what’s the good news? We are empowered! We can do research, educate ourselves and friends/family, and then take steps in the direction of health and TRUE natural beauty. Here are some ideas:
- DIY! So many simple recipes out there for solving simple beauty fixes! Need a dry shampoo? Try a little arrowroot powder! Quick deep conditioning? Throw a smidge of coconut oil on the ends of hair.
- Bookmark the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. Use it! This is a powerful tool and can really help you get the junk and toxins away from your body! http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
- LEARN the most toxic chemicals to avoid! It’s not that hard, once you familiarize yourselves you will start spotting them in a snap. Here’s the short list:
- Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40)
- DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (monoethanolamine)
- DMDM Hydantion and Urea (imidazolidinyl)
- FD&C Color Pigments
- Mineral Oil
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
- Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Find true organic (read all labels!) companies. It takes some research. Most smaller, cleaner companies do not have large advertising budgets! A great website to help locate these companies: www.organicbeautytalk.com. Also, www.nomoredirtylooks.com. There are SO many beautiful, nutrient rich products out there that our skin and bodies will thank us for by becoming extra soft, dewy, glowy… all of those things we LOVE and hope for in the first place when purchasing!
Remember, you are worthy of the best possible care when it comes to your body, heart, and soul. You deserve health in all aspects, so please don’t settle for the junk.
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