You make sure everything you put into your body is organic and ethically sourced, but what about what you put on your body? If you’re using traditional beauty products you may be exposing yourself to toxic chemicals, as well as introducing these harmful substances into the environment. The good news is that in a few steps you can make the switch to clean beauty products that are good for you and the planet.
Why change to clean beauty products?
Just because it’s on the shelf doesn’t mean it’s safe. There are some 13,000 chemicals used in cosmetics, but only 10% have been tested for safety. And we’re using tons of this stuff. Research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found the average woman in the US uses 12 beauty products a day. This adds up to a total of 168 different ingredients!
Research suggests that exposure to these chemicals could lead to health problems such as infertility and birth defects. These toxins harm the environment as well. One of the best examples of this is the damage to marine life that’s currently being caused by microbeads from face and body washes. These chemicals can also dry out your skin and make you look older. So if for no other reason than vanity it’s worth moving to healthier, greener cosmetics.
Learn what to look for in beauty products
The best place to start is by educating yourself on which chemicals are harmful. Along with the biggies like parabens, you’ll definitely want to avoid the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ 10 chemicals of concern. Just a few from the list include: formaldehyde (yep, the stuff that’s used to help preserve dead things), 1,4-dioxane (a carcinogen) and coal tar (another carcinogen). Yuck, yuck and yuck.
If you look at the back of any beauty product you’ll probably find a confusingly long list of ingredients. Thankfully you don’t have to do the heavy lifting on this one thanks to apps like Think Dirty, which allows you to scan the barcode and find out about any potentially toxic ingredients in your cosmetics or personal care products. You can also use the EWG’s Skin Deep Database to search for information on almost 74,000 beauty products, each of which is given a hazard rating of 1 – 10.
Swap out products as you finish them
Once you realize what’s in some of your beauty products you might be tempted to throw them all in the trash and start from scratch. But it’s best to give your skin time to adjust to each new product you try. This way you can really figure out what’s working for you and what’s not. So finish off your old products as you swap them out for new ones.
Begin with your body
The skin on your body covers a very large area, so start by switching products such as bath gels and soaps, body lotions and self-tanners to clean beauty products. Choose organic, plant-based products that have the fewest ingredients. Next on the list are hair products, which are some of worst offenders when it comes to toxins. Don’t forget to look at your toothpaste and deodorant as well.
Use fewer products
One of the simplest ways to expose yourself and the environment to fewer chemicals is to use fewer products and less of them. Most of us use more product than we need to. For example, the recommended amount of moisturizer is only the size of two raisins. Check out this great guide to how much product you need. Also take a look at your make-up bag and ask yourself, do you really need all the products you’re using? Many products can do double, triple or even quadruple duty. A tinted moisturizer or BB cream like Juice Beauty Tinted Mineral Moisturizer can act as your moisturizer, foundation, primer and sunscreen all in one. Another product that really pulls its weight is the ILIA Multistick – you can use to color to lips, cheeks and eyes.
Check out your kitchen for all natural beauty products
One of the best multitaskers out there is probably sitting on your kitchen shelf right now – coconut oil. You can use it as a body moisturizer, hand cream, shave gel, eye-makeup remover, deep conditioner for your hair and more. Check out Crunchy Betty for loads of DIY beauty tips and tricks.
Take your time switching to clean beauty products
Again, you don’t have to switch overnight. Work your way slowly through your bathroom cabinets and before you know it you’ll have a cleaner, greener beauty routine.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.