Have you made the switch to clean beauty yet? If not, it may be time to do that! Many conventional products are filled with harmful chemicals and ingredients that, may be working for your skin for now, but aren’t doing you any favors for your skin or your health in the long run. I made the switch to clean beauty a few years ago and wanted to share with you why I stitched to less-toxic products and why you might want to consider doing the same, what ingredients to look out for in beauty products, and some of my favorite clean beauty products.
Why I Switched to Clean Beauty
My switch to clean beauty was a-long-time coming. It’s because of something that happened in high school (can’t believe it, but that’s about 15 years ago!) At the time, I was wearing cheap Cover Girl makeup. I noticed that all the sudden my eyelids started to get really dry and flaking. Then they started getting red and itching. I stopped wearing that makeup, and – what do you know? – my skin got better.
Come to find out a few years later, I had eczema. After college, my eczema started to get really bad – especially on my hands. You can read my post here to see how I healed my eczema naturally.
I learned over the years that in order to heal my eczema and keep it at bay, I needed to switch up some things I was eating, doing, and using. Food was the biggest contributor to me. Lifestyle factors, like reducing stress, also played a HUGE part. But another thing that has helped with keeping my eczema away and not irritating it further than it was, was switching products I was using on my skin and in my home.
I learned that ingredients in most conventional beauty products can really irritate the skin. Even though I don’t think the ROOT CAUSE of my eczema was the beauty products I was using, the products I was using were for sure MAKING IT WORSE.
Not only have I dealt with eczema, but I’ve also dealt with hormonal imbalance recently. I had TONS of fatigue that was debilitating many days. Any time I tried to work out I would feel so tired and have to lay in bed for the next day or two. My hair was becoming more dry and falling out some. And I had a lot of muscle tension. After dealing with those (and some other) symptoms for almost two years, I came to find out that it was all hormone related.
I was a HUGE Bath & Body Works fan years ago. I stocked up whenever there was a sale and always had enough body wash and hand soap to last me a year. Well, I for sure no longer do that. I’ve learned that those and many other conventional beauty products contain harmful ingredients that can contribute to both eczema and hormonal imbalance, along with many other symptoms.
So, over time I started switching one product at a time to a clean, non-toxic one.
Why You Might Want to Switch to Clean Beauty
The products we put on our skin do NOT just stay on our skin. Your skin absorbs about 60% of what you put on it. Therefore, it’s so important to make sure that what we put on our skin is safe and won’t cause us harm. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body.
The world is toxic enough with pollutants, heavy metals in our drinking water, and STRESS. There’s no way we could possibly go 100% toxic-free. But we can do what we can to lower our exposure to toxins and reduce our possibility of developing cancer or other problems.
The beauty industry does not have a lot of regulation. There have been no major laws changed or added since 1938. In that 1938 law, the FDA prohibited the sale of products with “poisonous” ingredients. There is so much regulation in food, drugs, toys, vehicles, guns, etc. But regulation in the beauty industry is WAY BEHIND.
Canada has banned 600 and Europe has banned 1328 chemicals from beauty products. The U.S. is very behind, only banning 30 ingredients from beauty products. That is nothing compared to the thousands of harmful ingredients that still go in beauty products today.
Toxic Ingredients to Look Out For
So, we know we should use beauty products that are safer and less-toxic, but what should we look out for? Here are SOME ingredients that cause harm and I always look out for when choosing beauty products:
- Use: A preservative in beauty products
- Concern: Can cause hormonal imbalance, fertility issues, birth defects, skin irritation, and cancer.
- Other names: Propylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Butylparaben, and Isobutylparaben
- Uses: A chemical used in things like artificial fragrance, plastic, and vinyl.
- Concern: Can cause hormonal imbalance, problems in the reproductive system, asthma, and allergies.
- Use: Used in MANY beauty products to give them a nice scent.
- Concern: It contains hidden ingredients that is the company’s “proprietary blend,” meaning they don’t have to disclose what’s in it. It usually contains phthalates. Can cause hormonal imbalance, reproductive problems, asthma, allergies, and cancer.
- Other name: Perfume and Parfum
- Artificial Colors
- Usually made from petroleum, coal tar, or heavy metals
- Concern: Can cause hyperactivity, allergies, skin irritation, eye irritation, clogged pores, acne, and cancer.
- Use: A powder used in many makeup products, baby powder, sunscreen, foot powder, and more.
- Concern: It’s usually contaminated with asbestos, which is a carcinogen (can cause cancer).
- Released by many preservatives found in beauty products
- Concern: It’s a known carcinogen.
- Other names: Formalin, Formic Aldehyde, Merthaldehyde, Methanal, and Methyl
- Used in moisturizers, balms, deodorant, and more.
- Concern: It’s a carcinogen and can cause neurological, respiratory, and kidney problems.
- Other names: Parafin wax, Benzene, Mineral Oil, PEG, DEA, MEA, Butanol, Butyl Alcohol, Butylparaben, Butylene Glycol, EDTA, Isopropyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Propyl Alcohol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Parfum, and Fragrance.
- Heavy Metals
- Metals like aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, mercury, and nickel
- Concern: They can cause cancer, endocrine disruption (hormone imbalance), reproductive problems, allergies, gastrointestinal, kidney and liver toxicity, headaches, fatigue, joint problems, and constipation.
- MANY beauty products are contaminated with heavy metals, but they will not be listed on the ingredient list. Look for companies that test for heavy metals.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Use: A surfactant; used as a foaming agent in many cleansers, shampoo, toothpaste, and more.
- Concern: It’s irritating to the skin, eyes, and lungs and toxic to organs.
- Other names: Sodium Monolauryl Sulfate, Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate, Sodium Dodecane Sulfate, Lauryl Alcohol, Hydrogen Sulfate, Sodium Salt, and Sulfuric Acid Monolauryl Ester Sodium Salt.
- Ethylene Glycol
- Use: Used in fragrances and in nail polish, shampoo, cleansers, hand soap, mascara, eyeliner, and more.
- Concern: Can cause respiratory, kidney, and developmental problems
- Other names: Dihydrxyethane, Ethanediol, Hydroxyethanol, and Ethane 1-2-diol, Glycol
- Use: Used as a pH adjustor in serums and essences
- Concern: Can cause respiratory problems, irritation to the eyes, skin, and lungs, allergies, cancer, and brain development problems
- Other names: Dihydroxydiethylamine, Iminobisethanol, Imminodiethanol, DEA, Ethanol, Iminobis, and Diethanolamine
How to Check If Products Are Safe or Not
ALWAYS check the ingredients on the back of the bottle or box. Don’t just believe whatever claims the companies make on the front of the package. A lot of times companies use “green washing,” where they make claims like using the words “natural,” “eco-friendly,” or “clean” and use pictures that imply the product is safe. These terms have no regulation though, so anyone can put those words on their product. Check out the ingredients on the back and make sure the product doesn’t have any of the ingredients listed above.
If you’re not sure if the ingredients are safe or not, use the EWG and the Think Dirty apps to help. Just type in the name of the product, and it will give you a list of the ingredients in the product. It rates each individual ingredient and the whole product on a scale of 0-10 (0 being the least toxic and 10 being most toxic). Choose products that are a 0 or close to 0 (they’ll be green).
Watch my YouTube video here to find out more about my story and why I switched to clean beauty, I also explain why I became a consultant for Beautycounter, a company I came to LOVE, both for their amazing and effective products and for their high standards in ingredient selection.
My Favorite Clean Beauty Products
So now that we know that we should switch to clean beauty and what ingredients to look out for, what products are great ones that are safe and effective? Here’s a list of some of my FAVORITE clean beauty products. Just a disclaimer, I did become I Beautycounter consultant because I love their products and the mission behind the company – to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Some of these are affiliate links, but they’re of not extra cost to you if you decide to try any.
So, have you made the switch to clean beauty yet? If so, what’s your favorite clean beauty product? I’d love to know in the comments
Source: Much of my information came from EWG (Environmental Working Group), whose mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.