Below you will find information about the dangers of cosmetics and products to stay away from. We will bring you companies known for their natural products, and even offer advice on DIY beauty treats that are easy on the body as well as on the wallet!
LET’S START OFF WITH THE UGLY
Before we can jump into how you can stop putting toxins in your body and start eating, breathing and sleeping coconut oil, you have to understand WHY they are bad for you in the first place. Listed below is are our systems broken down with a quick explanation as to what they do:
RESPIRATORY SYSTEM– The respiratory system allows you to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide to keep a balance for healthy individual. The organ used is the lung.
IMMUNE SYSTEM– The immune system are components of your body that fight away and guard against disease. The skin keeps harmful germs out, and the rest of the immune system is used to rid the body of illness.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM– Main job of this bad boy is to carry oxygen, water and nutrients to the rest of the body and removes waste. The organs included are the heart, blood and blood vessels.
NERVOUS SYSTEM– Think about it as a communication system. Neurons send signals throughout the body , and of course, our brain controls our five ( or six, in some cases) senses.
ENDOCRINE SYSTEM– Made up from different glands spread out through your body that release chemicals and hormones which control different functions.
DIGESTIVE SYSTEM– Break it down! No legitimately, this is where all of your food is broken down so that your body can absorb it. It includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines.
EXCRETORY SYSTEM- Toxins are evacuated through this system. They include the kidneys, liver and skin. The liver helps trap toxins and get rid of them and the skin secretes other toxins by sweating.
SKELETAL & MUSCULAR SYSTEM- What makes you stand up.
Knowing what every part of the body does is vital when learning about the toxins that you are using on your body as many have damaging and lasting effects. Below you will find the bigger toxins used or labels used that may mean something else! There are a lot of big words, but I’ve tried to simplify it enough so that you don’t feel like you’re reading a pharmaceutical textbook.
HYPOALLERGENIC- What are you talking about? Absolutely Nothing. See, there actually isn’t an regulation from the government on the use of the term so companies are free to use the term as it suits them.
NATURAL- What are you talking about? Once again, zilch. Governments have no laws on the use of this label so it could be as 100% fake and you wouldn’t know.
ORGANIC- What are you talking about? Well, SOME of the ingredients have to be organic to use this label. However, it doesn’t mean that every ingredient in the recipe is organic. Try and find labels that give you percentage amounts of how much something is organic, and remember that the only true organic verified sticker is the USDA certified organic.
UNSCENTED– What are you talking about? Fun fact, these product CAN actually contain fragrances in them. However, they may be trying to be sneaky by using masking agents to cover the smell of the fragrance, and those masking agents can cause some serious allergies. Opt for FRAGRANCE FREE instead.
MERCURY-What are you talking about? Mercury is a preservative that is used to prevent bacteria growth and is a known neurotoxin. It’s actually used in Mascara and some face paints, and the reason it is awful is because it can cause allergic reactions or skin irritations when used topically (on your skin). It is easily absorbed through your skin, and can accumulate in your body. This is one of the toxins that the FDA does restrict, but it can still be used “if no other safe and effective preservative can be found”.
TOLULENE-What are you talking about? Tolulene is a clear colorless agent that helps suspend all of those small particles in your nailpolish and also make your frizzy hair extra smooth. Sounds amazing right? Well, the problem is that as your nailpolish or hair treatment dries, it is released in the air for you to breathe. This can definitely can some nose, throat and eye irritation, dizziness and headaches. If you huff it long enough, at high levels, it is a toxin that damages your kidneys and reproductive system.
TOLUENE- What are you talking about? Toluene does sound like Halloween, and that’s because the effects are horrifying (punny, right?). It’s usually found in hair dyes, brow bleaches, skin lighteners and some anti-aging creams that brighten the top layer of your skin and outside hair cuticles to give you a glowing look. The issue is that this can cause cancer, screw up your immune and reproductive system and is even linked to developmental issues when children are exposed.
PHTALATES- What are you talking about? Phtalates are found in ANYTHING that lists fragrances on the label, plus some nailpolish. It makes our nails strong and flexible, and is also a fragrance component. Twenty years of research says that they can mess with your reproductive health so be careful if you are pregnant or still growing. “One hundred percent of women of childbearing age have detectable levels of phtalates (fragrance ingredients that may be reproductive toxins) in their bodies, probably due to cosmetic use. “
TEA AND DEA- What are you talking about? TEA and DEA are proteins that adjust the pH levels of a product, but when they are combined with certain preservatives, the can create cancer causing compounds called nitrosamines. They are usually found in concealers, mascara , sunless tanning lotion and conditioner!
PETROCHEMICALS- What are you talking about? These are usually found in lotions, lipsticks, lipbalms, foundations and lipsticks. They can actually cause breakouts because they block pores, and may cause cancer although we are still unsure of the long-term effects. These are typically used in paint, antifreeze and gasoline. Gross.
FRAGRANCES- What are you talking about? Fragrances are synthetic components that give that product an amazing smell. However ,Product manufacturers don’t have to tell you what is in their perfume as it is a “trade secret” but many contain phtalates on top of synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances are known as a top five allergen!
PARABENS-What are you talking about? Parabens are preservatives that we can absorb through our skin and digestive system. The can be toxic to our reproductive, immune and neurological systems plus you can develop a nasty rash from it. They are usually found in water based products like shampoo, conditioner , cleanser, shower gel and lotion.
TRICLOSAN & TRICLOCARBAN- What are you talking about? These two are used an antimicrobial that kills germs and prevents odor. It’s found in antibacterial soaps , hand sanitizer, toothpaste, deodorant. We hate them because they get absorbed into our bodies, which can disrupt hormones. Not only that, but we use so much of it that it’s currently helping germs with world domination as it is helping with antibiotic-resistant infections.
OXYBENZONE- What are you talking about? This is a chemical that is in endocrine (hormone) disruptor and is known to alter or halt development in children and is FOUND IN SUNSCREEN.
FORMALDEHYDE-What are you talking about? It is a preservative, or product released by another preservation, that prevents bacteria growth. It includes formaldehyde-releasing -preservatives like DMDM hdantoin, imidazolinidinyl urea and quaternium-15. Formaldehyde can cause cancer after chronic, long term exposure plus it triggers allergic reactions , rashes, nosebleeds, asthma and other respiratory issues. It is commonly found in shampoo, body washes, nail polishes, polish removers, keratin hair straighteners and eyelash glues.
SLS and “PEG”-These are sudsing agents! It is a sodium lauryl or sodium laureth sulfate and PEG are sudsing agents, which make things foamy. When these chemicals are manufactured, they release a toxic by-product known as 1.4-dioxane. This chemical can easily penetrate our skin and may cause cancer and birth defects. It can also be toxic to our kidneys, neurological system and respiratory system. The worst part? It’s actually found in baby shampoo, kids bubble bath, regular shampoo, soap and shower gel.
NOT SO FUN FACT: Baby “tear free” products actually contain a mix of toxic chemicals that work by numbing the babies eyes so they cant feel anything. ALSO, BEWARE OF ANYTHING THAT INCLUDE THE TERMS XYNOL. CETEAREATH AND OLETH.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
We recommend these absolutely phenomenal websites to help you learn about new products or to check out how toxic your products truly are.
EWG– Lucky for you, tons of researchers have gone over 74,000+ personal care items and ranked them from 0-10 on their levels of toxicity.
gorgeouslygreen.com – If you’re looking for beauty tricks or eco-makeup advice, Sophie Uliano has amazing input!
The Honest Company– I’m usually not a promoter of celebrities, but Jessica Alba has created this amazing line that only uses organic products and gives you great information about healthy living. There are things from baby care products all up to laundry detergent! It doesn’t cause a huge dent in the wallet either (unless you have an unnatural love for natural products like we do!).
Petit Vour - A very inexpensive monthly subscription box that I personally use and adore! Receive monthly products that are vegan, ethically made and where you get rewarded for reviewing their products. Only 15$ per month for US residents and 25$ per month for Canadian.
Think Dirty - Since discovering Think Dirty, I have changed almost every single product that I use. I considered myself quite eco friendly until Think Dirty showed me that most of my green products were actually quite harmful. This app allows you to scan the barcode off of products and rates them on a scale from 1-10 depending on their toxicity.
ACNE- Tons of natural tips and tricks on how to clean your face with ratings that show you which ones work best.
No Poo- For people with curly or wavy hair, the natural way to wash your hair and have bouncy curls!
NOT SO FUN FACT: The average personal care product contains around 126 ingredients. The government doesn’t require pretesting all of these ingredients, so the more organic and natural you go, the less ingredients there are!
TIPS, TRICKS AND DIYS
ALWAYS wash face before bed! It removes grime and daily dirt, but it also cleanses your skins from volatile organic compounds which can cause damage to the skins epidermis layer and made eczema that much worst. Make sure to exfoliate once a week, preferably with an exfoliating face brush, to remove all of the dead cells at the top layer of your skin.
When going for perfume, opt to make your own or go for a natural, oil based one. This will reduce changes of harmful toxins and you’ll still smell amazing all day! Even just rubbing yourself down with shea, cocoa or coconut butter will make your skin soft and smell delicious (plus shea butter doesn’t smell too feminine).
If you have curly or wavy hair, consider going NO POO! It’s quite easy, you wash your hair with baking soda and rinse it with apple cider vinegar. It does take a few weeks for your hair to get used to it, and do not do it every day, but your hair will thank you for it in the long run!
Every morning, try to oil pull! You swish a teaspoon of organic coconut oil in your mouth and it “pulls” out all of the gross stuff and whitens your teeth.
ALWAYS be wearing sunscreen, especially if you want to avoid those crow’s-feet. Use sunscreen that covers UVA and UVB between 30-50 SPF as FDA does not regulate anything over 50, preferably one that is cream based. Try to opt for sunscreens that are made with zinc or titanium dioxide and that is also water proof so you don’t sweat it off!
Switch over to a natural, plant-based soap bar if you can. I love the Tea Tree Oil ones as it keeps my skin clear and smooth, and also kills bad odor.