Over the past few years I have been working toward reducing the amount of toxins, dangerous chemicals and inflammatory foods my body receives. I truly believe that reducing these things can make a huge impact to your health. I have definitely experienced that first hand. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease about 4 years ago and it was honestly a shock when I received my diagnosis because I just couldn’t believe as a 24 year old that I was dealing with this. It has been a long journey and one that will probably continue for years to come but I am thankful for all I have learned and all the healing I have received.
Food was the first major inflammatory component that I tackled. I love cooking so I really embraced that challenge. The part that I found extremely difficult was reducing the toxic load from my personal care products. I remember being SO confused on everything and honestly had no idea where to start. What ingredients did I need to avoid and how was I do that? I could never really find good information on ingredients and safety and it was super frustrating. So I am going to share some things I have learned over the years. A few tips on ingredients to avoid and also some resources for checking the safety of your products. Last but not least – I am giving away TWO safe skincare products to one lucky person. So be sure to enter that at the bottom of the post.
The Growing Concern for Oversight in the Personal Care Industry – the last major federal law governing the $62 billion cosmetic industry was passed in 1938. The FDA has very little oversight in this industry and does not have the power to ask companies for safety date or the ability to issue any recalls if a product is found to be unsafe. This lack of regulation has led many companies to use toxic and harmful ingredients in products we put on our skin daily. The U.S has currently banned only 30 ingredients from being used while the European Union has banned over 1,400 harmful or questionable ingredients.
The Many Loopholes in the Industry – Beauty and cosmetic companies companies often buy bulk ingredients from a supplier/third party. If the manufacturer has included a preservative like parabens in the raw ingredient to stabilize it the beauty company selling the product is under no obligation to disclose that information. They are even allowed to label a product “paraben free.” Often times people who are trying to avoid it may be exposed without even realizing it.
Ingredients that are a Growing Concern – honestly there are MANY ingredients under scrutiny right now but there are a few that seem to be receiving the greatest amount of concern are “Phthalates,” “Parabens,” “Fragrances,” and heavy metal contamination.
Phthalates – plasticizers In cosmetics they are used to make fragrances stick to your skin. They make styling products malleable and nail polish bend and stick to your nail.
They are thought to block signaling pathways for hormones (especially testosterone) and have been linked to birth defects. There are many kinds of phthalates (DBP and BEHP are a few common names) but they don’t often appear on ingredient labels so can be tricky to avoid.
Parabens – a preservative used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Some of the common ones used are; Methylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben. They have the ability to mimic estrogen and may be a factor in triggering cancer and other health issues.
Fragrances – companies often use the term “fragrance” on an ingredient list and are not required to list what ingredients that fragrance contains. Usually these fragrances are filled with toxic chemicals, phthalates and synthetic scents which are known endocrine disruptors.
Heavy Metals – known contaminates in beauty products. Usually found most prevalent in color cosmetics. Although contamination may be hard to avoid it is best to reduce exposure for health reasons. Heavy metals exposure can become toxic and lead to organ damage, cancer and neurological issues.
So What Now?
Check Products for Safety – I mentioned a few major ingredients that are a health concern but there are many more toxic chemicals to avoid in your cosmetics and skincare. I recommend downloading the Healthy Living App from EWG. You can search products, scan barcodes and learn more about ingredient safety.
Ask the Company – reach out to and ask about the safety of their products. If they test contamination of ingredients they claim are “paraben free” and if they test their products for heavy metal contamination.
Some of my Personal Favorites Beauty and Skincare Products
Now that I have talked about the concerns of the Personal Care Industry and ways you can be aware or reduce your exposure. I want to talk about some companies I have grown to love and some ways that you can save on some safer beauty products.
I was first introduced to this company because of their deodorant. I was having such a hard time finding an aluminum free deodorant that ACTUALLY worked. Caroline over at Colorful Eats recommended them to me and I totally fell in love.
Some of my favorite products I have tried so far
Sensitive Deodarant – I LOVE LOVE this stuff. I struggled to find a good deodorant for years and this stuff works SO well
Dry Shampoo – AMAZING! This has been a life saver for my hair and busy schedule.
Old Fashion Beard Oil – I obviously haven’t tried this but my husband said it is the best beard oil he has found in years! Maybe something to save for Father’s Day! Men don’t need toxic chemicals either.
You can find this brand at almost any grocery store or even at Target. We have been using this brand for years and it is one of my favorite affordable soaps. We typically buy the concentrate and refill our soap containers all over the house. They also have a variety of other personal care products such as – hair care, shaving cream. lotion, lip balm and many more items.
If you have been following me for a while you probably have seen me post about Beautycounter. I joined as a consultant last summer and it has been one of the best decisions I have made. I am really passionate about safe skincare and cosmetics and this company’s mission was exactly in line with what I believe. I really have fallen totally in love with their products and have LOVED wearing makeup again that actually works.
This company has intentionally banned over 1,500 ingredients. They list every single ingredient they use and what product it is in. They believe in absolute full transparency. They also test EVERY single batch before releasing the product to the consumer. They test ingredients from their third party sources to ensure they are not contaminated. They are also one of the leaders in heavy metal testing. They test their color cosmetic THREE times!
There are MANY more safe skincare and cosmetic companies out there but those are just a few of my favorites. I hope you find the resources helpful and I would love to hear what some of your favorite clean beauty products are!