I am what you would call a beauty junkie. I have always had a deep love for lotions and potions, from the packaging to the colors to the textures. I am not sure where this comes from since my mom has never worn makeup a day in her life and was never interested in the latest and greatest creams. Even the first day I could drive on my own I took myself to Walgreens to peruse their beauty aisles. This love has changed drastically over the last few years, ever since I learned the truth about the beauty industry – those pretty packages and smooth textures were just vessels for chemicals and cheap raw ingredients. Talk about a rude awakening! These truths are hidden behind expert advertising and salespeople who don’t know what they are really selling: carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and skin irritants.
Once I learned the truth (another situation of you don’t know what you don’t know) I was faced with the decision of how to transition to natural and organic beauty. I had essentially a library of Sephora’s greatest hits and my Beauty Insider point bank was full, what was I to do with all this? So I made the decision to toss it and I haven’t looked back. Since it is a HUGE change and if you aren’t ready to throw it all out and start over, you can also make small changes with one product at a time when you are done with any current products.
Your skin is your biggest organ weighing in at about 6 lbs and measuring about 20 sq ft. We have a lot of skin to take care of and it is our first defense against harm, shouldn’t we be taking good care of our armor? Approximately 60% of what we put on our skin goes directly into our bloodstream where it it taken straight to our liver. With the pounds of beauty products I use each year, I want my insides to be healthy without synthetic and chemical buildup.
Some great mini videos to start -
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR BEAUTY CLOSET
Learning about ingredients and how to read labels is the key. And with the pathetic 1% of the FDA’s budget that goes to the cosmetic industry’s regulation you have to educate yourself. You can’t trust products just because they made it to the shelf. This is true for natural shops too, just because it is in there doesn’t mean it is necessarily ‘natural.’
A little lesson on labels:
- ‘Organic’ doesn’t mean anything unless it is accompanied by the USDA seal, with that seal you know you are getting a product that is free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, irradiation and genetically modified ingredients.
- ‘Natural,’ ‘botanical,’ ‘hypoallergenic,’ are basically meaningless marketing words and any company can slap these on their label using their own interpretations in what is referred to as ‘greenwashing.’
- ‘Fragrance-free’ and ‘unscented’ mean that there is no odor, but typically fragrance was added to mask the original odor. ‘No fragrance added’ is the safest phrase to look for.
- ‘Dermatologist tested’ typically promoted by dermatologists for money.
- ‘Not tested on animals’ refers to the final product, almost all raw materials that are used have been tested on animals.
EWG’s Skin Deep has a great guide of Top Tips For Safer Products with amazing in depth information. Learning what ingredients are harmful can be difficult, but an easy way to start is to avoid everything that you don’t know how to pronounce or what it is for. I especially avoid the following:
- Synthetic fragrances
- Synthetic dyes
- Phthalates – often unlabeled in synthetic fragrances
- Propylene Glycol
- DEA and TEA
- Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea
A few really fabulous resources:
And last but not least, my favorite brands:
Tom’s of Maine
Dr. Bronner’s – see prior post on Dr. B here
Leave any favorite brands or natural beauty tips to share in the comments!
Up next: going organic, part three – HOME