Below are my top 5 non-tox beauty hacks:
1. Say Goodbye to Fragrance… The New Secondhand Smoke!
If I had to avoid only ONE single ingredient in my personal care products, fragrance would be it! In foods you often see ingredients listed like ”spices” and “natural flavors”. In personal care products you often see words like “parfum” and “fragrance” on the ingredient deck.
A synthetic fragrance is an engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. The real kicker is that fragrance formulas are protected under Federal Law’s classification of “trade secrets”, which means companies DON’T have to disclose to consumers what’s in them.
A bill was introduced in California in 2019 to require companies to disclose what’s in “fragrance”. Check out this article from Breast Cancer Prevention Partners HERE
If a company chooses not to disclose their ingredients, this is a red flag in terms of transparency. So I choose to shop elsewhere. We have that power as consumers!
Take Action: Go take a look at your top 3 beauty/personal care products that you use multiple times a day. Does it have the word ‘fragrance’ listed on the ingredients?! If so, you’ll want to add this to your clean swap list.
My Fav Clean Swap: If you’re looking for a replacement to your current perfume, I am excited to share my fav Divine scents! My fav non-tox scented oils are Bloom oils in the Divine Duo scents. These oils are prepared by a 5th generation alchemist and world’s foremost expert on healing work with oils in Cairo, Egypt. Made from only the finest ingredients, these oils are part of a mystical tradition that includes uses for clearing the Chakras, enhancing sacred rituals, as well as for healing the body, mind, and spirit. They smell and feel like Heaven!
2. Avoid Orifices like the Plague!
This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but I know sometimes we can forget these simplicities! An orifice as it relates to the body is an external opening, such as the mouth, eyes, and nostrils. There are lots of other orifices on the human body, but these three in particular are the most critical when it comes to the products we are using on our skin on a regular basis.
Did you know the last piece of major legislation governing the personal care industry was in 1938?! And did you know it was initiated because a woman went blind from a mascara product? And unfortunately, mascara is one of the most harmful offenders still to date as very little has changed related to Federal law in this industry..
Since that time, over 85,000 chemicals have been introduced into commerce but less than 10% of these have been tested for safety on humans/our environment. Ingredients such as mercury, coal tar, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, allergens, and pollutants are still found in our personal care products to date.
Take Action: Now that you’ve had a little history lesson. It’s time to text Better Beauty to 52886 to use your voice and urge elected officials to pass more health protective laws. It simply auto-populates a letter to your elected official based on the location you input. All you have to do is click send and make your voice HEARD!
My Fav Clean Swap: Mascaras often contain emollients and emulsifiers known as polyethylene glycols (PEGs) and carbon black that may be contaminated with known carcinogens. My favorite mascara is ______, which uses uses plant-derived conditioners, and natural fibers instead of irritating synthetic fibers.
On average, women consume between 4-9 pounds of lipstick over their lifetime! While this number differs between every user and how often they wear it, it does affect everyone who wears lipstick, as the product gets smudged and eaten! Lipsticks (often due to the deep, bright pigments) can contain trace amounts of harmful heavy metals that build up in our bodies over time, like lead, mercury, arsenic, etc.
My fav is Beautycounter’s Sheer Genius Conditioning Lipstick. It’s a cross between a lip balm and a lipstick, extremely moisturizing, offers pigment, and feels so nourishing on the lips!
3. Cleanse, Prep, Treat, Protect… Your Skin will Thank You!
Skincare operates like an orchestra working in unison together, as each step plays a vital role to create harmony. When products are piecemealed together, it doesn’t do us any favors. The four main steps to a solid skincare regimen are Cleanse, Prep, Treat, and Protect. More details on how they harmonize together below!
Step 1 – Cleanse
Cleansers come in various forms and are used for ridding the skin of dirt and impurities, which can cause breakouts and poor skin health. Cleansers come in bar, liquid and an oil-based form. All work well and all accomplish something slightly different!
Step 2 – Prep
Avoid harsh alcohol-based toners, which strip the skin of moisture. Nourishing toners are non-astringent varieties that help to balance the pH of your skin and allow your skin to absorb the moisture based products deeper, rather than them sitting on top of your skin!
Step 3 – Treat
This includes serums or treatments, which are smaller particle moisturizers that absorb into your skin and penetrate more deeply. Typically, they have a higher amount of active ingredients that address specific skin concerns. Think of it as a supplement for your skin that gets locked in by the moisturizer you use following its application.
Step 4 – Protect
A good moisturizer will help lock in hydration and nutrients, and during the day will help protect our skin from environmental havoc (sun, wind, pollution, etc). A solid daytime moisturizer is designed to do just that without increasing your skin’s sensitivity to light.
Like most other organs in your body, nighttime is when your skin is repairing itself, regenerating, and restoring from the stresses of the day. We’re also typically immobile at night, so it’s the perfect time to use a moisturizer that not only replenishes hydration, but can deliver slow absorbing, powerful active ingredients safely. The nighttime is the right time to help your skin HEAL from the damage of the day!
Take Action: Ritualize your 4 step self care routine. Make it sacred. Even just for 5 minutes. Close your eyes. Play a song. Feel your skin. Nourish yourself. You deserve it!
My Fav Clean Swap: My fav 4 step regimen is Beautycounter’s Countertime collection, with a non-tox retinal replacement for anti-aging, radiance, and intense moisture!I like to do my routine while in the bath and take my time!
4. Distance and Length… It Matters!
Did your mind just go in the gutter? 😉 Now, now… Focus! We want to think about coverage here. What covers more surface area of the skin and stays on for the longest amount of time should be the first to swap out (body lotions, shaving cream, sunscreens, deodorant, etc).
The longer that products stay on their skin, the longer the duration that the ingredients seep into our bloodstream. Our skin is our largest organ, and everything we put on our bodies moves straight to our bloodstream within seconds.
Parabens are found commonly in body wash, body lotion, and foundation, etc. They are a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. They’re widely known as endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds) is found commonly in creams, sunscreen, and shampoo, etc. They are widely used as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs may be contaminated with carcinogens.
Take Action: Wanting to learn more about the state of the personal care industry and how to do your part. Stay informed. Check out the documentaries Stink and The Devil We Know. Let me know something you learned!
My Fav Clean Swap: Shaving creams cover a large surface area for us women… And non-tox shaving creams are some of the most challenging to find that actually perform. After countless years of searching, my fav product is Beauty by Earth’s Shaving Soap Bar.
Clean deodorants are some of the most challenging to find that keep us dry, smelling fresh, and don’t irritate our skin. At a minimum, at least swap out your antiperspirant, as these contain aluminum, which have been linked to breast cancer. My top two clean swaps are Primally Pure’s Blue Tansy Deodorant and Beautycounter’s The Clean Deo in Coconut.
5. Meet Your New Best Friend… The EWG Healthy Living App
Now I want to chat about my absolute favorite tool to decipher the safety of my products – the Environmental Working Group’s FREE App called Health Living!The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit and activist group that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants, and corporate accountability.
The app gives you a safety rating for the products you are using (if they’re in the database). If the products are not in the database (yet – remember this is a non-profit and creating this platform for us all to use takes time and money), you can simply search by ingredient. Just like riding a bike, label reading becomes much easier with a bit of practice!
This app does the detective work for us, and rates products and individual ingredients on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the MOST toxic). Toxicity is based on allergy, reproductive toxicity, and cancer. In my personal life, I aim to use products that rate no higher than a 3 by the EWG, which ensures minimal health risk to myself and my family.
As we advocate for change in the beauty industry (remember there hasn’t been a Federal law passed to regulate toxins in personal care products since 1938!), more and more companies are changing their formulations to exclude known human toxins and that’s AMAZING! Companies are going above and beyond, adhering to even higher standards of safety and transparency, gaining the stamp of EWG verified. When you can, I highly recommend looking for products with this rating (think safer than a 1!).
Take Action: Download the EWG Healthy Living App on your phone so you can investigate product safety and search ingredients. This is a fantastic tool that I find very helpful from a reputable source that will help you on your journey to products that keep you and your body thriving.
Now take a peek in your bathroom cabinet at how your products rate! This activity isn’t meant to make you feel bad, but to empower you to dig a little deeper and know what’s in your products!
My Fav Clean Swap: Kora Organics, Juice Beauty, Beautycounter, Henry Rose, and Honest Beauty all have EWG Verified products on the app. Have fun finding the non-tox products that fit your needs.
I’d love to know in the comments, which swap are you going to start with? I always suggest starting with one small action, as that keeps us from getting paralyzed and not taking action at all. Cannot wait to hear!