How to Detox Your Personal Care Products
Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your personal care products and wondered what, exactly, they are or why they’re in there?
In the last few years, we’ve definitely seen increased attention on the safety of many ingredients commonly found in conventional products. With the growing awareness around our exposure to synthetic chemicals, more and more of us are seeking natural solutions to our everyday needs The natural beauty industry has responded and is experiencing incredible growth as more consumers become empowered by knowledge.
If you’re reading this post, you likely already have an understanding that the products you use on a daily basis impact your health.
If you’d like to dive a little deeper into which chemicals are lurking in your personal care products and what to watch out for, this post is for you!
We’ll be explaining: why detoxing your personal care products is important, what to look for when it comes to ingredients and how to become a green beauty pro quicker than you can say, mineral makeup!
Why ingredients matter in your personal care products
What we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our body since our skin is our largest organ and absorbs approximately 65% of what we put on it. So, just as you may be a savvy grocery shopper – checking the labels and info on a food item – the same should also be happening when you shop for cosmetics and skincare.
According to a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), on average, respondents used, at least, nine products daily. The cumulative effect of applying several products on our skin, on a daily basis, has unknown results. That is because most studies measure one chemical at a time and don’t account for the synergistic effect of multiple chemicals. So, it’s actually hard to quantify how several products could work together to impact our health long term. My advice is to avoid being a human guinea pig when possible and exercise common sense and caution with the products you use the most.
Five ingredients to avoid
When it comes to fragrance, this is a tricky one. Fragrance is known as a “trade secret” in the beauty industry and, as such, companies do not need to disclose the exact ingredients hiding in each smelly recipe. “Fragrance” can be comprised by hundreds of different individual chemicals and is, unfortunately, a very common ingredient in so many personal care products. Beyond the exposure to many unknown chemicals, it’s best to avoid products with “fragrance” as it may trigger allergic reactions and can cause hormone disruption.
You can read more about the issues with fragrance here.
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in products like shampoo, nail care, baby products, deodorants, toothpaste, cleaning products, hairspray and cosmetics. It may pose a carcinogenic risk, along with causing irritation to our upper respiratory passages and dermatitis.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl. Phthalates are also commonly used as solvents (dissolving agents) in many personal care products. Studies have linked phthalates to negative impacts on the endocrine system, particularly male fertility as it alters sperm quality and count.
This is another preservative used to extend the shelf life of a product. Just like many other cosmetic ingredients, there is no law that requires these types of chemicals to be approved for use by the FDA before they are added to your personal care products. Researchers have found that parabens can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells in women.
This ingredient is found mainly in antiperspirant to help prevent sweating. Sweating is a natural way that our body detoxes. Blocking this elimination method by altering our body’s natural processes can result in aluminum buildup and negatively affect our central nervous system and has been linked to diseases such as Alzheimers.
How to clean up your beauty and skincare routine
Fortunately, the green beauty industry has come a long way! Even a lot of bigger companies are starting to take notice of the green beauty world and are making positive changes to their own products and formulations.
The best advice I have when transitioning to a green beauty routine is to learn as much as you can. There are plenty of valuable resources available to help you stay informed and make more conscious, empowered decisions.
How to become a green beauty pro in 5 steps
Below, I am offering five tips to help in your transition to using natural and green beauty products:
- Go slow: Start with the products you use the most and replace them with cleaner alternatives. This could be things like soap, deodorant, body lotions and creams; things you use every day. You don’t need to get overwhelmed and start tossing out everything at once. Simply, start with just one or two items and go from there.
- Give your skin time to adjust: As you begin to transition away from conventional products, your skin may take time to adjust. I suggest giving yourself at least 30 days when trying a new product to see how you like it.
- Start with skincare: If you wear makeup, start with just one part of your beauty routine first the first layer of skincare. Once your skin has gotten used to your new skincare products, then you can introduce new, natural makeup products.
- Sample: Before you buy full-size products, see if you can get a sample first. This allows you to try the product before you commit to see how it works for you.
- Consult: If you are just starting out in the natural/green beauty world, it can be overwhelming. Use an app like Think Dirty or EWG to scan products and see if they truly are natural or not. There are also plenty of green beauty bloggers (like myself!) that offer resources and reviews on their blog to help you out. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions from the brand either!
The ingredients in our personal care items matter just as they do with food. It is important to pay attention to them and make informed decisions about what we choose to put on our bodies. Start your own green beauty transition by going slow and giving your skin time to adjust. I promise that you will, soon, be on your way to becoming a green beauty pro.