What if I told you that 90% (or more) of the beauty products you use most likely contain ingredients linked to cancer, chronic disease, reproductive issues, and more? Well, I don’t have to-just grab one from your bathroom counter and do a quick google search of the ingredients. Chances are, you probably can’t pronounce half of them!
There have been multiple studies showing the harmful effects of some of the products we put on our skin. Did you know, the average woman puts approximately 515 synthetic chemicals on her body each day?
Our skin is the largest organ on our bodies, and the majority of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies. So really, we shouldn’t be putting anything on our skin that we wouldn’t eat. Since I can’t count on (most) beauty companies to put my health first, I have to do it myself!
When it come to what we put on our body, we should operate with the same mentality that we have with what we put in our body- the less ingredients, the better. Organic when possible. Raw. From nature. Not heavily processed. You get the point!
Here’s a few simple swaps I’ve made over the last few years that work great and don’t have any harmful chemicals in them! Most of them are less expensive than their predecessors, too- which is always a plus!
Instead of Lotion, Use Shea Butter
Let's look at a conventional lotion brand- Nivea for instance. Here's the ingredients list on Nivea moisturizing cream:
INGREDIENTS:Parafinnum liquidum, PEG-150, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, simethicone, BHT, parfum, limonene, geraniol, linalool, hydroxycitronellal, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexane carboxaldehyde, citronellol.
Do you really want to be putting all of those things you can't pronounce on your skin? I sure don't. Shea butter is a great alternative. It's only one ingredient- fat derived from the African Shea Tree. I use this as my body lotion and it works miracles! It's great to use after shaving your legs, or for cuticles, dry/cracked heels, elbows and knees. A little goes a long way, so one jar will last you months!
Instead of Astringent or Toner, use Witch Hazel
I used to use Lancome's "Tonique Confort Re-Hydrating Comforting Toner with Acacia Honey". Here's the ingredients list on that one:
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Phenoxyethanol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Triethanolamine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Methylparaben, Honey, Mannitol, Fragrance, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylparaben, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cyclodextrin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Protein/ Sweet Almond Protein, Hexyl Cinnamal, Faex/ Yeast Extract, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Disodium Succinate, Ci 14700/ Red 4.
First of all, I refuse to consume or use any products that have food dyes in them. Even the "naturally derived" ones are doused in chemicals to preserve them. Red 4 comes from grinding up little bugs and is considered a "natural" dye, but why does my toner need to be red/pink? There are many food dyes, amongst other things, that are banned in Europe but not in the US. Hydrogenated oil is also linked to heart disease- I won't eat it, so I sure as heck won't put it on my face.
I choose to use Witch Hazel instead. Witch Hazel is derived from a North American plant and has been used for hundreds of years due to it's antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It's gentle and effective for cleaning your pores and reducing inflammation. Apply it to your skin after cleansing with a cotton ball, then follow with oils and moisturizer.
Instead of Face Scrub, Use Coconut Oil & Sugar
A lot of face scrubs have chemicals and ingredients that dry out your skin. Combining a thick oil with sugar will exfoliate your skin but also moisturize at the same time, getting rid of dead skin cells and giving you a beautiful glow. Also, many scrubs that claim to do this are expensive! Give my homemade Coconut Oil Face Scrub a try tonight, and wake up with dewy, glowy skin!
Instead of Pimple Cream, use Manuka Honey
Honey is a natural antibacterial. Manuka honey is like regular honey on steroids! Manuka honey comes from bees that pollinated the Manuka bush, more commonly known as tea tree. Combine the antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and amazingness of tea tree plus the powerful benefits of honey, and you have the superhero of superfoods! I can personally attest that I have gotten rid of a pimple overnight using Manuka honey. Sometimes it takes more like 1-2 days, but it’s seriously incredible. Give it a try!
(Manuka honey comes from New Zealand, so it can be hard to source and sometimes pricey. I found it at Trader Joe’s for about $20. One jar will last you a long time if you are using it for skincare- you only need a tiny bit! You can also find it online).
Instead of Makeup Remover, Use Coconut Oil, Argan Oil or Olive Oil
I run away from “oil-free” labels-I want ALL the oils! Oils are a great way to gently remove makeup.
I don’t mean to pick on Lancôme again, but those are the products I used to use so I’m using them as examples. I used to use the Lancôme Bi Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover.
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isohexadecane, Sodium Chloride, Poloxamer 184, Hexylene Glycol, Dipotassium Phosphate, Benzyl Alochol, Potassium Phosphate, Quaternium-15, Benzalkonium Chloride, Fragrance, Citronellol, Geraniol
Besides the fact that I can't pronounce 75% of those ingredients-There is no reason that our eye makeup remover needs to have a fragrance.
The skin around our eyes is so thin, you may as well just put this stuff straight on your eyeballs! (JK please don't do that). But that does make me question whether the products we put in and around our eyes contribute to our vision problems.... that will have to wait for another day :)
Here's a great resource with a list of 12 ingredients you should always avoid in skincare and makeup products.
I hope the above information helps you make some simple changes in your routine. We can’t change the world overnight, but by making some small swaps gradually, we can make a big impact on our health and help to educate those around us!
Do you know someone who might find this information helpful? Make sure to share it with them!
What's your favorite beauty swap? If you have an awesome tip that I haven't mentioned above, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!