Did you know that the United States cosmetic industry isn’t regulated? That no warning labels are required on products that contain known carcinogens and toxins? I admittedly knew nothing about this until I moved abroad.
Public health was a hot topic in the UK the year my husband and I lived there over a decade ago. Massive warning labels had recently been mandated to cover cigarette boxes, and organics were already on the rise. Both trends years ahead of the US. Furthermore, the personal care industry was undergoing a major makeover, and this is when I first started learning about the chemicals hiding in our common personal care products.
Now, it’s eleven later, and while the United States finally followed suit with warning labels on cigarette boxes, only 11 chemicals have been "restricted from use" in the US cosmetic industry. By contrast, in the European Union (which includes the UK) 1,100 chemicals are currently being restricted!
This means that countries such as Czech Republic, Latvia, Romania, and Croatia are doing a better job protecting their public from known carcinogens and toxins. Ouch!
So while we’re waiting for our country's legislation to catch up, it’s time to start paying attention to what we put on our body. When I first started researching my toiletries, I was shocked to discover how I daily lathered on a whole host of chemical-laden, toxic products.
For a quick overview on the topic, I recommend watching this video:
And if you want to learn more, follow up with this excellent talk from Environmental Working Group Executive Director:
So, where to start?
First of all, learn the major chemicals to avoid: Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), Proplene Glycol, Acrylamide, DEA, Phenol, Dioxane, Fragrance, Formaldehyde, Parabens (Methylparaben, Propylparaben, IIsoparaben, Butylparaben), and Heavy Metals (lead, aluminum, arsenic, nickel, beryllium, cadmium & mercury).
Second, look for fewer ingredients, and ones that you can actually read!
Third, use the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” database to identify your product’s safety. (Your goal should be to stay in the 0-2 rating.) They also have a great app that allows you to scan barcodes while shopping!
Here are Five Products we have identified as favorites:
1. Ken Paves “You are Beautiful” Hairspray
The Designer is a confessed hairspray addict (hey, she's a southern lady)! But when we realized that known neurotoxins and aluminum are in the majority of hairsprays, we had to find something new. Ken Paves hairspray is not only clean and effective, but it smells AMAZING because it uses essential oils. Also check out his dry shampoo.
2. Physicians Formula Super CC Cream (also an Organic Wear option)
I had been using a much more expensive “all natural” BB cream for a couple years; then when I decided to check it out on EWG’s website, I discovered that it had a toxicity rating of 4. Yikes! (Note: "Natural" doesn’t always mean safe.) So, I searched for a new product, and what I came to discover is one of the cleanest inexpensive cosmetic lines: Physicians Formula. Many of their products rate at a 1 or 2, and they are very affordable to boot. This CC cream rates at a 2, and it is my go-to product. I've also used several of their "Organic Wear" eye products, and they've all been great!
3. Jane Iredale “Glow Time” Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream
The Designer and I both love this product! I only wear it when I want thicker coverage, but it’s The Designer’s daily face cream. Jane Iredale is considered one of the cleanest boutique-brand cosmetic companies out there, and buying it also gives us an excuse to visit our favorite local spa, Corinthian. It's a win/win all around!
4. Toms of Maine Aluminum-Free & Flouride-Free Products
We have been using the Tom’s of Maine aluminum-free deodorant and fluoride-free toothpaste for years. My husband and I both also enjoy their fluoride-free mouthwash. There may be some cleaner products out there (if you know of one, please share in the comments), but these definitely work while eliminating two significant toxins.
5. Dr. Bronner’s Soap
The slightly-eccentric Dr. Bronner’s “All-One” liquid soap not only provides interesting reading material in the shower, but lives up to its name. Aside from making it my primary soap in both the bath and shower, I now use it exclusively to shave, and my skin has never been softer! In fact, using this pure-castile liquid soap has also decreased my need for body lotion, as it seems to help my skin retain its natural moisture and its coconut and olive oils provide an added benefit. All of the scents are fabulous, but my favorite is lavender.
And finally, introduce essential oils into your routine, as using them effectively can greatly decrease the need for multiple personal care products! I swear by Thieves, Peppermint, and Lavender oils. If interested, ask our health coach at Southlake Wellness Center for more information on how you can include oils in your life.
So what about you? Have you discovered any fabulous natural personal care products? We would love to hear about any other gems out there, so please feel free to share recommendations in the comments.