Did you know that cosmetics are one of the least regulated consumer products on the market today and that most ingredients have never been assessed for safety in the US? According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, only about 13 percent of ingredients used in personal care products have been reviewed by a self-regulated industry, and more than 1 in 5 products contain chemicals linked to cancer.
And, we all know there is nothing pretty about cancer! Just imagine the toxic combinations if you mix products (and we all do). Like... what if you use more than one hair styling product, several different brands of makeup together or layer on perfume? Carcinogenic cocktail much?
The most important fact to remember is that skin is your largest organ and what goes on, goes in. Using products fresh from Mother Nature is not only trendy, but can really have a huge impact on your beauty and your health. If you're just starting out and want to make the switch to more natural products, the most effective way is to begin with what covers the largest surface area of your body and stays on the longest. Just this simple change alone can significantly decrease the toxic burden on your body. You only get one body - so take care of it!
· Don’t throw everything out! Not quite the answer you expected, right? Learn from my mistakes and do as I say, not as I did! Do not go on a rampage tossing everything in sight! If you’re anything like me you’re going to ignore this advice, but try your best. Regret and a broken piggy bank… not a pretty sight. It’s also important to take a less drastic approach in case you go through a detox phase, which often does happen - I‘m not even going to lie to you.
· Replace products as you run out. One at a time, with healthier choices each time. Remember, to go for the biggest impact. Body wash and body lotion are probably the easiest products to replace (we tend to be the least brand loyal to these) and have the biggest impact on your overall body burden. Next, swap out your shampoo and conditioner (runs down your body in the shower), then deodorant, makeup and so forth.
· Simplify your beauty routine. How many body care products (including cosmetics) do you use per day? Ever counted? Try it... and no cheating! After you do that, go ahead and count the number of ingredients in each product and then add them all together. Are you applying thousands of chemicals in combination each day? Do you really need separate creams for your eyes, face, body, hands, feet, etc? Your health, wallet and cabinet space say... no!
· Ask for samples first. This helps weed out the products you don’t like. Check for trial or travel sizes even if you have to buy them, but many times, if you just ask - you shall receive. Only splurge on full size products that you absolutely LOVE and know you will use.
· If it doesn’t work, you’re not going to use it. Look for truly natural and organic beauty product reviews from someone who has similar taste in products. Truth of the matter is that regardless of how squeaky clean the ingredients are, if the product doesn’t work, you aren’t going to use it.
· Learn to read labels. Look past pretty bottles, ignore miraculous marketing claims and go directly to the ingredients! Just because a company says its “healthy,” “100 % natural,” “pure,” “botanical” or “organic” doesn’t mean that it actually is. These terms are used frivolously and have saturated the market with a number of pink-washed and green-washed products. When buying organic, be sure to look for the USDA Organic Seal.
· Know your ingredients. What goes for one doesn’t always go for all, so never trust an entire company or product line. Go product-by-product and read every single ingredient on the label. If you’re not sure what it is or if the company doesn’t disclose all (only mentions key ingredients), don’t buy the product. Short lists made up of common kitchen ingredients are best. Don’t buy anything you wouldn’t eat if you had to (yum, mascara)!
· Vote with Your Pocketbook! Ask yourself: "Grocery (in this case, healthy beauty) bills now, or medical bills later," when trying to justify the cost of your new natural/organic lifestyle. Companies only produce products that sell. And since YOU are the target market, you get to choose. Support companies whose beliefs and practices are aligned with yours.
· Havin Trouble? Don’t go cold-turkey if you’re really chemically dependent on a product (like a face wash, etc.). Try to wean yourself off it slowly. Begin to use it only once a day instead of twice and use the natural one the second time. Then decrease it more and more each week until you don’t need it anymore. Detox symptoms are just an example of how dependent our bodies have become on these harmful chemicals. You may still detox, but it will be much easier for you. Don’t be too hard on yourself and take one thing at a time. Otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed and give up. The bottom line is when you know better, you do better. And now you know.