Non Toxic Beauty

Clean beauty, green beauty, natural beauty. What’s the actual difference and how can we trust the labels the makers stick on the bottles?

We truly are living in a world where we have to do our own research on brands and products before making them part of our beauty routine. There are too many companies out there who are in business for the quick bucks (cant blame them). However it means that laws and regulations are not always set up for the consumers profit. We just need to be mindful of this.

We came a long way from not knowing that skincare can cause cancer, to knowing exactly what we don’t want in our products. What labels do we trust and which ones do we ditch for our bathroom essentials?

The best is to look at the back of the bottle where the ingredients are listed (teeny tiny). If it looks long and unpronounceable, you can probably say that it contains un natural, possible toxic ingredients for the purpose of shelf life, stretching the product because of the expense, adding a scent that is artificial and more.

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.
— Coco Chanel

Making natural skin care is like cooking. The better the ingredients, the healthier the outcome, and yes, the thriftier the cost. It makes sense, which is why I personally like to use products that come from small companies, made by an approachable person, made with few ingredients, and serves multi purposes.

Use the same salve for lips, elbows and after-sandal feet for example, and ‘multi task’ your essential oils in multiple ways. It helps keeping the bathroom shelf at a minimal load and keeps the finances in tact.

What it all means

Organic         There are no standards for the word organic anywhere in the world. Many people get confused when reading organic. and trust it blindly. If you can’t talk to the maker it’s hard to tell what is organic. Some ingredients might be marked organic on the label.

Natural          It means nothing unless you can verify it. It implifes taht no chemical and toxins are used. Again, check the label.

Green          It is linked to the ‘green’ movement linked to the european environmental green party. Again, check the label.

Non-toxic         What is non toxic depends on the laws and regulations and not on the ingredients only. Check the label. The simpler, the better.

What we don’t want in our skincare

Parabens - This preservative is used in skincare, makeup and toiletries to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and fungus. Parabens have been chosen to replace other preservatives, formaldehyde, proven to be harmful to health, and whose use is now limited to nail polish.

Silicones - These slippery polymers are added into skincare and cosmetics to make them feel silky, blend easily and make skin look smoother. However, polymers clog pores, prevents the skin from breathing and decreases skin renewal, leading to acne, dehydration and premature ageing. What’s more, silicones are also difficult to remove and do not biodegrade.

Pthalates - This group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals are used in beauty and personal care products to soften plastics in products like hairsprays, nail polishes and added to perfumes meaning it wont be on the ingredient list. Some studies have indicated that phthalates can upset the hormonal balance in the body and can lead to developmental problems, particularly in males. 

Sulphates - Commonly added to the majority of personal care products such as shampoo, body and face cleansers for its foaming effects. The biggest concern is the long-term side effects of sulfate production. Petroleum products are associated with climate change, pollution, and greenhouse gases.

Artificial colorants - Personal care products that contain artificial colors almost always contain numerous other unnatural chemicals, (sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, etc.). For centuries, people and companies used dyes derived from natural ingredients to color food. But many of these natural colors contained toxins such as mercury, copper and arsenic. Around the turn of the 20th century, scientists began formulating synthetic colors, derived from coal tar, to replace the existing toxic natural ones. If a consumer experiences skin irritation or a reaction, determining the culpable ingredient can be tricky. Best is to stay away from artificial colorants all together.

Mineral oil - According to the Environmental Working Group, mineral oil is derived from petroleum and may be contaminated with cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Mineral oil aggravates acne and negatively impacts skin function, causing it to age prematurely.

Alcohol - Alcohols like ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, alcohol denat, methanol and Benzyl Alcohol are used to make creams feel lighter, help other ingredients to penetrate your skin,  and as a preservative. The downside. of these alcohols can cause dryness, irritation and breakouts. Bad alcohols in skincare deteriorate your skin’s protective barrier which means your skin is no longer effective at keeping moisture in. It also stimulates oil production which could lead to breakouts if your skin makes too much oil.

Petrochemicals - Petrochemicals are incredibly pervasive in beauty products as the above-mentioned mineral oil, phtalates and parabens. It is also found in 95 percent of chemicals used in fragrance are from petroleum. Petroleum products can generate a substance known to potentially contribute to some cancers kidney toxin, neurotoxin, and a respiratory toxin, not to mention a leading groundwater contaminant.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) - GMOs are essentially plants and other living organisms whose DNA has been scientifically modified. Side effects of GMO products being absorbed into the body include allergic reactions, immune and skin disorders like eczema. To avoid GMO ingredients in your skincare, go for certified organic or GMO-free products.