Spring has officially sprung! The flowers are in full bloom, the birds are chirping, and we have already had our first spring snow storm. I am a big believer in spring cleaning and mimicking mother nature with a fresh start. When people think “spring cleaning” they often immediately think of their closet, but in this post I am focusing on cleaning up your beauty products, specifically the products that you use every single day. When it comes to health, it isn’t just about what you eat, or your exercise routine, but it also involves the products that you put on your body.
Your skin is your largest organ and everything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your blood stream. The scary reality is that the ingredients used in cosmetics and other beauty products are not tightly regulated, so I strongly encourage you to take some time to go through your products and do some spring cleaning. The most important products to focus on are the ones you use the most:
Start with these, and then work your way into cleaning up all of the products (down to your tooth paste, mouth wash, perfume, shaving cream, hair styling products, and your makeup). I have put together some helpful tips and my favorite products to help make it a bit easier.
Never buy a product without reading the label. With food products you should be able to read and pronounce every ingredient, but it is harder when it comes to beauty products because of the scientific names of ingredients that are listed. I search for products that clarify what those ingredients actually are, like my favorite deodorant by Schmidt’s lists “Cocos Nucifera (coconut) Oil” so I know that the more familiar (less scientific) ingredient is coconut oil–an ingredient that I recognize and also eat, so one that I am more than comfortable putting on my skin.
The top ingredients that I always avoid are: parabens, fragrances, SLES (sodium laureth sulfate), and formaldehyde (found in ingredients like DMDM Hydantion, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imisazolidinyl Urea, Methenamine, or Quarternium-15). For the full list of the Dirty Dozen ingredients that you should avoid and why check out David Suzuki’s Dirty Dozen List.
I discovered the Think Dirty App and it has been amazing. This app let’s you scan the barcode or search by the product name and gives you a summary on the Dirty Meter based on three categories: Carcinogenicity, Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity, and Allergies & Immunotoxicities. Since downloading this app I have already thrown out and replaced certain products that I had been using once I realized how toxic that actually are. My goal is to use products with an overall rating of 5 or less, but ideally with a rating of 1 or 2. I mostly watch out for any rating that falls under the ‘Carcinogenicity’ or ‘Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity’ categories and avoid those products.
The most important thing to note is that just because one product by a certain brand has a low score does not mean another product by the same brand will. You need to look up each product, especially because each product will have its own list of ingredients.
This is a simple rule of thumb, but the fewer ingredients in a product the better. This is the same school of thought that I apply to food that I also apply to any product that I am consuming.
Just because a product is labeled ‘all natural,’ ‘natural,’ or even ‘organic’ doesn’t mean it is as safe and clean as you think. Even products with ‘organic’ on the label can still use synthetic chemicals unless is has the USDA Certified Organic logo on it. Other words that are often deceptive on products are ‘green,’ ‘pure,’ ‘non-toxic’ and do not accurately tell you about each of the ingredients in the product.
These are some of the products that I use and that received a rating of 5 or less on the Think Dirty App:
You will find most of these products on Vitacost — this is one of my favorite sites to buy natural products, especially bath and beauty products (as well as supplements). As I mentioned earlier, focus on the products that you use the most of and that you use most often. Also think about the products your spouse and family members are using daily as well.
I hope you are inspired to detoxify your beauty products!