Modern markets have created an aggressive advertising platform in which citizens are made to feel unsatisfied with their lives. Everywhere we turn, every moment of our lives within these bustling societies, we are surrounded by advertisement that aims to make us feel like we are not enough, and that we cannot live without the next best product. The thing is, most of the products in the beauty industry are gimmicks filled with nasty chemicals. I urge you to turn the moisturizer bottle around, read the ingredients, and educate yourself about those long words you can’t pronounce…
For me, as I was trying to find products to accommodate my needs, I was naturally drawn to the simply made products. I focused my research on those long named ingredients that no one can pronounce, and was astonished by the effects that these had on my body. The first step into finding great natural products that work for you is to educate yourself on the effects of conventional products and compare them to the effects that natural ingredients possess. I found that the more concentrated the ingredients were, the more effective they were. This led me to discover great products that work really well, and work for many things all at once (like coconut oil). This is also an easy way to minimize the products you have in your bathroom, and for me, this aspect is a deal breaker.
So, what are the harmful ingredients and where do we find them in conventional products?
|Chemical||Effects||Where it's Found|
|Parabens||Mimics estrogen and causes hormone disruption, very often found in breast cancer patients||Preservative in moisturizers, makeup, hair care products and shaving creams|
|Phthalates||Hormone disruptors, birth defects, causes thyroid irregularities||Moisture absorbing agent in moisturizers and nail polishes
Also used to make plastic soft and flexible
|Polyethylene Glycols||Petroleum based products, lingers in environment for a very long time |
Impurities found within chemicals are carcinogenic, disrupt development
NOT enough conclusive research to be safe, avoid
|Used as a thickener, solvent, and moisture carrier in creams and moisturizers|
|Synthetic Colors and Fragrances||Neurotoxin, reproductive disruption, cancerous||Used as a colorant and fragrant agent in a variety of products|
|Triclosan||Thyroid disruption, hormone disruption||Used as an anti-bacterium in toothpastes and soaps|
|Aluminum Chlorohydrate |
|Mimics estrogen and disrupts hormones, promotes growth of breast cancer cells, carcinogenic||Used in deodorants in order to block sweat ducts and prevent perspiration|
|Stearalkonium Chloride||Organ toxicity||Used as an anti-static and preservative in conditioner and frizz-control products|
As shown in the table above, these chemicals found in common beauty products on the market have extremely negative effects. They can cause allergies and toxicity, promote cancer, and some even disrupt your body’s natural hormone balance. Knowing that these nasty substances hide in your cosmetics and creams, do you want to continue to subject your skin and body to them?
Another thing to remember is that the beauty industry, on top of mostly being harmful for the human body, also produces a really large amount of waste. The consumption of products is off the charts as personal hygiene has become a staple activity in our daily lives and has been amplified by big companies wanting to make loads of profits. We have also rapidly accumulated obsolescence within the beauty world. Everything now comes in excessive plastic packaging, and carries the proud label of disposable. Sure, being able to throw away your old razor or dirty makeup wipe is easy, but where do these things go after you discard them? Most of them aren’t biodegradable and will stay on earth for the rest of time. The importance of acknowledgment for where things go after you dispose or recycle them is a crucial part of being mindful and minimizing your earthly impact.
How can you stop harming yourself and the environment?
Just like with clothing, the first step is to rid your shelves of chemical-filled ingredients. Then, fill your bathroom with eco-friendly and self-friendly products exclusively. This does not have to be expensive if you chose to embrace minimalism. Just like with the wardrobe, and everyday things, mindful consuming is key. If you haven’t already read my post on mindful consuming, click here to gain some inspiration!
Being a mindful consumer when it comes to beauty products is key, for women and men, because this multi-billion dollar industry is absolutely out to manipulate you. Advertisements are sneaky little devils, and what you must remember when you feel yourself being pulled into the promising product on the magazine or T.V. advertisements is that people are paid to make you feel like you are not enough. The great thing about nature, is that it needs no advertisement. Those lucky enough to find mother natures’ nectar get great results without the anticipated feeling of un-satisfaction. Don’t let greedy citizens of society make money off of you while you get sick. Educate yourself.
When shopping for products, ask yourself these three things…
Do I really need this in my life? Quite simple, are you just giving into an impulse purchase because the bottle is cute, or, did you walk into the store with this item on your shopping list? Just like with anything, when you have too much, you end up never using half of the things you own.
Is there a more effective way to gain the results promised on the label? For example, a leave in conditioner with the active ingredient of coconut oil. It may be more interesting for you to just purchase a jar of coconut oil as it is way cheaper, will last you much longer, and has so many other uses such as: hair conditioner, skin moisturizer, hair mask, cooking oil, shaving cream, and the list goes on… if there is one truly magic product on the shelves, it’s coconut oil.
Does this product pose an environmental or personal health concern? This is pretty straight forward as well, be mindful of the footprint you leave inside and out. Here are a few tips for that…
- Purchase solid soaps
- Seek out recyclable bottles (or already recycled bottles)
- Check labels even if marked natural and organic, be skeptical
- Shop in natural foods stores for beauty products
- Find labels with simple ingredients that you can pronounce
- Purchase pure ingredients (coconut oil)
- Find versatile products that serve more than one purpose (coconut oil)
- Consume less…
What I Use and Recommend
Makeup: I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but when I do, I only purchase from natural brands. One of my favorite is Silk Naturals for foundation and concealer. There great thing about this brand is that it’s a small business that really cares about what they make. The products are not super expensive, they make vegan and gluten free products, and they only have a few ingredients that they always disclose clearly online. Another great brand is Mineral Fusion. They make great products free of gluten, parabens, talc, and other nasty chemicals usually found in makeup.
Razor: The best way to avoid waste when using razors is to purchase a safety razor. No need for a multiple blade razor with a little moisturizing strip, that is a gimmick. With a little care, the single blade razor gets the job done, and gets it done really well. The best thing about safety razors is that you make a one time big purchase, and then continue to buy only blades for a few years. If you do it right, you may even be able to keep your razor your whole life, drastically reducing the expenditures in disposable razors. I got mine at West Coast Shaving Company and got some free blades for signing up to their newsletter.
Shampoo, face and body wash, shaving cream: The most essential benefit of using solid soap is the reduction of waste. Usually, they come in little boxes, but you have the option of buying them in bulk without packaging as well. Using these products not only helps reduce your waste footprint, but is cheaper and much simpler. My favorite thing about these soaps that I recommend is that they are good for everything; shampoo, face wash, body wash, and even shaving cream.
Toothbrush: A great way to go eco-friendly with your toothbrush is to stop purchasing plastic ones. Plastic has become a huge epidemic, and anyway you can avoid using plastic is a smart move. I personally use, and love using, bamboo toothbrushes in unison with toothpaste tabs from Lush Cosmetics. Lush has a great bottle recycling program, and the Toothy Tabs bottle just so happens to be made from 100% recycled materials. Purchasing items that are made 100% out of recycled materials is key to sustainability.
Deodorant: It is very important to be weary of deodorant products. All conventional deodorant products contain toxins that block your sweat ducks to prevent perspiration. For one, sweating is a very important body function meant to release toxins. Don’t prevent your body from doing what it needs to do in order to function properly. Secondly, the active ingredient in anti-presperation is an aluminum based compound meant to block sweat ducts. Aluminum compounds are highly toxic. They mimic estrogen cells, disrupt hormones, but also promote the growth of breast cancer cells.
If there is one product you need to change in your beauty routine, it’s your toxic deodorant!
I found an amazing deodorant that works really well. They sell them in stick form for normal and sensitive skin, and they even have deodorant in their signature jar for sustainability! Amazing product.
Moisturizers: The simpler you get with moisturizers, the better. Think about it, when you buy creams and lotions from the store, even if they are natural, the active moisturizing ingredients are always some kind of oil. Whether it be coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, whatever oil, you name it, you can always find them in simpler forms. I recommend organic coconut oil. Get yourself 1 jar for beauty purposes and it will last you well over a year. A little goes a long way for hair, skin, and even cooking oil! I also recommend aloe vera. I usually only use this for my face as I am very acne prone and this moisturizer helps repair and restore my skin. I swear by the Herbal Answer Aloe Gel!
These are all products that I personally use and have used for several years that I highly recommend to men and women looking to lean more towards natural and minimal beauty. I hope you will find products that also work for you, and that my list inspires you to look into your own personal needs and preferences. Looking into your beauty collection is a really easy way to watch out for your health, save loads of money, and even be an environmental warrior!