Have you heard the word “non-toxic” popping up recently when it comes to beauty? If not, you might have heard of “green beauty,” “clean beauty,” “healthy beauty,” “natural beauty,” etc. It has recently become a major topic of conversation in the beauty community. From my perspective, it is just the natural evolution of the health movement sweeping America (and the rest of the western world) the past few years.
What is non-toxic beauty?
And what do all these different terms mean?
I think all the different terms being thrown around are essentially trying to describe the same thing; cosmetics and skincare that aren’t detrimental to the user’s short term or long term health in the name of beauty. I choose to use the term non-toxic as, in my opinion, it has the clearest meaning. I find phrases like “natural” and “green” to be problematic because they are unregulated and often co-opted for marketing purposes. Just to be clear “non-toxic” is also unregulated. But I think its meaning is clearer than other terms, which makes it more problematic for companies to co-opt this term if they use harmful ingredients.
The Harsh Reality:
There are only 11 ingredient banned by the F.D.A for use in cosmetics and personal care items. By contrast the E.U bans 1,328 and tests new ingredients for safety every year.
U.S. cosmetic companies are not required to test the safety of ingredients before releasing them to the market (they just wait to see if they cause enough damage to be sued).
Unsafe cosmetic ingredients have been linked to cancer, kidney and lung damage, skin allergies, and many other problems.
My point here is this, the products that many people use everyday aren’t tested, well regulated, or made with the users best interest in mind. There are so many unsettling facts about the safety of the cosmetics industry and the ingredients they use. If you would like more convincing or more information I encourage you to check out these resources.
Why I switched to non-toxic products:
Once I realized the sad reality of the cosmetics industry and researched individual products in some of my favorite items I knew I had to do better. I didn’t want to bury my head in the sand and pretend that the products I loved were safe. I wanted to be healthy from the inside out and I knew that making the switch to healthier personal care products was an important aspect to my overall well-being.
Over the course of a few years I slowly switched out my old favorites in favor of new healthier items. I made some bad purchases at first and bought into some “health-washed” companies that weren’t very healthy at all. And I backslid a few times, when I couldn’t find a mascara that worked or a conditioner that didn’t destroy my curly hair (just keepin’ it real). I’m still not perfect but I would guess that now 90% of my products are non-toxic. I didn’t take on too much at once and I didn’t beat myself up when I made a mistake which allowed me to make non-toxic beauty a part of my lifestyle and not a phase. If you want to make the switch this is my advice; be kind to yourself and don’t set the bar too high. There is plenty of time to get it right and here are some tips for making the switch.
My Tips for Making the Switch to Non-toxic Beauty:
Start by switching out items like lipstick, foundation, concealer, and skin care products.
These items are easily ingested (in the case of lipstick), and cover large areas of your skin. If the items you use contain toxins there is a higher likelihood that they will be absorbed into your bloodstream than with other personal care items. There are also many non-toxic alternatives for these items so it will be easy to find a replacement.
Eliminate ingredients a few at a time.
I started by eliminating mineral water, parabens, and sulfates. Over time I added to the list of ingredients I avoided. I would read the ingredient list of the items I purchased and research the ingredients. If I found information about an ingredient that alarmed me I stopped purchasing the product and learned to avoid that ingredient. It took a while and to be honest I’m still in the process but it kept me from going crazy while looking for new products.
Look for labels with few ingredients and ingredients that you understand.
Although you can’t always know for sure, it is safe to assume that aloe leaf juice is safer than benzophenone.
Don’t trust the marketing.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are so many products marketed as “natural” that use the exact same ingredients as the mainstream companies. Do your research and think for yourself.
I can honestly say that I feel so much better since switching out my products for healthier alternatives. My skin has improved so much (although that could just be because I’m a little older). I feel confident that I am doing my best to protect my health and the health of others and a whole new world of beauty has opened up to me.
Have you made the switch to non-toxic? What are some of your favorite non-toxic cosmetics?