It’s estimated that the average person uses about 10-15 “cosmetic” products per day, totaling an estimated 126 different chemicals that we are exposed to. These products include anything that you put in your mouth, on your skin, in your hair, etc. I was surprised to find how quickly they added up when I counted for myself. I’m not someone who even uses many products (little makeup, no perfume, usually no lotion or sunscreen) and I still totaled about 13 (hand soap, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, shaving gel, hair product, body soap, deodorant, face wash, face lotion, and about 3 makeup products).
Why should I be alarmed? Because our skin is actually our largest organ and absorbs anything that you put on it. Those compounds enter our blood stream and become systemic, which can cause all sorts of damage over time. Much like the supplement industry, the chemicals used in these products are not tested for safety! Similar to food manufacturers, product manufacturers care about two thing and two things only: 1. That the product performs the job the consumer desires and 2. That the product sells. If you think big pharma, the food industry and the cosmetics industry has your back for safety, think again…safety and health is never a priority to these industries. It’s simply all about sales. Period.
It’s been clinically proven that the accumulation of harmful chemicals (many coming from what we put on ourselves) are present in high levels in our bodies, affecting our ability to detox properly (our bodies can only handle so much at one time), and in turn our metabolism, overall health, and hormone balance. This is especially worrisome in the infant, child and teenage populations, because the levels are more concentrated in small bodies and their endocrine systems are still developing.
This issue has been on my radar for the last five years or so, and I have found replacements for all my “conventional” products, after looking up their safety ratings on www.EWG.org. This site allows you to search your current products and will give you an overall safety rating based upon ingredients. It is a total wealth of information and also comes as an app for the iPhone or Android (Skin Deep). You can also search for safe products, which are split up into categories to make it easier to find a replacement. Also check out the guides for organic produce recommendations, safe sunscreens, safe household cleaners and more!
Finding replacement products has been no walk in the park. I obviously require them to work just as well as conventional, which can be a challenge. I was in Target, when I first started looking for replacement products. I found a bunch of things that I thought would be better, because they were labeled as “natural” or at least gave that impression, but when I looked on EWG.org, I didn’t find one product that was under a 3 for safety rating! I couldn’t believe how misleading the packaging was! That was a lesson to me, to always check before buying, despite how “natural” it seems.
Here are some the my favorite “clean” products I have found over the years:
Soap: Dr. Bronners castile (Target, WholeFoods)
Shampoo and Conditioner: Deva Curl or Aveda (Amazon)
Toothpaste: Toms on Maine (Target and WholeFoods)
Shaving Gel: Dr. Bronners (WholeFoods)
Nail Polish: Zoya (online)
Makeup Remover: Garnier Miscellar Cleansing Water (Target and Walmart)
Hand Sanitizer: Dr. Bronners spray (WholeFoods)
Hand Lotion: Derma E (WholeFoods)
Sunscreen: Badger (WholeFoods and Walmart)
Stay Beautiful AND Healthy, my friends!
Additional resources on this topic (including more specifics on active ingredients to avoid) can be found here: