When shopping for all-natural beauty products, your best weapon is knowledge. The more you know about what you put in your body, the more empowered you are to make healthy choices - choices that will not only make you feel better about yourself and your body, but bring you peace of mind. Here are some things to consider when shopping for a product that is toxin free.
When doing an initial scan of ingredients, here are four words that should stand out like skull and cross bones.
Paraben - Parabens go by many names, are commonly used as preservatives and linked to all sorts of health issues. Common forms to watch out for are butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.
Petroleum - AKA mineral oil, paraffin and many more. Petroleum byproducts often touted as moisturising do the exact opposite by clogging pores and aggravating acne.
Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate - Used as foaming agent in most commercial shampoos, body washes and bubble baths. SLS is linked to allergic reactions and causes skin irritation stripping skin of its natural moisture
Talc - Commonly found in body powders and makeup products, is used as an anti-caking, drying agent. Talc's tiny particles are easily inhaled or absorbed into the body causing respiratory and other health issues.
Read Between the Lines
Beware of vague and ambiguous ingredients. When going down the list of components that make up your favourite moisturiser or shampoo, if sandwiched between camelia sinesis and calendula officinalis (you can find variations of camelia and calendula in many all natural products) you see a word that isn't very specific, like fragrance or parfum, you can be sure that lurking behind that unassuming title is a bonafide nasty, most likely a phthalate - a plasticizer and an identified hormone disruptor. Choose instead products that are scented with essential oils. Essential oils in all-natural products are often listed individually or as "perfume" indicated by (*). This symbol lets you know the fragrance blend is crafted from essential oils and safe to use.
Germs Are Our Friends
Watch out for anything that claims to have antibacterial properties. If you see the words "Methylisothiazolinone" or "Triclosan", walk the other way. Triclosan is classified as a pesticide by the EPA and while very effective, it does not discriminate killing off our body's beneficial bacteria along with the "germs". Methylisothiazolinone, often shortened to MIT, is also used as a powerful sanitiser and preservative in many products from baby wipes to sunscreen. It's also classified as a cytotoxin!
Many products contain long, hard-to-pronounce, chemical-compound-looking words. If it's not an ingredient you are familiar with, or you're having trouble even conceptualising how to pronounce it, look it up! Many of these chemicals, while harmless-looking enough on the outset, can degrade in the body and release toxins like formaldehyde and heavy metals that can collect in parts of the body, causing disease.
Find products with ingredients you can feel good about. Many of the chemicals listed above are just manmade derivatives of components found in nature. Choose all-natural organic beauty products, leave the toxins behind, and go back to the source.