By Courtenay Turner
While it feels so good to nourish our complexion with beautiful skincare and make-up or spritz a delicious-smelling perfume, the truth is, many conventional skin and beauty products contain toxins and chemicals which, over time, may increase your toxic load, and compromise your wellbeing.
The good news is, we can both rejuvenate and nourish our skin – sans the nasties. If you’re ready to detox your beauty cabinet, all it takes is a little know-how and a few simple swaps to ensure you’ve got plenty of healthy, harmless and effective products on hand...
The problem with perfume
If you’re serious about detoxing your beauty cabinet, then avoiding perfumes which contain synthetic “fragrance” is a good place to start. In Australia, manufacturers are not required by law to disclose all the chemicals used in a fragrance, so it might come as a surprise to many perfume aficionados that their favourite fragrance is made up of anywhere between several dozen to several hundred different synthetic chemicals. For some people, exposure to these chemicals may lead to headaches or aggravate their asthma. There’s even research to show that some of the compounds found in fragrance have the ability to disrupt hormones and accumulate in adipose tissue (AKA body fat) and breast milk.
Make the switch:
The health implications of fragrance use – think candles and air fresheners, not just perfume – are not yet fully known, so we suggest switching synthetic fragrances for essential oil blends. Essential oils, diluted in a carrier oil, are a safe and natural option and also offer some therapeutic benefits. We love these.
Love your lips
Does your lipstick contain lead? You might be surprised to learn that lead is present in many of your favourite blends. Lead, a potent neurotoxin, is not deliberately added to lipstick, but it’s often present in the mineral dyes used to give lipsticks their rich colour. This often means that the darker the lipstick, the more lead it’s likely to contain. Watch out for cadmium too, another heavy metal that’s considered carcinogenic. According to the California Safe Cosmetic Program, “Even at low levels, heavy metals can be a concern.” Applying a layer of lippy once in a while is unlikely to cause you any harm, but if you’re reapplying multiple times, week on week, you may be ingesting as much as 87 milligrams of lead every day.
Make the switch:
Thankfully, you don’t need to forego your signature bold red lip in order to detox your beauty bag. Simply reach out to the manufacturers of your favourite lippy and confirm that it’s both lead and cadmium free. If not, try a toxin-free brand like Inika or Ere Perez. And for plump and healthy lips, try The Beauty Chef’s BEAUTY FIX BALM.
Face the facts
Moisturiser and foundation are two of the most common products found in a woman’s beauty cabinet. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that the ingredients we’re slathering on our skin aren’t harming our health and beauty in the long term. Here are a few nasties to avoid where possible:
- Siloxanes. These organic silicones are used to smooth and moisten skincare products, but they’re also suspected to disrupt the endocrine system. Siloxanes may also pose a threat to our natural environment, bioaccumulating in fish and other wildlife.
- Butoxyethanol. This is an ether alcohol that might appear in your moisturiser. Ironically, it’s a known skin irritant, so it’s worth avoiding – especially if you have sensitive skin.
- Parabens. These synthetic compounds are used as preservatives in many skincare and beauty products – but they’re also known to disrupt the hormonal system. While small amounts are considered safe, repeated exposure is not ideal so try to opt for “paraben-free” products and avoid anything that contains methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben.
Have you made the switch to toxin-free beauty products? Let us know your favourite brands and blends!