I have known for some time that there are nasty chemicals lurking around in my beauty products … but until recently I hadn’t taken the time to find out what they were and why I should be bothered about them.
That was until this happened: A couple of months ago I noticed that the skin was starting to flake off the palms of my hands, so I just put it down to dry skin and starting applying various lotions and potions in the hope it would solve the problem.
However, it didn’t … and the problem just got worse. Soon strips of skin were peeling off my hands and they were getting red, raw and itchy. Not pretty to look at and definitely embarrassing when having to shake hands with people!
The strange thing was that the problem was confined to the palm of my hands – everywhere else was fine. This lead me to conclude that something my hands were coming in contact with on a daily basis must be the cause of my problem – which lead me to take a closer look at my body wash, facial wash, shampoo, conditioner and the dishwashing liquid I was using.
Guess what they all had in common? Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) – which was listed as the 2nd or 3rd ingredient on the list (meaning it was one of the main ingredients in the product’s make up). When I investigated SLS further I found that it is a known skin and eye irritant and is often used to test other products against (to see if they will soothe the irritation) – so that made sense as to why the skin was constantly peeling off my hands!
This must be harsh stuff because my skin is pretty resilient and I have never reacted like this before.
SLS is highly effective in removing oily stains and residues and is therefore used in engine degreasers, floor cleaners etc. It is used in products such as shampoo and body washes for its thickening and lathering effects. Apparently large concentrations of SLS can also act as an effective shark repellent! (Source: Wikipedia)
All good to know … but not really what I’m after in a beauty regime!
As well as SLS I started looking at the other ingredients listed on the products I was using and found things such as: Parabens, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oils, Urea, Triethanolamine, EDTA – just to name a few. If you have a look into these chemicals alongside others, such as talc, you will see there are some pretty unpleasant side effects which can do some long-term damage and potentially have some devastating effects on your health.
There are many good sites where you can find detailed information on the ingredients in the products you are using. Here are a couple of examples:
* Safe Cosmetics Australia
* Paula’s Choice
* Sarah Wilson’s list
So why make the change?
• Eye makeup can be absorbed by your highly sensitive mucous membranes.
• Hair sprays, perfumes and powders can be inhaled, irritating your lungs.
• Lipstick is licked off and swallowed.
• Sunscreen and lotions are absorbed through your skin.
• Shampoo can run into your eyes or your baby’s eyes.
• Laundry detergent, in small amounts, comes in contact with your skin via your clothes.
Source: (Dr Mercola)
So, for me personally, I first of all needed to stop using SLS as it was not only irritating my skin – but making it peel off.
Secondly, I discovered how easily these chemicals were absorbed into my body via the products I was using and the possible damage they could do to my health.
Therefore, in my endeavour to use products without these harmful ingredients I have started reading the ingredient lists, not always believing the ‘natural’ or ‘green’ on the labels and looking for cruelty free products that haven’t been genetically modified.
Easy right? Not so far …
* Bye Bye Bubbles: It is usually the sulphates in the product that make it foam up and become nice and bubbly. Without these the products often have a more watery consistency. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t clean as well – it just feels different. I am getting used to it but it took me awhile to let go off my bubbles.
* Price Point: I have found many products, especially skin care and make-up, that looks divine but the price is just too much of a stretch – especially when they only come in teeny tiny bottles!
* Performance: Many products that I use for a specific purpose need to be effective otherwise there’s no point using it. For example: I just looked at the cream I am using for my cracked heels and noticed it contains Urea – arrgh!
Any suggestions for an alternative for this would be much appreciated!
* No one-stop shop: I have found I have had to shop around and find different products from many different places. For example: I use a Sukin cleanser and moisturiser but didn’t love their body wash and have read some pretty average reviews for their hair products.
* So good I could eat it! Some beauty products smell so fantastic you could just devour them! Lucky I didn’t once I found one what was actually in them! However, I do love a product that smells delicious – and now that I know not to trust the fragrance label (as many ingredients can be hidden under the general ‘fragrance’ heading) – I try to find products containing essential oils as these have many holistic health benefits as well as smelling divine!
Trial and Error
So far in my endeavour to ‘green my routine’ I have been using a variety of different branded products with different price points. Obviously I’m all for affordable but I still need the products to work and to ‘feel’ and ‘smell’ nice.
These are some of the products I’m using at the moment and my thoughts about them:
Sukin: I am currently using the Foaming Facial Cleanser and Moisture Restore Night Cream. I am enjoying both of these products and am finding the moisturiser is lasting a long time. The price is very affordable and it is easy to find, being available in most pharmacies (at least in Australia anyhow). I like that it is Australian owned and made, 100% vegan, not tested on animals and 100% carbon neutral.
Nak: I am currently using the Hydrating Shampoo, Hydrating Conditioner and Ultimate Treatment (conditioning).
This a salon brand so is a bit more pricey but it smells lovely and has that salon shampoo feel. Saying that, the day after washing my hair it definitely needs another wash.
Thursday Plantation: I am also trying this brand of shampoo as a cheaper alternative to my salon brand. I don’t mind it but it doesn’t feel as luxurious as the Nak shampoo. It does seem to work well when I am suffering from dandruff though.
Argan Oil: I have read some good things about this and am thinking about trying out some shampoo and conditioner. Watch this space!
Organic Surge: I am currently using the Lavender Meadow Body Lotion. This smells beautiful and is really does seem to do the job. It is available at David Jones. Maybe a little pricey if you use a lot of body moisturiser – but I love it!
Couleur Caramel: I am in the throws of tackling my make-up bag and trying to replace everything with safer alternatives. I’m very excited about my first purchase – a Couleur Caramel Concealer. This product has won awards and is getting some great reviews. An added bonus it that I got a free eyeshadow with my purchase – I love free stuff!
This, along with some other great natural make-up, skin and wellness products are available at Love Organic Beauty.
My Green Team
As I tackle the world of non-toxic, organic, natural products I aim to bring you my findings and also hopefully team up with some of the brands in order to introduce you to some great, safe alternatives to the products you may be using at the moment and also to try to get us some deals along the way!
The first company I have teamed up with is ‘Love Organic Beauty’. It was created to inspire Australian women to look at natural beauty products that are ethically produced and environmentally sustainable, without toxic or harmful ingredients. They have been working with French organic, natural makeup brand Couleur Caramel since 2007. The creators of Love Organic Beauty offer more than just a webstore offering natural beauty products however … it is somewhere that’s interactive, engaging, educational and driven by the women in its community.
So, go and check them out here and if you like anything you see make sure you use the code: KathrynB at the checkout to receive 10% off your order.
So, there’s my story about my beginnings in the ongoing process of ‘Greening My Routine.’
I would love to hear your thoughts about this process, what products you love and of course if you would like to be part of my ‘Green Team’ please contact me.
photo credit: (Image 1)Free Grunge Textures – www.freestock.ca via photopin cc
photo credit: (Image 2)Auntie P via photopin cc
photo credit: (Image 3) jurvetson via photopin cc
photo credit: (Image 5): oxfordian.world via photopin cc