This is how I started down the “crunchy beauty” rabbit hole. After struggling for many years to get pregnant … It finally happened! I was in my first trimester and while nervous, I was SO excited! Towards the end of my first trimester I was putting on my BB cream one weekend afternoon to head out to the store. I noticed I was running low and figured I would get some more at the mall. I looked under my counter for the box I had saved so I would know exactly which fancy name they used to describe “fairly pasty”. When reading the box I noticed something that I not only didn’t expect but had never seen before. It was a HUGE warning about using the product while pregnant or nursing. Needless to say I freaked out!
I rummaged through all my products with cell phone in hand googling everything and its ingredients. I ended up with a huge pile of make-up and skincare soon to be donated to my friends with the warning, “this is trying to kill you … but its a great color for you!” Let me tell you this devastated me because I had a lot of money invested in these products and was certain anything natural was going to … well, suck. I love good skincare! I consider myself a connoisseur. I spent the day researching skincare and makeup products that were safe and natural. After some trial and error I learned I was actually very wrong on their suckage. I had a few minor break outs the first few weeks but after that my skin looked better than it ever had. People have suggested that was my skin detoxing. I have not found any studies to back that up, but it kind of makes sense. I also was starting to feel really good about these changes to my personal products. It was really nice knowing that I didn’t have to worry about anything I was putting on my body. I felt even better about it after I had my son and he was constantly in contact with my skin. Skin is our largest organ it is also incredibly absorbent and I had been slathering mine in chemicals and fragrances. An added bonus is once I replaced all this stuff my husbands allergies eased up.
The idea of natural beauty seems like a good one, but changing your trusted moisturizer to an organic option isn’t always as simple as switching out toxic product for an organic product.
Parabens (preservatives found in sunscreens, lotions, and more), sulfates (detergents found in cleansers like shampoos and bath gels), and phthalates (chemicals found in fragrances and plastics) have had multiple studies that linked their use to an increased risk for cancer. Parabens are used in health and beauty products as a preservative to extend the shelf life of the product. Parabens, however, are synthetic and mimic your body’s natural hormones. Endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females. Parabens can cause free-radical damage and sulfates may irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction as well.
If that’s not enough to scare you, the term Fragrance was created to protect a company’s “secret formula.” But you could be putting on a concoction that contains tons of chemicals that are hazardous to your health without even knowing it. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. It can be found in many products such as perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturizers.
Now that you are feeling like you are putting toxic waste on your skin, what do you do?
The first thing to do is check out the EWG’s Skin Deep Database to research your cosmetic and personal care products. See what products you are comfortable keeping and which ones you need to find a replacement for. My suggestion is to replace your most used products right away. Then over time find suitable replacements for your others. That makes it a little more budget friendly.
To help you in your search (and because everyone always asks me) I have compiled a list of products and brands I swear by. I honestly use all of these products and LOVE them!
First up, Neal’s Yard Remedies – This is my GO TO company! Not only are they the ONLY anti-aging organic skincare line I found that actually totally works for me … they are just a good company! They were awarded ‘Champion Status’ by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for their long commitment to organics, making safer products and fully disclosing ingredients. They source ethically and donate tons of money to saving the Bee population.
My Favorite products from them:
Frankincense Intense Cream – I have tried a lot of high end anti-aging creams and even when I consider my “toxic” products this is still a hands down winner. It has won numerous skin care awards in multiple categories. I see and feel a real noticeable difference in my skin. It appears firmer, softer, hydrated and more radiant. A nice subtle smell, satisfying consistency, easily absorbed. Over the months I can honestly say it has improved the condition of my skin – lines & wrinkles are less noticeable. My skin is more supple and toned. For me, this is a night cream as it can get a little tacky under my makeup. The cream is really a pleasure to use ..This is THE find!
Here is a short video showing each ingredient and how its made:
This was using the cream for 60 days on the left hand only … bye bye age spots!!:
Wild Rose Beauty Balm – This is a makeup artist and beauty editor favorite from around the world. It can be used in 3 ways – as a deep nourishing balm for dry skin, for cleansing and exfoliating, or as part of a full facial treatment to decongest and enrich the skin. Its almost like there is nothing this product can’t do. I use it for when I get dry patches on my cheeks in the winter and for my hands or heels occasionally. Typically I use it most as a facial. Since both of these products are on the more expensive side (but honestly worth it), I would say if you choose one to go with the Frankincense Intense Cream instead. But honestly, it’s hard for me to pick!
Rose Facial Wash – This is my standard cleaner. It’s lightly foaming, gentle and great for all skin types. I am a firm believer in adjusting my routine to weather change. For that reason I also have the …
Calendula Cleanser – This is my winter cleanser as it more for dry skin. A little really goes a long way with this one.
White Tea Facial Mist – This refreshes and hydrates my skin. It’s great for after a work out or to help set your makeup.
Not exactly skin care – Goodnight Pillow Mist. I just really love this stuff! The smell is amazing and it has become this great part of my nighttime ritual I really look forward too.
Lastly, I can honestly say I have enjoyed several of the bath and shower products. They smell great! My other “must have” would be the Bee Lovely Hand Cream – It feels really luxurious going on. Which I know sounds crazy but it’s the only way I can describe it. Plus, I happen to be a fan of the Bee which this product raises money to help. FULL DISCLOSURE – I am an Independent Consultant for NYR Organics. It happened after I became such a huge fan of the products. I initially signed up to get myself and then my friends a discount at first, but now … it has turned into a pretty decent addition to our monthly budget. That said, you will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love! See the whole discalimer here.
**A personal tip from me** to you since I was never able to take advantage of this, If you order the starter pack you get the Frankincense Intense Cream & the Wild Rose Beauty Balm plus 10 other full sized products to try for the same you would spend on Frankincense Intense Cream!! That’s a really easy and cost efficient way to quickly move into an all organic and non-toxic skin care routine.
My Hair Products all come from the same company, Acure Organics. Per their company statement “Acure Organics is a family owned and operated company founded on sustainable principles to provide the highest quality fair trade, natural and certified organic personal care products. Each of our products is free from animal testing, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, harmful preservatives and artificial colors.” You can get this at your local Target or on Amazon. I do find Amazon is a little cheaper.
ACURE Volume Shampoo, Mint – This is a great shampoo. I get great volume, a nice smell and there is never any residue. I like the mint because my hair feels really clean.
ACURE Hydrating Conditioner, Argan – I SWEAR by this conditioner. I have pretty thick hair and I really struggle with finding a conditioner that can leave it soft but not too soft, leave no residue and give great shine.
ACURE Clarifying Shampoo, Lemongrass– I also use this clarifying shampoo once a week depending on what I have been doing to my hair. I am a dry shampoo fan (who isn’t?), use product, can go a few days without washing my hair (thank you children!) and then get oily. I find this shampoo to be great at what it claims … It lathers really well and my hair has no build up.