The beauty industry is a big business! This spring, I kicked off with a blog The ‘Real’ Spring Clean detailing a few ways to clean up lifestyle approaches and living environments with regards to harmful exposures. Personal care is a huge area within this topic, partially attributable to lack of adequate evaluation (see a 2004 Environmental Working Group report).
5 faucets to consider within this focus area include the following;
- Upgrade your products for more bang for the buck. One thing that blows people away is that well formulated, low-toxin beauty care products often require a lower amount for adequate application. What does this mean in simple terms? Investment in this sort of product will stretch, ie “less is more”.
- Pay attention to substrate when color is involved. Essentially, liquids involving color have a greater chance of causing harm when applied to the skin. Therefore, paying attention to chemicals, particularly those relating to endocrine disruption*, and carcinogens in products such as gels and creams may take higher significance as compared to a dry powder. Definitely pay close attention to that lip color and be sure yours does not include lead.
- Avoid synthetic scents. “Fragrance” is not well regulated in the U.S. and can consist of many proprietary chemical concoctions unclear to the end consumer. The frustrating thing is even with “good” options, it can be hard to avoid. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) maintains a guide called Skin Deep to help assess this. A good habit is to check whether labels have the word “fragrance” OR if a natural, plant-based substrate, such as a specific essential oil, is indicated. Also, consider swapping out chemical based perfumes for essential oil blends!
- Take a break. Find opportunities to avoid or reduce applications, for example there are ways to reduce how often we wash hair with shampoo and conditioner which, as it turns out, often leads to better hair quality. Not only will making these reductions help lower the risk of cumulative low-dose exposures from personal care, it will save money over time.
- Remember internal health. Finally, and most importantly, the real “skin deep” starts from within. Cellular health is impacted by nutrition, toxicity, and emotional health. Proper care for your internal systems will illuminate in better skin and hair quality leading to less need for external applications.
Although, admittedly, I’m still figuring this out myself, there are a couple options that I have come to favorable resolution on (for now);
Annmarie Skin Care multi-purpose foundation relies on a mineral powder, which can be used dry, or combined with facial oil, cream, or serum. Blend a small amount of the mineral powder with oil, cream or serum in the palm of your hand to create the liquid consistency for foundation.
Typically I blend with their signature herb-infused oil (also available in unscented), but it has surprised me how nicely it also applies as a direct powder application. In consideration of point 1 above, this product stretches well. I hardly use any of it to make for full coverage.
Neal’s Yard Remedies is a product line was introduced to me by the lovely Lara Adler. Based in the UK, it is distributed through retail channels throughout Great Britain and via independent consultants in other countries. An unexpected bonus is I found that a friend from grade school had become a rep so I was able to reconnect with her through the process (see her page).
I have been absolutely amazed at how happy I have been when using Lush Ultrabland Facial Cleanser. The formula cleanses and moisturizes simultaneously and can be used simply as an under eye make up remover or as a total facial cleanse. Their Full of Grace solid serum is also a great multi-purpose staple.
Mineral Fusion products, although not perfect (mostly due to fragrance), rank pretty favorable across EWG’s list, come at a reasonable price point, and are available through a variety of accessible channels, including Whole Foods. In addition, they have hair care formulas for color treated hair which is less commonly found within natural/organic centered personal care products.
One discouraging thing about being a Hashi’s patient is that I have experienced a fair share of eye brow thinning. ZuZu Luxe pencil comes in a tobacco color that I love and their products rank pretty well on EWG’s list as well.
A company that I have not tried yet, but am considering for future use is 100% Pure. The company relies on natural, plant-derived pigments and avoids iron oxides which have to be tested for lead.
Many also turn to Beauty Counter which is positioned at the fore front of education in the US beauty market and centered on reduction of substrates that are harmful in personal care products including their coined “Never List”. Link to the page for one consultant in my network.
Finally, I have noticed several small, craft based options picking up momentum. A few favorites in the Chicago area include Bonnie and Biba Lips. Lip applications have not had the best track record, such as testing for lead. Especially with consideration to point 2 above, lip color is a key area to pay attention to when assessing for potential toxicity.
Additional resources can be found via the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
*Chemical-based substrates associated to endocrine disruption include phthalates (a class of chemicals related to “fragrance”, softeners, solvents, and stabilizers in personal and household related products), parabens (used as preservatives), and phenoxyethanol. Endocrine disruptors refer to substrates that mimic or block hormone signals which, in addition to gland and organ health, have been studied for their role obesity.
Ashley L Arnold, MBA, MPH is a lifestyle health educator and coach who supports clients to channel authority over their health, well-being, and overall vitality. Offering health education approaches and 1-on-1 coaching modules, she gets them out of excess weeds of information and inconsistent practices that don’t get desired results. Through helping people focus on the right applications paired with appropriate consideration for bio-individual facets, they become stronger, more confident self-advocates for their health. Bottom line, they will surpass challenges, embrace healthful living with ease, and, best of all, feel a greater sense of empowerment and more energy!
In need of formalized support to make healthful lifestyle changes? Contact me through my business site.
Disclosure - Annmarie Gianni & 100% Pure links direct to my affiliate pages which may generate very small amounts of monetary income.