Today’s savvy consumer knows that the best way to enhance beauty lies in paying attention to what’s in the products we use, as well as understanding how those ingredients in toxic beauty products affect us. In a world where natural foods and organic diets are finally being recognized as critical to good health, natural ingredients and non-toxic products should also be sought out as essential for beauty products.
What are Toxic Beauty Products?
Many beauty products in the market today try to seduce consumers with labeling that says natural, non-toxic, organic, simple and safe. But in an industry with very little oversight or regulation, it’s shocking to find out what you might really be putting on – or in – your body if you use those products. Many commercially-produced beauty and skincare products are packed with artificial colors, fragrances, preservatives and stabilizers that can cause negative, long-term health effects. Because of this, we’ve got hormone disrupting ingredients in skin care, cosmetics containing lead and other heavy metals, carcinogens in shampoos and many more harmful chemicals in products we use on our bodies every day. Over a lifetime, these harmful exposures can add up, which is why it’s more important than ever to research what ingredients are in the products you are purchasing.
What Chemicals to Avoid in Beauty Products
1) Don’t just trust – verify!
If you really want to know what you are buying and how the ingredients can affect you, you have to do some detective work. Fortunately, there are reputable online resources that are easy to use, like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database [https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/] that provides safety ratings and ingredients for personal care products. Another great resource is Safe Cosmetics’ “Red List” [http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/red-list/], which points out the ingredients to avoid when shopping for beauty and personal care products.
2) Get label savvy
Did you know that the average person is exposed to 300 chemicals before they walk out of bathroom – all because they want to look younger and feel better? If you want to cut down on your exposure to harmful chemicals, you must learn to read labels. It can be intimidating at first, but there are some basics you can learn to help identify both the good and the bad when shopping. Underneath the pretty designs and impressive claims, there can be some scary chemicals in hiding. Here are the top ones to watch out for:
• Sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate
• Artificial fragrance
• DEA & TEA
Next, watch for the following claims that sound great, but actually mean nothing. Remember, with little to no industry regulations, manufacturers can make claims without actually needing to back them up.
• Hypoallergenic or physician approved
3) Look for seals and certifications
One exception to ignoring claims, as we said above, is if they are accompanied by official third-party certifications. Validations for non-toxic or organic claims are offered by reputable organizations such as EWG [https://www.ewg.org/], Consumer’s Lab [https://www.consumerlab.com/], Certified Vegan [https://vegan.org/], NSF International [http://www.nsf.org/], the ToxicFree Foundation [http://thetoxicfreefoundation.com/] and the Natural Products Association (NPA) [http://www.npainfo.org/].
Another sign of high-quality is if products are created in a GMP or FDA manufacturing facility. One step better is to be made in an OTC facility, which requires a higher level of scrutiny, detail and manufacturing consistency. This information is easy to find on the internet, easy to verify and vital to finding the best quality personal care and beauty products.
4) Shop for ‘real’ ingredients
When shopping for beauty products, you can essentially follow the same rules as you do for a healthy diet. Look for products made with unprocessed natural ingredients, like shea butter, aloe vera and coconut oil. Put back anything with long lists of unpronounceable ingredients. You also want to look for ingredients that are high in antioxidants and provide nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and biotin – all beneficial when used in your daily beauty routine.
5) Don’t follow the crowd!
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that best-selling means best quality. Sometimes companies have products that are best-sellers, because they lie in their marketing about ingredients or manufacturing. For instance, one New York attorney general found that four out of five top-selling brands of herbal supplements did not contain ANY of the ingredients they listed! These types of products come and go, and their best-seller status is usually short-lived. Instead of paying attention to the these ‘fad’ products, look for products that are transparent in what ingredients are used and how they are manufactured.
One big mistake many women fall for, that’s easily fixed, is using way too many products that they don’t really need. This can backfire and actually have negative long-term effects. It’s easy to be influenced by celebrity brands and high-tech, expensive packaging. But you don’t need 15 different products to look good. You really only need a few effective, high-quality products.
6) Look for transparency
Choose products that are honest and up-front about the ingredients and manufacturing processes they use. Products that have been tested, certified and bear the seals of reputable third-party organizations. Choose products from companies who are willing to explain why they formulated their products the way they did, are transparent about their manufacturing practices, share ingredient sources and site studies that back that information.
About Deanna Latson:
Internationally-recognized health and wellness authority and fearless nutritional pioneer Deanna Latson empowers people to create a healthy, well-balanced life. Drawing upon real-life experience, extensive education and personal passion, Latson supports the use of toxic-free, high-quality products for superior quality of life and has collaborated with world-renowned experts in the health, wellness and fitness industries.
Along with being co-founder and chief product officer of ARIIX, Latson holds a clinical nutritionist degree from the Natural Healing Institute of Naturopathy and is affiliated with the Wellness Council of America, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Speech Communication Association.