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Have you ever actually wondered what was in the beauty products you use every day? Even the ones that seem like they would be fine for a natural beauty routine may not be quite as natural as they seem. This was something that I never even thought of until I started trying to eat healthier food and learning about the negative health effects of chemicals and artificial ingredients.
I used to think that it didn’t really matter what was in beauty products since I was putting them on my body rather than eating them, but then I learned that since the skin is actually the body’s largest organ, the things that we put on our skin are actually absorbed into the bloodstream. And besides that, we’re also exposed to those ingredients in a second way by inhaling them (especially for perfumes or hairsprays.)
What exactly are all those ingredients anyways?
I used to just assume that the products I was using were ok, and I read the part about all of the special “natural botanical extracts” that were supposed to do wonders for my skin and hair, but I never bothered to look at the rest of the label.
But once I became more aware of the potentially harmful effects of some of the common ingredients in personal care products, I started paying more attention to them. Many of the preservatives, synthetic fragrances, and other chemicals in beauty products pose the risk of being developmental toxins, hormone-disrupting chemicals, or carcinogens.
A great resource for finding out more about the types of chemicals (and their harmful effects) is a website called the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. I tried looking up some of the products I used to use on this website, and I was shocked to see how many potentially toxic chemicals I was using every single day! At best there would be one or two ingredients that I could recognize. The rest were long, unpronounceable words that looked like they should have been part of a science experiment rather than a lotion or shampoo.
How many ingredients are you using?
And it wasn’t just the toxic ingredients that shocked me either. It was the incredible amount of ingredients, too. Since I was using several different products every day (like shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, face wash, moisturizer, perfume, etc.) and since each of those products had about 20-25 ingredients on the label (and sometimes more,) I was using dozens or even hundreds of different chemicals every day.
That’s a lot of different ingredients for the body to try to process all at once! Especially when you compare all of those ingredients to how simple beauty products used to be. In past centuries, people mainly used simple soaps, either homemade with lye and lard or a castille soap similar to Dr. Bronner’s. And common ingredients for moisturizers were tallow or oils like almond oil or olive oil. Rosewater and perfumes made from essential oils served as natural perfumes. It’s only fairly recently that people started using so many different kinds of products filled with a long list of chemical ingredients.
Simpler is better
Since learning about what’s really in most personal care products, I’ve gradually switched over to a natural beauty routine. I’ve gotten rid of all of the old chemical-laden products I used to use and have replaced them with natural options or with natural DIY versions. Some of the natural ingredients I use on a regular basis are:
- Organic Coconut Oil
- Raw Organic Manuka Honey
- Jojoba Oil
- Old-Fashioned Hair Soap (shampoo is a fairly recent invention)
- Organic Hairspray
And these are a few of my favorite DIY recipes to make:
- Homemade Citrus Lavender Perfume
- Whipped Coconut and Tamanu Oil Body Butter
- Victorian Homemade Tinted Lip Balm
- Victorian Shampoo Alternatives
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.