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How Natural Is Your Beauty Routine?

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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. 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. These are some of the natural ingredients I’ve used instead:

And these are a few of my favorite DIY recipes to make:

I love the fact that the products I use now are so much simpler and more natural, and I feel so much better about the fact that I’m not using all of the toxic chemicals that I used to use. It’s also really nice to use less ingredients in general rather than dozens of different ones. I probably use about the same amount of ingredients now in all of the products I use as what used to be in just one of my old drugstore products. When it comes to health and beauty products, I now follow the old-fashioned “less is more” principle because the simpler and more natural a product is, the better it is, at least in my opinion!

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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.

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Wednesday 28th of August 2013

[...] recently talked about how I cleaned out the “shelf of doom“ in the bathroom by simplifying the products I use and switching over to natural products. [...]


Tuesday 31st of July 2012

Are you going to do a post on how you use the Manuka Honey and Jojoba oil or do we have to Google that ourselves? :) Thanks for linking up again Lori! I hope that you and your garden are doing well this summer!

Lori Elliott

Wednesday 1st of August 2012

Good idea - I'll make that my next post :) And thanks! I hope you're doing well this summer too!

also from San Francisco

Saturday 28th of July 2012

Yes not only the chemicals but the cheap and rancid seed oils used as well (even in the natural brands). I'm down to Dr Bronners liquid soap, coconut oil, homemade salt scrub, crystal deodorant, vinegar hair rinse, and a mix of salt and baking soda for tooth brushing. I do use one store bought product: a face cream, with olive oil, coconut oil and honey. Actually I've been using less and less of the soap, water works fine most days.

Lori Elliott

Wednesday 1st of August 2012

Oh yes, the rancid seed oils are just as bad!

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