So recently I’ve been reading a lot about how toxic the cosmetic products we use everyday are. Some of the worst ingredients are sulfates, parabens and sodium benzoate. Not only are many of these in over 90% of our cosmetics, but some have known carcinogenic effects, while others have been shown to disrupt our nervous system, cause skin and eye irritation or act as hormone disruptors. To make matters worse, the processing of many of these chemicals is damaging to our environment. Derivatives of these chemicals may not degrade easily after being washed down the shower drain. The David Suzuki foundation has made a list of what they call the Dirty Dozen cosmetic chemicals to avoid, both for health and environmental reasons. These include: Sodium laureth sulfate, which depending on it’s processing may contain carconigenic elements and developmental toxins. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing just by reading the ingredients how this chemical has been processed. Another big one on the list is Parfum/Fragrance. The David Suzuki Foundation says this ingredient is usually a combination of thousands of chemicals and the health effects of combining these chemicals has not been properly tested. The article states:
“Many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms. A survey of asthmatics found that perfume and/or colognes triggered attacks in nearly three out of four individuals. There is also evidence suggesting that exposure to perfume can exacerbate asthma, and perhaps even contribute to its development in children.”
That’s pretty scary stuff, considering how much fragrance is in everything we use from body wash to facial cleansers to dish soap, laundry detergent and dryer sheets. There are several other scary things on this list, that you will probably find picking up any cosmetic or cleaner in your house. Recently, I’ve switched to all chemical free detergents, soaps and cleaners. Instead of dryer sheets, I use dryer balls. These are super cheap and work really well, and are completely chemical free. Dryer sheets, on the other hand are full of chemicals and fragrances, which many people have reactions to. Ever slept at someone’s house and the overpowering floral smell of their sheets makes your eyes water? Dryer sheets are also expensive and wasteful.
Anyway, dryer sheets are something that can easily be eliminated and you probably won’t miss that much. But my biggest problem is personal cosmetics. Especially make-up. I’ve replaced my facewash and moisturisers with natural alternatives (truly natural, they don’t just say natural on the label – they contain no chemical ingredients and are made of essential oils). There are tons of natural beauty products and companies popping up, as the chemical free trend gets more widespread, furthermore, everyone has different skin and what’s good for one person may not be good for you, so it’s really hard to recommend one product or company. I had to do a lot of trial and error before finding the right company and products for my skin. I’m still struggling with finding a natural shampoo and hair products that I’m happy with. The last one I was using, Yarok, but it was recently confiscated by Health Canada from the local shop in my area that sells it. I have no idea why, but until I find out, I’m not buying it. So really you have to do your own research and trials. Just make sure the company shares your values, and that their products are made with these values in mind. Watch out for marketing tricks that make claims about all natural and continue to read the labels of the cosmetics you buy.
So, my biggest struggle is makeup. I’ve been a makeup wearer, literally my whole adult life. I like wearing makeup and I don’t like the way my face looks without it. If I don’t wear makeup, people ask me if I got sunburned. My face is basically a big red tomato. So, when I’m at home, I don’t wear makeup, if I’m just going out shopping or picking my daughter up at school, I don’t wear makeup. But soon, I’m going to be starting an office job and I’m wondering if I can deal with wearing makeup 5 days a week. The makeup I’ve used for years and years is MAC. The first ingredient in my MAC tinted moistorizer is Octinoxate. This is a sunscreen, and when I look it up there is some evidence that it is a known hormone disruptor. Suffering from endometriosis, I am highly sensitive to hormone disruption, and should avoid anything that may produce excess estrogen in my body. Following that, there are several other ingredients that have been linked to negative effects on the body. So, my question is…what do I do when I go back to work? I haven’t had any luck finding natural products for foundations and powders, at least ones that have been as effective in covering up or reducing oil on my face.
When I think about this problem deeply, it’s really, just like so many other things, a result of cultural programming that I feel self-conscious if I don’t wear makeup. It’s also a matter of ego. So if I could get over those things, and stop worrying about what other people will think/say if I go to the office everyday without wearing makeup….basically if I could get over myself, then I wouldn’t have this dilemma. I could just choose not to wear makeup. But, I really don’t think I can do that….
Do you wear makeup everyday? Have you found good natural makeup products?
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