31.05.17

5 tips for reducing the toxic beauty products in your cupboard

You might not think you use a lot of skincare products each day, but even the basics add up.

Think about it… On any given day, many of us will use some combination of cleanser, toner, moisturiser, sunscreen, primer, foundation, powder, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, lippy (and all that’s just our face!), body wash, moisturiser, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner.

A lot of the above items aren’t wash-off ones either, and even with a great cleanser to wash them off, they’ve already been sinking into your skin all day.

Sure, you need a moisturiser, and you really need sunscreen, but even though some of these things are beneficial for you, there are loads of chemicals in them – to make them feel better, smell better and last longer.

Putting good food in your body is better for you; the same goes for what you put on your skin – skin is your biggest organ!

So, how can you ensure you’re putting good stuff on when there’s so much bad stuff out there?

1. Downsize you beauty cupboard

Assess the products you currently use and work out what you really need and works for your skin. Even if you still use non-natural and organic beauty products, you’re at least minimising the amount of products your putting on your skin each day. It will save you a tonne of money as well!

2. Use organic products

‘Organic’ refers to ingredients that have been grown without synthetic fertilisers or pesticides. This is a lengthy topic so we’ll address it in another article but in short, they’re better for you and better for the planet.

3. Scrutinise the wording on labels

Labelling terms aren’t regulated. Some ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ products only contain a small portion of natural or organic ingredients. Look for wording such as ‘100% organic’, ‘made with organic ingredients’ – there is a difference. Also pay attention to the bodies that have certified a product as being natural or organic. Some common ones in Australia include COSMOS, Australian Certified Organic and NSF.

4. Go fragrance-free

Unfortunately, dozens of toxic chemicals in fragrances aren’t required to be labelled so in some products, you really don’t know what you’re putting on your skin. Fragrances can also be really irritating, especially for sensitive skin and for the people close to you, so be mindful and choose products with little or no added fragrance.

5. Choose non-toxic packaging

Glass is best because it’s recyclable and doesn’t leach toxins into the product. Unfortunately, glass packaging is not common in the beauty world, even the natural one. So if you are buying plastic these are things to be aware of.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, recycling code 1) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE, #2) are considered safe, and polypropylene (#5) is a food-safe plastic so it’s a good alternative but is less easily recycled. Polycarbonate (#7) may leach BPA, which is an endocrine disruptor (it’s bad news for your hormones!). And avoid containers that have recycling code #3 and the letter V (for PVC, polyvinyl chloride) – manufacturing PVC releases a plethora of bad chemicals into the environment.

There are so many great natural beauty products out there that have been specifically made to be as friendly to your skin as possible.

Image source: The Chriselle Factor

Kira Simpson

Founder + Director of The Green Hub, an urban green living advocate and coffee obsessive. She believes there is no one size fits all green lifestyle and we can all live more sustainably in a way that fits in with each of our unique lifestyles.