By: Erin Cordero
CLEAN BEAUTY: READ LABELS & QUESTION EVERYTHING
I think most of the beauty industry is smoke and mirrors. They have these giant marketing departments that are driven to make us buy everything they sell. For the longest time, I was their target market for fun, shiny, new packaging and trendy claims. Until one day, I woke up. I decided to find out what each ingredient was and how it could affect my health.
Over the past 10+ years, I’ve experienced so much sensitivity to most of the products on the market. I’ve avidly gone through at least 100 different types of deodorant, skincare, body washes, perfumes, and hair care products. I started to realize I was having a visceral reaction to smelling synthetic fragrances. Perfumes I once loved gave me a migraine. My skin felt like it was on fire when I used chemically riddled body washes. I grew up in the Bath & Body Works era, so my entire childhood smelled like sun-ripened raspberry and freesia. Synthetic fragrances were all I knew up until I started reacting to them in a negative way. What was once a nostalgic way to remember my favorite childhood memories is now a source of headaches and nausea.
The chemicals that make up most of the beauty industry are more than just headaches and nausea; they’re actually disrupting our endocrine system. We wonder why so many people are experiencing hormonal imbalances and trouble regulating their reproductive systems. The market is full of synthetic fragrances in almost every product, even some we eat and drink. Take a stroll down the beauty aisle one day and start reading labels. The wild thing about some products out there is they’re protected by law and don’t have to label the actual ingredients because they’re “trade secrets”. It feels pretty deceiving that they have the liberty to poison us without notifying us first. Studies have shown a number of the chemicals in these products cause acute toxicity, eye irritation, and dermal irritation just to name a few.
It’s mind-blowing how deep the rabbit hole goes once you start looking. Not only are the chemicals harming us by what they add to the products, but let’s shine a light on the containers they put them in! Maybe you’ve heard the term “microplastics” in recent history, but if you haven’t, you should look into it. If your product is wrapped, bottled or packaged in plastic, it more than likely has micro plastics in it; which we then absorb or inhale into our bodies. We were not meant to live in a world of plastic and most definitely aren’t supposed to have it in our bodies. The implications of plastic in our bodies has yet to be fully understood, but I suspect we’ll be discovering the long-term internal effects of microplastics in the years to come. Try your best to source products in glass containers or put your products in glass containers the second you get home!
The best way I know how to mitigate exposure to toxic chemicals is to use my resources! I’m specifically fond of the app, Think Dirty. It’s so simple to use and gives you the ability to scan barcodes in a flash. Once you scan the barcode, a screen pops up and gives you a reading of the product, what the ingredients are, and if they’re harmful to your health. I love when the reading comes back clean and I know I’m getting a product that is good for my body. If it gives me a dirty reading, I just put it back on the shelf and move on. Another really amazing resource is EWG.org/skindeep/ or their app EWG’s Healthy Living. You can also scan barcodes on this app and functions very similarly. Honestly, I don’t ever buy a product without consulting these apps first! The marketing on the front of products these days is there to deceive us. It’s trendy to be healthy now and these large corporations know how to trick the eye, so it’s our responsibility to be informed consumers and stop them in their tracks!
I’m excited to do my part in informing the masses about this multi-billion dollar-a-year industry and how it’s negatively influencing our health. I’ll be giving an in-depth class about this topic on April 9th online or in person at The Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism. We’ll also be making a clean and simple product for you to take home!