There is nothing worse than looking at a favorite product and realizing it has sulfates or parabens or petrochemicals. Ever since I have become more conscious of the ingredient list on my beauty products I’ve been able to educate myself on what is worth using and what to toss or retire.
Petrochemicals can come in many forms: mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin, petroleum, propylene, ethylene, butadiene, benzene or xylene. These are found in most candles, many beauty products such as Neosporin type gels and of course, Vaseline. The scary thing about petrochemicals is that they cannot be metabolized by your body, which means once they go in, they don’t come out. Ever. They just accumulate in your body, and on top of that they aren’t nourishing, are possible carcinogens, hormone-disruptors and they don’t let your skin breathe. There are so many alternatives out there, so pay attention to the labels and try to swap out any products with petrochemicals for ones that don’t mess with that ish.
Look for any word ending in -paraben on a label and you will find a product that uses this hormone-disruptor as a preservative. It is usually found at the end of the ingredient list, which means the ratio is small, but still not worth risking. To my dismay one of my favorite angry, winter-skin products the Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream for Dry Skin had parabens. I haven’t decided if I won’t replace the tube once it’s gone, you have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it to hold on to the products you love.
Sulfates are used as a foaming agent is many shampoos, face washes and hand soap. It strips the moisture out of your skin and scalp and can also make your hair color fade faster. It is very easy to find products that don’t have sulfates, it’ll usually be the second ingredient but most shampoos will advertise sulfate-free right on the bottle! Sulfate-free shampoos won’t be as foamy and it may feel like your hair isn’t getting squeaky clean, but this is better in the long run. I like to use a buildup removing shampoo every other wash since blonde hair likes to cling to the minerals in the water. Fairy Tales Lifeguard Clarifying Shampoo doesn’t have any nasty ingredients and smells like Juicy Fruit gum. You use the clarifying shampoo first then your regular shampoo and you’ll notice even if it’s sulfate-free the shampoo you follow up with will be very foamy. That’s because you’ve removed the product and mineral buildup and it can do its clean thing.
Aluminum is an ingredient found in most deodorants to serve as an antiperspirant. It does so by blocking your sweat glands from perspiring, which already sounds pretty bad since your body needs to be able to release some steam that way. It has also been linked to breast cancer and disrupts the lymphatic system, which is unfortunate given the proximity of the breasts to the armpit. I love these deodorants by Native, the scents are great and they are all-natural, effective and aluminum-free. While I have tried to make my own deodorant with coconut oil, arrowroot powder and essential oils, this stick is way more convenient.
Chemical sunscreens are very effective and convenient, but oxybenzone can contribute to cellular damage and hormone disruption. Mineral sunscreens are a great alternative but they require some more babysitting and reapplication. Chemical sunscreens work by being absorbed by your body while mineral sunscreens using, for example, zinc oxide, sit on your skin and block the rays that way. My fav mineral sunscreen is Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 with Sunboost ATB. It is so moisturizing and does not feel or smell like a sunscreen at all.
Another hormonal nightmare, triclosan is often found in anti-bacterial washes, toothpaste and mouthwash. It also has been linked to having a negative environmental impact when it gets into the water supply on UV contact as well. My favorite triclosan-free toothpaste is Tom’s of Maine Luminous White, it has fluoride which my cavity-prone teeth need and whitens wonderfully.
While we’re on the topic of teeth, do yourself a favor and get a new-gen Philips Sonicare toothbrush (with the clip on heads, not the screw tops) and get the DiamondClean heads. My teeth have never been whiter and they feel like I just left a dental cleaning.
Dedicating yourself to paying attention to and adhering to avoiding chemicals in your beauty products is hard work. Looking at a beloved product hoping that it has been serving you well all this time only to find that it is filled with parabens or petrochemicals will absolutely break your heart. It can feel like losing a best friend, a confidant, someone you have relied on for so long and now you have to find a replacement. Which means you get to go shopping!
What ingredients do you look out for? Are there any I’m missing? Let me know!