Green Your Routine: 6 Simple Steps Towards a Cleaner Lifestyle
When I first began researching natural skin and hair care, I remember feeling so overwhelmed with all of the information out there. I would find a "green" or "natural" brand that was free of certain harmful chemicals, and later learn about some other toxic ingredient that it contained. After a little more extensive research, I realized that I needed to stop reading labels, and start analyzing ingredients. You should be able to pronounce every ingredient in the products you use... If you can't pronounce it, it's most likely not good for you.
If you take the time to read the next few paragraphs, and incorporate these things into your lifestyle, I can guarantee you will be able to transform your skin, hair, and the way you feel from the inside, out. Many of the chemicals in cosmetic and personal care products have some pretty toxic effects on our bodies... Understanding these ingredients, and how to avoid them is absolutely key to a embracing a more natural and non-toxic lifestyle.
Green Your Routine: The Ugly Truth...
The FDA not only allows companies to disseminate products that contain harmful ingredients, but they also allow these companies to "greenwash" their products... which means a company can call their products natural, if there are a few naturally-derived ingredients in the formula. When I explain this to people, they look at me like I'm crazy... which is fine because I understand their initial logic... "How can a company put products on the shelves if they contain toxic or harmful chemicals?" ...It's simple, these companies are using such small amounts of each chemical, that the FDA doesn't consider them to be at a harmful toxicity level... but what they do not take into consideration when analyzing the toxic effect of an ingredient, is that we are not just using that one singular on occasion. We all use multiple personal care and/or cosmetic products on a daily basis. So the more products you use, the more you increase your exposure to these toxic chemicals. Everything from your toothpaste, to your deodorant, shampoo, lotions, makeup and etc. all have toxic chemicals... many of these ingredients are considered carcinogens (meaning they can cause cancers) while other ingredients are respiratory, immune, neurological and reproductive toxins, just to name a few.
Formaldehyde (the stuff they use to embalm dead bodies) is a common ingredient in soaps, laundry detergents, lotions, shampoos, toothpastes and even BABY WIPES. Companies will use different names for chemicals so that it's not so apparent that you're washing your hair with Formaldehyde... Formalin, Methanal, Oxymethyline, Urea, 1,3-Dioxetane, Quaternium 15, Methylaldehyde, Methylene Oxide, Formic Aldehyde, Oxomethane Formalin, Phenol Formaldehyde are all different names used for Formaldehyde on ingredient labels.
Green Your Routine: Making the Change...
(1) Do your research... Understand what certain ingredients and chemicals are, what kind of products they are used in, and why... Then pay attention to ingredient labels. Click here for my favorite list of "Ingredients to Avoid" on IndieLee.com...
(2) Find brands that you love and trust. You want your products to be all-natural, not just partially natural. My favorite skin and hair care brands are Indie Lee, Dr. Bronner's, and Aura Cacia. There are a lot of companies who "greenwash" their products, by advertising natural ingredients in their products, but still use still synthetic chemicals. I know brands such as Indie Lee, Dr. Bronner's, and Aura Cacia are dedicated to non-greenwashed, 100% natural, safe and absolutely amazing products!
(3) Start by replacing the items you use the most... shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, toothpaste, face wash, astringent, etc...
(4) Explore at home, all natural remedies and DIY recepies. Things like honey, lemon juice, witch hazel, cinnamon, various teas, apple, egg whites, raw potatoes, oatmeal, avocado, banana, and many more, work very well to balance many different skin types.
(5) Research and follow green beauty bloggers for recipes and tips on which items are best for your specific skin type! Some of my favorite sources to find information on natural and green living is the Environmental Working Group (EWG), and also Charmaine Leah, blogger and owner of Glamology.com, MintandBerry.com, and PeppermintSpa.com!
(6) Be mindful of all of the products you expose yourself to. Whether it's laundry detergent, air freshener, hand sanitizers, cleaning products and etc. There are natural alternatives to everything, you just have to take action and commit to a non-toxic, green lifestyle. Some other great green companies and sites to look into are... ECOS, Seventh Generation and Aura Cacia also makes products for your home!
If you want to know more information about toxic ingredients, here is an amazing 7 minute video called, "The Story of Cosmetics," with Annie Leonard.