Happy Friday, everyone! I know it’s dreary and wet outside, but it’s the perfect day for snuggling up with a hot cup of tea and a book, or a great TV show. I firmly believe there are always perks to every kind of weather!
As I sit here sipping my power smoothie that I mentioned in my last post, I want to share my latest focus of achieving a healthy lifestyle with you all: non-toxic beauty and skincare. Until recently, my attention always landed on fitness and nutrition—I didn’t really think much about the skincare products I was using. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t use Bath & Body Works lotions as moisturizer or anything crazy, but since I established a skincare routine more than five years ago that seemed to work well for me, I considered the case closed. Until, that is, I started playing around on the EWG app (Environmental Working Group).
I’d never heard of the EWG until binge-watching my favorite dietitian, Becca Bristow’s, YouTube videos, where she discusses her journey to a non-toxic lifestyle and a clean beauty regimen. I find all wellness information fascinating, but I really sat up and paid attention when Bristow began talking about the overwhelming use of phthalates in many commercial beauty and skincare products.
Now, I’ve known for a long time that phthalates should be avoided, especially when it comes to the hair care products I select. What I didn’t fully understand is just how bad they are, and how they often hide in our favorite artificial fragrances (yeah—Bath & Body Works candles, anyone?) Basically, any time you spray perfume, body spray, light a generic scented candle, or use a pleasant-smelling hand cream, you’re dousing yourself in endocrine disruptors (aka phthalates).
“Whoa—phthalates are endocrine disruptors? What does that mean?”
Simply and scarily, it means that we’re compromising our reproductive health.
You might be wondering how endocrine disruptions occur in the first place, and why phthalates cause such a colossal disturbance to the way our bodies naturally function. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences defined endocrine disruptors as the following: “…natural or human-made chemicals that may mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones, known as the endocrine system.” As women, that means that our monthly cycles might be constantly thrown off due to the amount of phthalates that permeate our lifestyle. As men, it means that sperm count may be much lower than it could or should be, which will lead to trouble conceiving.
I’m not a dietitian, but I am a well-informed and certified nutritionist, and everything I’ve heard and read about phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting substances makes them chemicals I stay away from. When it comes to food, that means eating organic as often as possible (phthalates are present in pesticides), looking for non-plastic packaging (phthalates are heavily-present in plastic, and often leach into food), and being selective about my meat (grass-fed livestock and fish caught in the wild are safest from phthalate exposure, as feed stored in plastic containers may be exposed to phthalates).
Quick tip: an easy way to drastically slash your phthalate consumption is by limiting the frequency you order takeout, since studies show that people who eat out often have phthalate levels 35% higher than those who prepare meals at home.
So, all of this is great and helpful for phthalate consumption, but what about phthalate ingestion and absorption? What about the products we use on our skin and hair? Phthalates have so heavily infiltrated the world of beauty that it’s overwhelming to imagine avoiding them completely. I get it—I’m right there with ya! That’s why, as I use up my current products one at a time, I’ve been switching them out with clean alternatives using the EWG app.
Here are all of the non-toxic products I’ve begun using in replacement of the chemical-infused items I was using before:
1) A DIY Cleanser (Castile Soap + Essential Oils)
I give FULL credit to the amazing Becca Bristow for introducing this DIY cleanser that has replaced my CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. Though I’ve only been using it for a short time, it’s already become a step in my skincare regimen that I greatly look forward to every day! The formula is super simple and even fun to make:
>1/2 cup fragrance-free Castile soap;
>A few squirts of Organic Rosehip Oil (I subbed out Jojoba Oil for Rosehip);
>5 drops of organic Frankincense
>Fill the rest of the dispenser with warm water.
Be sure to shake your soap dispenser well to thoroughly intersperse ingredients. Just one pump will produce a foamy, fresh-smelling cleanser that feels luxurious and smooth on skin! Best of all, with a 16 oz. bottle of Castile soap and a 4 oz. jar of essential oil, you can basically keep making more cleanser forever (I exaggerate, but you get the picture). 😉
Since the organic essential oils can be on the pricey side, I skipped Bristow’s recommendation to add lavender oil to the formula, as I felt that Rosehip and Frankincense were adequate to nourish my combination skin and dry patches. Feel free to throw other/additional organic oils into the mix, if you’d like.
2) Solara Suncare Clean Freak Nutrient Boosted Daily Sunscreen, Unscented
This gem of a product received a perfect score on the EWG app, so I swapped out my Eucerin Daily Protection SPF Moisturizer for this alternative, and couldn’t love it more! Containing SPF 30 for optimal sun protection, Clean Freak Sunscreen is also a great daytime moisturizer for my skin type, which means I can continue combining my moisturizer with my SPF. Super convenient!
3) MAKE P:REM Safe Me Relief Moisture Cream
Guys. I’m OBSESSED with this nighttime moisturizer. It goes on smooth as yogurt (it feels so luxurious!) and only contains 12 ingredients, all of which are basic and naturally-occurring. This miracle product also received a perfect score on the EWG app, and is safe for sensitive skin types.
4. Be Green Bath & Body Jojoba & Olive Hair Oil
Before I’m scolded for the “Bath & Body” delineation of this product, let me clarify that it’s not the same brand as Bath & Body Works. In fact, the only fragrance that this product uses comes from its few ingredients: Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Lavender Oil, Frankincense Oil, and Lemon Peel Oil. Compare with my former Argan Oil, which was anything but pure Argan Oil and was loaded with artificial ingredients, and this product gives the ends of my hair everything it needs and more. One warning: a little of this product goes a loonnngg way. With so many types of oil, it will weigh down light or thin hair. Use sparingly.
5. Hynt Beauty Duet Perfecting Concealer
Last on the list is the one and only cosmetic product I’m featuring here, since I haven’t yet ordered any other replacements for my current ones. Let me go ahead and say that this concealer is the BOMB. OMG. Fortunately, I don’t suffer from dark circles or eye bags, but nevertheless, I love the way this concealer brightens up my whole undereye area. After applying, I suddenly look alive! Best of all, it’s ranked a 2 on the EWG app, which is a great score (though not totally clean, as the above products are).
There you have it! Those are all the new non-toxic products I’ve recently incorporated into my skincare regimen, and I’m absolutely loving them so far. Comment below with some of your favorite clean beauty products—as always, I’d love to hear from you!