Toxic Beauty and Going Green

Looking for a happier, healthier more soulful way (satisfying way) to be beautiful? 

Then give yourself a makeover and and become a Conscious Consumer. Ditch your toxic beauty products, and care about your health, how your products are made and who and what is being sacrificed for you to look good.  

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? 

Back in the 90’s when I was setting up my Image salon I knew I didn’t want to work with chemicals any longer and wanted to introduce a product that had more heart, was safer and had more natural ingredients.

I went with Aveda. 

Aveda at the time was the first professional range that gave results for hairdressers that we could truely endorse as being better for you than what was on the market at the time.

Since then the level of awareness has grown and there has been a massive growth in the natural product arena and better, more results driven products have come along and given us more choice. 

It then comes down to you as the consumer to make your buying decision based on your values and life choices. “Green Beauty” “EcoBeauty”  or “Natural Beauty”. Is it Vegan, not tested on animals, cruelty free, Organic, Natural, toxic or Palm oil free. So what does it all mean and where do you start.

Lets get clear of the definition first, 

“Vegan” - a person who does not eat or use animal products.

“Natural” - existing in or derived from nature, land or sea; not made or caused by humankind.

“Organic” - produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals.

“Not tested on Animals” - Is not using animal testing in the development of cosmetics which may involve testing either a finished product or the individual ingredients of a finished product on animals, often rabbits, but also mice, rats, and other animals

“Cruelty Free” - commercial products, manufactured or developed by methods which do not involve cruelty to animals.

Palm Oil Free - many people are deciding not to buy products that contain Palm Oil in its ingredients. The single greatest threat facing Orangutans today is habitat loss. The expanding palm oil industry has been a key driver of this deforestation. Palm oil occurs widely in personal care, cosmetic and household products including soap, toothpaste, shampoo, cosmetics, laundry powders and detergents. Leonardo DiCaprio is a great supporter of this campaign.

Toxic Free/Non Toxic - not producing or resulting from poison. There has been a big surge in awareness around product ingredients and women are now looking for products that give results and do not contain known carcinogens, poisons or simply products you would clean your oven with. (why they thought that was a good idea in the first place astounds me) 

“Fair Trade” - ethical produced, fair pay for a persons service and crops.

“Eco” - not harming the environment; eco-friendly.

“Green” - is a term used by the beauty industry to explain that the contents of the bottle is organic or natural and was manufactured using sustainable and renewable resources. 

But what does it really mean when it comes to the Beauty Industry? 

Be careful of “Green washing”

As a consumer, sorting fact from fiction and truth from lies can be challenging.

Because of this growing “Eco, Green” trend it has opened up the flood gates to plenty of misleading, marketing jargon.

Watch out for some brands saying  "we do not test on animals", and are now selling to China. All non-Chinese brands selling their cosmetics in China are still subject to mandatory animal testing before their products can hit the market there, with skin care products representing the fastest growing sector in the cosmetics market, followed by shampoo and makeup. I'm sorry to say but the like of Aveda and Jurlique have now changed their ethics for market share. Very disappointing.  

And as all good marketers know, people tend to buy through fear, lack, or the promise of something. So marketers spend billions of dollars a year convincing us that the beautiful, natural looking package with a hint of the word “natural or organic” on it, with “who-knows-what” in it and endorsed by a big name celebrity will change your life, transform your skin, or make you look younger.

We were soon to learn that product companies knowingly mislead their customers to believe they were more natural than they really were. A great example of this was Herbal Essence with their “Totally Organic Experience” implying a wonderful Organic experience and much to our dismay was full of sodium laurel sulfates, cocamide MEA, synthetic fragrances and coal derived dyes. 

So people are more aware now, which then leaves us confused and wondering who to trust. 

So now it is a matter of choice, you can knowingly buy skincare and makeup full of chemicals or not. And its the NOT I want to talk about today.

As we know the ingredients of all products have to by law be on the packaging of the product, but its here where it becomes difficult - (for one thing carrying glasses or a magnifying glass is advisable as the fine print is so small its impossible to read)

Wading through the scientific names of the ingredients can sometimes be very over whelming so arm yourself with the right knowledge and make informed decisions before buying. You have to play detective and read between the lines. Especially when it come to Palm Oil as it is not mandatory yet to say which oil they are using and can be listed as Vegetable Oil.

 
 

SAFTEY FIRST. 

Deciding to go green comes from a space of self awareness. 

It has become very apparent over the years that big conglomerate companies first concern is about money and their share holders, not your personal safety. This was never truer than when you look at the “David verses Goliath” stories involving the Tobacco industry and their denial for years when they knew dam well it was causing cancer. Or the “Concussion” story in 2002 with the NFL knowing their professional football players where suffering and dying from a brain degeneration caused by concussion and their efforts to suppress the research all because of fear of losing money and changing the game. 

Do not be fooled, these companies are not looking after your best interests. They are looking after their share holders. And getting yourself educated is your only safe guard. 

We don't know the future but we can take our safety into our own hands and get Empowered and Educated. 

A natural deodorant company called Bunsen did some research and found a woman's general daily beauty routine consisted of up to 515 different synthetic chemicals that were washed, rubbed or powered on her body every single day. 

Your skin is your body's largest and fastest-growing organ and these products don’t always remain on the skin’s surface. Scientists have found ingredients such as phthalates and fragrance components in human tissues.  

What’s alarming is the deficiencies in the current regulatory structure, unlike pharmaceuticals, most environmental chemicals have entered the marketplace without comprehensive and standardized information regarding their reproductive or other long-term toxic effect.” 

Among the major companies that persist in using potentially unsafe ingredients despite mounting evidence of their dangers are L’Oreal and Revlon. 

There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today and these companies will say they have tested their safety - but have they tested their safety with the cocktail of other chemicals being used daily? - no of course not and how can they monitor such a thing as many of the chemicals do not even have safety data. 

The study showed that these toxins, even in a mild form build up over time, and can gradually break down the immune system and result in the disease and health problems. 

Cosmetics companies know women will go to amazing lengths for “beauty,” but what consumers may not be informed about is the risk, birth defects, cancer and disfigurement all in the name of beauty and its been going on for a very long time. 

In 1933, Doctors watched in horror as a woman who was hospitalised with excruciating eye pain, saw her eyes eaten away as though by acid.  The culprit turned out to be an eyelash-darkening treatment called Lash Lure, which contained paraphenylenediamine, a toxic coal tar dye.

In 1970, Stabile’s exposé, entitled Cosmetics: Trick or Treat, revealed how little had changed since 1938.  She found that the market was flooded with eyeliner containing coal tar dye, banned in eye area cosmetics because of the Lash Lure scandal and linked to severe skin reactions and cancer.  

She talked about a neutralizing agent in home perm kits sent several women to the hospital with chemical burns to their eyes.  

And a combination of synthetic resin and formaldehyde in nail polish base coats caused several hundred women pain in their fingernails, and often the nails fell out.

August 22, 2011, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) issued a warning letter to GIB, LLC, the company that makes Brazilian Blowout. The letter asserted that the product was adulterated, i.e., too dangerous to sell in interstate commerce, and misbranded, due to its false claims that the product was formaldehyde-free. And with a few very minor adjustments is still on the market even though it caused multiple injuries including dizziness, vomiting and hair loss. So the FDA hasn’t really done anything about it. 

Executives in the personal care products industry often boast that they police themselves. Obviously, they don’t. The long-running Brazilian Blowout saga presents a frightening example of how profits trump public safety. Injuries are piling up. Many stylists have quit their jobs because exposure to formaldehyde has made them too sick to work.  - ewg.org

And today, the FDA and European Union rules permit a small amount of mercury to be used as a preservative in mascara and other eye area cosmetics. 

The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients and the US has only banned 11 to date. - So watch your products coming out of the States. 

I know women buy products with chemicals in them because they believe that natural products won’t give them the same results products wth chemicals will. But maybe this was the case 10 years ago, since then better technology and research and increasing pressure by consumers has changed all that. 

Product companies are now jumping on the “Green band wagon” and spending more money on research and development.

 

SO WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR? 

We as Conscientious Consumers are left to make some very complex choices about the Product companies we support and their commitment to alternative research.

We are looking for 100% transparency from companies who believe in a safe, healthy and toxic free products for their customers. Companies that care for the environment and how the ingredients are sourced. They care about how it was obtained and the people who made it. They care about you the end consumer and the effect their product will have on you daily. 

HOW TO DO IT!

Slowly. 

Finish what you have first. 

Changing from using any strong chemical beauty product on your body will take a little while for the body to detox the toxins - no different from stopping coffee, alcohol or drugs or a having a food detox.

The body does become used to having all these toxins and will start to remove them from your body. 

I remember when I started using Frankincense and Myrrh under my moisturiser and started having this really uncomfortable pulling sensation in my teeth and the top of my head - it was explained to me that the heavy metals were being pulled out of my system and unless there was any real discomfort to keep using it. 

So unless you are really allergic to something - keep going.

While the body is always naturally detoxing, we are also exposed to other contaminates found in commercially farmed food, processed foods and pharmaceutical medications. Over time, this overload slows down the body’s ability to process and remove toxins and they build up – especially in fat stores. Our liver is our body’s main detoxifying organ and has a complicated process to move the toxins and chemicals out of your body, so drink plenty of water to help the body flush the toxins out and watch you diet - careful on your sugar intake at this time.

First your skin will probably go blotchy, and you may experience pimples or spots, this is your body releasing a lot of the toxins at once and “purging” to cleanse your system. This could go on for a couple of weeks. A detox breakout looks like a normal break out, except just more of them. 

If the breakouts are “different” than usual, then that’s a good sign it’s going to pass.

Swap your moisturiser first - its the one that sits on your skin the longest, then your foundation and your sunscreen. 

Read the ingredient label on your desired product before buying, biggest offenders being, Artificial fragrances, Parabens, Sulfates, Petrochemicals, Formaldehydes and Phthalates and watch out for “Green Washing”

Make sure the Brand’s philosophy gels with yours and you trust them.

WHY ARE WE DOING IT? 

There is definitely a sense of self worth and satisfaction about looking after yourself and doing what is right for your body.  Add to the mix a feeling of happiness by buying products that are either looking after the environment, cruelty free and giving other people in third world countries a good, safe job, is definitely a very powerful combination.

I’ll end with a quote from a book “An Ecology of Happiness” by Eric Lambin

“A relationship with nature is a source of realization of the self, it gives meaning to life and procures happiness. The yearning to interact with the natural environmental is inscribed in human nature. To preserve the natural world and its diversity is thus in the profound interest of individuals and of humanity. A positive perception of natures and its benefits promotes the adoption of behaviours that are in accord with sustainable development. Indeed, respect for the environment is based on an affective connection with nature, and thus contributes to human happiness”

Ref: ewg.org and Green beauty guide - Julie Gabriel

 

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