5 Simple Steps to Avoid Toxic Ingredients

...to really make your beauty products beautiful! 

My previous blog post 'Love Your Skin. Love Our Planet' demonstrates the devastating effects the non-natural or organic beauty and personal care products can have, not only on our skin but on our environment. In this blog post, I will highlight 5 easy steps you can follow to reduce your toxic intake by highlighting a few of the most frequently used harmful ingredients in non-natural health & beauty products, including those brands claiming to be natural (check out my blog post 'Don’t get Pricked by Natural Products') and how to avoid them landing in your makeup bag or on your bathroom shelves!

 

#.1 Avoid Buying any Cosmetics Containing:

Parabens & Petrochemicals

On the label:  

Avoid any products containing these words: butyl- , propyl- , methyl-, ethyl-, -eth  

Anything that ends in paraben on the label. e.g. Ethylparaben, methylparaben

Phenoxyethanol, Non-natural Propylene Glycol (PG/Propanediol), Paraffin, Benzene, Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Alcohol, anything with PEG, MEA or DEA, Laureth

Which products:

Used in a wide range of body care products (90% of non-organic cosmetic products in fact!) including toothpaste, hair spray, shampoo, foundation, lip balms, lotions, body wash, creams, moisturisers, lotions, deodorant, sunscreen, mascara, shaving cream, hand sanitiser, wax and baby care products.

Harmful because:

Parabens are made up of a mix of petrochemicals (chemicals obtained from petroleum) they mimic the hormone estrogen which disrupts hormone levels & have been linked with breast cancer. Major irritant to skin (e.g.dermatitis/eczema), eyes or lungs. Exposure may include headaches, tremors, eye irritation and depression. Toxic to the kidneys, nervous system and liver. Other concerns include organ system toxicity on reproductive organs.⠀⠀

Why-oh-why?

Prolong shelf-life of products by preventing the growth of bacteria and mould. Nasty concoctions of chemicals are cheaper alternatives to natural preservatives.

Artificial Fragrances

On the label:

Parfum

Which products:

A range of products including perfume, moisturisers, deodorants, aftershave, cologne, conditioner, shampoo and body wash--just to name a few.⠀

Harmful because:

Fragrance mixes can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world. Fragrance/parfum synthetic chemicals are also associated with allergies, dermatitis, headaches, dizziness, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive organs.⠀

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Which products:

Shampoo, shampoo bars, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash/cleanser, liquid hand soaps, bubble bath, mascara and acne treatment.⠀

Harmful because:

SLS is a known skin, lung, and eye irritant. It can also lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage. Highly toxic to fish & animals. Pollutes water & soil. Highly polluting manufacturing process. ⠀

Why-oh-why?

Commonly used as a foaming agent. Used in a wide range of personal care products and used by many mainstream brands.

 

#2. Use an Awesome App to Scan for Toxic Ingredients

So, seeing as those nasties listed above are just a mere few of the harmful ingredients that we really need to avoid exposing to our skin, home and family, it can be pretty time consuming reading the back of labels-especially when you’re in a rush.

Here is where the use of some really great barcode-scanner apps really come in handy. They allow conscious consumers to make a simple scan of any product’s barcode enabling us to get the information we need across a wide range of products- food, cosmetics, household etc. Check-out these blossoming apps:

CodeCheck

This swiss barcode-scanner app CodeCheck is produced by a company on a mission to help users shop healthily, consciously and sustainably around the world. CodeCheck has the biggest online product guide within German-speaking areas, the app is now available in English and CodeCheck intend to enter the UK and US market in the near future. So, unfortunately, if you’re outside of the German markets this app will not be available in your app store- yet!

GoodGuide

The GoodGuide app is simple to use with an easy user-friendly layout and very helpful when it comes to choosing safe and healthy consumer products. They highlight harmful ingredients effectively but unlike others, they don’t actually give you explanations of why a particular ingredient is hazardous. I haven’t had much luck using the barcode-scanner, with those products often not being registered in their database but using the simple yet effective search option I have avoided making unwise product decisions in the past!

Buycott

Buycott is slightly different to those apps mentioned above, as rather than scanning a product's barcode for a list of harmful ingredients it actually provides you with company’s information- and those that can be trusted and those that can’t. Unfortunately, it does not provide you with a manual search option on companies you want to find out more about but it does give you lots of info on campaigns against companies that have gone to the dark side and how you can actively join the rage against the machine!  

 

#3. Look for Certified Organic or Natural Logos

As previously explained in my blog post, 'Don’t get Pricked by Natural Products', a huge contributing factor to brands claiming to be "natural" is that there is no legal obligation for them to be certified before being placed on our drugstore & supermarket shelves. The growing use of conscious consumer buzzwords such as ‘green,’ ‘clean,’ & ‘fresh’, unfortunately, only continue to blur the lines of clarity & meaning further, which dishonest & devious brands take advantage of.    

To avoid any manipulative marketing campaigns look for a certified organic or natural logo (such as Natrue, COSMOS & the Vegan Society sunflower) to be sure that what you’re buying really is what it says on the packet. Watch out for my next blog post which will look further into labels, logos & what they mean!

 

#4. Packaging

PVC, is the world's third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, after polyethylene and polypropylene. It's often reported that no other plastic presents such a direct environmental and human health threat as PVC does throughout its lifecycle. The best way to take PVC plastics out of your bathroom is to avoid any products containing these chemicals and to choose products that use reusable or recyclable packaging, for example, glass rather than plastic.

You can also experiment using zero-waste soap or shampoo bars rather than those that come in plastic bottles. It may take a little extra effort on your part, but you are likely to have a far better experience in your bathroom with plant-based and plastic-free products than nasty petrochemicals and plastics!

 

#5. Trust in Us!

Last, but definitely not least, shop with companies that really have your health and our planet at the heart of their missions. Those brands offering full transparency are the ones you can trust! Products stocked at BioBunnies not only need to be 100% toxic free but perform, be of high quality and deliciously enjoyable to use!

 

Photo Credit: @unsplash @scottrodgerson