Hip & Healthy contributor, Rachel Cruickshank, reveals just how important it is to be conscious of, not only what eat, but what you put on your skin and how a 360 approach to health is the only way to go!
If you pick up any health magazine, you will see the importance of good nutrition. To provide our bodies with all that it needs to be at its optimum: it’s not just about what you should do but also the should nots. Many of us will aim to eat organic, fresh, natural ingredients and avoid chemicals, pesticides, and processed foods. How many of us can honestly say we are as conscious about what goes onto our skin, as what goes into our bodies? Any unnatural ingredients or chemicals can be absorbed by our skin, just as they can be absorbed by our gut after digestion. Whilst we are constantly reminded to be conscientious about our skincare routines, there could be a huge, but unnoticeable effect on our bodies if we slather toxic chemicals and synthetic products onto our skin. Some statistics claim that women put as much as 200 chemicals onto our bodies before we even leave the house in the morning.
There is a list as long as your arm of products, regularly used in the beauty industry, that everyone should try to avoid. For many years there has been a debate regarding many cosmetics ingredients, citing everything from their carcinogenic, cancer causing properties to a role in disrupting hormones and endocrine function. This debate is ongoing, but ultimately, it’s comes down to the reason we actively avoid pesticides in food. Ingredients which are unnatural, synthetic, chemical and potentially toxic should not be in on our skin and not be in our bodies. End of.
Some of the ingredients that are often included and are definitely not natural are:
SLS, Parabens, Fragrance, Mineral Oil, Silicones, Propylene Glycol, PEG, ALES, Polycyclic Musks, Animal by-products, GMO, Petrolatum / Paraffin Wax, Ethanolamines, Synthetic Dye, Phthalates, Synthetic Retinol.
This may look like a long list (and believe me it gets longer!), and you may be feeling slightly worried about chucking out your beauty cupboard and starting from scratch. Fear not, below are some fantastic products that you can start using to help get you on your way to a more natural skincare routine!
Importantly aluminium free, this beautiful natural, organic deodorant is full of essential oils including eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender and tea tree. Unlike some natural deodorants out there Aurelia will last the test of time – not to mention work, tubes and the gym. I’ve tried this out and I am addicted. One pot will last you around 6 months and it really is worth it to avoid putting harsh metallic chemicals on such a sensitive part of our bodies.
Not only is Byron Bay such a lovely brand but they care for the environment by planting one tree per bottle sold. Filled with coconut oil and aloe vera for moisture and peppermint for a fresh but natural scent, my favourite is the natural shampoo and conditioner. As if we needed any more persuasion, Byron Bay is giving 10% off for all readers online with the code: H&H10.
Rosehip is both nourishing and healing for our skin. As well as being organic it is also virgin cold pressed meaning so many valuable nutrients are retained and active when they reach us. Try using every evening and leaving on overnight, especially if skin is feeling dry or sensitive. This product can also be amazing on scars, sun damage and dry hair due to the curative properties.
This Danish brand founded by make-up artist Kirsten Kjær Weis produces lasting but natural make up. This is a truly luxurious brand providing “ingredients the body celebrates and resonates with, not something it’s trying to fight.” Try their lipstick for a killer finish that nurtures our body at the same time.
Starting as a small brand in Sweden, the aim was to use local, natural and organic products to reduce waste, improve skincare and improve sustainability. What they have created is a divine array of products. I adore the body scrub that not only smells amazing and does a superb job, but uses birch bark and thus reduces the environmental damage at the same time.
Three quick tips to reading a product label:
- Products are listed alphabetically and often the first product we will see is aqua. Aqua is water, so whilst it is definitely not a toxic chemical, water is not particularly nourishing when applied topically to the skin. Try looking for something with aloe vera instead, not only isn’t is more nourishing and calming but it is also natural.
- For a product to be “organic” means they need to have as little as 1% organic ingredients, it is still vital to read the label to see what other ingredients are included.
- Chemicals, toxins and products applied topically on our skin can be absorbed into our bodies, if you aim to eat organic and natural food, then the same logic should be applied to cosmetics.
To find out more details on specific products, Safe Cosmetics details all worrisome chemicals, what this might appear as on a label and which cosmetics might contain these chemicals.
Words by Rachel Cruickshank