Maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about - "safer beauty, what?". Or you've heard about Beautycounter or other clean beauty brands and wondered, "Is this just hype? Does safer beauty really matter?".
I had the exact same thoughts a while back. I was actually a HUGE skeptic when it came to sustainability, organic foods, and reducing toxins in my life. I can't even believe I thought that way, because now I am so passionate about these things!
So what changed? I first fell in love with how well Beautycounter products worked (better than the conventional ones I had used) which made me curious about this whole clean beauty thing and did my research. Once you learn something, it's hard to unlearn. Here's some info to help you do your own research!
There's so much power in being informed, and with information we are empower to decide what we want to do with that information. So here, I want to share information that empowered me to decide to choose safer products. These definitely are not all the facts, but some of the big ones...
In our modern world, every day we're exposed to toxic chemicals whether on our commute, in the shower, or when we clean our house. There are a lot of things we cannot control about this, but we can control what we put on our bodies.
Hundreds of chemicals that are in personal care products we use daily are not banned in the United States. These chemicals are linked to cancer, reproductive harm, hormone disruption, asthma, organ toxicity, and other serious health issues.
The last time a major U.S. Federal law regulating what goes into our personal care products was passed in 1938! And it's only a page and a half of law governing a 60-billion dollar industry!
Currently, the U.S. only bans 30 harmful ingredients from personal care products, where the E.U. bans over 1400... To me this just shows that you can make high-performing products without a lot of harmful chemicals, but since companies aren't required to and it's cheaper to use some of the harmful ingredients, some do.
Companies are free to make their own judgments about safety. The FDA does not require companies to test products for safety before they go out on the market (making you and me the guinea pigs) and do not require them to recall products either!
I don't believe in making decisions out of fear. Instead, do your research and make an informed and value-based decision. I also include some helpful resources so you can do that at the bottom of this post.
BUT WHY DOES THAT MATTER?
So, using products with harmful ingredients every once in a while will not make a significant difference, but it's the repeated application and exposure multiple times a day, every day that adds up (and we call that build-up toxic load). It's like choosing to use your reusable grocery bag instead of plastic bags. That one plastic bag that gets thrown away and ends up who knows where isn't a big deal, but what if you threw away a plastic bag every day for a year? That's a lot of plastic bags polluting some place. The same goes with toxins in personal care products. With that said, I don't freak out about using the hand soap at a friends house because I know that most of the time, I'm using products I trust.
The average woman uses 12 products a day exposing themselves to 168 chemical ingredients. The average man uses 6, exposing themselves to 85 unique chemical. Teen girl uses 14 products! One of my favorite examples of toxic load is this study by UC - Berkeley about how using products with safer ingredients reduces toxic load in the body.
I never had any testing before using clean products versus afterwards, but I do feel like reducing toxins in my products has made a difference. From personal experience, my hormones have been way more balanced since using safer products, and I think a big part is because of the products I use. As women, our hormones play a huge role in our health, not just for bearing children, and keeping my hormones healthy is one of the main reasons I use safer products. Check out this post where I talked more in depth about hormone health.
If using safer products is something you would like to do, I encourage you to do some more research. Here are some additional resources you can dig into!
Beautycounter's Social Responsibility Report (for what we are doing to ensure our products are safer)
Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry by Stacy Malkan (such a great book!)
I have learned over time that the best way to find products I love is not to stroll through the beauty section of a store but rather to ask my friends who love clean beauty for personal recommendations. For this reason, I love sharing products I try and love, and am always available here or on Instagram if you need recommendations.
Stay tuned for a free resource I'm working on for how to know which products are safer and some trusted brands!