Dip your hand into a bucket of chemicals and rub them all over your body.
Have a problem with that?
Yet that’s essentially what you’re doing every time you buy something on sale at your favorite big box store, pay no attention to the ingredients listed on the back of the packaging, open it up and dive in.
When was the last time you thought about the ingredients that go into creating your favorite products?
Maybe it’s time you do.
The reason companies make beauty and skincare products
This might not come as a surprise to you, but when companies create beauty or skincare products, they do so for one reason only: profit. It may start out with good intentions, but ultimately, every business in business does so to make money. The more profits they can generate, the happier the founder will be.
Of course, I know a lot of founders would argue with that. They will tell you they go into business to make a difference, to create a better product, to fix a problem they saw in the marketplace. But ultimately, we are consumer-driven. No matter how much a founder wants to change the world, or what intentions they had when they first started out, for many, it all comes down to profits in the end.
That’s why you see small companies being bought out by larger ones.
And once that occurs, adjustments are made to the processing, new “secret” ingredients are added to cut costs, and the products deviate from their original intentions.
What clean beauty means, why toxic skincare exists, and what it means to you
The concept of clean beauty is easy to understand. Clean beauty refers to beauty products made without ingredients known or suspected of hurting human health.
It’s hard to believe that in today’s world, many of the cosmetics on the market, ones you see when you shop at your favorite stores, are dangerous for your health. Yet it’s a fact.
In America, the FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics. In the EU, that number stands at 1,328 chemicals. Big difference, right?
Once again, the answer to why this is happening comes down to money. Cosmetics and skincare do not need FDA approval before they are marketed to Americans. Outside of color additives, it’s entirely up to the company to police the safety of its own product. Once a product is on the market, the FDA has little reason to take action. Which means that chemicals continue to reside in many of the top branded beauty and personal care products on the market today. It’s largely a self-regulated market. Why would companies ever do something that will target their own bottom line?
Think about the way we regulate food. The FDA takes an active role in ensuring the food supply is safe. And even that has overwhelming problems.
Not so with personal items. The laws in place today are largely behind the times. Buyer beware. Do your own homework, or pay the costs down the road.
What does that mean to you, a woman in midlife, trying to find the best products to use daily?
As women in our forties and fifties, we’ve built skincare regimens in our daily lives. We have products on our shelves, we use a variety of cosmetics, lotions, and potions to keep us looking our best. We’ve been using it for years!
American women average 12 to 16 products a day, which can easily contain 200 or more chemicals distributed to different parts of the body. Think one chemical is bad? How about 200 or more? What’s worse, when you mix 12 to 16 products a day, they all move into your body, combine, and can further break down your health. With cancers, infertility, allergies, neurological disease, and more on the rise, it doesn’t take much investigation to piece together that this is a potential problem.
Is now the time to be worried?
In short, yes.
If you look at how other countries regulate what safety means, many take an approach to “prove it’s safe before it’s allowed on the market”. The US takes the opposite stand and chooses to “allow products on the market until an ingredient is proven to be unsafe”.
Still look at your “good buy” the same way?
Feeling helpless? Want to just push it all aside?
I hear ya. And I get it. With so much else to think about here in midlife, do you really want to get a degree in chemistry and spend hours analyzing your daily products to clean the toxins out of your life?
I’ve been there.
When my dad died in 1994 of heart disease at the age of fifty-four, I went on a quest for better heart health. I’ve spent oodles of time studying our medical and food systems, and how they relate to better health.
I discovered food and heart health are integrally related. It’s caused me to move to a strictly plant-based diet.
Yet the more I moved into vegetarian and vegan eating, I couldn’t help but continue asking questions: If the food I eat matters, what about the products I take in through my skin, or breathe in as I clean? And that sent me down an entirely different rabbit hole.
How I take toxic skincare out of my life, and bring clean products into my daily routine
If you’ve read any of my articles on moving to a plant-based lifestyle, you know my recommendations are to start slow.
I’ve spoken with a lot of people that set out for radical change. They move from traditional eating to a completely vegan diet overnight, then wonder why they fail in less than a week.
Wanting to change is a good thing. Making it stick is something else.
If now is the time to introduce clean beauty into your life, it’s going to take changing your daily habits. And you can’t do that all at once. So start small.
Replace one thing. Pay attention to one ingredient. Switch out one product you use.
Work with that for a while.
And then move on to the next item in your life.
Remember, companies start, operate, and grow in different ways. The bigger they get, the more their core values change. Just because you love a product today doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever.
If a founder is bought out, or chooses to sell their line to a large conglomerate, you can better believe the formulas will change.
It’s up to us to police the items we bring into our homes, and use daily.
Speak with your wallet.
Here are some things I’m currently using in my life.
I have used Boom! For several years now and love the results. Every morning, I use their color stick on my cheeks and eyes for glowing results. I love their glimmer stick dabbed on my cheekbones for a bit of highlight. The creamy texture is something that glides on and doesn’t cake on or crease.
The first thing that caught my attention is that they offer vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, non-toxic products. I search the EWG website with all of the products I use, and some of Pacifica’s are cleaner than others. Still, if you want an affordable beauty and skincare line, Pacifica makes excellent products. Try their Dreamy Youth Day and Night Face Cream. Or their water-resistant long lash mineral mascara. With a little hunting and comparison, you can find some great deals that work really well on your skin.
While not necessarily skincare, what first attracted me to Branch Basics was their clean laundry detergent. What you put on your skin is as important as what you wash your clothes in, since they’re next to your skin twenty-four hours of the day. I’m impressed with their packaging and convenience. And they are women-owned – yes, please!
I’ve been a podcast junkie for the past two years. And one person I can’t get enough of is Dr Zach Bush. I love his honesty and the way he thinks about our future. When a friend said she had great results with his microbiome support products, I jumped on board and have never looked back. I’ve felt the difference.
This has been a difficult 18 months. I’m spending a lot of time journaling my thoughts, using them to plan my future endeavors, and thinking about what I hope to accomplish in the future.
I created my health journal exclusively for women trying to make sense of their health in this changing world. With so much to think about, and not a lot of straightforward, honest answers out there, it’s more important than ever to think about your health, and do what’s right for you.
This guide is perfect for helping you take action as you make changes to your life.