So I have three announcements to make. First, for the next two weeks, we will be looking at healthy face, body, and hair care products. You know; the ones you get at the health food store. Second, I’ve interviewed a real live expert on these topics so when you go to buy an organic anti-aging face cream, for example, or a natural hair color, you go armed with some very specific recommendations (oh yeah, I got us brand names because vague recommendations are useless).
Third, and best of all, as I announced two weeks ago, I am holding another contest! This time, the prize is a goodie box just stuffed with all sorts of amazing natural skincare products so you can try for yourself!
So let's kick off this two-week look at natural face, body, and hair care products with a peek at the labels.
Read the labels
The first place you have to look to learn about healthy face, body, and hair care products is the label.
Just like with food, right?
Only, if you are at all like me, you’re not so familiar with beauty product ingredients.
So, obviously, the first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with some of the ingredients you should avoid.
Now, there are tons of sites that can help. Here’s a pretty straightforward site with a list of ingredients you don't want. It also paints a pretty good picture on why we should use more natural products. After all, anything that goes on our skin can very well get absorbed into our body.
Healthy inside and out
Lovelula has all sorts of helpful information for anyone looking for a more natural approach to skin care. What I found most interesting was the list of ingredients they avoid. Here are some:
- Artificial colors and fragrance (parfum) — both are "a common cause of skin irritant and allergic reactions."
- Formaldehyde — It is both "an irritant and a carcinogen" and can be found in everything from deodorants to shampoos.
- Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) — This can "effect the growth of developing nerve cells" which is an especially concerning during pregnancy.
- Parabens — Traces of this preservative "have been found in human breast tissue."
- Mineral oil and petroleum derived ingredients — While it locks in moisture, it also "traps in toxins and hinders normal respiration by keeping oxygen out."
- SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) — Found in the vast majority of commercial shampoos, "there is some evidence to suggest reproductive effects and damage to liver, lungs & immune system."
Knowledge is power!
That should get you off to a good start. But if you want more information, there really is an insane number of sites that can help. Such as this natural ingredients dictionary from Aubrey Organics (and we'll look at some of their products, too, later on).
Get some balance
Now, you should know that not everyone jumps wholeheartedly on the natural bandwagon. So if you want some balance in the natural skincare argument, one good place to look is at the Paula Begoun (author of Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me) article on Natural Ingredients where we learn, among other things, that "Not only is the definition of "natural" hazy, but the term isn't even regulated, so each cosmetics company can use it to mean whatever they want it to mean" and "Just because an ingredient grows out of the ground or is found in nature doesn't make it automatically good for skin, and the reverse is also true, just because it is synthetic doesn’t make it bad" and "It is important to point out that many natural ingredients can cause allergies, irritation, and skin sensitivities."
Tomorrow and tomorrow and . . .
Now that you know a little bit about the ingredients that are out there, let's shift gears and look at some actual products. Starting tomorrow, I'll review all sorts of items and even interview an expert. So, join me, as I sniff, slather, lather, smear, and wash everything from the top of my head to the tips of my toes with products fit for an almost vegetarian.
Oh how I suffer for you guys!
Oh yes, more information will be coming, never fear!