#3 | skin deep

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Once again, I am not an expert. The only purpose for this post is to inform, I’m not here to tell you how to live. Although, I do hope you take some of what I say into consideration. This is a judgement-free zone.

My research on the chemicals in my cosmetics began with my research on the chemicals in my foods. It started when we were in Europe and my brother wanted to know why  their M&Ms were coloured differently than ours. I did some research and found out that most artificial dyes, such as E110[Yellow #6], E104, E122, E129[Red# 40], and E102[Yellow # 5], are illegal in the EU and UK. Of course I wondered why, and came to find out that they pose a number of risks and are made from petroleum. Did I really want to be eating that? This was a big part of my decision to stop eating processed foods, more on that later. I took a closer look and found the same synthetic dyes were in my shampoo, face wash, and other cosmetics. Did I really want my skin absorbing that?

Let’s talk about beauty products.

These days, it’s hard to find a product that isn’t full of chemicals and other artificials. They may be stated right on the bottle or they may be cleverly disguised, but they are there more often than not. Quite frankly they aren’t great for your skin or general health either. The laws about what can and can’t be put in cosmetics are minimal at best. Heavy metalscoal tar, and even known carcinogens are common ingredients in cosmetics in the US (most are illegal in other countries).

Consequently, ingredients such as palm oil are taking a toll on our environment. Palm oil is a versatile ingredient made from the pulp of palms that can only be grown in a thin strip near the equator. Its high demand leads to deforestation and animal endangerment. Palm oil is in a number of things, not just cosmetics. It isn’t always called palm oil either- it is sometimes written as vegetable oil on labels. Read more about palm oil here.

Being “clean”

I made the decision that I would stop using cosmetics with synthetic dyes, fragrances, and palm oil. This is both difficult and not so.

After I made this decision I stood in the cosmetic section of Walmart for a good half hour reading the backs of beauty products. If they didn’t have one ingredient, then they had another. I was really frustrated by this. I was going to have to break the promise I just made to myself, and I  had barely begun. Then I found it- the very narrow section near the beauty aisle containing natural and vegan beauty products. I didn’t even know vegan beauty products were a thing until then, but I quickly fell in love: no GMOs, preservatives, synthetic colours or fragrances, animal testing (which I will talk about next time), and made of biodegradable materials (finally). It takes a bit of looking, but it is possible.

 

I encourage you to look at the beauty products you use- take a good, hard look. Read the labels and all the ingredients and do your own research, I’ve barely scratched the surface myself. Thanks for reading.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

-Helen Keller

 

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