We know what to avoid when it comes to what we put into our bodies, but what about what we put onto our bodies? As research into beauty products deepens, toxic ingredients are being called out at an alarming rate.
We’ve seen a shift in advertisement catch phrases like “paraben free,” “sulfate free” and “all natural.” And it’s a comfort to see these kinds of phrases on the front of our favorite products, as it means we can keep using them without considering the other toxic ingredients on the label. It really is difficult to give up a tried and true product that we have come to love. And often, we sacrifice the health factor in order to continue using something convenient, effective, and affordable.
There are some truly nasty (health-wise) products on the market that really work—believe me, I’ve coated my eyelashes in more toxic mascara than the average pre-teen girl. I hate to admit that I have come to love what some of these toxic, cheaply made, plastic packaged products can do. But they do not love me, my body, or our planet back. And therefore, they’ve just got to go.
Here is a list of commonly used beauty and personal care products, ingredients to avoid, and homemade recipes to try in their place!
Safe and All-Natural DIY Makeup Recipes
Mascara & Eyeliner – What to avoid: Heavy Metals
Ah, Mascara… eyeliner… a girl’s two best friends. Or so we thought. Mascara is something women deem as the finishing touch to any look. But the FDA states, “Under U.S. law, cosmetic products and ingredients… do not need FDA approval before they go on the market.” Eek. A phrase too commonly associated with products that lead to illness.
Mascara and eyeliner both often contain heavy metals like lead and cadmium. Heavy metals—which by the way are classified as “natural ingredients”—have been proven to cause “hormone disruption, cancer, neurological problems, memory loss, mood swings, reproductive and developmental disorders, kidney problems, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, lung damage, dermatitis and hair loss.”
Non-toxic Mascara and Eyeliner
1 teaspoon Activated Charcoal
2 tablespoons Cacao butter
1 tablespoon Arrowroot powder
Directions: Melt cacao butter and mix in remaining ingredients. Remove from heat and add activated charcoal. Transfer to storage container of preference and put in fridge until set. To use: dip a clean mascara wand in water and roll in your mascara mixture, wipe excess mixture from wand and apply to eyelashes.
Eyeshadow – What to avoid: Talc
Whenever the topic of “talc” comes up in conversation (not frequently, but oddly often enough), my mother quickly interjects— “Talc causes CANCER! I’m so happy I learnt about that before having kids.” That piece of knowledge—which comes from the woman who filled our fridge with Kool-aid, not the world’s biggest health nut—dates back over 30 years. This is very peculiar considering talc is something still used in powdery makeup today. But something about makeup makes us turn off our health-sensors. Almost as if we think using these products to look like the models on the packaging is worth the risk of getting sick. My mother was right, talc particles have been linked to certain cancers like lung or ovarian.
Two Ingredient Eye Shadow
Cocoa, Cacao or Activated Charcoal
Directions: Mix together adding the cocoa, cacao or charcoal until desired color depth is achieved.
Bronzer/Blush – What to avoid: Phthalates
Phthalates are used to hold color in cosmetics like blush and bronzer. The absorption of phthalates into our bodies—unlike the pronunciation—is quick and easy. They’re found in all sorts of products, from plastic packaging to cosmetics to bug spray. According to this study, 90% of Americans who participated had phthalates present in their urine during testing. And because of phthalates omnipresence in our lives, it’s easy to understand why. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and are related to heart disease, diabetes, hot flashes in women and even erectile dysfunction in men.
Easy Homemade Bronzer/ Blush
Cocoa powder / beet powder
Directions: Combine arrowroot and cocoa OR beet powder, and transfer to container of choice. To use, dip finger or brush and spread onto cheeks!
Body Spray / Perfume – what to avoid: Synthetic Fragrance
I love a good fragrance. A blend of smells that can so perfectly fit your aura, it becomes part of who you are. I had a friend in college who wore Coco Chanel, and now every time I smell it on someone else, I automatically think of her. It’s amazing how scents can trigger different memories. The downside of course, is that perfumes—as lovely as they are—have not so lovely ingredients and are often made with synthetic fragrances. And because we inhale those toxins when spritzing and absorb them through our skin, it makes them doubly dangerous.
Synthetic fragrances are hormone-disrupting chemicals leading to infertility in both men and women. And get this: many regular perfumes are considered to be hazardous waste, so if you want to get rid of your collection don’t dump them down the drain! It’s super easy and affordable to make your own fragrance. Get a group of your friends together, bring a mix of your favorite essential oils and get mixing!
Make your own Coco!
3 drops orange oil
3 drops jasmine oil
3 drops sandalwood
2 drops rose oil
2 drops vanilla extract
1 drop clove oil
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and store in a dark colored bottle with a secure lid.
Lipstick – what to avoid: Nano Particles
One problem with cosmetic ingredient labels is that they don’t list particle size. Some ingredients are safer in larger sizes, but when broken down into nano particles, they become toxic as they enter our bodies faster and with more ease. Nano particles infiltrate our cells and can creep into our organs, where they cause long term damage. This is beginning to sound like a horror story. Try this simple recipe instead.
Lip Stain That Loves You Back
1 tablespoon Cacao butter
1 teaspoon Beet Juice
1 teaspoon Pitaya Pink Powder and 1 teaspoon water (for a little extra oomph!)
Directions: Melt cacao butter, mix in beet juice (or Pitaya powder and water) transfer to container of choice with secure lid and let set in fridge. Dip finger and apply!
Breaking up with your toxic makeup doesn’t have to be painful! These natural substitutes will ease your heartbreak and nourish your body.
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