(And no, I don’t mean leaving the house with no makeup on. You all know me better that that!!!)
A few years ago, I started getting really interested in natural skincare (face and body). A couple of long dry winters had really wreaked havoc on my skin, and nothing was helping my dry irritated skin. I learnt quickly that parabens (a type of preservative) and sulfates are often at the root of dryness and allergic reactions; I also learnt that sometimes it’s the overuse of too many products with too many chemicals that can aggravate the bit of redness on my face. I found some good staples, started delving into etailers, and then got a bit lazy about reading product labels again.
In the last year, there has been a renewed interest in the medical community on links between parabens, sulfates and cancer. I encourage all of you to do some google searches and read up on this – as long as you read critically, there is good information out there, especially at http://www.safecosmetics.com/. Link to cancer aside, I have found that the more I stay away from chemical ingredients, the better my skin looks.
Now I am a bit torn though – on one hand, I do want to try to go chemical free in skincare and body care, but on the other, can I really do this? Sunscreen is my biggest hurdle. There are some organic sunscreens (Burt’s Bees has been getting excellent reviews) but they have much lower SPF than their chemical counterparts, and are also generally very new on the market. Since I am extremely pale and burn easily, I am not convinced going chemical-free on the sunscreen front is the way to go 100% of the time.
Two other products I am going to have a hard time replacing are my HG non-foaming cleansers: Cetaphil and Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash (which does not foam by the way). Both have been nice and soothing staples for me – Bliss for about 6 months, while Cetaphil has been a staple for years. But sadly, did you know the HG drugstore cleanser recommended by so many dermatologists, is basically chemicals and water?
Some products I am not going to be torn about replacing though, even my HG moisturizer of almost 6 months, Bliss’s Ounce of Prevention PM. I knew it was chockful of chemicals when I started using it, but at the time nothing was soothing my skin (talk about contradictory!). At the urging of a friend, I tried it, and for 3-4 months my skin had never looked better. Now, however, it has started drying me out, so that has motivated me anew to look for an HG moisturizer that is really natural. I noticed that Bliss’s Ounce of Prevention has Iris and Camellia extract in it, and I know Weleda has an Iris line, so I am going to try that first. I also know shea butter, in small quantities, really works for my skin, so I am going to try to find a product that combines all these ingredients.
Karley of KZM Facial Care Boutique seems to have been looking at many of these issues as well. But she is much more of an inspiration than me. Now she has switched over 100% to paraben and sulfate free products in terms of what she uses, and applies that philosophy to all the products she sells. She is absolutely an inspiration in terms of me continuing to pare down the chemicals in my life products.
The main promise I am making right now is to go as chemical-free as possible, but give myself until the end of the year to really hit that goal, which also gives me time to research product lines and ingredients. I also think, ultimately, I am not going to get to 100% chemical free with my skincare/bath and body (especially if I keep using non-natural sunscreens), but I am striving for 95%. As a result of my renewed interest in these issues, I will address ingredients a little more when I discuss products and compare them. As for chemical-free makeup, I think that’s going to be a whole other project LOL!
Some tips based on my early readings:
- Read ingredient labels! If you are trying to get into more natural products, avoid products that contain the following ingredients or partial ingredient names: “paraben,” “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” “-eth-” (such as sodium laureth sulfate), “oxynol” “ceteareth,” or “oleth.”
- Don’t buy something just because it says “organic” or “natural” without checking the labels.
- If you buy from etailers, look for those that use Germall Plus Preservative, which is a combination of Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, and Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Even though those ingredients sound really chemical, they are actually very natural and harmless.
- Retail products that do use Germall usually just list the three ingredients Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, and Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.
- Some product lines I have already had good luck with in the last few years of trying to be chemical-free (or rather low-chemical):
- Burt’s Bees
- Juice Beauty
- Juice Organics
- Etailer that uses no chemicals, parabens or silicones in any product: KZM Facial Care Boutique and Distilled Rose
- Some etailers that have several no-chemical products:
- Skindecent.com (pretty much everything except the conditioner, bath butter and body buffer scrub are all natural. Email owner Marliss if you have more questions)
- Cleanse your Soul (start with the emollient, the Behemoth scrub and the Body Cream, but she may have other no-chemical products too)
- Coconut Hut ( I know for sure that the body butter is not chemical, but I think there are other products that are very natural as well, including the body wash and the shea cream)