Healthier Alternatives for Personal Care and Beauty Products
If you like making healthier choices about what products you use to clean your house but haven’t yet replaced your chemical-laden personal care and beauty products, its time to find healthier alternatives. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and absorbs the creams, sprays, powders and lotions we put on it. Around 10,500 industrial chemicals are used as cosmetic ingredients, many of which are pesticides, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxins, plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), surfactants (reduces surface tension in water for paint & inks), and degreasers (used to get grime off of auto parts). These chemicals are absorbed into your bloodstream through your skin. Research shows that the average woman absorbs over 500 different synthetic chemicals into her body every day due to personal care and cosmetic products. That’s why its so important to be informed of the dangers of these chemicals and learn about safer and healthier options.
Chemicals of Concern
- Parabens- Parabens are preservatives used in cosmetics, skin care products,
soaps, cleaning products and baby products to extend shelf life. They can cause
skin and allergic reactions. Parabens collect in breast tissue and can stimulate the
growth of breast cancer cells.
- Triclosan- Triclosan is an anti-bacterial and antifungal found in soaps, body
washes, hand sanitizers, toothpaste and cosmetics. Triclosan is linked to skin
sensitivity, liver damage, hormone disruption and may cause cancer.
- Fragrance- Another term for thousands of chemicals that are untested and
potentially unsafe. Used in soaps, shampoos, beauty care, skin care products and
cleaning products, they can trigger allergic reactions, respiratory issues like
asthma, headaches and hormonal disruptions.
- Phthalates- Preservatives used in soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, beauty and skin
care products, they can impact our endocrine system, particularly reproduction and
- Formaldehyde- Functions mainly as a preservative in shampoos, nail care
products, baby products, deodorants, toothpaste, cleaning products, hairspray and
cosmetics. It can aggravate allergies, irritates the skin and burns eyes, nose and
throat, may boost cancer risk and is a neurotoxin.
- Talc- Absorbs moisture in baby powders, feminine powders and blush; its also
used as a lubricant on condoms. It is linked to cancer (ovarian), especially when
inhaled or applied topically on our naughty bits.
- Fluoride- Found in toothpaste, tooth whitening agents and mouthwash. Fluoride
accumulates in the body and can inhibit thyroid function, contribute to bone
disease and is a known carcinogen.
- Aluminum- Mainly used in antiperspirants to prevent sweating, it’s also found in
some cosmetics. It affects central nervous system function and is linked to
Now, you’re probably thinking, there’s no way my favorite personal care/ makeup brands would sell me products containing harmful ingredients, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Just because a product is on the shelf doesn’t mean its safe to use. This is in part due to the fact that cosmetics do not need to go through a premarket approval process before being sold in stores. Regulators such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not need to assess the safety and effectiveness of the claims on
the products before they’re sold.
Healthier/ Safer Alternatives
After reading all these possible symptoms from chemicals, don’t despair! There are a few things you can do to help reduce the number of harmful chemicals you might be exposing yourself to. Here is a list of homemade personal care and beauty product recipes.
Hand Soap (Foaming)
- You’ll Need:
– ¾ cup water
– ¾ cup castile soap
– 1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
– 1 tablespoon sweet almond oil
– 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
– 15-25 drops essential oils of your choice
– Soap dispenser jar
1. In the jar, add the water first (to prevent bubbles).
2. Add the liquid castile soap
3. Add the vitamin E oil & sweet almond oil & vegetable glycerin.
4. Finally, add your essential oils.
5. Put lid on then shake jar to combine the ingredients.
- You’ll Need:
– 1/8 cup Avocado oil
– 1/8 cup Argan oil
– 1/8 cup Emulsifying Wax NF
– 11/4 cup boiled water
– 1 handful dried calendula flowers
– 15 drops Frankincense essential oil
– 10 drops lemon essential oil
– 1 jar
1. With a handful of calendula flowers and 11/4 cups boiling water, make an herbal infusion. Herbal infusion is made by placing the flowers into a jug, pouring boiling water over them and then leaving it covered to cool.
2. In a separate glass container, pour in your avocado & argan oil and wax.
3. In another glass container, pour your herbal calendula infusion.
4. Grab a large pot or pan, half filled with simmering water and place both glass containers inside. Allow the oils to melt but do not have it come to a boil.
5. Once the oils have melted, remove them from the pot/pan and pour the calendula infusion into the oil container.
6. Steadily mix with a spoon or whisk.
7. Allow the cream to cool and thicken.
8. Once the cream has reached room temperature, add the frankincense & lemon essential oils and stir everything together.
9. Spoon into a jar.
- You’ll Need:
– 1/3 cup liquid castile soap
– 1/3 cup raw honey
– 1/3 cup carrier oil (olive, jojoba, refined avocado, coconut oil or sweet almond oil)
– 30-60 drops essential oil
– 1 squeeze-top bottle
1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until thoroughly combine.
2. Pour into a squeeze-top bottle.
*Shake well before using. This recipe will separate after awhile if not shaken.
- You’ll Need:
– 1 tablespoon raw honey
– 3 tablespoons water
– 5 drops essential oils
1. Pour the honey and water into a pot and slightly heat the mixture over low heat until honey dissolves.
2. Add the drops of essential oil.
*Makes single serving. It is normal for this shampoo to be watery.
- You’ll Need:
– 2 tablespoons beeswax pastilles
– 2 tablespoons shea butter
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil
– 30 drops peppermint essential oil
– 1 lip balm tube
1. Melt beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil in a small glass bowl over a pot of boiling water, stirring constantly until melted.
2. Turn off heat but keep over the still hot water to keep the mixture melted.
3. Add essential oils.
4. Use a dropper to fill the lip balm tube. This must be done quickly since the mixture will start to harden as soon as it is removed from heat.
There’s a common adage that says, “the dose makes the poison.” If you take mental stock of the products you use in the morning, throughout the day and in the evening, how often these products are applied and how long they stay on your skin, it’s not hard to see how we end up absorbing hundreds of chemicals a day. Some of these chemicals have no known safe limits. I hope these healthy personal care recipes help you switch to safer alternatives!