Think about how many beauty and cosmetic products you use in a single day. For most of us, that list would include at least shampoo, soap, toothpaste and deodorant, not forgetting make-up and hair styling products. From just your daily beauty regime you will be accumulating a number of toxic chemicals in your body that could do more harm than good.
Switching from regular cosmetics to those that are free from synthetic dyes and artificial fragrances does not have to be difficult, and can actually save you a lot of money in the long run (as well as more space on the bathroom counter!) Follow these top tips to go green with your beauty regime.
Check your labels
Scan the shelves in your local supermarket and chemist and a whole range of products will jump out at you which would appear to be chemical free. But in fact, there is no legal regulation on terms like “natural”, “nontoxic” and “organic”, so cosmetic companies are free to use these words in their marketing campaigns even if they are misleading.
The best way to choose a greener product is to check the label. Items with a short ingredient list are likely to contain fewer harmful chemicals. A few nasty chemicals to watch out for include fragrance, PEGs, phenoxyethanol, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and chlorine. If in doubt, search your potential product using this handy cosmetics database.
Because of loopholes in the law, manufacturers are not required to specify the ingredients of “fragrance”, despite there being over 500 potential chemicals hiding behind this term. Just a few of their side effects include asthma, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Some are even possible human carcinogens.
If you want to start your green beauty regime, getting rid of synthetic fragrances is one of the easiest and best places to start. As well as looking for fragrance-free beauty products, double check the ingredient list to make sure a masking agent hasn’t been used to hide the scent.
Make your own shampoo
If you cannot be doing with the minefield that is product labels, why not try making your own beauty products? Not only will it be completely free of synthetic chemicals, but it could also save you money in the long-run. Start by ditching your expensive shampoo and use baking soda to wash your hair- you can find recipes for homemade baking soda shampoo online that will be quick and easy to create. Finish with an apple side vinegar rinse for conditioning.
And instead of splurging on expensive moisturising treatments for your tresses, use olive oil for shiny, soft hair. Simply massage one-part olive oil and one-part water into dry hair then leave under a shower cap for 20 minutes.
Support green companies
Instead of buying from the big brands, do your research to find some smaller companies who stand for the same values as you. If you cannot find what you are looking for in your local supermarket, try online for beauty products free from toxic chemicals. Living Nature and www.purenuffstuff.co.uk are great brands to try, or browse and www.theremustbeabetterway.co.uk for a range of ethical products.
Going green does not have to take a lot of time or money, and it may mean you are less likely to claim on your health insurance in the future. But be warned that once you start delving into the world of natural cosmetics you will find it hard to look at beauty products in the same way again.
Author writes on health and fitness for ActiveQuote health insurance.