This post contains affiliate links, and is sponsored by Redeeming Beauty.
We all want to look our best, right? I know I do (although, sadly, I’m often too lazy). But the modern beauty “stuff” is…well…not so healthy.
Did you know that a lot of the health and beauty industry isn’t regulated by the FDA at all? Ingredients that are banned in Europe and other areas of the world are allowed in our beauty products, no restrictions!
- Parabens — These are found in shampoos, deodorants, soaps, and more. They are linked to cancer.
- Phthalates — These are used to make plastics, and are found in shampoos, soaps, hairspray, nail polish, and perfume. They likely cause cancer.
- Polysorbate 80 — This is found in almost any bath product (as well as food dyes), and may cause cancer and brain changes.
- Lead — Found in some lipsticks, lead can cause brain damage and cancer. The FDA doesn’t directly regulate amounts of lead present.
- Mercury — Found in some mascaras and eye shadow as well as beauty creams, it can cause brain damage and kidney damage.
- Triclosan — The active ingredient in anti-bacterial soaps and sanitizers, it’s been shown to kill healthy bacteria in the body and help breed “super bugs.” It may also alter hormone levels in the body, which could lead to infertility. It’s been associated with higher rates of allergies as well.
- 1,4-dioxane — This chemical may also be called PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene, polyoxynolethylene, and sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate. It is found in shampoos (even children’s shampoos), hair relaxers, soaps, and most things that foam or create suds. It is strongly linked to cancer, as well as possible genetic changes and organ damage.
- Coal tar — Used in dandruff shampoos, this chemical may increase your susceptibility to sunburns, and it may also cause cancer.
So, wow. If you’re trying to avoid these ingredients (and this is only a small selection of all the toxic ingredients allowed in personal care products), that pretty much eliminates everything on the shelf. Including, sad to say, “organic” and “natural” brands. Read the label…most contain sodium lauryl sulfate or something on this list, even if they avoid other chemicals.
Have no fear! There are some simple ways to make your beauty routine healthier — and probably cheaper, too.
Five Ways to Fix It
1. Skip the Facial Cleanser — Try Oil Cleansing
Those cleansers are all soap or detergent-based and may contain some of the ingredients above. You could just go for pure castile soap (which is safe), but that strips the oils from your face, which can actually lead to more acne and dry skin. Not cool.
Instead, try a blend of castor oil and another “nourishing” oil (sweet almond, olive, avocado, jojoba — any liquid oil). Most people start with a 50/50 blend. Those with drier skin may need as much as 90% nourishing to 10% castor oil, and those with oilier skin may need a greater percentage of castor oil. Play with it until it works for you. This is the blend I use.
Once the oil is blended, simply spread a small amount on dry skin. Soak a wash cloth with hot water and lay it over your face. The steam will open your pores and the oil will help break up any “junk.” Reheat the wash cloth 1 – 2 more times, and the final time, use the cloth to gently exfoliate your skin. When you’re finished, your skin will be wonderfully clean, soft, but not oily. Promise!
- Facial Cleansing Grains
- Pumpkin Spice Facial Scrub
- Vanilla Night Cream
- Whipped Coconut Oil Facial Cleanser
- Strawberry Face Mask (With Video)
- Honey Oatmeal Face Scrub
- Pineapple-Infused Face Lotion
2. Skip the Shampoo — Try No ‘Poo (Or “Poo Lite”)
The really “good” shampoos out there are often really expensive. I’ve seen anywhere from $10 – $20 for a small bottle. If you’re like me, with really thick and somewhat long hair, it takes a lot of shampoo to really get it clean. And so…try no ‘poo!
No ‘poo is a method of cleaning your hair with baking soda and water. The ratio depends on how oily or dry your hair is. Some people do 10% baking soda to 90% water. My hair tends to be more oily, so I do about 1/3 baking soda to 2/3 water. I also add a small amount of Redmond Clay, and some bergamot essential oil. It doesn’t work for me without the essential oil. You may need to play around with it, and your hair also may go through 3 – 4 weeks of “adjustment” before this really works out. Some people do a rinse with 1/2 and 1/2 apple cider vinegar and water.
But...no ‘poo doesn’t work for some people, for one reason or another. And even if it did work, hormonal shifts during pregnancy and postpartum (and for lots of other reasons) might make it stop working. I’ve fought a battle with it over the last couple of years, and what works best for me now is to switch back and forth between a natural shampoo and no ‘poo. Sometimes I use both together, even. I usually pick up an organic kids’ hair-and-body-wash to use for shampoo. I probably use the “real” shampoo once a week or less, and no ‘poo the rest of the time, so even the more expensive ones last a long time. Or, try making your own
- Homemade Shampoo
- DIY Hair Conditioning
- Hair Detangling Spray
- DIY Shampoo Bars
- Gelatin Hair Mask
- Avocado Hair Mask
- Homemade Hair Gel
- How to Make Shampoo
- Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
- Rosemary Hair Oil
- All-Natural Beach Waves Spray
- Coconut Oil Hair Treatment With Egg Yolks and Honey
3. Get Mineral Make Up (And Sometimes, Skip It)
It’s easy to become a little obsessed about “putting your face on.” Make up makes skin look smoother and colors pop, so that you feel more confident and look your best. The thing is…all those chemicals in normal make up really aren’t so healthy, as we showed above. Short of just never wearing make up again, what can you do?
Thankfully there are now several mineral make up options out there. This is make up that is based on real minerals, like finely ground mica, that are perfectly safe for your face. What’s more, because they’re minerals and not chemicals, they typically have a long shelf life, and some types don’t expire! That makes them not only healthy, but really frugal, especially if you don’t wear make up everyday. (Like me.)
In fact, you shouldn’t wear make up everyday. If you’re not going out, skip it. Your face could use a break!
I like Emily at Redeeming Beauty. She has wonderful mineral make up that she makes herself — yes, WAHM-made make up! Her prices are so reasonable and her colors so beautiful. She’ll even help you figure out what colors would look best on you, and custom-mix them for you.
In addition to these, Emily makes lip gloss, eye shadow, perfume, nail polish, and beauty tools — all safe! It’s a one-stop shop for healthy beauty items. 🙂 And it’s a great place to do a little Christmas shopping, while supporting a WAHM.
4. Replace the Deodorant
Deodorant has another seriously yucky ingredient that we didn’t address above: aluminum. There are all kinds of studies linking aluminum to brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and possibly to autism, and even breast cancer. It’s nasty, nasty stuff that you don’t want in your body. When you use it under your arms, the thin skin absorbs it, and it gets into the lymph nodes that are prevalent there — hence, why it’s linked to breast cancer (which can start in the lymph nodes in or near the breast).
Unfortunately, many store-bought deodorants — even “natural” brands — still contain aluminum, so it’s not easy to get away from.
If you like, simply skip deodorant. Your body will probably go through a “detox” of sorts, where you’ll notice more stink, but after that some people don’t find they need anything. But, a lot of people really don’t feel comfortable using nothing, so try your hand at some homemade deodorant! It’s simple to put together, and there are so many variations out there. Most are based on some type of oil (often coconut) plus baking soda, arrowroot, and/or bentonite clay.
- Homemade Deodorant
- Natural Deodorant
- Simple Deodorant
- DIY Deodorant (With Secret Ingredient)
- DIY Deodorant with Lemongrass, Rosemary and Coconut
5. Use Healthier Lotion
Have you read the back of a lotion bottle lately? I don’t even know what most of those ingredients are — but at least a few of them are represented above. Why do we need that to moisturize?!
Thankfully, we don’t. Lotions and body creams are super easy to make at home, and there are also a number of great options from natural companies on the market. Body creams or butters are 100% oils, often melted and mixed or whipped to create a silky texture. Lotions contain water, which is whipped with melted oils to create an emulsion. Both have their uses — it just depends on what you’re looking for.
Homemade lotions, in addition to being moisturizing and smelling nice (use essential oils, which are much safer than fragrance oils), can actually be healing. Lotions can be infused with different herbs, or even with magnesium. I use my magnesium lotion all the time. Really, try making your own — they’re much cheaper and customizable, and they are so easy.
Try these lotion recipes:
- Whipped Tallow Lotion
- Super Easy Hard Lotion Bars
- Tallow Bars
- Coconut Oil Body Butter
- 4-Ingredient Body Butter
- Magnesium Lotion
Swapping out your beauty products isn’t limited to just the 5 I listed above. With those five swaps, you’re well on your way to a much healthier beauty routine, and a much healthier you. If you’re looking for even more healthy changes, see the list below. You’ll find body washes, toothpaste, body scrubs, bath bombs, lip salves, and more!
Try these other homemade beauty products:
- DIY Toothpaste
- Cinnamon Vanilla Spice Body Scrub
- Magnesium Oil Spray
- Homemade Body Wash
- Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap
- Gentle Foaming Hand Soap
- Raw Honey Lip Salve
- Lavender Rose Body Polish
- Coffee Honey Sugar Scrub
- DIY Body Butter
- Peppermint Lip Balm
- Rosemary Mint Sugar Scrub
- Coconut Oil Sunscreen