Making the Switch to a Clean Skincare and Makeup Routine


Making the Switch to a Clean Skincare and Makeup Routine

Effective skincare should make us look and feel great. But what if your go-to products actually contain toxic ingredients? In the United States, there are surprisingly few laws regulating ingredients in the cosmetics industry. Sadly, this means that many skincare and beauty products contain chemicals that some studies have linked to cancer, infertility, and other health issues.


Determining which ingredients are safe or not can feel daunting. But don’t panic. Below, we outline some of the most common toxic skincare ingredients and strategies to transition to natural, healthy alternatives.


Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

Just as you would check the ingredients list on your food, you should check the ingredients of any product you put on your skin or elsewhere on your body. These are some of the most common ingredients worth avoiding:

Parabens: These chemicals are common in a wide range of products, from shampoo, to body wash, to face wash. They can disrupt your hormonal balance. Parabens are a family of different chemicals, so look for ingredients that end in –paraben.

Phthalates: Phthalates help to make plastics more flexible, and they’re used in lotions, hair sprays, and nail polishes to help products stick to you more easily. 

“Fragrance”: Fragrance is a smoke-screen term that manufacturers can use to cover up the exact ingredients they’re using. Instead, look for products that specify where their fragrance comes from.

SLS and SLES: Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are common ingredients in shampoos, body washes, and bubble baths. But they can irritate your skin and are particularly bad for people with skin allergies.

BHT: BHT is a synthetic preservative used to make products last longer. But it can disrupt hormones, especially testosterone levels.

Formaldehyde: We think of formaldehyde as the chemical used to preserve scientific samples, but it’s used in cosmetic products to prevent microbiological growth. Look out for it in deodorants, soaps, and lotions. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and has been linked to asthma.

Microbeads: Plastic microbeads are a popular ingredient in some face washes marketed as exfoliating. Unfortunately, they can scratch and damage your skin. They also do not dissolve and end up polluting our water.


    Tips for Transitioning to a Non-Toxic Routine

    You don’t have to throw away your entire beauty cabinet at once. Follow these tips to make the transition to natural ingredients easier.

    Switch one product at a time: As you use up each product, take a look at the ingredients and see if it’s something you should consider replacing. If you would be replacing it anyway, it creates less expense and work to try something new.

    Try multiple things: The first natural product you try might not be a hit. Give yourself some time to experiment and find what works for you. When possible, try a few samples before committing to full-sized products.

    Prioritize: Switching to a complete clean skincare routine is great, but sometimes the more realistic plan is simply to reduce your reliance on toxic ingredients. Think about what health concerns are the most important for you. For example, if you’re trying to get pregnant, it might be especially important to avoid ingredients that interfere with your hormone levels. It’s fine to start by focusing on one concern.


    How to Find Non-Toxic Beauty Products

    Luckily, there has been a big movement towards toxic-free beauty in the past couple of years. Many beauty brands are creating all-natural skincare lines. Purchasing from one of these companies can provide you with some assurance without having to scour every single ingredient list, or if you’re shopping at a big store like Sephora or Ulta, look for labels such as “Clean Beauty” or “Conscious Beauty.” These usually indicate a list of excluded ingredients and can direct you to non-toxic products.

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