Beauty & Wellness

Choose Clean: How to Make the Switch to Safer Beauty

We’re a few days into the New Year and a lot of us have made our New Year resolutions already.  One of the big ones for me this year is to focus on getting healthier and on my wellness.  And I bet a lot of you have that as a goal too.  While it does include eating healthier and becoming more active, it’s also about continuing on my journey to find cleaner and safer health and beauty products for me and my family.  It may be a goal you have too.  Have you thought about cleaning up your beauty routine this year?  If not this may change your mind.

The last year has been so eye opening and also very disturbing about how the products we use every day like shampoo, soap, creams and makeup potentially have toxic chemicals and ingredients that could actually be harmful to us.  And what’s interesting is that we often think we are making better choices by choosing “Organic” of Natural” but it doesn’t actually mean it’s better or safer for us.

Did you know that:

  • Many of the ingredients in our skincare and makeup are toxic and harmful and have been linked to reproductive issues in women and various forms of cancer
  • It only takes 25 seconds for our bodies to absorb what we put onto our skin
  • The average woman uses 12 products every day that contain over 150 ingredients according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG)
  • The average woman will consume (that’s right, eat!) up to 4 lbs. of lipstick in her lifetime. Many brands of lipsticks have been found to contain lead and other heavy metals that may lead to or contribute to neurotoxicity, thyroid dysfunction, reproductive issues and act as hormone disruptors.
  • The main ingredient that makes mascara black is Carbon Black. Carbon Black is a powder produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon-based products such as coal tar and has been linked to cancer and negative effects on organs.   And did you know that Carbon Black is also used as a filler in tires?


How crazy is that!  The European Union has banned close to 1,400 chemicals in personal care products, while Canada has only banned 600, and the U.S. even worse only 400.  It’s just shocking and disturbing that we live in North America and the complete lack of regulation in both Canada and the U.S. to keep us safe and keep harmful toxins and chemicals out of our personal care products.

So what can you do to protect yourself?  Make the switch and choose clean!  It may seem a bit overwhelming and daunting so here are some tips to help you get started in choosing clean and swapping out your dirty toxic products for some cleaner and safer ones!


Get informed

Do your research and get the information you need to make safer decisions.  Learn about potential toxins and chemicals so that you can check the ingredients on the labels of your products before you buy.  To help you learn about what ingredients to avoid, here’s a list of the “Dirty Dozen” according to Dr. David Suzuki and also confirmed by the EWG.  Click on them to learn what products may have this in them and why they are potentially harmful to you.

  1. BHA and BHT
  2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number
  3. DEA-related ingredients
  4. Dibutyl phthalate
  5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
  6. Parabens
  7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
  8. PEG compounds
  9. Petrolatum
  10. Siloxanes
  11. Sodium laureth sulfate
  12. Triclosan


Let others do the research for you!

To make it easier to look up the ingredients or even products, download the Think Dirty app or the EWG Skin Deep database and mobile app.  You can actually search and scan products to see what their ingredients are like, how they’ve been rated for safety, and also look for recommendations on cleaner and safer products.

Both are really easy to use, have pretty robust databases and you can even use them while you’re out shopping!

I’m also excited because Sephora has jumped on the bandwagon and has launched their Clean at Sephora category which only has products that have ingredients that meet their “clean” standards.


Start Slow

It can get a little overwhelming if you think about all the products we use every day.  Don’t try to change everything at once.  My advice is to start with small changes for big impact.  Remember every little bit counts.  Pick 1-3 products you want to swap out to something safer.  By swapping out even one of these six products you will make a huge step forward to getting safer and healthier:

  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Lipstick
  • Deodorant
  • Mascara
  • Body Lotion
  • Sunscreen

These little changes will add up and make a huge impact overall.   It will be less daunting of a task, you can really find products that you like and work for you, and it’s also easier on the wallet than trying to do it all at once.


Heads up on some great brands

My quest for safer skincare, beauty and make-up products has been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot along the way.  I’ve also learned that I’m not willing to sacrifice quality either and that there are a lot of great safer choices out there that are just as good.  I’ve tried and tested a lot of products along the way.  My criteria is they are safe and that they are still high performing and high quality.  I’ll be honest, I’m not “all natural” and I can’t make the claim that every product I use is safe.  But I am trying to make safer choices every day where I can.  Here are a few of the brands so far that I’ve been impressed with – ya, I know, I’m a bit obsessed with make-up and skincare!

Good luck in making the switch!  I know you can do it and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at some of the great safer products out there.  And I hope you’ll join me in this adventure and stay tuned for future reviews on some of my favorite products including shampoos, lipsticks and skin care!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and reviews on safer products too!  Please share in the comments section below!