Balanced Living

Ecobeauty – Getting Pretty the Green Way Pt. 1

Posted by Arja on June 28 in Personal Care and Cleaning

If your beauty routine still revolves around products purchased in drug stores or department stores, then chances are you’re slathering a myriad of toxic, hormone disrupting chemicals all over your body on a daily basis.  I’m a girl, and a product loving girl at that, so I understand that not only do you want to look your best (and not smell like a barn), but that it’s fun to try new things and play with body care. Guess what?  You can go non-toxic and still have fun.

A few weeks ago Environmental Defence hosted their Eco-Beauty Market featuring vendors who have taken their Just Beautiful Pledge.  I started off my morning listening to the lovely Maggie MacDonald , Toxics Program Manager, talk to us about the importance of choosing non-toxic body care products.  She highlighted a great report that Environmental Defence put out last year called “The Trouble with Triclosan”.  Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical that is widely used in many products, including hand soap, dish soap, toothpaste, and even some clothing items like socks!  The number of antibacterial products on the market has risen, and so has the number of cases of antibiotic resistant superbugs.  The Canadian Medical Association and other organizations have recommended a ban on the use of triclosan in household products due to fears that there is a link.  Environmental Defence has funded some amazing research that helps raise awareness, push the government towards legislating more transparency in product labeling, and work towards having more chemical ingredients banned outright.  They do great work, and I encourage you to read more about the issues they are concerned with.

I started making the switch to non-toxic personal care products about 5 years ago, and it didn’t all happen at once.  First of all, you become comfortable with a certain routine which can make changing things up difficult, but there’s also a question of “will is work’?  I may want to live a greener life, but I still want clean hair, clear skin, and to smell and look good!  Start nourishing your skin from the inside and outside, and trust me, you’ll look even better!  Over the last few years I’ve played around with many different products, and have become loyal to some.  There are many good quality, natural products out there, but beware, not all products are created equally! Just because it’s on the shelf at your local health food store doesn’t mean it’s all natural.  If you really want to avoid the toxic stuff, you need to start reading labels, which can be a bit confusing.  Try using the handy pocket shopping guide that Environmental Defence has available for download to help you avoid the really nasty stuff.

There is an adjustment period as you begin to try new personal care products.  Things you were using in the past might have been stripping your skin and hair of natural oils, so it will take time for your body to adjust and stop over producing once you’re using gentler, more nourishing products.  This is particularly noticeable when switching shampoos, especially if your hair tends to be oilier to begin with.  Give everything a few weeks to settle down before you toss it in the trash.

The bottom line is, when trying to decide if a product is a good choice read the label, and if an ingredient stands out or makes you uncomfortable then it’s probably not right for you until you learn more.  Switching out your personal care products is a process, and while searching for something truly clean that really works, you may have to settle for something that isn’t perfect, but is a step in the right direction until you find something better. 

Be sure to check back for Pt. 2 of this post where I run through the great products I picked up at the Eco-Beauty Market and how they’re working for me so far!

arja pennanen lytle c.n.p. n.n.c.p certified nutritional practitioner

Arja is a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for balanced living. She loves to help people sleep better, think better, feel sexier, and just generally feel better by putting the focus on eating foods that make you feel good. Arja uses whole foods, lifestyle adjustments, herbs, and some supplements to help people feel their best and achieve their health and wellness goals.