Do you have beauty products on your wish list this Christmas? Are you keen to avoid the toxins but don't know where to start? We've popped together some KEY nasties to avoid in order to look after your body and optimise breast wellness!
WHY “FRAGRANCE” ISN’T AN INGREDIENT:
The powers-that-be have little power over the personal care industry—a point that is perhaps most glaring (and maddening) when it comes to ingredient labels: Cosmetic companies are not required to disclose ingredients that are considered trade secrets, namely fragrance. This loophole means that any skincare, makeup, or bath product can contain multiple toxic ingredients with no mention of them so long as they are considered part of the fragrance formula (which doesn’t just include scent, but also colour, and experiential elements like how the fragrance sticks to your skin). Despite the unforgivable lack of transparency, what has become evident is that trade-secret label terms—fragrance, perfume, parfum, —are often Trojan horses for thousands of toxic ingredients that are commonly used by conventional brands, making them the biggest red flag to look for when shopping. Candles are a huge issue here. If the scent is intense, it's likely synthetic - opt for candles that list essential oils as the fragrance, rather than the sneaky words just mentioned
THE REASON ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS ARE SO SCARY:
Chemicals that have the ability to mimic the body’s hormones are classified as endocrine disruptors. They include the ingredient class parabens (a routinely used preservative; look for words ending in paraben on labels, like butylparaben), and chemical sunscreens (which are often in moisturisers and creams, too, or fall under the guise of fragrance). As the name suggests, endocrine disruptors mess with the endocrine system, which regulates our body’s essential rhythms (like our metabolism, mood, and reproductive processes). The reason that endocrine disruptors are particularly dangerous is counter-intuitive at first: They come in very tiny doses. It’s their micro-ness, though, that allows them to impersonate our own hormones (also very tiny), altering the production levels of our hormones and the way they behave. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to severe, long-term health damage, including reproductive issues, birth defects, metabolic problems, and cancer, and have been found in breast tumours. (Parents take note: endocrine disruptors are even more of a concern for littles with developing systems.)
THE PRESENCE OF CARCINOGENS IN BEAUTY PRODUCTS:
It’s mind boggling but true: Today, ingredients that are known carcinogens—meaning they can cause cancer—and many more that are considered possibly carcinogenic, are frequently put into personal care products, and it’s completely legal to do so. A main carcinogen to be aware of is formaldehyde, which is used as a preservative in makeup, hair, body, and skincare products. To make matters worse, formadelhyde is never listed on labels - here’s what to look for: 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, quaternium-15. An easy way to avoid formaldehyde in nail polish is to opt for ‘10-free’ formulations, or ‘5-free’ at the very least - it will definitely be written on the packaging if it is.
Navigating clean beauty can get pretty overwhelming, so a great place to start is by shopping with businesses that stock only natural, low-tox, clean brands (and the good news is that there are SO MANY brilliant products to replace the nasty ones in your cabinet! Don't feel like you have to throw out your entire repertoire of products in one fell swoop either, a great solution is to ditch and switch one product at a time, or as you run out of it. But, with lower cost items like nail-polish - we urge you to stop using the nasty ones, like yesterday.
Image thanks to @mariacurau_bali - our fave non-toxic, vegan, cruelty-free nail bar in Bali.