The Ugly Side of Beauty
The American government doesn’t require health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in our health and beauty care products, even though just about everyone is exposed to them. Cosmetics aren’t subject to the same oversight as food and pharmaceuticals, according to the Food & Drug Administration. The FDA doesn’t have the responsibility to approve new ingredients or issue safety recalls. It’s up to the manufacturer to decide whether a product is safe.
Imagine that… big business deciding for us if a product is safe… think about it. Once you have pondered that a bit, visit this website
and search for your favorite health and beauty products. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, sprays, sunscreen, skin creams, lotion, make-up- search them all. The Environmental Working Group is the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organization. Their mission is to serve as a watchdog to see that Americans get straight facts, unfiltered and unspun, so they can make healthier choices and enjoy a cleaner environment. See how safe your products are, then come back here for some better ideas.
Ready? Great. Here is the really good news- many of those very high-priced products are LESS effective than those you can make in your kitchen. Just look at the ingredient list- the primary ingredient is listed first, with the rest listed in descending order. So that product you pay $40, $50 and even $80 for is primary water or alcohol. Nice.
Skin care and cosmetics seem to have some of the most toxic ingredients. Make no mistake about it- beauty is BIG business. Keep remembering the big business folks get to decide if what they put in your product is safe. Cosmetics. Unregulated. Marketing is expensive. Shiny packages and fancy names for simple ingredients cost money. TV & magazine ads, big shiny displays in the stores, models with pouty lips- these things cost LOTS of money! That really doesn’t leave much cheddar left for the ingredients. So, water it is. Or alcohol. Or lab produced stuff that is “formulated to be more effective than regular” ingredients. OK I will hop off the soapbox. Thanks for reading, if you did…
I would like to offer you some very effective alternatives. As a young woman I discovered that I am highly sensitive to chemicals and fragrances. Most commercially produced cosmetics and skin care products bother me in some way. I will break out in itchy red bumps or scaly patches. My eyes will burn and itch. The chemical scents (these are labeled as FRAGRANCES) often give me instant headaches. In my 20s I began a journey toward clean, healthy products. 25 years and a lot of research and education later, I think I have some good solutions. Let me share some with you.
Cleansing your skin: You do NOT need harsh, sudsy soap to clean your skin. Soaps and detergents strip the skin. Here are some alternative and simple ideas for cleansing skin. TRY them for 2 weeks and see what you think: NOTE: use Essential oils with care- more is NOT better. Ensure the essential oils are thoroughly mixed with the fixed oil prior to using.
- Dry skin: Organic olive oil is highly emollient and very healing. Pour a small amount onto fingertips or a soft cloth and massage into the skin. The oil might sting your eyes a little, so avoid rubbing directly over your eyes if you are very sensitive. I personally do rub it over my entire face, it doesn’t bother me. Rinse thoroughly with water. Add essential oils at 2 to 5 drops per ounce to kick it up a notch. For dry skin try one of these essential oils: Chamomile, Sandalwood, Rose
- Normal or combination skin- Organic sweet almond oil is very similar to the sebum (natural oil) found in our skin. Use as described above. Essential oils good for this skin type: Geranium, Lavender, Ylang-Ylang
- Oily skin- Organic hazelnut or grape seed oil is mildly astringent (toning and tightening) and will not encourage excess oil production of your skin. Essential oils good for this skin type are Tea tree, Rosemary & Eucalyptus
Facial scrubs are a great way to gently remove dead skin cells and toxins, and increase circulation to the skin. Your face will glow!
- Dry/Sensitive skin scrub: Coconut oil with a small amount of organic sugar- start with 1 tsp per 1/4 cup of oil. Melt the oil by placing the container in a larger container filled with hot water. Never use the microwave or direct heat- it will change the chemical structure of the oil. Add the sugar and rub GENTLY into skin for a moisturizing scrub. Experiment with coarse turbinado/raw sugar for extra scrub. Add a few drops of one of the essential oils above if you like.
- Normal/combination skin scrub: Ground oatmeal & coarse corn meal- sounds like breakfast, huh? Get yourself some organic rolled oats and grind about a cup of the oats into a fine powder with a blender or coffee grinder. Add some coarse corn meal- start with a tablespoon per cup of powdered oats and adjust to your liking. You may add up to 10 drops of the essential oils (as suggested above) per cup of scrub. Mix well and store in a jar. When ready to use, place a small amount in your palm and wet with water OR plain yogurt until creamy. Scrub your face GENTLY and rinse thoroughly.
- Oily/problem skin: Coarse kosher or sea salt and lemon juice- Mix this as you need it so the salt doesn’t melt. Add enough lemon juice to moisten a few tablespoons of salt. Scrub your face gently and do NOT get into eyes- YUP this one will sting if you do. You may add a few drop of the essential oils suggested above AND a teaspoon of hazelnut or grapeseed oil too if you like. Adding the fixed oils makes this a tad more gentle.
Moisturizing the skin is important too. You can use a small amount of fixed oil (fixed or carrier oil is a term to describe the oily type of oils like olive/almond/coconut as opposed to essential oils which are not oils at all but rather plant extracts) to moisturize your face. I suggest olive, coconut and avocado oils for dry skin, sweet almond oil for normal/combination skin and jojoba or hazelnut oil for oily/problem skin. Add 2 to 4 DROPS of the suggested essential oils (above) per ounce of fixed oil to kick things up a notch.
Try these recipes and notice how your skin improves. There are also many “natural” products available on the market. Please read the ingredients- big business is aware of our interest in “natural” and they are tricky! If you do not recognize the ingredient, or if the top ingredient is water or alcohol, you are wasting your money. Make sure there are no fragrances in the product either, but that they are scented with essential oils instead of fragrances. Don’t have time to do this research??? I make a full line of Truly Pure Botanical Skin Care. They are my best-selling products. BEWARE- once you try them you will be hooked. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…