There is something about January that inspires me to get back to blogging regularly. I have started, restarted, and revamped my blog many times over the years. Writing is a passion of mine and a form of therapy. When I was a teenager I used to write poems as a form of self-expression and as an escape from the emotions and pain I was experiencing as a result of childhood trauma. I didn’t realize it at the time but there is something so freeing about writing out your thoughts and feelings, and for me even more so when I share my story with others. But since it’s still mostly just a hobby of mine it always gets pushed aside when the responsibilities of life get in the way.
If there’s one thing that 2020 taught me however is that it’s important to make more time in life for the things that bring you joy and nurture your mental health, and to let go of those that aren’t serving you anymore. Like many last year was personally a huge year of change, coping with new challenges, learning, and growth. It was full of ups and downs and of course most of these things were out of our control.
Change brings change and whether it is forced or planned change it can help us put things in perspective and give us the opportunity to set new goals. So with that I have revamped my blog to reflect my ever-evolving wellness journey as part of my own healing process and in hopes I can help others along the way. I will be sharing non-toxic living tips for mental and physical health, clean beauty tips and products I love, positive thoughts and inspiration, as well as my own beautifully imperfect story from chronic illness to wellness.
Whether you are here for support or for inspiration for your own path to wellness I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for following along!
I have been on a quest for over a year to find the best non-toxic beauty, personal care, and household products. This includes everything from skincare, to make-up, to hair products, and cleaning products. Basically everything I am putting on my body, breathing in, or using in my home. I am so conscious of everything I put in my body nutrition wise, it only makes sense that I have the same approach for all of the products I use. There is so much information out there however it’s hard to know what is actually safe to use and what to avoid. Keep reading for the reason why I made the switch, why you should consider doing it too, as well as a few tips to get you started.
I first started becoming conscious about what was in my beauty products when I adopted a vegan lifestyle 7 years ago and discovered that a lot of brand named products were tested on animals. While I am not a vegan anymore (click here to see why) this made me realize I needed to learn to read the labels on products just like food labels, and look for approved symbols on products such and “vegan” and “cruelty-free”. I made the switch to many “natural” products at this time, but only did so based on making sure they were vegan and cruelty-free. What I didn’t realize was that just because a product was labelled “natural”, “organic”, “vegan” or “cruelty-free” didn’t necessarily mean it was non-toxic, or even healthy for that matter.
The next change I made was to my cleaning products. As someone who is very sensitive to smells and chemicals I was already very picky with what cleaning products I would buy, gravitating towards unscented options. I decided to switch most of my household products to Norwex products which are free of harsh chemicals and better for the environment. Making this change made me realize just how sensitive I am to many smells and chemicals. I now get a massive headache around anything with a strong, chemical, or perfume smell, and even get itchy/red eyes and break out in hives. My body is obviously telling me these chemicals are bad for me.
Then came my discovery of Breast Implant Illness last year and my ruptured silicone implant (click here for the full story). I found out that the chemicals in my breast implants were toxic, some carcinogenic, and many were endocrine disruptors which cause certain hormones to become more dominant, throwing off our natural hormonal balance and potentially causing reproductive issues. This sparked me to look further into these chemicals and I discovered that many of the so called “natural products” I was using also contained these hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and other ingredients not healthy for our bodies. I knew I had to make changes to many of the products I used and thus began my search.
While I was tempted to just throw out every beauty product in my house and start fresh I knew that wasn’t an option, not only financially but I also didn’t know where to start. The beauty industry is an over 500 billion dollar industry and natural or “clean” products have continued to gain popularity over recent years. Many of the big brands are jumping on board, and labels such as “natural,” “pure”, and “green” are popping up everywhere. The scary thing is there is a massive lack of policy around chemicals in beauty and personal-care products in North America. The FDA has not updated the law passed in 1938 that gives them almost no authority to regulate beauty products. Right now, companies are allowed to put nearly any chemical into personal-care products sold in the US—even known carcinogens—without any safety testing and without disclosing all the chemicals on labels. The FDA in the U.S. has only banned thirtypotentially harmful ingredients in cosmetics, 600 are banned in Canada, while the European Union has banned over 1400! Companies are allowed to market and label their products as “natural”, “organic”, “non-toxic”, “clean” (you name it) and it means absolutely nothing. How terrifying is it that we are putting these products on our skin everyday and letting it absorb into our bodies through our largest organ (our skin) leading directly into our blood steam?!
Thankfully there are good companies out there who are committed to making products that are truly non-toxic but unfortunately it took a lot of trial an error on my part to find the right ones for my sensitive skin, even developing a skin condition (called Perioral Dermatitis) in the process. I also unfortunately learned the hard way that my skin does not like coconut oil or other oils that rate high on the comedogenic (pore clogging) scale, as well as certain essential oils. Another lesson in that “natural” does not always mean good for your skin.
I’m sure by this point you are wondering where to get started and might even be feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry though, a year later and I’m still transitioning some of my products so don’t expect to do it overnight. I suggest making the switch to new products slowly, perhaps as you run out of one, or are ready to try something new. I started with products I used the most like deodorant, soap, toothpaste, chapstick, and body lotion (click on each underlined hyperlink for my favs). Then one-by-one I eventually replaced all of my products including skin-care, makeup, hair products, and sunscreen.
Download The EWG App:
The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has a fantastic app called Skin Deep where you can scan or search for your products and it will give you a safety rating. This is a great way to find safer, nontoxic products for you and your family and was super helpful for me when transitioning products. I keep mine on hand when shopping to see where a product scores. Anything in the “green zone” is considered safer with the “EWG Verified” symbol (shown in the photo below) being the best rating. The app is not funded by any specific company (unlike others out there) so all of the information is unbiased and based on scientific literature. You can click on each ingredient in the product you are searching or search for them individually to get the details.
In my search over the past year I was introduced to Beautycounter products, and their mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone spoke to me. Not only do they make high quality and beautiful products, but they are advocating for stricter guidelines and regulations in the personal-care industry to shift it away from using harmful and questionable ingredients. Going above and beyond the EU’s guidelines Beautycounter banned over 1,800 ingredients in their formulations, called The Never List™. I personally fell in love with their charcoal soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lipgloss.
The more I learned about Beautycounter’s story and the more products I tried, the more impressed I became with the company’s motto to advocate, educate, and formulate safer accessible personal-care products for everyone. Naturally I decided to sign up as a Beautycounter Consultant to help others make safer choicer for them and their families since optimizing health from the inside out is my passion. I truly love and believe in these products and I am grateful to have found a company whose standards and values align with mine.
I’d love to help you find products you love too, whether it’s Beautycounter or some of the many other brands I use. Reach out with questions or recommendations and I’d be happy to help.
It’s no doubt that more and more people are making the switch to safer non-toxic beauty and household products. But how do you know it is truly non-toxic and what should you look for on the label? Stay tuned for future posts where I’ll help you find out if your product meets the list, as well as what top ingredients you should absolutely avoid. Did you find this article useful or interesting? Please give it a like below, subscribe for future posts and share it with someone who can also benefit.
It’s no surprise that many chemicals we ingest or breathe-in are harmful to our health. But did you know there are an alarming amount of toxic chemicals we use every day in our beauty and household products without being aware of the impacts they have on our health? Click here to read why. For that reason more and more people are making the switch to healthy non-toxic beauty and household products. But how do you know if your favourite product is truly non-toxic, and what should you look for on the label? After-all many of the ingredients lists are long and contain compounds that are hard enough to pronounce let alone understand. Unfortunately claims such as “natural”, “vegan”, “clean”, “green”, “organic”, or “non-toxic” doesn’t necessarily make it safe. Keep reading and I’ll help you find out if your product meets the list.
Let’s first start off with a list of common potentially harmful and/or irritating chemicals. Go ahead and grab some of your favourite beauty products and see if they contain any of these ingredients I’ve listed below in alphabetical order. Just a little warning that this list can be slightly overwhelming. I don’t expect you to avoid all of these ingredients at once, or at all if you choose not to. But I do think it’s important for you to look into these chemicals more and know what is in your products, especially if you have current health condition such as hormonal imbalances or chronic inflammatory conditions. These chemicals might just be the root of your problems, or at the very least not helping your health.
30 Common Potentially Harmful Chemicals in Beauty & Household Products:
Sunscreens (Retinyl Palmitate, Oxybenzone and Octyl Methoxycinnamate)
Synthetic Fragrances (Parfum, Fragrance)
TEA, DEA, and MEA (Triethanolamine, Diethanolamine, Monoethanolamine, Cocamide DEA, Lauramide DEA
If you are like me you have discovered that many of your favourite products contain numerous of these chemicals. So what’s the next step? Of course I don’t expect you to throw out all of your products and start from scratch. Who has the time or money to invest in that? However here are a few tips I suggest to help you start making the switch to healthier products:
Check your products on the EWG’s Cosmetic Database. This can help you decipher which of your products are the most toxic and which ones you might want to switch first. You can also search for individual ingredients you are wondering about to see how they rate on the toxicity scale.
EWG (Environmental Working Group) recommends avoiding at least these top 5 harmful ingredients as a start:
PEG and Polyethylene
Download EWG’s Healthy Living App and search their website for EWG Verified Products
Consider switching to a healthier product as you run out of another or are ready to try something new.
Copy the list above into your “notes” on your phone or print it off. That way when you are shopping for a new product you can check your list to see how it matches up. Look for samples to try first or travel sizes.
Follow my tips here on the 3 products I suggest switching first.
Do your research when looking for a new product. Read reviews and look for unbiased feedback from other users.
Take your time when switching to new products. I have slowly been making the switch over the past year am and still experimenting/looking for the best products.
Of course keep following my blog and social media posts as I continue to test out new products and give reviews. Have a suggestion for me to try or looking for my feedback on a product? Leave me a comment below or fill out a contact form and I’ll get back to you soon.
Did you find this article useful or interesting? Please give it a like below, subscribe for future posts and share it with someone who can also benefit.
I love when the weather is warm enough outside again that I can let my hair dry naturally to get beachy waves. It’s so much faster than drying/straightening my hair and is so much healthier for my locks. It’s also my husband’s preferred look on me which is a bonus. Since I have a lot of hair I’ll take not having to blow-dry it any day!
I’m often asked how I achieve the beachy hair look, so I wanted to share my super simple routine with all of you. It has taken me years to find the right products and technique that work on me so results might vary of course. I can’t count how many times I’ve splurged on a new product only to use it once or twice before tossing it.
Step 1: I give my hair a very good brushing before heading into the shower, making sure to detangle all knots. This is the last time I brush it until I style it again.
The biggest tip that I can share with you to help you keep the wavy look is not to brush your hair after it’s wet! I know that sounds ridiculous (and slightly disgusting) but it’s true. Touching it too much can ruin the waves.
Step 2: I wash and rinse my hair twice using the purple shampoo. The first time is quick with a small amount just to help remove any oils and left over dry shampoo. The 2nd time lathers much more and I scrub my scalp thoroughly, leaving the shampoo in for at least 5 min while I wash my face, shave, etc.
Purple shampoo is key to help me maintain my ashy blonde colour. I’ve tried many purple shampoos and Matrix’s Brass Off is the winner hands down. It takes the yellow out of my hair while giving me the desired silver look, without turing it purple. It also isn’t too harsh on my hair like other purple shampoos I’ve tried.
Step 3: After rinsing the shampoo out I apply a generous amount of conditioner all over my hair and leave this in for another 5 min before rinsing.
Step 4: When I’m finished showering I ring out any excess water and gently run through it with my fingers, taking out any knots or snags. I wrap my hair using just a regular towel while I continue to dry off.
Step 5: After gently towel drying my hair I wrap it in my hair turban and let my hair dry more in the wrap while I finish getting ready.
Step 6: I remove the turban, put my head upside down and use my fingers to shake my hair close to the scalp. The I flip my head up and do the same. This helps for it to fall into place. If there are any snags I gently detangle with my fingers.
Step 7: I apply a generous amount of the leave in conditioner to my palm and run it though the bottom 3/4 of my hair while scrunching, being careful not to get it too close to the roots. I don’t apply it on my roots as it makes them look greasy.
Step 8: I continue to scrunch my hair occasionally while drying. Being careful not to touch it too much though. I find less is more when it comes to beachy waves.
In Between Washes:
Because I have very thick hair I can get away with only washing it once or twice a week. It starts to get a little greasy by day 4 or 5 though so this is where the dry shampoo comes in. I sprinkle it in my hands and run it through my hair and over my scalp as needed. If my hair gets very tangly between washing I will gently brush it and use a little more leave-in conditioner to style.
While I am all about using as many natural products as possible I have yet to find any natural products that work when it comes to my hair, other than Lush’s Dry Shampoo which is natural, cruelty-free and vegan. It’s a 10 is also cruelty free. But I don’t know if a natural purple shampoo exists. I’ve tried Monat hair products as well as Arbonne and they just didn’t work for me. What about you? Do you have any natural hair product suggestions? Leave me a comment below!