I’ve learned many things over the course of my career about the environment, hazardous chemicals and their effect on bodies. Now that I’m a coach I have the opportunity to share this important information and be of more assistance to my friends, family and community in general.
Our skin is our largest organ and everything that we put on it is absorbed into our bloodstream. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimates that women use an average of 168 different chemical ingredients in personal care products each day. They estimate men use about 85.
Do you think that if product has made it to the shelves of your store it has been determined safe or that the government does an effective job of regulating the cosmetics industry?? The simple answer is no.
Many people don’t know that cosmetics are under regulated and commonly made from chemicals not tested properly (and I’m not talking about animal tests, we all know that these are a poor representation). Cosmetic manufacturers can use almost any ingredient they choose. The FDA can’t even require safety tests or recall harmful products!
The list of chemical ingredients in personal care products can be long, just a few can include; lead in our lipstick, mercury in our mascara, and vinyl chloride, at one time, was put into hairspray which is a known carcinogen. EWG estimates that today 34% of ingredients in our personal care products have been found to be associated with cancer, 45% associated with developmental problems and 66% are estrogen mimicking and hormone disrupting.
Unfortunately, there is evidence now that exposure to chemicals is passed down to children. Industrial chemicals have been found in the placenta and umbilical cord blood of newborn babies.
Luckily, there are many emerging agencies and non-profit groups working on this issue and some big companies are even phasing out chemicals of concern. EWG is a great source of information, they have developed the Skin Deep Database that serves as a great reference when you’re shopping (you can install the app on your phone). You can scan the barcode of products and get details about the product’s risk level.
What else can we do to protect ourselves? Do your research; educate yourself, share information with friends and family.
- When purchasing products, be sure to read the labels,
- Avoid anything with the word fragrance,
- Make sure your hairdresser knows that you prefer non-toxic, vegan and natural products,
- Spring is a great time to renew ourselves and our personal spaces, do a little “spring cleaning” and replace toxic products in your home,
- Make some of your own more natural products, Pinterest has some great recipes! Home-made recipes can save you money as well as be a bit easier on your body, some ideas are given below.
- Live a healthy lifestyle, great ways to detox include;
- Drink lots of filtered water (with a squirt of lemon or lime juice),
- Eat a healthy vegan diet rich in fruits and veggies (juices, soups and salads can be very detoxifying),
- Exercise in a way that induces sweat,
- Or sweat in sauna.
Luckily, our body has a tremendous ability to heal itself and a natural detoxification system that can be stimulated with healthy actions. While it is important to be aware, don’t become overly concerned with perfection and follow the 80/20 rule; 80% of the time be very vigilant with your product review but don’t make it an obsession.
Finally, we vote with our pocketbook when we purchase clean and green brands and send a message to companies. Like so many vegans have helped accomplish, let’s shift the market to include more products that are better for our families, the environment and compassionate toward animals!
1 cup cold water
1 tbsp baking soda
First, mix 1 cup of cold water with one tsp of baking soda. Shake well. Apply generously to your hair while showering. Massage in for 1-2 minutes. Be sure to rinse well.
1 cup cold water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Mix 1 cup cold water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. Shake well. Apply generously to your hair while showering. Massage in for about 1 minute and let it soak in for another minute. Rinse well, your hair may still smell like apple cider vinegar after rinsing, but the smell will go away once your hair is dry (I promise).
DIY Moisturizing Face Mask
Once or twice a month mash half of an avocado, banana, or cherries (you can even use mango!) in a small bowl. You can add 1 tsp lemon for a natural astringent. Then apply all over your face, neck and neckline (apply over lips too). Leave on for ten to fifteen minutes and lie down with your feet up. Remove over a sink with a warm wet facecloth, then splash warm water to remove any residual mask. Pat dry with a clean, dry towel.
Olive oil and Cocoa butter are also great natural moisturizers for your whole body!