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Hola, wellness-lovers! Holistic as Heck Candace here, and today I want to give you the dish on cosmetics and body care products. This is a MASSIVE topic, and I want to give you a thorough introduction and help you to understand the basics: what’s in our personal care products, why it matters, what to do about it, and why the stuff we’ve got is a wayyyyy better choice for you.

What you put on your body is just as important – and arguably even more important – than what you put in your body. And because we at Vibrant Lifestyle know that, and we care about our health, about your health, and about the planet’s health, we’ve brought in some new beautiful, organic make up lines (yes!) to go along with our other clean, organic body care products. Why? So that you can avoid botching your best dietary and fitness efforts by accidentally introducing garbage into your system via toxic shampoo, foundation, deodorant, or sunscreen. WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED, GUYS!

So let’s get to it!

First of all, let’s talk about why the other stuff ain’t so good.

cosm1Your skin absorbs stuff. You probably know this. But it might be a bigger deal than you realize.

Let’s compare putting stuff on your skin with eating stuff:

If you eat something, theoretically you have a well-functioning digestive system that can separate friend from foe, and therefore can absorb the nutrients, while barring parasites, pathogenic bacteria, toxins, synthetic non-nutritive ingredients, and other nasties from entering your blood stream. These bad-for-you items don’t get absorbed, and are excreted along with other wastes. Good riddance! The good stuff that is allowed through the barrier of your intestinal lining is then granted access to your blood stream, where it can now do its thing in your body, like nourish your cells.

But what about your skin?

There is, of course, no mini digestive tract right under the surface of your skin. What soaks through your skin goes right into your blood stream. That whole filtration step is skipped. Whatever carcinogens or endocrine disruptors (seriously) that might be in your make-up are now in your body, wreaking havoc.

Bottom line? Don’t put it on your skin if you’re not willing to eat it.

Why it’s a good idea to ditch conventional cosmetics:

Most makeup, and other daily body products like shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste, can be full of things that are dangerous for our bods. For example, lead and talc in makeup, and aluminum in deodorant. So how does it come to be that these ingredients are allowed to be added in the first place?

First of all, the laws governing cosmetics and personal care products are so scant that chemicals that are straight up known to cause cancer are legally allowed as ingredients (even in baby products, you guys!). Most of the ingredients used in body care products haven’t even been tested.

The ingredients that are tested for safety are tested individually. The levels deemed acceptable are issued on an ingredient-by-ingredient basis, and don’t take into account that each of those individually-tested questionable ingredients is going to be combined with a plethora of other questionable ingredients: not only the product that an individual ingredient is destined to be a part of, but also with all the other body products you use daily. Most people use on average 9 different body care products every day (women tend to use more, and if you wear makeup daily, the average goes up to 15). So what about the cumulative effects of all those ingredients? That combination has not been tested for safety.

So what are these nasty ingredients we need to be on the lookout for? Here’s just a sampling of some of the nastiest nasties:

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • Acrylates
  • Benzophenone (and related compounds)
  • Butylated compounds (like the preservative BHA)
  • Carbon black
  • Coal tar
  • Ethanolamine compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA, etc.)
  • Formaldehyde (and preservatives that release it)
  • Fragrance (a term that means “chemical cocktail”) a.k.a. “Parfum”
  • Homosalate
  • Hydroquinone
  • Lead, and other heavy metals (arsenic, mercury, etc., as contaminants)
  • Methylisothiazolinone and mehtylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Nitrosamines
  • Octinoxate
  • PABA
  • Petrolatum and petroleum jelly
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Polyacrylamide
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a.k.a. Teflon
  • P-phenylenediamine
  • Parabens
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • Phthalates
  • Quaternium-15
  • Resorcinol
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Sulfates (foaming agents: SLS, SLES, ALES, ALS, etc.)
  • Synthetic musk
  • Talc (contains asbestos)
  • Toluene
  • Triclosan

These ingredients are linked to cancer, or disrupt our endocrine system (think hormone levels), or raise concerns about organ-system toxicity, or all of the above, and some of these ingredients have already been banned in Europe.

…and exposure to a bit here and there of all of these ingredients ADDS UP.

So let’s talk about how we can get away from them!

Check Labels

cosm3It’s important that you understand what the label on a product really means. Don’t fall for health washing claims that draw your attention to a featured ingredient – often an herb or an exotic oil – to distract you from all the other gunk in the product.

A very important label claim to understand is this one: “natural” vs “organic”.

Products labeled “natural” theoretically contain few to no synthetic ingredients, but it is not a certified term, which means that anyone can slap that label on their product to try to sell it to you, regardless of what’s in it. You still need to read the ingredients. It’s important to understand that, from a legal standpoint, the term “natural” means nothing.

For a cosmetic product to be certified organic, 95% of the ingredients must be natural (i.e. not synthetic) with a minimum of 10% organic ingredients. That’s a low number, I know, but consider that organic is a style of farming, and some things just can’t be farmed: namely, rocks. Minerals from rocks are where most natural makeup colour and shimmer comes from. Rocks are all decidedly, um, “wild crafted” if you will, so they can’t be considered organic, although they are natural. But the oils and botanicals used in cosmetic products can be organically farmed, and the term organic does have a legal definition in North America. It also means that the company had to comply with environmental standards, and has transparent ethical standards. And yes, companies that make the “organic” claim get checked up on. So that term does count for something.

The Good Stuff

Good, organic makeup has to meet high standards to be granted certification, which means your organic makeup will not contain any genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), no ethoxylated products (PEG), no artificial fragrances, no toxic preservatives, and no products derived from petrochemicals. They are made in a way that takes into consideration both your health as well as the health of the environment. Organic cosmetics (makeup, moisturizer, deodorant, etc.) are the best choice especially for those with sensitive skin. There is a much lower risk of allergic reaction with these products as well.

Check out these great new makeup lines we now carry here at Vibrant Lifestyle:

da lish logoCompany: da lish
Why they’re great: made right here in Toronto, their only non-vegan products contain beeswax, which they source from local, small-scale ethical beekeepers. As a bee-lover, these guys won me over right there. Their products go on like silk, look great, have excellent staying power, and feel light on the skin.
What we’ve got from them: matte lipstick, lip/cheek/eye pots (the vanilla-scented cream blush and bronzer are my fav’s), liquid foundation, liquid concealer, cream eye shadow, tinted lip gloss, and a silky smooth, creamy mascara (I love this mascara).

zuii logo fullCompany: Zuii Organic
Why they’re great: Their goods are made with organic floral ingredients, essential oils, vitamins and minerals. They’re the only organic makeup company I know to have an eyebrow-fill product, and I love it – it’s waxy and natural looking, and you can build it up easily for as dramatic a look as you might want.
What we’ve got from them: concealer pencils (beautiful coverage), eyeliner pencils, lip liner pencils, eyebrow definers (HEART!), and powdered flora blush and bronzer.

zuzu logoCompany: Zuzu
Why they’re great: Certified gluten-free, non-toxic, cruelty-free, 100% vegan, NPA certified goodness.
What we’ve got from them: liquid eyeliner, and mascara


zorah logoCompany: Zorah
Why they’re great: Quality organic and fair-trade makeup products that are approved by various environmental agencies, eco-friendly, and made right here in Canada! They also utilize the nourishing and hydrating magic of Argan oil.
What we’ve got from them: gel/cream eye shadow, and mascara (length + care, which is more natural looking; and volume + care, which is more dramatic and gives a false lash effect)

Other body products we can help you make the health switch with:

  • Nail polish
  • Hair dye
  • Face care: cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, masks, scrubs, makeup remover, eye cream, etc.
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Body wash
  • Soap
  • Body scrub
  • Bath salts
  • Shaving cream/gel
  • Aftershave
  • Sunscreen
  • After-sun care
  • Hand cream
  • Body lotion
  • Foot cream
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Scalp treatment
  • Hair serum
  • Hair styling products
  • Lube
  • Menstrual products
  • Massage oil
  • Bug spray

cosm2So what are you waiting for? Do your bod a favour and stop polluting it in the name of beauty – it is totally unnecessary! You can still rock the look you want while showing your body (and the environment!) some love.

Don’t feel you have to ditch your products and replace them all at once. If you want that kind of a purge, then more power to you! But one step at a time is fine too. If you feel overwhelmed, just ask yourself what product or products you use the most, and whether you feel ready to switch one of those. If you don’t want to throw your current items out, then as you use up products you already have, you can always replace them with better options one at a time as you use them up.

Do check out the ingredients in your bathroom, though – some things might not be worth keeping.

If you commit to learning a little something every day, to trying something new as soon as the last new thing feels comfortable, and to continually moving toward healthier, cleaner, greener living, then step by step, YOU WILL GET THERE. And your body, the air, the trees, the soil, and all the critters who inhabit this planet with us will THANK YOU.

So come on down to the shop! Ask us questions and try out some sassy new testers. We hope to see you at Vibrant Lifestyle soon!

Holistic as Heck Nutritionist (CNP)

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