Listen up: Your morning cleanse-moisturize-makeup routine may be equivalent to eating KFC for breakfast, says Kristen Arnett, a top makeup artist and the founder of Green Beauty Team who advocates for healthier beauty products.
“I liken it to eating fast food every day. Yes, you are filling your belly, but ultimately you know what it’s doing to your long-term health is really bad for you,” she explains. “Your beauty products may give you a short term fix of smelling or looking better, but over time the kinds of chemicals you’re ingesting could be throwing your body way out of balance.”
Why would your favorite cherry-red lipstick do that to you?
Just like packaged, processed foods, many beauty products are made with ingredients that research has shown could be harmful to your health (and some that have barely been studied). And while you’re not swallowing your blush, skin is the largest organ and it is semi-permeable. “That means that some of what you use topically can enter the bloodstream and mess with everything from hormones to cellular health,” Arnett says. “If you are paying attention to what you’re putting in your body, then it is essential to consider what you are putting in your body indirectly through the beauty products you’re using.”
To do a serious clean up of your routine, download Arnett’s Toss the Toxins Toolkit, which is filled with tips on ingredients to avoid how to quickly assess a product’s safety, and resources to shop more effectively. (She also does consults, like an in-person Marie Kondo for your beauty cabinet!)
Or start simple with these two easy steps towards using healthier beauty products.
2 Steps to Healthier Beauty Products
1. Start with Soap.
“If you’re feeling intimidated, first know that it’s completely normal! It’s hard enough as it is to find products you like in the conventional world, so for many, changing it all at once would just be overwhelming. I say start with soap. It’s something almost all of us use with high frequency, pretty much all over our bodies.
Get rid of any cleanser for your face, body, or hands that includes sodium laureth (lauryl) sulfate, which strips the skin of its natural protective oils and leaves it vulnerable for other skin penetrating chemicals.
2. Avoid these ingredients.
“In addition to the sodium laureth (lauryl) sulfate I mentioned above, these are the other most important ingredients to avoid. Fragrance (or parfum) that is not from a totally natural source. Synthetic fragrance can contain up to 200 unnamed ingredients, many of which can trigger allergies, hormone disruption, headaches, skin irritation and more.
Parabens: This is probably the most commonly recognized ingredient that consumers have come to understand as being dangerous. Of course there’s science on both sides that will tell you why it is or isn’t. I personally would rather not risk it based on what I’ve read. Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, disrupting the endocrine system, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers.”
A Nutritious Life tip to round out her advice? Cut back on the number of beauty products you use altogether, and eat these foods for glowing skin, instead.