Why being "healthy" in the U.S. requires more than exercise and nutrition
When I started my clean-eating journey over two years ago it was a challenge for me to swap processed foods with whole foods. As I continued making changes in my diet and doing more research I was led down a holisitic and health-conscious path; I started swapping out toxic household products and replacing them with items that ranked low on the EWG (Environmental Working Group) scale. But that's as far as I went - I never thought about the fact that my personal hygiene products were also toxic. (If you're unfamiliar with the EWG, their mission, according to their website, "is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.")
At that time I was only aware of products that were from the department store (or other beauty stores) that I had come to love - while I hadn't given much thought to their ingredients or EWG rating, they were full of harmful toxins. A friend of mine had started selling Beautycounter and introduced me to their products, which she claimed I would absolutely love. Not only are they rated low on the EWG scale the company vows to NEVER use toxic or harmful ingredients, including heavy metals. (Their "Never List" is a list of over 1500 ingredients they publicly vow to never use). Considering the lengths I went to live a healthy lifestyle for the sake of my health (including an autoimmune disease and hormone imbalances linked to environmental triggers) I was intrigued; I was shocked to learn about the harmful ingredients in my current products and what they were doing to me! I was diligent with my meal planning and supplementation but I was slathering hormone disruptors and toxic chemicals onto my face and body daily. I started using Beautycounter and quickly saw that not only was this company transparent in their ingredient selection but the products TRULY PERFORM. I'm turning 40 soon and at this point if there is one area in my life where I will splurge it's my face and body - and I'm happy that my Beautycounter products are not harmful to my body, perform, AND are affordable. I've been using them for over a year now and I can honestly say I have loved every product I've tried, which is odd because I never thought I'd say "I love the face oil" but I do!
Here's some education for you and why it matters - What's in your shampoo? Lotion? Face cream? Do yourself a favor and download the EWG app and scan the barcode on your items. The EWG rates household products on their toxicity level - meaning how high it is in 3 categories: Allergy Concern, Cancer Concern, and Developmental Concern. Beautycounter is proud their products are EWG VERIFIED and receive a low rating. To learn more about the EWG Verified ranking, click here.
The following items are just 8 of the 1500 from Beautycounter's THE NEVER LIST:
1. Parabens; used in lotions, shave creams, and shampoo, are linked to an elevated risk of breast cancer, early puberty onset, and low sperm production.
2. Pthalates: used to make products more pliable and stick to your skin, are linked to disrupting the endocrine system and causing birth defects.
3. Synthetic Flavor or Fragrance: high in allergen context, it's hard to determine what's in them due to "trade secrets" but they can be found in EVERYTHING.
4. Hydroquinone: common in skin brightening products, it blocks the production of melanin and is linked to skin cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation. It's also a NO NO product for anyone with Vitiligo, like yours truly.
5. BHA and BHT: used to extend the shelf life of a product, they are likely carcinogens and are hormone disruptors linked to liver damage.
6. Retinol: used in anti-aging skincare it's likely a hormone disruptor and linked to the speed of growth for skin tumors.
7. Sodium Laureth and Lauryl Sulfates (SLS): found in shampoos and lotions, known to be skin irritants and allergens.
8. Oxybenzone: found in sunscreens, linked with skin irritation and likely hormone disruption.
Note: Endocrine/Hormone disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body's endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.
Additionally, Beautycounter screens for heavy metal poisoning - think lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic in your lipstick. They test EVERY batch of color cosmetics THREE times before releasing it to the public. Read more about heavy metal poisoning and the effects it has on the brain development of children here. Even more, companies sell versions of their products overseas that follow Europe's strict standards but they put the toxic ingredients back in the ones they sell in the United States due to our lack of regulation - read more here.
Well. Now that the education portion has concluded, here are a few of my favorite products and why:
1. Dew Skin - I never wear foundation but this gives me enough coverage for my 5am days, feels lightweight, and helps fade age spots without using Hydroquinone.
2. Cleansing Balm - my skin feels silky smooth after each use, it doubles as a moisturizing mask, and the jar seems to last forever.
3. No.2 Plumping Facial Oil - I was resistant to facial oils for a very long time. Once I tried this oil, I was hooked! Because it uses natural oils it is absorbed into your skin immediately - it doesn't sit on your skin and cause it to look oily. I love the way my skin looks and feels when using this daily!
4. Body Wash in Citrus Mimosa - I love how thick this body wash is and how easily it lathers and spreads - I even use it as a shaving lotion!
5. Rejuvenating Radiance Serum - I am almost 40 and really do not want to turn to injections or botox; this is my go-to to keep fine lines away, and the price point for what I'm getting (IMO) is affordable.
The Beautycounter line consists of oils, cleansers, moisturizers, makeup, hair, baby products, sunscreen, and is growing - compare the ingredients from The Never List to the products you use daily - do you really want to continue to slather your body with toxins everyday? Continue to buy organic, continue to buy hormone free meat and dairy products, continue your supplementation, but when it comes to your personal hygiene products YOU DESERVE BETTER. Actually, WE ALL DO.