But while we’ve become pretty good at identifying (and attempting to avoid) potential nasties in our diet, we haven’t quite caught up when it comes to the products we slather all over our bodies, faces and into our hair, day in day out. And yet with so much potential for harmful ingredients lurking in our body cream/deodorant/face serum, we really should be. You don’t need to be Gwyneth Paltrow to agree that when you’re using something on your skin every single day you should make sure it’s created as naturally and as nontoxic as possible: from carcinogens to hormone disruptors there are plenty of ingredients that are commonly found in beauty products that we can all agree we would rather not slather on our faces each day. You wouldn’t dream of adding a splash of anti-freeze to your morning smoothie would you? But you might just be unwittingly slathering it on your face each morning. Which is why ‘clean’ beauty products - those that are as free from toxins as possible - should become a staple in your beauty cupboard.
Happily the clean beauty scene is a rapidly growing space: but that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy place to understand or navigate. Plus you do need to be careful when choosing your clean beauty: it can be difficult to know which brands to trust, which products are worthy of adding to your skincare regime, and which products are as clean in their formula as they are in their imprint on the planet. Plus, the thought of stripping back your beauty cupboard to rid it of toxins can feel complicated, confusing and quite frankly a little too much like hard work.
It is however a process we strongly encourage. Which is why we’ve come up with 4 ridiculously easy ways to kick off your beauty cupboard detox. In fact, they’ll make your switchover to clean beauty so much simpler, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner…
In a nutshell, cleaning up your beauty cupboard is a case of identifying ingredients that are toxic - and then getting rid. Then, when buying new products, the first thing to do is look for those with the shortest ingredient list (a good thing) and go from there.
As a good starting point the common nasties to look out for (and avoid, obvs) are parabens (look for any word that ends in -paraben); Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES); Formaldehyde (often disguised as quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol) and Phthalates - abbreviated to DBP, DEHP and DEP. Other common ingredients in beauty products include petrochemical-derived Parafin wax and (the scarily natural sounding) Mineral Oil. Can’t stop thinking about the anti-freeze, can you? It’s disguised as propylene glycol - or PG, for short.
That’s quite a list - so try to memorize a few and keep an eye out.
Start with the products you use every day
Want to invest in some new products that you can be sure are clean? A good place to start is with the products you use on a daily basis. Which is often your skincare products - cleanser, moisturiser, SPF. Also, your skin is your biggest organ - and it absorbs much of what we apply to it - so looking at the ingredients in your skincare should really become second nature to you. Clean deodorant is another important switch to make: again, you use your deodorant daily, plus the mass-produced anti-perspirants lining the shelves of Boots are generally filled with chemicals, including Aluminium, which has been linked to a heap of long-term health problems. Try our PITT BALM, for a non-toxic natural deodorant that will keep your pits smelling sweet all day.
Look at what you’re showering in
Another top tip is to look at what you’re using in your shower. After all, you shower daily (we hope) so again it makes sense to start with those products. Add to that your skin is more absorbent when wet and warm (ie, during your shower) plus you inhale the steam from your shower, which means you’re also inhaling any ingredients in your shower products. This is also a good argument for swapping your body cream - again, something you slather on post-shower or straight from a bath, when your skin is more porous - to something cleaner. Try our super-hydrating delicious body butter, BODD BALM: a luxuriously soft multi-purpose moisturiser, rich in naturally occurring antioxidants, that regenerates, soothes and softens all skin types, including dry skin and sensitive skin.
Know who you can trust
If you find yourself standing in the aisle of Tesco skim-reading the back of your shower gel, or it’s driving you mad trying to locate the ingredients list when browsing through Cult Beauty, then our top tip is to stick to brands you know you can trust and experiment with their products. Balms etc’s growing range of refillable beauty products can always be relied upon as clean, natural and non-toxic. These are clean cosmetics that have earned a cult following on merit: they’re basically beauty cupboard staples in their own right, with super clean credentials as a bonus.
So, there you have it: four simple ways to kickstart your journey to a cleaner beauty routine. We’re not telling you to bin that expensive new SPF straight off the bat, because it contains one of the ingredients in our ‘avoid’ list, and we don’t think you should start culling your make-up bag and leaving yourself short. What we are saying is, with our tips you can hopefully become a little more mindful of what you’re using on your body and putting out into the environment. And by that token, you can choose to be a little kinder to both. Which, in our opinion, should always be a priority.