Natural beauty is growing in popularity. As we’re becoming more conscious about vegan and cruelty-free products, many of us are now conscious about how those products are affecting us too.
If you’ve made changes to your diet, your wardrobe and even the tea you drink, the next step is thinking about your beauty routine.
Why you need to reconsider your daily beauty products
There are a lot of ingredients that are commonly used in cosmetics which have scary side effects. Because we use cosmetics on a daily basis, it’s worth taking notice of what’s in these products.
In many cases, applying the ingredients onto the skin can be worse than eating them, as they are absorbed directly into the system and not broken down by enzymes in your saliva and stomach.
But don’t panic. Now that you’re aware, you can start to make changes to reduce or eliminate these toxic ingredients, and compile your own natural beauty starter kit.
Read on to see which ingredients to avoid and find some products to start your natural journey with.
+ Win £30 to spend on natural beauty products!
What are these toxic ingredients?
There are a few common ingredients you’ll want to look out for…
According to the FDA, parabens are used as a preservative to prevent harmful bacteria and mould growing in cosmetics. In the EU, eighteen different parabens are permitted for use in cosmetics and personal care products, the most common being ethyl paraben, methyl paraben, propyl paraben and butyl paraben.
We’re regularly exposed to parabens, but when they are present in our cosmetics, they are easily absorbed into the skin and the gut. Parabens have been found in the blood and urine of pregnant women, as well as in amniotic fluid, placental tissue, cord blood and breast tissue.
Studies have shown that they may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Pthalates are used as binders, most commonly in plastic products, and are found in food, cosmetics and household products. Studies have linked them to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioural issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant, detergent, and emulsifier in cosmetics and household products. It has been linked to nitrosamines, which are carcinogens that cause your body to absorb nitrates (also known to be carcinogens).
Formaldehyde is a colourless gas that helps protect cosmetic products against contamination by bacteria during storage and continued use. Formaldehyde can make you feel sick if you breathe a lot of it and can cause symptoms like sore throats, coughs, scratchy eyes and nosebleeds.
The CDC also note its link to cancer, particularly of the nose and throat.
Propylene glycol is an ingredient typically found in anti-freeze. You’re probably already thinking that it shouldn’t be in cosmetics. There is debate over the level of toxicity, but it is agreed that it causes skin irritation, increased creatinine (linked to kidney issues), neurological issues, cardiovascular problems and respiratory issues.
Natural beauty alternatives
There are plenty more toxic ingredients out there, which is why it’s important to start being more conscious about the cosmetics we use – at least the products directly applied to the skin with intent of absorption. There are so many amazing brands out there but it can be difficult to know where to look when we’re used to picking up anything we desire from high street shelves.
Wearth London are a ‘conscious department store’. They’re essentially a curated marketplace for natural beauty products, jewellery, homewares and furniture. They do all of the brand checking for you and only stock products that meet their sustainable and ethical standards.
Their natural beauty department is a wealth of green, vegan and organic products that you can use safe in the knowledge that they’re made with a clear conscience. All of their products are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and use glass or metal instead of plastic packaging.
As well as plastic being bad for the environment, it can also contain toxic ingredients, which can be absorbed into the product if left for long enough – so try to go plastic-free where possible.
Natural beauty starter kit
We’ve rounded up the essential products you need to get your natural beauty kit started. Start by swapping out your most used items once you’ve finished them.
The mandarin sugar scrub will gently exfoliate the skin and leave it super soft with its Macadamia and Jojoba oil. It’s important to choose an exfoliator that isn’t packed with skin stripping ingredients, so this natural scrub is the way to go.
This often goes forgotten as it doesn’t seem like an important part of a skincare routine. But think about how often you wash your hands, every time you do your skin is being exposed to the ingredients in the wash. Make sure they’re great quality ingredients, like the Black Poppy & Wild Fig handwash from Soap Co.
Another daily essential, toothbrushes are usually made of plastic. We replace (or at least we should be) our toothbrush multiple times throughout the year and every time we do we’re contributing to plastic waste. Opt for a bamboo toothbrush, which is not only much better for the environment but isn’t as harsh on your teeth and enamel.
Now you need to actually clean your teeth. You actually ingest toothpaste and mouthwash, whether you intend to or not, so you want to make sure you’re not ingesting any nasties directly into the body. Georganics do a great charcoal toothpaste that’s natural and whitening. And it comes in a glass jar to reduce plastic waste.
In addition to your toothpaste, Georganics have created an oil pulling mouthwash, which has antibacterial properties. This’ll help keep your mouth in check while keeping it feeling clean and fresh.
If you have sensitive skin, this milky cream cleanser from keweko is perfect. It’ll gently remove any dirt or makeup on the skin while delivering a soothing effect. It also helps to moisturise the skin and keeps it feeling soft.
If you’re after something a little more exfoliatin or want to incorporate exfoliation in a few times a week, White Witch offers a great natural cleanser. Made with Irish oats and wild flowers, it gently exfoliates the skin, which helps for better absorption of your moisturiser and keeps the skin soft.
Rather than using cotton pads, which tend to be quite wasteful, opt for reusable cleansing pads. The crocheted pads from Soap Daze are durable and offer a slight exfoliating effect, while still being gentle on the skin.
After cleansing, you’ll want to use a toner. A lot of toners are very harsh on the skin but this can upset the natural balance and cause more problems in the long run. Keweko have a natural, gentle toner that will still give you that refreshing feeling. It helps to bring balance back to the skin and set you up for a great skin day.
Oils are great for adding moisture back to the skin because they act as an extra defence against losing the moisture in your skin. Olofson has a beautiful apricot and hazelnut facial oil, which is perfect for everyday use. Use it morning or night and leave it for a little while to sink into your skin.
If you’d rather use an oil at night and a lighter moisturiser in the day, Olofson also have a daily face cream with safflower and rosehip. This absorbs quickly into the skin so is great if you don’t have a lot of time to spend on your skincare.
Lip balm is often overlooked too. Again, this is one that is unknowingly ingested as it’s used around our mouth. Some lip balms contain chemicals that will keep drying out your lips so you have to keep reapplying and reapplying. Miss Organics have created citrus and floral lip balms, which will keep your lips soft and your mind at ease with natural, organic ingredients.
Win £30 to build your own natural beauty kit
To help you on your journey, Wearth are offering £30 to spend on their online store to start building your natural beauty kit. Just enter on Instagram for the chance to win. The competition closes on the 28th March and the winner will be announced on Instagram and contact directly through direct message.
Just click through to this Instagram post to enter…
[closed – winner: @mxlinowska congrats!] 🌟WIN! 🌟£30 to spend on natural beauty…⠀ ⠀ We've got a natural beauty starter kit over on Daisily (link in the bio) – including ingredients you should be avoiding. For a chance to win £30 to spend on the @wearthlondon store to build your own kit, just follow these steps to enter… ⠀ ⠀ 1. Follow @daisilyuk⠀ 2. Follow @wearthlondon⠀ 3. Like this post & tag a friend ⠀ (Europe only. Competition closes 28th March. Winner will be announced on Instagram and contacted directly through direct message)⠀ ⠀ #vegan #vegansofig #veganism #veganlife #vegansofinstagram #vegans #veganlifestyle #veganCommunity #veganaf #veganforlife #veganbeauty #veganshare #veganfriendly #zerowaste #zerowastelifestyle #zerowastelife #zerowasteliving #zerowastejourney #zerowasteuk #zerowastevegan #naturalbeauty #giveaway #giveaways #giveawaycontest #Giveawaytime #GIVEAWAYALERT #giveawayuk
* This post is in collaboration with Wearth London