Saturday, May 8, 2010

This is a food blog site, but I recently was asked by my wonderful friend Aspen about the use of beauty products that have parabens in them, and I thought this would be a good forum to discuss not only the health of the things we put into our body, but also onto our body. A quick search on the internet for parabens and other scary items that are in your makeup, facial care products, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, etc. can be enough to scare a person so much they may give up attempting to be "green" or healthy and just continue using these horrible products! It doesn't have to be a tedious processs!

First, many people just don't understand how terrible the products they use are. Unlike drug manufacturers who must prove products are safe prior to selling them, there are no regulatory obligations for cosmetics or facial care products. :( Sad! Many times, the main ingredient in your lotion is petroleum, also known as mineral oil.....which is no different really than rubbing motor oil all over your face. It clogs your pores and basically is like wrapping your face in saran wrap not allowing water or air in. These products do the complete opposite of what a person using them is wanting, which is soft, moisturized skin and anti-aging effects. Boo. Why do cosmetics companies use it then? It's super cheap and seems at first like it makes your skin soft for a short period of time after you apply it!

The typical woman uses twenty products with over 200 chemicals prior to walking out the door in the AM per WebMD, "....these chemicals are linked to a slew of health threats that range from cancer to infertility and birth defects as documented by the World Health Organization and the CDC" (WebMD: Cosmetics Safety).

What are some of the problematic ingredients? These include parabens (which are preservatives that have been strongly linked to endocrine dysfunction and cancer), petrochemicals (this is the petroleum I was talking about), and phthalates (which are found in a ton of products but is not listed by itself, instead is encompassed in the ingredient "fragrance"). These ingredients have been called out as carcinogens and endocrine disrupters causing a ton of hormone-related diseases and problems (PMS, breast/ovarian/testicular cancers, thyroid problems (that means metabolism problems), etc (WebMD, Janet Gray PhD: Vassar Professor).  Obviously, women are at a high risk...but so are their unborn babies!!!! WebMD has a study that measured the amount of chemicals in the umbilical cords of newborn babies and found 287 toxic chemicals, 180 of which were known to be cancerous to humans. THAT IS FRIGHTENING!!!! Europe has already banned the use of all these chemicals in their cosmetic/personal care products, and they did it over six years ago....but sadly the U.S. has not yet jumped aboard. :(

There is something you can do for yourself though! is a GREAT website where you can enter in every product you are thinking about buying and get a safety score and also a list of possible carcinogens/toxins in those products. You can make an informed decision in everything from your cleaning products to your makeup!!!! The great thing about this (beyond protecting your health) is that you can vote EVERYDAY to change your world with your dollar! Support healthy products and eventually healthy products will overcome all the nasty, noxious products currently on the market. Don't be fooled by products that claim to be "green"!!!! Many companies are currently masquerading as "green" or "healthy" and they are not! Unfortunately, there are not very many regulations on this use and find out the truth!!!!

You can also go to and find out about all the toxic products on the market as identified by Vassar College. You can also just make your own beauty products!!! It costs less and you know everything that is in them! Plus, in my opinion, they work SO much better!!!! Below are a few of the products I use and also some recipes for things you can make and put on your face at home!!!

These are Suki products.....OMG they are so great! You can read all the ingredients on the bottle and they are all natural and wonderful things! These are a few of their products I use: Echinacea facial oil, Balancing Day Lotion, Lemon Balm Cleanser, and their Nourishing Toner. :) These products are so safe you could eat them. Very healthy, not tested on animals, and no animal by-products!

 I've been trying to get away from Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. It's a very harsh detergent that is in almost all shampoos and not only dries out your hair but it strips your color, but it is also toxic to your kidneys and livers and is on the National Institutes of Health Hazards List. A lot of SLS free shampoos just don't give that "clean" feeling....but these are EXCELLENT! Hugo Naturals smells JUST like an orange cream cake, It is so so so great! John Masters Organics is also really great. Both are healthy, not tested on animals, and contain no animal by-products. :)

Since Burt's Bees got bought out by Clorox, some of their products have become questionable....but these two still have great ingredients and are SO GREAT! I especially like the deep cleansing cream. It preserves your skin's mantle (this is the pH balance of your skin, if you disrupt it like most cleansers do you are totally prematurely aging your ALWAYS look for pH balanced products!!!! Your skin has a mantle for the reason!). The deep cleansing cream makes my skin feel and look AMAZING!

Toothpaste and mouthwash are other items in your bathroom that can be totally toxic! (Doesn't that piss you off!?!?!). Tom's SLS free toothpaste and Natural Baking Soda mouthwash are the most toxin-free natural products I could find that also tasted like toothpaste and made my mouth feel clean. Most toothpastes contain Polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, saccharin, methylparaben, propylparaben, cocoamide DEA, and SLS. SLS, as stated above is known as a skin irritant, cause of mouth ulcers, toxic to aquatic animals and fish (its going down the drain), is toxic to your liver/kidneys, and is on the NIH hazards list!

There are a ton of great books on cosmetics and how terrible the "nasty" ones are and excellent alternative choices, but one that I really enjoyed was "Look Great, Live Green" by D. Burnes. She includes reasons you should care about what you put on your body, great brands of items, and also lots of recipes for facial care creations you can make at home!

-Strawberries and lemon juice are natural astringents.
-Mix 1/2 apple cider vinegar with 1/2 water for a great toner.
-Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide make a great toothpaste and mouthwash.
-Oatmeal, blueberries, and whole wheat flour make another excellent facial mask.
-Grapeseed oil, almond oil, and olive oil all make GREAT moisturizers!
-Avocado, lemon juice, and oatmeal make a great facial mask.
-You can wash your hair with baking soda and water (but I would only do this if you have light hair!)
-Apple cider vinegar makes your hair SUPER shiny and silky...and it doesn't smell after it dries!
-Make your own scrubs by combining either salt or sugar with olive, almond, or grapeseed oil and if you want a fragrance, add a little essential oil. There is no need to spend a ton of money on this easy scrub!!!
-Citrus fruits remove blackheads. Mix fresh squeezed orange, lime, or lemon juice and just rub them on your face prior to sleeping.
-Coffee grounds have toning properties and also increase blood flow to the areas you apply it to, which means all the great things in your blood go to damaged areas on your body and help to heal them. You can combine coffee grounds with almond, grapeseed, or olive oil and sugar for a great scrub!

On a side note, we had one of Mr. Jay's friends come into town this weekend and I made a whole slew of spreads for his arrival:

The spread had: white bean and basil hummus, vegan pesto hummus, olive tapenade, olive hummus, guacamole (with tiny plum tomatoes), salsa, McMillan taco "meat" dip, and the muhammara dip I made earlier yesterday! :) You can feed guests healthy food and still have them pleased with the presentation! :)


  1. I'm obsessed with my new DermOrganic Argan Oil shampoo, conditioner and oil masque.

    It works so well on my psoriasis and it smells good and the oil makes my hair dry 30% faster. (It really does make it dry faster which is awesome!) Not only do I put the oil on my hair but I put it on my psoriasis spots that come up on my legs and it makes them less flaky. Also, my scalp is less itchy and I can use the shampoo as a body wash so I itch less during and after a shower. It's so awesome! I looked it up on that website you suggested but it wasn't on there but I did look up Argan oil and it had a good number on it. The Monave makeup that I bought is a 3 though because of the zinc oxide but oh well. I'm not allergic to it and zinc helps my psoriasis. You win some, you lose some!

  2. Yeah, it is upsetting that our country does not regulate what toxins we can or cannot have in our personal beauty products! Canada and Japan have outlawed a lot of these things. Monave took out the zinc oxide though they should be a "0". Either way though, 1-3 is considered a "low" score/risk so they would still fit in that category! :)
    Im so glad you like the monave! I love mine too! :)

  3. No! They took it out? Darn. I was using that for my skin instead of taking Zinc supplements. Poo.

  4. U should just take zinc supplements or eat lots of sauerkraut!!!! Is zinc bioavailable through the skin?