Making the switch to living life toxin free can be daunting. There’s a great deal of opinions and resources to take into account, but it really comes down to making informed decisions that fit in with your personal lifestyle. We’re breaking down some resources and first steps to take to make the change and become more informed.
Reading labels can be confusing, luckily there are plenty of resources to help you make informed decisions about the products you purchase. The Environmental Working Group’s online cosmetics database [http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/] is a great resource for consumers to understand what is in their products as well as how toxic those ingredients are. They rank the toxicity of individual products, as well as specific ingredients. Additionally, Think Dirty [http://www.thinkdirtyapp.com] is a great mobile app where you can scan barcodes of products while you’re in a store to check toxicity. If a product ranks high, they suggest non-toxic alternatives. Both resources create profiles for products and rank the toxicity in easy to understand terms.
Some of the major ingredients to watch out for include:
parabens — Synthetic preservatives meant to inhibit bacteria growth and extend the shelf life of products. Studies indicate a potential link between paraben ingestion and certain types of cancers.
sulfates — Harsh, synthetic surfactants used to dissolve dirt and oil. They can cause a number of issues like skin irritation, follicle inflammation, and can cause hair to become dry and dull.
silicones — Lightweight, synthetic, petroleum–derived polymers that coat the hair cuticle to lock out frizz and enhance shine. Can cause excessive build up and “clogging” of the hair cuticle that prevents hair from absorbing nutrient-rich ingredients.
phthalates — Colorless, odorless, oily liquids commonly used as plasticizers, which are synthetic ingredients used to soften plastics that would otherwise crack and be breakable. Some consumer advocacy, environmental, and medical experts in the US suggest that phthalates may be linked to hormone activity disruption, allergies, and possible risk increases of breast and liver cancer.
synthetic fragrances — Synthetic agents used to cosmetically tint and enhance product scent. Companies are not required by law to disclose the makeup of the fragrances they use, which means fragrance can be made up of any number of toxic synthetics. Synthetic fragrances have been linked to allergens, contact dermatitis, endocrine disruptors, and carcinogens. They can be especially problematic for those with sensitive skin and eyes.
Swap out products as they run out.
Switching all of your products at once is expensive, so we recommend replacing products as they run out. Start with your shower and skincare routine. It’s well known that our skin absorbs 60% of what we put on it, so it’s a good idea to start with those products you rely on every day and have the most contact with your skin. That’s most likely things like body wash, shampoo/conditioner, face wash, and lotions. Then move on to your makeup, again starting with the products you use daily. It’s also important to consider your household cleaning products. There are plenty of all natural alternatives on the market, and you can even DIY [http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8403/72-uses-for-simple-household-products-to-save-money-avoid-toxins.html] many!
Limit your carbon footprint.
There are small changes you can make in your everyday life that will limit your carbon footprint. Using reusable coffee mugs and water bottles as well as glass food storage containers will cut down on waste. Supporting restaurants with locally sourced food and finding local coops for groceries also have a great impact. Locally sourced food cuts down on transportation admissions, and smaller, local organic farms typically have stronger principles for how they maintain their crops and livestock.
While making change to a non-toxic life can be overwhelming, take it one step at a time. Most importantly, do your research. Utilizing resources to make informed decisions is the biggest part of living an eco chic lifestyle. What are some eco chic rules you incorporate in your life?