11 Beauty products I don’t buy anymore, and my favourite eco-friendly, non-toxic alternatives to use instead!
Natural skincare and non-toxic, eco-friendly products are kind of my passion these days! I feel like my love for health and wellness started with nutrition and food, but has slowly over-flowed into other areas of my life.
Everything you put on your body goes IN your body, and the products we use on our skin on a daily basis can therefore have a big impact on our health! Did you know… the average person comes in contact with hundreds of toxic chemicals every day. It’s estimated that most people apply 300 chemicals to their body every single day! Some of the biggest contributors are our personal care and beauty products.
Many conventional beauty products contain toxic artificial fragrances, parabens, BHT, mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and toluene to name a few.
Over the past few years I have tried to be very intentional about the products that I purchase – opting for non-toxic ingredients and less packaging whenever I can. When it comes to skincare choosing products that use natural skin-nourishing ingredients is always best! Fancy packaging might be tempting, and even if you read the ingredients label it can sometimes be misleading and hard to understand what the ingredients actually mean.
When the term “natural” is used on a product label, It really doesn’t mean anything! The cosmetics industry is unregulated and anyone can claim their product is “natural”. In the United States, the FDA has only banned 11 ingredients from being used in cosmetics & skincare products. The Canadian government has banned or restricted over 500 chemicals used in cosmetic products. Compare that to the EU, where over 2,000 chemicals have been banned from use in cosmetics! All of this to say – it’s a good idea to take a careful look at the ingredients list on each of your personal care products, because even if they look green or natural, you never know what could be hiding in there!
The Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetic Database is very helpful for looking up individual ingredients and it will give you a rating of how hazardous they are, as well as the risks and concerns. Another great resource is the Think Dirty App! These two resources are my go-to when in doubt. If you’re purchasing a new product online or in stores, you can do a quick search to find out how clean or dirty it really is on either Think Dirty or EWG Healthy Living App.
I’ve talked about my journey with acne and natural skincare before and recently shared my full natural skincare routine in this blog post. Today, I wanted to talk about 11 Beauty Products I Don’t Buy Anymore, and what I’ve swapped them with instead! I hope that this inspires you, and gives you a starting place if you’re looking to green-up your skincare and beauty routine!
Has anyone else noticed that makeup remover is so expensive!? This swap is sure to save you some money, and will also be healthier for your skin. Makeup remover typically contains ingredients such as artificial fragrance, mineral oil, and BHT. Along with a whole other cocktail of synthetic ingredients that are possible carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and skin irritants. As a long time contact wearer with sensitive eyes it’s even more important for me to use products that don’t sting or dry my eyes out. When we’re applying a product like this close to sensitive areas like your eyes and mouth, it’s definitely a good idea to avoid these nasty chemicals!
Natural Swap: jojoba oil. Yes, that’s right you can replace your makeup remover and even eye makeup remover with one simple ingredient, which also happens to be nourishing for your skin. Jojoba oil is by far my favourite skin loving oil and is also good for acne prone and oily skin, so if you’re hesitant to use oils on your face, don’t worry. Jojoba oil helps to cleanse the skin while also balancing oil production and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Makeup wipes are similar to makeup remover, with the added downfall that they are also a single use item! I also find they don’t actually remove makeup that well, and irritate my skin. So while they may seem convenient, they don’t clean your skin well and they actually leave behind a residue of toxic ingredients and preservatives, which often includes formaldehyde-releasing chemicals. If you do ever have to use a makeup remover wipe, be sure to wash your skin afterwards to remove any drying or irritating residue left behind. You can also look for biodegradable ones that you can throw into your compost.
Natural Swap: good old cotton face cloths! Yes that’s right, remember those? They work even better than makeup remover wipes and are much easier on your skin and work as a gentle exfoliator. Paired with a gentle natural cleanser like this one, or this delicate cleanser that I also love – that’s all you really need!
Another thing I no longer buy anymore is hair masks, or leave-in conditioner. They are typically filled with synthetic fragrances, and I find they don’t actually work that well for me. Another thing is that because I don’t wash my hair every single day, I’m not constantly stripping it of oils and drying it out! So I don’t find that I need to use a leave-in conditioner or hair mask that often.
Natural Swap: coconut oil! You’re going to hear me talk about coconut oil a lot in this blog post, but it’s honestly good for so many things. If you’d like, you can add a few drops of hair and scalp-loving essential oils (lavender, rosemary, or cedarwood are good for hair growth) and massage into your scalp and the tips of your hair. I usually let it sit for about an hour before washing it out and make sure to double shampoo to get any leftover oil residue out
It has been years since I last purchased body wash! Again, many of them are scented with artificial fragrances and are too aggressive for my liking. Many contain sodium laureth sulfate, which is a foaming agent that also causes skin irritation and allows other chemicals to be absorbed more easily into your body! I never thought it would happen but I’m officially a bar of soap kind of gal.
Natural Swap: these soap bars are my favourite! They are hand made, scented with essential oils, and totally non-toxic. Of course they are also zero waste because there is no packaging either, another big bonus! My favourite scents are the fresh tangerine, lemongrass and lavender ones. I like using these natural bar soaps with a sea sponge – which is another great eco-friendly and biodegradable option!
Body scrub is another product that I haven’t purchased in a long time. I find that I can easily make my own DIY body scrub with just a few simple ingredients, and it works so well! I also find it’s much more cost effective – the body scrubs you will find at the store are used up so quickly.
Natural Swap: DIY body scrub! I will say, a body scrub is a great way to create an at-home spa, and get your skin glowing and soft for summer. I like to do this about once a week in the shower right before I’m going to shave and I swear my legs and skin never look better. You can find my recipe for DIY Body Scrub in this post!
You know the drill by now – conventional shaving cream is another product that is laden with chemicals and synthetic fragrance. Another beauty product that’s doing more damage than good! The good news is, this is a really easy product to swap out and you will also save money!
Natural Swap: coconut oil! Yes, you could even say it’s my favourite skincare product! Using coconut oil is so much more moisturizing for your legs, and it will leave them feeling silky smooth. To make things easy you can even apply it before you get in the shower, then shave your legs. No soap needed! It helps to prevent razor burn, reduces inflammation, and helps to heal any cuts or burns.
You may have heard me talk about why I don’t use dry shampoo in this video (its a MUST watch if you’re still using conventional dry shampoo trust me). This was a harder one for me to swap at first, because I was the biggest fan of the conventional toxic stuff! Don’t get me wrong, it works really well! … Until you start to lose your hair… yup! I noticed so much hair loss and thinning around the areas I was using it the most like around my hairline. While I was backpacking in Australia, I sort of became addicted and dependent on the stuff and was for many years following. It’s convenient and easy when you’re on the go! But the toxins used in these products definitely affected my scalp and I was noticing a lot of hair loss. After I stopped using conventional dry shampoo, it made a world of difference!
Natural Swap: natural dry shampoo! I have been loving this natural dry shampoo from my friend Joy, as well as this one. I think these work just as well as the conventional kind, and are a great natural beauty product to have on hand or on the go when you’re travelling! If you want an even easier option just sprinkle some arrowroot powder on your roots, shake and brush it out. If you have darker locks like myself add some cocoa powder to it to darken the colour so you don’t get white roots plus you’ll smell like chocolate.
Once you remove toxic products from your life, you become a lot more sensitive to artificial scents and the chemicals that are released from products like hair spray. I used to use hair spray on a regular basis, but now it just makes me cough / run for fresh air! It’s so hard to breathe around this stuff!
Natural Swap: coconut oil! When in doubt, use coconut oil for everything haha. Ok but hear me out – all you need is the tiniest amount in the ends of your hair to help hold your curls. It will also help to smooth any fly aways and add some shine to your hair – as long as you don’t use too much! Just remember, a little goes a long way.
I did a quick search on the Think Dirty app for some popular makeup setting sprays to see what they actually contain. Some of the toxins included: butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, fragrance, and BHT! Looking at the health concerns associated with these chemicals, I think I’ll pass. Again, when there are natural options out there that do the job just the same if not better – it always seems like an easy choice for me. I always find that makeup setting spray clogs your pores anyways, and doesn’t feel that great throughout the day.
Natural Swap: rose water toner. If you’ve watched any of my skincare routine videos, you will know that this is basically my holy grail skincare product. I can’t live without it! It’s so refreshing, and nourishing. I also love it because it doesn’t contain alcohol or irritating ingredients. Most other toners leave my skin tingling and not in a good way! I’ve been using this one for years, and I can’t recommend it enough. You can use my code: HEALTHNUT15 for 15% off your order and I promise you will love it!!
To be honest, this one took awhile for me to completely ditch! Especially if you’re going to a fancy event, perfume is such a nice touch and can be a really luxurious feeling! But again, filled with synthetic fragrances which are a no-go for me and can cause respiratory irritation to many people who have asthma.
Natural Swap: purefume, aka essential oils! They are a 100% natural and non-toxic swap, plus they actually have health benefits! All you need is a few drops on your neck and wrists and it will last all day. Some of my favourites to use are: peace & calming, valor, tangerine, and orange. Valor and peace and calming are both calming and help to encourage feelings of bravery and courage. Two of my favourite scents right now!
If you’d like to learn more about essential oils and all their benefits, then join my FREE !
Last but not least, let’s talk about mouthwash. I haven’t used conventional mouthwash in years! I don’t understand why it’s refreshing to swish around alcohol infused mouthwash after brushing your teeth! When I looked up the most popular conventional options on Think Dirty, I found that they contain parabens, fluoride, and colourants, and more. So despite claiming to be “ultra-clean” these toxic mouthwashes aren’t doing much good for your oral health or overall health!
Natural Swap: tongue scraping and oil pulling! I have been oil pulling for a long time now, and it has made such a difference for my oral health! Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practise that helps to restore the oral microbiome by removing harmful bacteria while leaving the good to help strengthen our immune system from within. This practice can help freshen your breath, and may also help to whiten your teeth and soothe your gums. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which helps to defend against harmful pathogens. This Minty Clean Oil Pull is actually from the BeautyNut Skincare line and is available on the HealthNut Shop. It’s infused with tea tree and peppermint essential oils for a refreshing flavour as well! You will find the directions for how to oil pull on the product listing.