Why is safer skincare important?
Our skin is the body’s largest organ, and what we put on it absorbs quickly into the bloodstream. The scary part is, the United States is way behind other countries in terms of regulations on the beauty and skincare industry. The EU bans 1,400 harmful chemicals, and we only ban 30!
The first step is being aware there is an issue with what our products contain, and the second is to start making changes. Making swaps in the products I use has admittedly been a slow process for me, but I think its the best way to do it without becoming overwhelmed or spending a fortune.
Step 1: Throw away expired products
Did you know that most products have a shelf life of about 6-24 months once they are opened? I recently learned that there is an image of a container with the number of months its safe to use on the back of most products.I recommend going through your bathroom drawers and cabinets and getting rid of things that:
- You don’t remember when you bought
- You don’t remember the last time you used
- Are discolored in any way
- Have been open longer than the image on the back suggests
If you have any unopened products that you just know you won’t use, consider setting those aside to donate. Salvation Army will even come pick up donations from your house – read about their pickup service here.
You should be left with products you are currently using and those you like and know you will use in the future.
Step 2: Keep using your products as usual, but choose your favorites
Yes, that’s right. I am not suggesting you get rid of something you’ve already purchased and is currently working for you. What I do recommend though, is taking note of which products are your favorites, and which you’d be willing to swap for something with safer ingredients.
Are you in love with your shampoo? Have you been using the same foundation since middle school and swear you’ll never give it up? That’s totally fine! Put those products on your favorites list. Just find a few things in your routine you have lukewarm feelings toward and wouldn’t desperately miss.
Step 3: Make swaps one at a time, as you need new products
Once those “unfavorites” are empty, commit to trying new, similar but safer products in that category. I’ve been doing this over the past couple years and have never once felt overwhelmed. It’s actually been kind of fun.
There are lots of ways to find new safer products. Luckily, a lot of brands are catching on and taking some of the most harmful ingredients out of their products. So you might even be able to stay with the same brand and just use an updated formula.
A tool you can use is the Think Dirty – Shop Clean app. With this app, you can look up different products (or even just scan their barcode) and get a score 1-10 on how “dirty” the product is. Here is a the scorecard for my leave-in conditioner. Safer skincare and beauty products have come a long way, even in just the time I’ve been interested in this movement. I remember some of the products I bought even just a couple years ago being terrible, and now most of them work and feel almost exactly like their conventional counterparts.
I’ll be sharing the top ingredients I try to steer clear of and some of my favorite safer products in the coming weeks.
What do you say? Are you willing to make even just one swap?