Maria Velve, Makeup Artist & Green Beauty Expert
How many times have you flipped your body lotion over and tried to read the ingredients? If you have, you know that your lotion contains some obscure ingredients. Many are just fancy names for beneficial ingredients like oats or aloe leaf juice; however, others like DEP (phthalate) and alkyl parahydroxybenzoates (another name for parabens) should be noted and avoided.
Despite their obscurity, ingredient lists give us valuable information on what makes our product lather, smell or last on a shelf for two years. I recommend getting familiar with apps like Think Dirty and EWG’s Skin Deep to help you make sense of the peculiar terminology.
What is ‘toxic load’?
According to Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, authors of Slow Death by Rubber Duck, toxic load is the accumulation of toxic ingredients in our bodies. The more “obvious” polluters have always been the environment and our diets; however, other lifestyle choices are contributors to our toxic load, and a big one is personal care products.
Have you ever counted how many products you apply to your skin from the time you step in the shower to the moment you rush out your front door? I use 16 (imagine the ingredient lists combined?) and I consider myself a minimalist!
As women, the number of products we use is significantly bigger than our male counterparts and studies show that many personal care chemicals live in our bodies long after we’ve used the product. The long-term effects of these chemicals in the human body are constantly researched. However, we now have more information at our fingertips about the links of chemical ingredients and disease than ever before. For a summary of David Suzuki’s top 12 ingredients to avoid in cosmetics, check out my education page.
3 things you can do
1. Take note of hidden nasties
Flip your personal care bottles over and take note of this big toxic P – parfum (aka perfume or fragrance). The issue with parfum is that it’s literally in everything and as women, we’re suckers for nice smelling products. Parfum is actually one of the few things in the beauty industry that’s protected by law – a law that cannot disclose parfum ingredients to consumers!
With over 3000 ingredients listed under the parfum umbrella, we can’t be too sure what it is that we’re putting on our bodies. Many parfum ingredients like phthalates are endocrine disruptors which mimic estrogen in the body; others can trigger allergies and asthma. Choose beauty products like Vancouver’s Helena Lane Skincare which offers unscented options and scented options with a small variety of beneficial essential oils. For a review of her skincare line, check out my blog.
2. Cut back on products
This one is self-explanatory: cutting back on products means cutting back on ingredients. Shorter ingredient lists are easier to understand and easier for our bodies to manage. One way to cut back on products without the overwhelm is by choosing multi-purpose products. This means having one product to apply to both your lips and cheeks, or perhaps one product to cleanse and moisturize with. More on this in the next section.
Multi-purpose products will help you cut back on makeup clutter in your bathroom, save you money and simplify your beauty routine. Manitoba’s Pure Anada makeup brand offers their Lip and Cheek Rouge in beautifully pigmented shades that can be applied to lips and cheeks with ease. If you need other ideas on how to cut down your beauty products, book a free virtual consultation with me and let’s chat.
3. Choose the good stuff
You no longer have to choose a 6-step skincare routine to feel that you’re giving your skin what it needs. Cutting back on skincare products means picking out products with harder-working ingredients. This type of skincare “diet” requires focusing on nutrition-dense ingredients while acquiring a minimalist approach. The easy answer to this? Oils! Oils are fantastic multi-purpose products, but they also pack a punch when it comes to ingredients. Although there are many beautiful oil blends out there, a single oil product can be the answer to your several of your skincare woes.
Cold-pressed Moringa oil, for example, is one of the most nutrient-dense oils and an excellent source of essential fatty acids, vitamins and anti-oxidants. It can be used as a serum and moisturizer removing the need for separate serums or creams that tackle specific concerns. It is an excellent anti-aging solution because it contains omega-9 fatty acids and Vitamins A, C and E. Additionally, it can be good choice for treating acne because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. If you’re looking for one powerful oil to incorporate in your beauty regimen, try Moringa Life Source (a local Toronto company) and get 10% off with code greenbeautyexpert10 at check out.
There is a lot of information (and misinformation) in the beauty industry, so it can be mind-boggling to absorb it all. Reducing your toxic load from beauty products should be done in a simple, non-overwhelming way. Focus on using up the products you have first, and then replace one product at a time to a cleaner one. You can also focus on one toxic ingredient, like parfum, and work on removing it from your life. I have a many product reviews, videos and education materials on my site, so please contact me with any concerns or questions you many have.
Maria Velve is a makeup artist and green beauty expert with nearly 20 years of industry experience. She is an entrepreneur and educator who is passionate about teaching doable makeup techniques to her clients while focusing on clean, Canadian brands. Maria holds a makeup diploma in TV, Film and Special Effects Makeup from the Blanche MacDonald Institute in Vancouver.