BEAUTY CARE
Inspiration from Meghan

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Skin Deep: Why I Made The Switch

 

Written by Maeve Gallagher.

Cancer. Infertility. Endocrine disruption. Bioaccumulation. Contamination concerns. Occupational hazards. Neurotoxicity. Organ system toxicity. Sounds like a bunch of stuff you could get from drinking polluted water - not from your shampoo, right?

Hindsight is 20/20. For almost five years, I used the same shampoo and conditioner to tame the beast (also known as my head of hair). It made my hair smell and look pretty- flaunting coconut, Icelandic moss and apricot extract as key ingredients. Now, looking that very product up on the Cosmetic Database- I learn that not only were all the above listed side effects concerns of using this product, but that there is a moderate risk of increased cancer and infertility.  Well sh*t.

I started to notice a change in my skin's reaction to my regular beauty care regime around the time I completed the Fab Detox. When used, my regular facial cleanser - which rates 7 on the Cosmetic Database - would result in red, itchy irritation all over my face and neck. Turns out, once you start putting in all the goodness of green juice, zucchini noodles, homemade bone broth and other unprocessed whole foods, your body doesn't want to put up with any ol' garbage.  I noticed this almost immediately once I shifted my diet- my skin and body simply would not put up with heavy metal laden, toxic beauty care products. Changes had to be made.

I swapped out my anti-perspirant right off the bat. Having a history of breast cancer in my family, this one seemed like a no brainer.  You can argue all you want with me on that one- many people do. But as Meghan says "I don't want to use anything that has to be proven NOT to give me cancer." Touche. Next up was the make-up collection- which wasn't so difficult, since my entire collection was stolen in Costa Rica (who takes makeup backpacking!? I mean really now...) and a little thing called Living Libations came into my life. My exploration of that site lead to me ditching my toxic lip stuff, cheek stuff plus all my face wash and face cream. Coconut oil replaced my moisturizer. Score- almost there. My mom had been telling me for years of her disdain for toxic nail polishes- she was beyond pleased to know I've given that up, too.

Swapping out my shampoo and conditioner was a tougher move.  I resolved to do it slowly, since apparently not having a bad hair day was a good excuse to use chemicals on my porous scalp. I dabbled in a few natural products, but none achieved the results I desired. I swapped back and forth with my old, toxic stuff. After working the last Environmental Defence Eco Beauty Market and learning all about their Just Beautiful campaign, my attitude completely changed. I went straight home and threw out every product I used that rated above 3 on the Cosmetic Database. One day, I want to be a mother and I would like to see my children grow up. Using these products not only increased my rate of infertility but also cancer, Alzheimer's, Dementia and more. How could I excuse using these products one second longer having this knowledge? I simply couldn't.  Finding the right natural hair product that wasn't outrageously pricey was tricky- but I did with Dr. Bronner's Rinse and Leave in conditioners.

Can I take back the 25+ years of cosmetic and beauty care product use? Nope, can't be done. I feel empowered having the knowledge now that moving forward, I will make educated decisions on what I chose to slather on my body, nails and scalp. I know now that everything I put on and in my body will affect how I look and feel. I absolutely will not let flashy advertising sway me to ever again.  And that is awesome.

Maeve Gallagher is technical director at Meghan Telpner Inc. Having spent too many years perfecting the art of mirror-less mascara application, she now moves forward step by step to change her beauty care regime, one natural product at a time.

Question of the Day: What beauty care products have you ditched and switched?

19 Responses to “Skin Deep: Why I Made The Switch”

  1. Shannon said…
    Thanks for this post Maeve! I started the process of ditching and switching my beauty products in the fall when I realized a lot of my products weren't so kind - testing on animals or being owned by larger companies that do so. I immediately went out to replace my fav line that covered my moisturizer, shampoo & conditioner, soap, body wash, and soap. Those all got replaced as did my deodorant and make up. Next up I want to find a natural make up line, and hair coloring product. I don't want to damage my body that's for sure.
    • Maeve said…
      Thanks Shan! Yep- those were the big switch for me. Living Libations made the natural makeup switch VERY easy, and there are tonnes of other amazing cosmetic lines (like Consonant, Graydon, etc). You should visit the beauty market today if you can, it is much fun!
  2. Christa said…
    Great post Maeve! The perfect reminder to keep making better, more informed choices... I'm slowly transitioning to cleaner products, it's a bit hard on the pocketbook to do it all at once! Thank you for the reminder of how it can affect your body, not just your outward appearance. Oh how I wish I could be there for the market...
    • Maeve said…
      Wish you could be there, too, Christa! Maybe we should rally Environmental Defence to do a national one all over the country? ;)
  3. peace said…
    Interestingly enough, I was at Whole Foods and the lady in the personal care aisle said to me to be rest assured they do not carry ANY toxic products. Ummm... right.
    • Maeve said…
      Yeah right indeed! This was something I had to look out for- I was shopping for new products at health food stores, but some of the ratings on CD were still moderate to high. I decided to find the products that were no to low risk FIRST and then go out and seek them. It worked well :)
  4. Shannon C said…
    I began washing my hair with baking soda and apple cidar vinegar. As happy as I was that I was no longer harming the environment with shampoos/conditioners and was using products that wouldn't harm me (and I did this for about 5-6months) I just wasn't happy with my hair. Every time I brushed it, I got this white buildup on my brush bristles (I assume the baking soda never washed out completely). I tried a shampoo bar from SoapWorks that gave my hair a sticky build-up and left it greasy. And I tried a Jason Organic shampoo product which also left my hair greasy. So I went back to regular shampoos. I use a regular bar of bio-degradable soap for face wash. I've seen my acne return since using the product though, which isn't very nice. I use coconut oil as a moisturizer occasionally. I also tried a stone deodorant to replace the unscented Dove one I was using. Again, I was unhappy. It did not prevent odour or sweat as it promised. Largely, I've been unhappy with the eco-friendly alternatives :( If anyone has any other suggestions, or how to use previous methods I have tried which will actually yield results, I'd be happy to hear about them!
    • Maeve said…
      Hey Shannon! I definitely had trouble seeking out the best eco beauty prods, some just downright don't work. I don't know of any anti-perspirant on the market that isn't harmful (afterall, I can't imagine it's natural in any sense to prevent your body from sweating), but I have been using Dr. Mist and Living Libations Petal Pits and have been fresh as a daisy. I love that combo. I've been using Dr. Bronner's shampoo and rinse on my hair- it's great! I would highly recommend.
    • Kristin said…
      In my adventures in finding better products I've discovered I've been spending more & more time buying products at Lush. I love their shampoo bars, soaps, conditioner etc... I'm not sure quite where they're at as far as the cosmetic database goes, but I'm confident that they're better than many drugstore brands :) I'm definitely looking forward to hearing about more (especially Canadian) brands for this kind of stuff!
      • Marilene said…
        I use a deoderant from Lush that I love! I think it checks out pretty well and it lasts a long time so its worth the price. Lush is a good starting point but be mindful that they do use synthetic fragrances and dyes in some of their products. I would avoid all of their "brightly coloured products".
  5. Shannon said…
    I've stopped dying my hair (which I hate by the way, it's been 2 years and I still don't like it) and I've switched up a bunch of stuff. I tried a couple of years ago for a month to wash my face with jojoba oil like Meghan said but it didn't work for me. However when on a buisness trip recently I forgot my 'natural' cleanser but I always have jojoba oil and used it then... now my skin loves it! I just need to actually wipe it off with a wet face cloth. I was quite happy with that discovery! I have had great sucess with Elemi's products, a company in Uxbridge, they are also online. I get all lots of my cleaning products from there but I've also switched to the shampoo and conditioner. I've also done body and lip balm classes there where we made our own, and I love them! http://www.elemi.ca
  6. Anna C said…
    Great article Maeve! I think it's important to note that it's not just your regular mainstream brands like Herbal Essences and Neutrogena that are harmful...many of the products masquerading as "paraben free" and "natural" are just as dangerous if not more. I'm continuing to research to find products that are safe, but it takes a whole lot of sleuthing!
  7. Jennifer R. said…
    Just curious -- what are your favorite products from Living Libations? I just ordered from them last month -- love their stuff!!
  8. Sheri said…
    Hey Meghan, great posting!! I too am slowly making the switch. I'm using an olive oil/castor oil mix for my cleanser and coconut oil for my moisturizer. I tried green beaver deoderant and toothpaste...neither of which are working for me! I stink, I stink less wearing no deoderant than using this one! lol!! So, I will try your suggestion for a deoderant. Have you tried a toothpaste that you love? Glad to hear of your suggestions for hair products, but I'm scared!! I have very curly, dry, unruly hair. It's one thing to change shampoo and conditioner, but I also use 3-4 styling products just to control it. I don't know if I can get there...baby steps!!
    • Sheri said…
      oops sorry, meant Maeve!!! :o)
  9. Carolyn said…
    What do you all use for a shaving cream to shave your legs?
    • Maeve Gallagher said…
      I use coconut oil and it works like a DREAM! Total miracle oil :)
  10. Lorna said… October 8, 2018
    I've just started making the switch to natural, organic products and jumped in at the deep end with shampoo and bodywash, eeeek. I use a shampoo bar for my hair, as I'm trying to cut down my plastic use too, and use an apple cider vinegar rinse with lavender, rosemary and cedarwood essential oils as my slightly oily hair is taking a while to get used to the change. I have to admit I was amazed at how much of a difference acv and water made to the sticky, waxy feeling the shampoo bar left in my hear. It detangled and made it soft and smooth just being left on for a few minutes (plus the essential oils make it smell better). I'm struggling with finding a decent priced cleanser/exfoliator for my face though and oil cleansing just sends my skin crazy so any suggestions would be much appreciated.
    • There are a bunch of DIY beauty care recipes here: https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/20-best-natural-beauty-care-recipes/. You also might like skin brushing, using a brush designed for the face.

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