5 Products Hiding Toxins in Your Bathroom
My clean living journey really started in my bathroom cabinet, the place where I start and end my day. Unlike the products we consume, the products we place on our skin don’t have the digestive system as a first step in detoxing. Instead, many toxins in the skin care products we use absorb directly into our bloodstream, affecting our hormonal bottom line in a real way.
One of the easiest ways to start shopping knowledgeably about your products is to familiarize yourself with common toxins you might encounter. My guide to the Dirty Dozen is an easy and FREE step to take to understand the top twelve culprits sitting on our shelves. Just sign up on the form at the bottom of this page, and I’ll happily shoot that over to you. The guide will help you take charge of your shopping quickly, by giving you the tools you need to determine whether a product is toxic or not.
The EWG reports that the typical American uses approximately 10-15 personal care products with a total of 126 different ingredients daily. Let’s run through the top five products that may be harboring toxins in your bathroom. I’m sure you can use some quick and easy suggestions for switching these out for cleaner, safer alternatives, and I’ll provide some insight into my journey to clean out my bathroom cabinet along the way.
Okay if there is ONE THING I can emphasize it is GET RID OF FRAGRANCE. Now.
Did you know the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that many perfumes or colognes contain up to a dozen or more potentially hazardous synthetic chemicals? Makers of these fragrances do not have to list the ingredients they use to create each fragrance because it is considered a protected trade secret. So that “fragrance” ingredient lurking on your perfume bottles and other products is almost guaranteed to be masking a host of unnatural and toxic chemicals.
When the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned independent laboratory tests on a huge variety of fragrances, the EWG analyzed the data. The EWG found that “the average fragrance product contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label.” Many of these chemicals were associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions and many also had “a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.” That means they can reside in your body for an extended period of time, wreaking havoc on your body’s normal functions.
There are several companies out there creating cleaner, safer fragrances and transparently listing the ingredients in their products. Shop for those products—where you can check out the ingredients (look for scents made from 100% essential oils) and ensure you’re not sacrificing your health.
If you have questions regarding a particular fragrance’s ingredients, reach out to the manufacturer. If the company won’t come clean about what ingredients it uses in its fragrance, you can bet your bottom dollar that sucker is hiding some bad stuff. So unless you can verify what ingredients that fragrance on your counter contains, ditch it. You have no idea what that fragrance could be affecting in your body and your family—from your allergies to your fertility.
If I waltz into the office without makeup, I generally get a “You look tired, is everything okay?” or “what’s wrong? You don’t seem yourself today.” I’m convinced this is because my eyes disappear from my face when I don’t at least put on mascara. Needless to say, I wear some sort of makeup at least 5 to 6 days a week.
Before I was introduced to Beautycounter (you can read more about my story with Beautycounter here), I literally had NO idea that I was not only slathering foundation on my face everyday, but also a host of toxins that messed with my hormones, skin quality, and health. I found out that I was using products that were supposed to be ENHANCING my beauty but instead were sucking nutrients out of my skin and replacing them with chemicals.
What surprised me the most is that the European Union has banned close to 1400 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and restricted the level of over 250 more in those products. The United States has only partially banned 30 to date—30!!! The U.S. hasn’t passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.
Crazy town, y’all. Crazy. Town.
For example: cosmetic companies can formulate their products with lead. LEAD. I doubt I have to educate you on the adverse effects of lead. One study found that heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic (I mean REALLY?!! ARSENIC?!), nickel, and aluminum were detected in various cosmetics. It also found that “metals occurring in cosmetics may undergo retention and act directly in the skin or be absorbed through skin into the blood, accumulate in the body and exert toxic effects on various organs.”
Since finding out about these risks of various toxins in my makeup products, I switched almost exclusively to Beautycounter. I know that I’m getting safe, high performing products without having to peruse all the labels when I’m trying to find a product. If you’re interested in making the same switch, click here. But Beautycounter is not the only brand out there with cleaner and safer ingredients.
One of the easiest ways to find out if your current products are hiding any toxic ingredients is to use the EWG’s “Healthy Living” app on your phone. You can input a product and it will give you its “health” score. The app lists each product’s allergy concern, cancer concern, and developmental concern. For all my busy ladies out there, this app is a game changer!
So I live in South Texas. And it gets hot down here. Like HOT. We get days and days and days of temperatures above 100 degrees. So deciding to switch to safer deodorant took me a hot minute. I mean, I SWEAT y’all.
Interestingly enough, sweating is one of your body’s main paths of detoxing harmful ingredients. When we use toxic deodorant, we are putting toxins INTO our bodies while also preventing our natural detoxification process.
The two most common toxins in deodorants are parabens, aluminum, phthalates, propylene glycol, and triclosan. These ingredients have all been linked to health issues that could be affecting your well-being and even your fertility.
When I did finally make the switch, I went with Primally Pure. This company puts out some amazing products, including the charcoal deodorant. It smells lovely, and I know it’s safe for my body. It’s also a great alternative for those men in your life. If you want 10%, click here!
4. Bath Products
Few things bring me joy the way a long soak in my bathtub with a good book does. It’s such an easy way to de-stress from a long day or week at the office and gives me some much needed self care. Unfortunately, many bath products contain unregulated fragrances that are likely to increase the chances of skin irritations, allergic reactions, headaches, and other less obvious side effects to your hormones. Plus the bath primes your skin for absorption, opening your pores and allowing the product to sit on your skin for an extended period of time.
So it is important to carefully choose what you choose to soak in. Find products scented with essential oils instead of the dangerous “fragrance” ingredient. Choose something simple even like Epsom salt to assist your body in its own natural detox. I you want to throw together a quick and easy detox bath, all you need is:
1 cup Espom salts
1 cup baking soda
2 TBSP Coconut Oil
10-12 drops of your favorite essential oils (lavender is a great relaxing option!)
Just draw your warm bath, add the salts and baking soda, and stir the water around to combine. Then stir in the coconut oil and essential oils. Grab that book and breathe deeply to relax!
5. Body Lotion
For many of the same reasons bath products pose particularly concerning risks for toxin absorption, so does body lotion. When we use something like body lotion, we are usually applying it to large areas of our body. This increases the skin’s absorption of the nasty chemicals that could be hiding in it.
One of the biggest steps someone can take to make a significant impact on their toxin exposure is to switch out products that cover a large area of the body. These would be products like body lotion, body oils, or sunscreens that you tend to slather all over. If you’re using toxic body lotion, then your body is absorbing those toxins over an extended period of time.
So take a look at the ingredients in your current lotions. Do you see any parabens, sulfates, BHT, PEGs, petrolatum, and fragrances hiding in your products? If so, those ingredients could be wreaking havoc on your hormones and putting you at risk for chronic illnesses and cancer.
One of the best natural moisturizers is coconut oil. If I have a particularly dry area of skin, I will put some regular old coconut oil on it straight from my pantry overnight. Or sometimes I will just rub it in on my legs or arms where I tend to be dry. It smells wonderful and it really ups my skin’s moisture game quick. Plus, it’s something I always have around and is relatively inexpensive. (It’s also a FABULOUS trick to help heal sunburns or shave your legs!)
My other favorite go-to is Beautycounter’s Hydrating Body Lotion in Citrus Mimosa. If you want something that smells 100% AMAZING and is safe, this lotion is the bomb.
While these five products don’t deal with everything in your bathroom, they are all great first steps to deciding to live a cleaner, safer life. If revamping your entire cabinet seems overwhelming (or too expensive) then start with one product per week. Each week find one product you can throw out and switch to something cleaner and safer for you and your family’s health. This can have a serious healing affect on your hormones and fertility as well as any skin problems or allergies you may combat on a daily basis. If you want more information, check out my Dirty Dozen guide to get the real details on some of the toxic ingredients discussed above.
Cheers to a cleaner, safer, more sustainable you!