10 reasons you should make eco-friendly beauty a priority
by Sheelagh Daly
GOOD FOR YOU AND THE ENVIRONMENT
From organic fruits and vegetables to naturally raised meats, we've certainly come a long way in terms of making the food we eat better for us and the environment. But it isn't just what we put into our bodies that's important; making a switch in what we put on our bodies can be every bit as beneficial as well.
Ingrid Rae Doucet, co-creator and owner of the natural online beauty shop Clementine Fields, was drawn to eco-friendly beauty in an effort to reduce the amount of chemicals in, on and around her body. After dealing with health issues and adopting a child, it became increasingly important to Doucet that everything on her skin and her daughter's skin be clean. Through this passion, she and her husband, Tom, created Clementine Fields — a way for Canadians to have access to eco-friendly products that might otherwise be unavailable. So why should you make the switch to clean, natural, eco-friendly beauty? After having a chat with Doucet, we can think of at least 10 great reasons.
Fewer chemicals in the environment
As we become more eco-conscious as a society, it only makes sense that we seek out new ways to help our environment, and removing the potentially harmful chemicals in our beauty products can aid us in that goal. Many perfumes, for example, contain phthalates, which go into the air and can be problematic for both us (by breathing them in) and the ozone layer, explains Doucet. So the fewer chemicals we put out, the better.
A reduction in waste
Not only do the beauty companies Doucet works with focus on what goes into their containers, but they also focus on the containers themselves. Many of these companies are conscious of what their containers are made of, and they package their products in glass if possible or in recyclable plastic. Some are even hoping to be able to do refills in the near future.
Non-natural beauty products can have potentially harmful chemicals
Unfortunately many of the beauty products we're used to seeing on the shelves can contain potentially harmful chemicals. Each chemical has its own potential risk factors, some of which include rashes, scalp issues, canker sores and allergic reactions, says Doucet. Phthalates, for example, which can be found in a variety of beauty products, are also used in the making of plastics and pesticides, explains Doucet, and they have been linked to obesity and hormonal issues. Another ingredient, formaldehyde, which is sometimes found in nail polish, can put people at risk for cancer or liver problems, says Doucet.
Less layering of chemicals in your system
In today's world, it can seem next to impossible to avoid coming into contact with a variety of chemicals and toxins each day. Doucet believes in avoiding this layering of chemicals in our systems by choosing beauty products that are free of potentially harmful ingredients. "If we can eliminate as many chemicals as possible, why wouldn't we?" she asks.
Reading the label goes a long way
So many beauty products are available out there that it can feel overwhelming to sort through which ones are safe and which ones are not, but a quick look at the ingredients list can provide you with a great deal of information. Doucet suggests steering clear of such ingredients as parabens, phthalates, toluene, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), propylene, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and formaldehyde. She also cautions against products that simply list "fragrance" as an ingredient. Since companies don't have to reveal exactly what goes into their added fragrance, there's no way to know which chemicals it might contain, so it's better to avoid them, says Doucet. Clean, natural smells and a simple list of recognizable ingredients are preferable.
Helpful information is readily available
If there happens to be an ingredient you don't recognize on an otherwise great-looking product, don't give up on it too quickly. Instead, Doucet recommends looking the ingredient up on the EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Cosmetic ingredients are given a risk factor number from a scale from 0 to 10, which makes it easy to determine whether a product that contains the ingredient is a safe choice. If you have questions about a specific product, Doucet suggests looking it up on No More Dirty Looks. Reviews of a variety of natural beauty products are posted, so you can find out whether they worked for others and what you can expect. With so many reliable resources available, breaking into the world of eco-friendly beauty can be surprisingly easy.
There are so many clean ingredients to try
When you get rid of all the chemicals lurking in non-natural beauty products, you make room for all kinds of clean ingredients. Some of Doucet's favourites include argan oil, jojoba oil and lavender. She also finds honey to be soothing. As with anything, people will react to ingredients differently, so experiment with all the natural ingredients out there until you find what works for you.
It's an opportunity to support small businesses
Although plenty of larger-scale natural beauty companies offer worthy products, making the switch to greener beauty happens to be an excellent way to support smaller businesses. Many of the companies featured at Clementine Fields, for instance, are created by artisans who make their products themselves in small batches.
You'll feel better
Since its launch in May, Clementine Fields has been collecting feedback from customers to find out how their natural products are working for them. Doucet says that responses have been extraordinarily positive. Customers report that the products' natural scents are enjoyable and that their skin feels great.
Switching is easy
The prospect of eliminating all your old beauty products in favour of new ones can seem like an overwhelming and costly endeavour, but it doesn't have to be. Doucet advises approaching the process "one product at a time." When you run out of one of your old items, switch over to a more eco-friendly option. Everyone is different, and the first product you try might not be right for you. But organizations such as Clementine Fields are willing to send out samples so you can find what works best. Give yourself time to find the right product, suggests Doucet. Exploring the many natural options that exist can be a cool new adventure!