Were you as fascinated as I was with makeup and skin products when you were young? I read far too many Seventeen magazines with tips on how to reduce acne, clear pores, and be a bronzed beauty in summertime. I ate it all up and tried as much of these products as I could with my small allowance from self-tanners to DIY face masks. Can you relate?
I’m sure many of you can – I mean, do we really outgrow the desire to look and feel beautiful?
While I did outgrow obsessions with the perfect prom makeup and body glitter, I am still fascinated with beauty and skin care. In fact, I’d argue that we actually should be concerned with our beauty regimens. Is that because I think our outward appearance is all that matters? Absolutely not! My health and yours matters!
Is Beauty Harming You?
Consider this…have you or anyone you know struggled with infertility? Hormone imbalances? What about cancer? Our beauty routines may have contributed to these very real struggles. Did you know that?
So, what can we do about it?
In this article, I will briefly cover the following:
- Beauty – It’s More than Vanity
- Clean Beauty, Fitness and Health
- How Beauty Products Impact our Well-Being
- Harmful Ingredients to Avoid
- How to Make the Switch to Clean beauty
Beauty – it’s more than vanity!
From elementary school to old age, we are covering our faces and bodies in beauty products. In all my years of applying makeup every day and slathering my skin in super scented lotions, I had no idea that the fascination with perfection – and the fun I was having trying all the beauty hacks – was slowly and quietly harming my health.
Was it lack of research or just a cultural norm to not talk about? The fact is that even to this day it’s rarely talked about outside of certain health and beauty circles. Beauty can definitely be vain, but I firmly believe that real beauty comes from who we are, our hearts, and how our Creator God defines us, not what we look like. Unknowingly, vanity is not the only thing that can be unhealthy about caring about our appearance. We now have a greater understanding, backed by research and science, of how the products we have used and use on a daily basis can cause serious harm to our actual physical health.
This is why it’s not vain to care about the items you use to enhance your appearance and well-being.
Clean Beauty, Fitness and Health
As many of you know, fitness and nutrition have been hugely important to me since my college days, both personally and for my career. The ability to maintain a healthy body inside and out play a major role in my lifestyle. One of the ways I do that is through “clean eating” and exercise.
“Clean” = consuming whole, unprocessed foods, little to no junk food like chips or fast food, high sugar products like candy, or chemicals and preservatives like you find in packaged foods, cookies, microwavable dishes, etc. I believe firmly this is crucial to living the best lifestyle YOU want to live.
My personal training certifications, health research, and nutrition education were just the starting point in understanding how all of the product we use – including beauty – impacts our health and also need to be “clean”. In other words, our products – like our food and drinks – should not be full of chemicals and or strange, man-made ingredients that have the potential to cause damage to our bodies. I never really thought too much about it, until a personal training client of mine suggested I try a clean lipstick and explained its importance to me. Did you know most women EAT about one pound of lipstick per year (approximately) – Yuk! And guys get a percentage of that too sharing their lips with the significant others!
She explained about taking in all the chemicals, synthetic fragrances and parabens via our lips and it made so much sense – and was suddenly quite scary. I mean, I’m a health professional! I live and breathe “natural”, “organic” and using extreme caution with what I put in my body. I knew various man-made and chemically processed foods can contribute to cancer, hormone imbalances, disease, low energy, mental illness and weight gain. I knew and preached what not to put IN our body, but I hadn’t thought much about what we put ON our bodies.
My client continued to tell me all about BeautyCounter products – a safer brand of skin care and makeup – and the importance of “clean beauty” that doesn’t use harmful chemicals and ingredients. So I tried a lipstick – and I loved it! Not only was it safer, but I thought the color, moisture and quality was fantastic! So I tried a tinted moisturizer and again found that the coverage and formula to be amazing.
It felt great knowing that I wasn’t doing harm to my skin or health by applying them daily. I slowly started switching over other my other products to the clean options from BeautyCounter. A few months after I started using the skin care products, I noticed the skin on my face was looking smoother and discolorations were improving. I wasn’t sure if it was all in my head until a girlfriend commented that my skin looked really great after not having seen me for a few months.
The results were the best I’ve seen from the most natural products I’d ever used!
How Beauty Products Impact our Well-Being
Since then I’ve gone on a much deeper dive into nutrition and holistic health and am now certified as a Holistic Nutritionist. I’ve learned so much more about ALL the things that affect our health – beauty products, plastics, herbs, essential oils, pollutants, chemicals. I discovered the reality through science that what we put on our bodies truly matters as much as what we put in them.
Why is that?
Our skin is our number one line of defense to our health. It also absorbs things very easily. Which means that the daily sunscreen, face moisturizer, wonderfully fragranced shampoo, and sweet-smelling lotion you use daily have components that are getting absorbed into your body. This means the parabens, phthalates, fake colors and scents and all kinds of other chemicals are getting into your system.
Once they are there, they can mess with our hormones, our reproductive systems (ladies AND gentlemen, this could mean a harder time getting pregnant!), give us unhealthy doses of lead, and even contribute to weight gain or inability to lose weight – yikes! Even worse, they can cause cancers of all sorts.
Can you believe no one told me any of this my entire life?! I’m guessing the same may be true for you?
Perhaps many of us heard over the years about chemical concerns, but it was such vague information that we just didn’t really pay much attention. Or maybe we thought “Is one little lipstick or foundation really going to set me up for a future of chemotherapy or hormonal imbalances?”
Maybe not. In most cases, one makeup product or shampoo will not give you cancer because the amounts of harmful ingredients are too small. But what about when that tiny amount is applied in your moisturizer, shampoo, body wash, body lotion, makeup, nail polish, cleaning products, plastic ware, and foods every day, day after day for years? This is where we run into a problem.
An article from MD Anderson Cancer Center states, “Other beauty and personal care products contain small quantities of known cancer-causing chemicals. ‘Even a low dose should cause concern, especially if you use the product every day,’ Cohen says. “
Is the deterioration of your body something you want to take a chance with? If we watch our sugar and chemicals in food, then we also need to watch the ingredients in our makeup and skin care products.
Which Beauty Ingredients are Harmful?
Now we understand that the skin care and makeup products we use can harm our health. So where do we go from here? What ingredients do we need to avoid?
The United States government only bans about 30 ingredients, but the EU bans about 1,400! Yep, America is WAY behind in research and safety standards. In fact, the U.S. doesn’t even require companies to list their ingredients on their products, so they can put pretty much whatever they want into them and lie about ingredients as well. So don’t just trust any label or marketing scheme.
This is whyBeautyCounter self-regulates their products and have banned over 1,800 ingredients in their formulations – and why I now stick to their products. I know they do rigorous research and adhere to “The Never List” of potentially harmful items you won’t ever find in your makeup or skin care. In fact, they’re even working with law-makers to get our laws changed to ban these dangerous ingredients.
Another great resource is for research is the Environmental Working Group website. I highly recommend getting the free EWG app on your phone because you can scan products to immediately find out if they’re safe and what types of health concerns they may have.
With these resources in mind, I won’t list out every one, but below are some examples of common harmful ingredients from the BeautyCounter website.
A skin-lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation. Found in: skin-lightening creams.
- Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene
Synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.
- Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients
A byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Found in: hair dye, shampoo.
Used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
- Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
A chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.
- Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others) A class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.
Are you ready to get clean?
Ready to make the switch to clean beauty? Here are some ways to get started and/or get involved in advocating for better health:
- Make the switch to “clean” Beauty
- Visit my site @ BeautyCounter.com/HollySoto and start switching out your old beauty products for safer ones that work as well if not better.
- Try free samples!
- Contact me via [email protected] to get samples of products so you can test and see how well they work.
- Join my team as better beauty advocates.
- Become a Consultant – You can help spread the word about high-performing products that have been featured on the red carpet, while advocating for safer beauty by becoming a consultant and business partner with me! Just contact me at the email [email protected] above to get started and learn more about this great opportunity.
- Host a Better Beauty Party!
- Gather your friends and I’ll bring the goods! You can all sample products, purchase right away, and learn more about why clean beauty matters. Plus, if you host (online or in person), you can earn FREE products!
- Follow my Facebook page
- Get the latest product info and discounts, see my reviews and tips, and join me for Facebook Live events.
Why BeautyCounter is Now Part of Renewal Fitness
By the time I had completed my holistic nutritionist certification, I realized I needed to seriously look at my cosmetics and skin care products and start taking better care of my health with a more holistic approach. I mean, if the EU bans 1.400 ingredients because of their safety hazards, then shouldn’t we all be avoiding those things?
When my client suggested I sell BeautyCounter, I thought it made sense in how it intertwines with the Renewal Fitness mission. I wanted to educate others as part of my holistic approach to health and wellness coaching.
As I mentioned before, the products work better than anything I’ve used before, so it was a no-brainer and a win-win situation. I get deals on products I love and I get to share them with others while providing education about better health and beauty.