Our health and wellness aren’t limited to the food we eat and the way we move our bodies. What we put on our bodies also affects us. By now, its not a shock to us that some facial scrubs use small plastic beads and that companies aren’t exactly 100% transparent with their ingredients. Things are changing for the better, however! People are becoming more and more conscious of what they are purchasing, and for that, companies giving into what their clientele desires.
Skin is the largest human organ and one of our first defenses against foreign matter entering our body. If the products we use daily are laden with toxins and chemicals and repeatedly slathered all over us, its only natural that our bodies are going to react and shift our immune cell function. According to Tom Malterre, MS, CN, CFMP, a certified nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner and an educator for the Institute for Functional Medicine, the chemicals we put on our skin effect our microbiota- the bacteria living inside of us that help us function well. Depending on the severity, it can go as far as manifesting as food allergies. During an IIN Lecture, Malterre also states that “by changing your lotions, you can change your reactions to foods.” Jessica Migala of Everydayhealth, a website committed to providing real-world, evidence-based health information, seconds these concerns and more in her article “What Are ‘Natural’ Skin-Care Products, and Are They Better For You?“.
It’s easy to go into a store and instantly be overwhelmed by the number of products available. And with companies getting smarted and employ “green-washing”- disinformation disseminated by an organization to present an environmentally responsible public image.- in their marketing, you may not be getting what you’re paying for. So, what can you do to better navigate through the endless brands?
- Research, research, research! You could also go to your local beauty store, supermarket, or wherever you buy your products, and start seeing which products catch your eye. Whip out your phone and do a quick Google search on their ethics or take a picture of the brand to do some in-depth investigation at home!
2. Read up on “Allergens in Cosmetics” listed by the FDA. This page list the names of common allergens natural rubber, fragrances, preservatives, dyes, and metals found in cosmetics.
3. If you’re on Instagram, I recommend fellow IIN Health Coach Peggy. Both her Instagram handle and website name are called “Live Life Less Toxic”. Her mission is to give clean alternatives to conventional toxic products and ingredients we use in everyday life.
In the meantime, I have compiled a shortlist of a couple of my favorite skin-care brands to get you started. I use their products faithfully and honestly, anything they make is a win. My skin always feels clean and nourished no matter which one I choose to put on that day!
Mad Hippie was started by young, newlyweds Sam and Dana. They packed up their lives and moved to Central America where they were inspired by the simple life. Their skin, however, was not used to the sun and so they created “Mad Hippie” to remedy their new lifestyle and coincide with their beliefs.
As stated in their company mission, part of being a “Mad Hippie” goes beyond skin care, extending to all creatures and the planet. All of their products use bioresin sugarcane tubes. These tubes are free from petroleum ingredients, and are sourced from environmentally safe farms which reduces their carbon footprint. They are also fully recyclable through TerraCycle– a company that insures eco-friendly brands’ components are recycled properly. To do this, simply sign up on the website and you’ll received a zero-waste, prepaid envelope to put your empty, cleaned out plastic packaging in. Just pop it in the mailbox and you’re all set! Mad Hippie also uses soy inks on FSC certified paper (Forest Stewardship Council is makes sure paper has been harvested in a responsible manner) and $1 from every web sale goes to Save The Elephants, our Whole Planet Foundation, or NRDC– Natural Resources Defense Council which “works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.”
All of their products are free from parabens, synthetic fragrance, dyes, petrochemicals, PEGs, SLS, and other less-than-desirable additives making it one of the cleanest skin care lines out there. They’re packed with antioxidants, peptides, bioavailable vitamins, and alpha hydroxyl acids. Their website has a wealth of information from skin care routines, before/after photos, pro tips, and tons of press snippets- not to mention beautiful marketing!
True Moringa was started by co-founded by college students Kwami and Emily. These young, Boston-based adults traveled to Ghana together with MIT’s D-Lab, where students are afforded the opportunity to use their math, science, engineering, business, and social science skills to make a real impact on people living in poverty. There, they learned about the Moringa Tree also known as “the miracle tree.” According to their website, True Moringa, “the leaves, with more vitamin A than carrots, more protein than eggs, more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach have the potential to end malnutrition and provide a stable food source to farmers. The oil seeds, rich in anti-oxidants and moisturizing agents produce one of nature’s finest cosmetic oils for hair and skin care.” Thus “True Moringa” was born from the joint efforts from their Harvard economic and engineering background.
Not only does True Moringa support 5000 small farming families throughout Ghana to cultivate over two million moringa trees, but their recyclable tube packaging is made of 100% sugarcane bioplastic. In addition, they have planted over 2 million moringa trees combating deforestation and malnutrition locally in Ghana. With every order purchased from their website a tree is planted in your name. You can look up the information and see which small farmer benefits from your order.
Their 3-step skin care routine consisting of a cleanser, toner, and moisturizing oil, is one of the most nourishing lines around.
Moringa Oil – Lightweight and easily absorbed, moringa oil is the ultimate superfood for skin. Its purifying effects are tough on impurities and gentle on the most sensitive skin. Bye bye, dull, dry skin – hello glow!
African Black Soap – Used for centuries as traditional herbal remedy, African Black Soap is made with cocoa pod ash and natural oils to gently exfoliate, leaving skin looking bright and feeling fabulous
Shea Butter – This decadent butter gives our Magic Black Soap Facial Cleanser its foamy feel and creamy texture – plus, it’s packed with antioxidants and fatty acids to leave skin looking and feeling radiant and healthy.
Full Ingredients: BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER), AFRICAN BLACK SOAP (BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER), COCOS NUCIFERA (COCONUT OIL, COCOA POD ASH.), MORINGA OLEIFERA SEED OIL, MARANTA ARUNDINACEA ROOT (ARROWROOT) POWDER, CARTHAMUS TINCTORIUS (SAFFLOWER) OIL, PRUNUS AMYGDALUS DULCIS (SWEET ALMOND) OIL, TOCOPHEROL, MELALEUCA ALTERNIFOLIA (TEA TREE) ESSENTIAL OIL, CITRUS SINENSIS (SWEET ORANGE) ESSENTIAL OIL. LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA (LAVENDER) ESSENTIAL OIL, CITRUS AURANTIUM BERGAMIA (BERGAMOT) ESSENTIAL OIL.
Tea Tree Water – Tightens and tones appearance of skin for a healthy, natural glow
Eucalyptus Water – Awakens skin with cooling refreshment
Moringa Leaf Water – Rich in micronutrients and unique plant hormones, moringa moisturizes for youthful, healthy-looking skin.
Full Ingredients: MELALEUCA ALTERNIFOLIA (TEA TREE) LEAF WATER, (EUCALYPTUS) LEAF WATER, MORINGA OLEIFERA LEAF WATER, GLUCONOLACTONE (AND) SODIUM BENZOATE.
Full Ingredients: Cold Pressed Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil
The face/body/hair oil can be used in 8 different ways: daily facial moisturizer, make-up remover, post shave, conditioner and detangler, scars and stretch marks, cuticle care, oil cleanser, and massage!
Remember, there will always be companies that are just in it for the money and will create products based on the latest trends and nothing else. We need to pay attention to what we apply topically as well as the food we put into our bodies. It is up to us to be informed shoppers and support the creators and brands who care not just about the environment, but our well-being as well!
Love and light,
**Disclaimer: I am not associated with any links that I post. All programs, products, sites that I mention are for sharing purposes only. All images are from the Google search engine. Where applicable, consult with any physicians necessary before embarking on a fitness journey.**