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January 11, 2015

A Call to Action: Stop the Toxic Load on your Health System.

makeup airbrush

My 2015 Prediction for Beauty Trends—A Call to Action

I think 2015 is going to be the year where Americans say enough!

We are no longer willing to slather toxic chemicals on our skin (and our children’s skin) in the name of beauty. Please help me make it so. Below are five things that we can do to make a difference in the toxic load on our systems and to cause a change in how products are produced in this country (plus two bonus tips).

Shop non-toxic by reading labels.

My 51 year old eyes often find it hard to read the fine print so I find the Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep Database to be a great resource for understanding the potential toxicity of products. It turns out that there are some brands that are virtually all non-toxic, which makes it easy, some brands which have some non-toxic products and some products with more questionable ingredients—so it is important to check out the specific product, not just the manufacturer.

Be leery of scents.

It turns out that, in many instances, fragrance is considered to be a trade secret. When a label says “parfum” or “fragrance,” you cannot assume that the actual chemical components of that smell are listed. Many non-toxic products will list all of the ingredients and will use essential oils which are often fine, unless you have a specific allergy.

Cost compare.

When you are evaluating different products, make sure that your cost comparison is on an ounce to ounce basis—products come in many different sizes and types of packaging which means that this is not always an intuitive comparison. Fortunately, once again, technology can come to the rescue. Use the calculator on your smartphone to determine the per ounce price for each product you are comparing. It turns out that often the price of non-toxic products are comparable to products that are more toxic.

DIY.

Many simple recipes are available for non toxic shampoo, conditioner, face mask and exfoliator. Toothpaste is a little more complicated, but that, too, can be made from scratch.

Be patient.

One of the reasons there are so many chemicals in our products is for our convenience. Lotions are created to absorb quickly, sunscreen is colored so we can be sure that we hit all of the spots, makeup stays on for a long time, and deodorant doesn’t need to be reapplied. There is a toxic cost to all of these conveniences. Recognizing this and exercising a little patience for applying more carefully or more frequently can yield big dividends.

Eat and drink well (and by that, I mean make healthy choices).

By staying hydrated and making healthy food choices, not only will your skin glow and your eyes sparkle, but you will feel better and this will shine through.

Be well and happy.

Live the life that you want to live, be mindful, take steps to reduce stress and you are beautiful. Beauty really does come from the inside out.

We are seeing changes on the local and national level. Small companies are appearing with a wide array of non-toxic choices available. Large companies are beginning to announce reductions in the toxins in their products (It’s not enough, but it’s a start).

There is a national conversation happening about these issues that is attracting mainstream media attention. Stores and manufacturers are going to pay attention when we vote with our pocketbooks, by doing the steps recommended above. Politicians and government agencies are going to pay attention when we complain loudly, rationally and consistently. I believe that this is going to be a year of huge changes toward non-toxic solutions and I encourage you to not only make healthier choices for yourself and your family, but to be part of this vital national conversation.

We can “be the change we want to see in the world.”

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Author: Wendy Kuhn

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Vancouver Film School/Flickr

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Wendy Kuhn