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There has been a movement towards safer beauty, led by “the little guys” who care a lot. Many people are fired up over being limited to purchasing what the big beauty conglomerates offer, and conscious beauty companies are popping up all over, making change, leading a charge and producing their own safe alternatives to give consumers other options. They are sharing research about the potentially hazardous effects of ingredients in products we use every day. We know that the European Union has banned around 1400 chemicals from being used in cosmetics, skincare and household goods because of potentially dangerous side effects. The United States has banned only 11. So with more and more great options available combined with all the news about products being so harmful, why can it be so hard to make the switch?
- Performance. I definitely know what it’s like to discover a product that works exactly like you had hoped and dreamed. The clouds part and the angels sing. And after that, it’s REALLY hard to change. Not wanting to know what terrible stuff might be in my products, I remained in a state of denial for a long time. That was a few years ago, and the reality of what chemicals are in our products wasn’t in the spotlight as much as it is now. But if my chemical-filled regimen hadn’t stopped working, I probably would have stuck with it a few more years until the risk was too great to continue to ignore.
But what so many people don’t know because they might be afraid to try, is that products WITHOUT bad chemicals can work even better. There are so many powerful active ingredients found in nature (e.g., did you know that salicylic acid, a synthetic ingredient to treat acne, can be derived naturally from willow bark with the same effectiveness?) When naturally occurring ingredients are used in professionally made products, the results can be astounding. And they last.
- Cost. This is a major factor in many people’s resistance to switching to safer, healthier products. If you can get your moisturizer for $14.99 at Walmart, why would you pay $70 for something else?! Well, as mentioned above, sustainable results. Another reason is that the more expensive products have higher quality ingredients. This means the products are free from carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
- Habit. For all the women out there who use Olay because their mothers and grandmothers use it, I get it. It was probably the best thing around back then and the scent creates a sense of nostalgia. If you’re using a product you’ve always used, it can be hard to switch. But when you do, OH the results you will see. Newer conscious beauty companies have introduced a level of innovation that offers results without harmful ingredients. It’s the best of both worlds and worth jumping out of that comfort zone.
- “It won’t happen to me” attitude. Like the smoker who knows that smoking can kill but won’t quit, there are many who say, “I won’t get cancer from my beauty and household products.” The truth is with the exception of the 11 banned ingredients there is no regulation to limit what companies put in their products or to test them for safety.
“Under U.S. law, FDA does not have the authority to require cosmetic manufacturers to submit their safety data to FDA, and the burden is on FDA to prove that a particular product or ingredient is harmful when used as intended.” (fda.gov)
This means that manufacturers can literally put anti-freeze or formaldehyde in a product to achieve the desired results and sell it to you to wear on your face. If it makes money, companies will do it because there is no governing body to hold them accountable to sell something safe. Conscious companies take the other route. Despite there being no law requiring it, many responsible companies create high quality products with results because it’s the right thing to do, and they are proof that doing the right thing can also create profits and keep them in business to continue offering choices that the conscious consumer wants.
So can you definitively say that an issue you are dealing with has been directly caused by your products? Maybe, maybe not. However, where there have studies connecting ingredients in our products to cancer and hormonal issues, it might be enough to make you want to investigate some better options. If you’re still the smoking smoker, you probably aren’t going to change up your skincare routine…and if you have, but haven’t stopped smoking, you may need a priority check!
The above points are legitimate barriers to entry, and if any apply to you, you’re certainly not wrong in hesitating to join the safe side. In Part II, I’m going to share some tips about how to make the switch, and in Part III, I’ll talk about what to do with your arsenal of old products once you’ve made the switch.