In Aging Well Tips ~ Part 3 we’ll learn how to Detox Your Health, Beauty and Home. From toxin-free health and beauty products to home cleaning products, what do you need to look for to help age well as you detox your health, beauty, and home? If you missed the previous two posts, be sure to check out Part 2: Detox Your Pantry & Fridge, where we looked at how and why to read labels for healthier eating and aging well. And Part 1: Love Your Body, where we talked about the importance of good quality sleep, hydration and moving your body every day.
So if you read Part 2 I hope you learned a lot more about reading labels. This knowledge will also come in handy as you detox your health, beauty and home cleaning products. Did you know that the FDA and the EPA don’t regulate any of our Health & Beauty Products or Household Cleaning Products?
Shocking right?! I mean wouldn’t you think if you can buy something at a drugstore or grocery store that some federal agency would have certified it for safety? Well, as we learn how to Detox Your Health, Beauty and Home, you might be amazed at what you find out…
Who’s Got Your Back?
Apparently not the FDA or the EPA! When I was attending holistic nutrition school I was appalled to learn how:
- many toxins are in our personal care and household cleaning products
- more than 60% of what you put onto your skin is directly absorbed into your body
- those toxins bioaccumulate in our fat cells and in our livers
- so many of these toxic chemicals have never been tested on people at all, let alone in conjunction with all the other chemicals used in our products
Holistic Nutrition is great, it looks at the WHOLE picture of what nourishes us. But the food you fuel your body with is only part of the story. If everything else you’re putting on your body or using to clean your home is toxic, all that healthy eating might not help as much as you want.
It’s actually the main reason that prompted me to start blogging six years ago. Here I “thought” I was living a fairly healthy lifestyle, doing everything “right”, and come to find out 90% of what you can buy in any given grocery store or drugstore contains toxic chemicals!? Who knew? And if I didn’t know, who else didn’t know? I had to help others to see how we’ve been bought and sold by Maddison Avenue. Advertisements making us want to “look and feel beautiful” or have a “beautiful, clean home” were in actuality making us sicker and sicker, potentially causing cancer and autoimmune diseases. Whoa!
Detox Your Health & Beauty Products
Are there Toxins in Your Health & Beauty Products?
Most likely, yes. What many people do not realize is that the FDA does not regulate any of our health and beauty products. Zero. The US government leaves it up to individual companies to “police” themselves. And we can just imagine how well that works…(1)(2)
Sadly, it’s estimated that the average American woman comes in contact with over 150 toxic chemicals each day before she walks out the door in the morning.(3)
Wait, WHAT?! That’s so WRONG…
While there are over 1,328 toxic chemicals that have been banned for use in health and beauty products around the globe, only 30 of those chemicals have been banned for use in the US health and beauty industry.(4)
So why does the US use so many of these toxic chemicals in our health and beauty products? Like most things, it’s all about the bottom line. Those toxic chemicals are much cheaper to use than safer, non-toxic, or organic alternatives. The beauty industry has deep pockets and tons of lobbyists, and sadly we pay the price with our health.(5)(6)
In fact, companies like Lancôme or L’Oreal who sell products in both the US and overseas actually have to reformulate all of their products. They have to ditch those nasty chemicals to sell less toxic versions outside the US.(7)
Are We Human Guinea Pigs for the Cosmetics Industry?
According to MindBodyGreen.com, “Currently, there is no federal law that requires companies to test personal care products for safety prior to marketing them to the public.”(8) And many of the chemicals used in US products have never been tested at all. Nor have they been tested in conjunction with the other chemicals used in the same product. This leaves us to be the human guinea pigs. Ugh! There’s a good reason to detox your health, beauty and home!
Beauty is Skin Deep
You likely already know that your skin is the largest organ in your body. And maybe you also know one of its main purposes (besides to protect you from the outside environment) is to help you remove toxins through your sweat glands. But did you know that up to 64% of anything you put on your skin is directly absorbed into your body? Wow!
That means whether you’re using sunscreen, body lotion, shampoo, make-up, or mosquito repellent that contain toxic ingredients, those toxins are being absorbed directly into your body.(9) Ok, but what does this have to do with aging well?
Many of these toxins are synthetic estrogens. Some are heavy metals that may be stored and bioaccumulate in your fat cells. Meaning that years of use can really increase the toxic load in your body, potentially leading to neurological disorders and even cancer. Which certainly doesn’t help you to age well, does it? Just one more reason to detox your health, beauty and home.
Luckily there is an ever-growing awareness in the organic health and beauty industry. But there is also a lot of greenwashing out there as well.(10) Greenwashing is when companies claim they or their products are organic, green, sustainable, environmentally friendly, etc, when they really aren’t. Again the US FDA does not oversee any marketing claims by US health & beauty companies. So terms like “All Natural” or “Organic” mean nothing when it comes to American made Health & Beauty products. After all, lead, mercury, and arsenic are “all natural”. But you wouldn’t intentionally eat them, would you? Yet they are in products you put on your face and lips, and may inadvertently ingest.(11)
How European Health & Beauty Products Are Different
In Europe, it’s an entirely different story. They have many laws regulating not only what they can and can’t put into their products. Laws also regulate what they can and can’t say about their health and beauty products as well. Greenwashing isn’t a thing there because regulations clamp down on brands and products.
When I first learned how toxic US health and beauty products are I was horrified! After reading labels and checking ingredients on my favorite products, I immediately ditched all of them. Yipes! You can check out the list of top toxins to avoid from the David Suzuki Foundation.(12) What was I going to use?!
Obviously I couldn’t just not wash my hair, use deodorant, or brush my teeth! So I tried a few things from our local natural foods store while I started researching toxin-free alternatives for health and beauty products. I spent a few months researching companies claiming to be “all natural”, “organic”, etc. But I was skeptical since I knew there was no oversight in those marketing terms in the US.
Are There Healthier Alternatives?
Thankfully there are! I hit a gold-mine, and was so thrilled to run across U.K.-based Neals Yard Remedies, a company as discerning as I am. I actually became a sales consultant for them before ever trying a single product because I was SO enamored with their ethical transparency and philanthropy. Neal’s Yard Remedies is one company doing things right. They are like the Patagonia of Health & Beauty.
Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR Organic in the US) was the first skincare company to score a perfect 100 in the third-party watch-dog Good Shopping Guide for Ethical Skincare.(13) Their award-winning eco-factory was the first to be certified sustainable in the UK. They are passionate about caring for the honey bees, our water resources, and our one and only planet Earth. They pay fair wages, purchasing fair-trade and fair-wild ingredients. And they grow many ingredients on their own organic farm in the U.K. NYR Organic has total production oversight from seed to bottle. While there are more and more companies doing similar things these days, I have yet to find one that does all this and more.
DIY Natural Beauty
If you’d rather DIY your own health and beauty products, NYR’s Natural Beauty Book is jam-packed full of natural beauty tips and tricks with 100+ recipes for facials, skin, hair, nails, and more. This beautiful book even gives you DIY recipes for some of their top-selling products! What company does that?! Seriously, this is just one of the things I LOVE about Neal’s Yard Remedies.
Toxin-free Natural Beauty
This is honestly not a sales pitch. While I do sell NYR Organic and make a commission on sales via my website, I’m passionate about NYR Organic and stand behind their products 100%. I use their products almost exclusively (from shampoo and conditioner to deodorant and facial cleanser, serums, oils, masks, body lotions, essential oils, and more) as does my family, because they are toxin free, and they WORK. When people try them, they buy them, they are that good. Contact me for a free catalogs and samples if you’d like to experience the NYR difference.
You can also check out other toxin-free alternative health and beauty and sunscreen products on EWG’s SkinDeep website. While there are more and more American brands coming out with toxin-free products, it’s still buyer-beware, since again there’s no one certifying their claims.
Go Gray for Your Health
As you may have seen from my blog posts, photos, and social media, I stopped coloring my hair about four years ago. This was after my BFF Laren was diagnosed with two deadly cancers at a very young age. One of them had a possible link to brown hair dye, and we’d both been dying our hair for many years. Yikes!! For me the choice was clear. I stopped dying my hair immediately. My vanity wasn’t worth my life.
Thankfully Laren survived both cancers and went on to write an amazing book WTF!? I Have Cancer? We are now both rocking our gray hair (top photo!), and I’ve gotta say I LOVE my gray hair way more than I ever liked my brown hair. Who knew?! And to this day my articles Gray is the New Black and Go Gray for Your Health are my most read, shared, and commented on posts ever. So I strongly encourage any of you who are still using brown hair dye, to go gray for your health! Your body will thank you! (And just think about how close that hair dye is to your brain??)
Detox Your Home
So What About Toxins in Household Cleaning Products?
In theory, the EPA is supposed to have oversight on household cleaning products like laundry soap, dish soap, counter spray, etc., but in reality they leave a lot up to the chemical companies as well.(14) And sadly many of these products are full of numerous toxins with adverse side effects ranging from asthma and migraines to neurological disorders and cancer.
Green Household Cleaners
Your best bet is to DIY your own household cleaners. Did you know that white vinegar is as effective at killing germs as alcohol? It kills 99.99% of all germs! How does it do that? The acid in white vinegar permeates the bacteria’s cell membrane, creating a release of protons, which causes the cell to die. Sweet!(15)
DIY Natural Home Cleaners
Check out some of my favorite DIY household cleaning recipes in my article Spring Clean Your Home Naturally. Adding organic essential oils to your DIY home cleaning products helps get rid of the vinegar smell without any of the toxic fragrances found in many household cleaners. You can mix-and-match essential oils of your choice to get just the scent you like. And essential oils are antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-fungal themselves so you’re getting double-duty. A word of caution about using essential oils, check out my article on Essential Oil Safety here.
Toxin-free Home Cleaners
If you’re not into to DIY and would prefer to buy toxin-free household cleaning products, check out Seventh Generation and BioKleen (we LOVE BioKleen laundry soap), also visit ThriveMarket.com with lots of toxin-free alternative products at a reduced cost. If you’re not familiar with Thrive Market, they are an online co-op for healthy foods and household products. With every ThriveMarket.com membership, they give healthy food to a family in need. You save on your purchases while helping low income families have access to healthier options. Win-win!
As I’ve written about a few times before, the term “fragrance” is another place that toxic chemicals hide in health, beauty, and home cleaning products. “Fragrance” or “Parfum” are umbrella, euphemism terms that companies can use to hide any number of toxic chemicals. They can claim it’s a proprietary secret and don’t have to disclose what’s actually in their “fragrance” or “parfum”. Sadly much of it is deadly as I talk about in this article Fragrance: The New Second Hand Smoke.
We had a friend who loved her scents… scented candles and plug-in air fresheners in every room of her house. Ironically she was chronically ill with autoimmune diseases. Several times I mentioned the link between synthetic fragrances with all of their toxic chemicals and autoimmune diseases. Eventually she ditched her synthetic fragrances and amazingly a lot of her autoimmune issues went away!
So please do yourself and your family a big favor. Read your labels, and ditch anything that says fragrance or scented. This might include household cleaners, laundry soap, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, dish soaps, garbage bags, candles, plug-in air fresheners, spray room fresheners, the list goes on. Another great way to age well is to detox your health, beauty and home cleaning products.
DIY Natural Fragrances
Thankfully natural, organic essential oils make it easy to create your own toxin-free fragrances. Whether it’s a roll-on wrist scent, room spray, body lotion, or bath and body oil, even a diffuser for your car, essential oils can uplift your spirits, energize you, relax you, or heal you. This NYR Essential Oils Book has tons of great DIY recipes.
Detox Your Health, Beauty & Home
Now that you’ve learned how to detox your health, beauty and home products, cleaned up your fridge and pantry, and love your body, stay tuned for Aging Well Part 4 where we’ll look at the benefits of daily gratitude-based stress-busting, grounding/earthing practices.
Please share this post with your friends and family so they can live healthier too! And leave a comment to let us know one thing that surprised you about how to detox your health, beauty & home, or your favorite DIY recipe.