The beginning of a new year is a great time to start fresh. I’m taking this month (and year) to clear out the things I no longer need or use. One thing at the top of my list to purge are my beauty products. Skin and hair products are definitely something that tends to pile up for me; I always love to try out new products, so I’ll admit – I end up with a fair amount of products that I didn’t end up liking or that I’ve replaced with something that worked better.
My goal for 2017 is to not only clear out my existing products, but also to make more informed decisions about what products I decide to try. Over the past few years I have been working to clean up my beauty routine. I read the labels on each product I buy and choose the products with the cleanest ingredients, I get pickier and pickier as time goes on about what I want to use on my skin. Each time I pick out new products, they have fewer ingredients, and ones that are much more pronounceable as well.
I encourage everyone to take a look at your beauty products and assess exactly what it is you are putting on your skin/hair. When looking to purge beauty products here are the first 5 questions that I ask myself:
- What is their policy on animal testing? – Are they leaping bunny or PETA certified? If a company is testing their products on animals (or allowing a third party to test on them), are they really the sort of company you want to be giving your business to – the best products are the ones that use ingredients that are so safe they have no problem testing them out on themselves. As an owner of a sweet little bunny, this is something that has been important to me for a long time.
- How old is it? – Beauty products all have a shelf life, some a few months, others a few years, but it is something to be aware of as the product looses its potency over time and could also change in consistency. Products that don’t have artificial preservatives don’t last as long as other products; some natural products are to be used within 2 months while others may last for 6 months. If you have a liquid product that says it is good for over a year, it may be a good idea to look at exactly what is in it to allow it to hold on so long – in most cases there are various preservatives, some of which can be very irritating to the skin and cause long term side effects.
- Is it paraben free? – Parabens are used to preserve many beauty products because they prevent bacteria from growing, however they may also bring along some issues. Parabens are believed to be an endocrine disrupter, meaning that they mimic estrogen in the body and have been linked to breast cancer. There isn’t definite proof of this link, but as someone who has lost family to breast cancer, it is not a chance I’m willing to take. Everything you put on your skin is absorbed into it and this is definitely not something I want absorbing into my body.
- Does the product use synthetic dyes or artificial fragrances? – Synthetic dyes and artificial fragrances also come along with their share of health risks. Both can be extremely irritating to those with sensitive skin and contain toxins which absorb into the skin with each use. Artificial dyes are full of chemicals that aren’t actually listed on the ingredient list, they are disguised as Blue-1 or Yellow-6. Some of these chemical ingredients have serious health risks associated with them, but it’s hard to remember which ones are the worst so it’s best to avoid anything that isn’t colored naturally. Artificial fragrances are also important to avoid, because like the synthetic dyes, you don’t know exactly what is in it and any “fragrance” you apply to your skin will end up in your bloodstream after your skin absorbs it. Many skincare products are merely labeled with fragrance and you are left to wonder what type of fragrance it is. Unfortunately, labeling an ingredient list this way is legal so it is up to the consumer to decide whether or not it is safe to use. I personally avoid this issue by seeking out products that have a natural fragrance. In a natural product, this is usually achieved through a combination of essential oils. In contrast to artificial fragrances, essential oils actually have many health benefits when absorbed into the body so you don’t have to worry about the consequences of a nice smelling product.
- Have you had the product for a while, and it just doesn’t work for you? – This is more of a trial and error, but it happens to everyone. There is no need to hang on to products that just aren’t working for your skin or hair type. Everyone has different needs in their beauty products and sometimes it takes a while to find what works for you. In the case of some products, like lotions and sprays, you can easily give them to someone else whom they may work better for or find some place, like a women’s shelter, that accepts donations of opened products. I am definitely a culprit of doing this, but there is no reason to hold on to something that isn’t doing your skin any favors.
This is the general list that I have been using to de-clutter my cabinets and I was shocked to see what was in some of the products that were hiding on the back of the shelves. I still have some more to go through but it feels good to get the bad stuff all cleared out. Hopefully this list is helpful for anyone looking to do the same.
Thanks for reading!