This article is written by JULIA EDGELY, homeopath located in Antibes, south of France.
Oh my, how this industry has grown since my beginning 8 years ago. Increasingly people, following holistic healthcare advice, recommendations from the FDA, EU and World Health Organization (WHO), are concerned about the ingredients in their daily care products. Links connecting these chemicals to pathologies are raising questions of the effects they have on our health. Over the past 8 years, in my homeopathic practice, changing a patients’ products is as fixed in their treatment plan as addressing dietary requirements. From clinical practice, I have seen multiple pathologies drastically change from making what seems like a simple swap. Fertility issues, endometriosis, anxiety, eczema are examples of issues I have seen improve when certain cosmetic ingredients are eliminated.
The natural beauty industry is soon to be estimated at $16bn and big beauty brands, standard brands, are noticing how we are spending our money. Many are seemingly adapting their products to the trend. While such action might seem like a positive thing, it may bring with it elusive marketing techniques which give us the impression of safe, non-toxic and natural products.
Hands up who can find choosing a good product or brand difficult? With so many terms or buzz words flying around such as, clean beauty, chemical free, organic or 100% natural, how do you really know if a product is what it claims to be?
To help you out, I have come up with 4 easy rules to follow, pointers. These rules are simple and easy to memorise. Remember these guides and you will find it easy to discover products that are not only better for your skin but for your health and the planet.
By law all cosmetics and personal care products must label their ingredients list on their packaging. No marketing term should be taken as face value. It can be seen so often, mostly I see this on social media, products claiming to be organic, or 100% natural or petrochemical free. The first question to ask is “show me the ingredient list”!
I have devised a list of 12 ingredients I recommend patients avoid. These can be found on my website. Now this is not an exclusive list but an easy to remember guide of ingredients that can easily be spotted when scanning a product. Rule of thumb is, if a product does not contain any of these 12 ingredients, it gets the green light.
2. Umbrella ingredients
Again back to the ingredients list, it really is the backbone of choosing a clean product. You want a full ingredients list free from what I call “umbrella” ingredients. These are ingredients that contain a cocktail of components . An example of this would be fragrance or parfum. Fragrance can be composed of many individual fragrances put together to give the product its’ particular scent. How many individual scents? In some cases it can be up to 150. This is simply listed as fragrance. Good brands will state the origin of the perfume, either synthetic or natural, usually from essential oils. Another example I have seen is antioxidant blend. Unless, the origin of an umbrella ingredient is stated, start asking questions about the product.
How a product is packaged speaks volumes about what is in the product.
Firstly, packaging can act as a physical preservative. Airless pumps help protect the product inside from a bacterial or fungal contamination. With a physical barrier, brands can limit unnecessary preservatives, which only serve to extend the shelf life of the product and absolutely nothing for your skin. Blue light glass jars can act as an antioxidant for products containing oils. In terms of the effect of cosmetic ingredient on our health, usually it’s the preservatives that are the problem.
Secondly what a brand packages their product in can indicate a level of awareness of an ecofriendly and non-toxic lifestyle. This is a brand that puts thought into their ingredients sources. I am impressed when brands try their absolute best to source recycled material or bottle in recyclable plastic or even better, glass.
4. Online shopping
So have I mentioned that the ingredient list is the holy grail of all clean products?! Only maybe 6 times already in this article. When a brand has researched and produced a clean effective product they are going to want to shout their ingredients list from the rooftops. As I mentioned however the law states that the product composition only has to be displayed on packaging. SO what happens if you shop online? Any decent brand will always have the full ingredients list on their website, every time. If you are online and the site does display this, pass. Do not be fooled by the phrase active ingredients either. We want the full list. Only then can you see if one of my “dirty dozen” is spotted.
Now with this knowledge, I hope you can feel confident making the swap over to products your know are safe, effective and with your best interests at heart. We can all be natural beauties!
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