The beauty and body care industries are getting a make-over and if the Earth could speak we might hear it say thank you! Natural products devoid of synthetic ingredients are slowly becoming more desirable than the toxic cosmetics, facial care, and hair products that have been polluting our bodies and our planet for the past few decades.
However, despite the trend there remains a booming market for products that are full of ingredients that most people would otherwise loathe to touch with their bare hands. And yet, these same ingredients are being smothered onto skin, inhaled deeply, lathered into hair, absorbed into the bloodstream, and released into the environment.
When mixed into a product, toxic ingredients are masked and diluted. Rarely can a single ingredient be recognized in a formulation (although common exceptions are fragrance and colour), so most of the time people don't really know what they're exposing themselves to.
Sensitivities and acute allergic reactions such as skin rashes or headaches can actually be saving graces if they prevent you from using certain products. But chronic toxicity or low-grade inflammatory reactions that aren't immediately noticeable are just as dangerous and possibly more so because it could take a long time before you understand how certain ingredients and products are causing persistent harm to your body.
This leaves me wondering: What is preventing people from completely eliminating the poisonous products from their bathrooms and vanities and switching to clean, natural alternatives? Is there a lack of awareness about the harmful effects of toxic ingredients? Are alternatives not accessible enough or are they viewed as somehow inferior or ineffective? Or, worse still, are some products marketed as "clean" and "natural" actually made primarily of synthetic ingredients with swirls and sprinkles of "botanical extracts" to help sell the product to customers who are looking for safe and natural options?
I consider each of these points in Part 2 of this blog post.