Clean beauty—you've probably heard of it, but what exactly does it mean, and how can you switch out your everyday products for cleaner, healthier versions? In this article, I will give you a list of some popular products and the toxic ingredients to avoid in each so you can live your healthiest, most natural life. 

‌‌‌‌What Is Clean Beauty?

Clean beauty is more than just a movement—it’s a lifestyle that promotes non-toxic products that are safe for both people and the planet. What’s more, these products are typically ethically sourced and cruelty-free.

You've probably also heard of the term "clean swapping," which simply means to switch out a current product you're using and replace it with a cleaner version free of preservatives, synthetic fragrances, and more, which we'll talk about below.

‌‌‌‌Making the Switch to Clean Beauty Products

So, how can you go about switching some of the products in your beauty routine? My advice is to start slow and take it one product at a time. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your new clean collection! 

But before you read on and become overwhelmed by all of the harmful ingredients to avoid in your favorite beauty products—know that it isn't just you who is experiencing exposure to toxins. From lotions to makeupshampoo, and so much more, products with toxic ingredients are everywhere in our stores and may be the only affordable options for some people. To be aware of this injustice and have the means to make a better choice for your health and body is a privilege. 

Our only hope as a society is to support better brands so they can sweep the market and become the standard in our communities!

‌‌‌‌Evaluating Your Current Beauty Products

Knowing which products have unsafe chemicals in them can be difficult to discern, which is why I want to fill you in on some of the big ones. However, there are still many toxins floating around in your products that won't be covered in this post. 

Luckily, there are many free resources out there that can help you evaluate your products right at home. Resources like the EWG Skin Deep Database and the ThinkDirty App have been a lifesaver for me in my non-toxic journey! They allow you to put in a product and see its level of toxicity and harmful ingredients to avoid. 

Once you've got a better understanding of what's in your personal care products, start by clean swapping the worst ones out first. Just remember to only switch one new product at a time (one per week), so you know if your skin reacts well to it. 

‌‌‌‌The Most Toxic Products and Ingredients to Avoid

Now that you know all about clean beauty and how to go about the transition, what kind of ingredients should you look out for? To answer that, I'll give you a list of some of the most popular products that contain ingredients that can negatively affect our health. 

Sunscreen

Protecting our skin from the sun is incredibly important for our health, but what if the sunscreen we're putting on our skin is causing more harm than good? 

The skin is the largest organ in the body, which means any toxic chemicals we put on it are absorbed directly into our bloodstream. Sunscreen contains chemicals like oxybenzone and avobenzone, which have been shown to protect the skin against ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

However, as more research comes out, experts are questioning their overall safety and effectiveness. Studies have shown that sunscreens on the market with these chemicals may irritate the skin, and could contribute to cancer, hormonal disruption, and more. 

So, what's the solution? Mineral sunscreen.

These amazing sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide to protect the skin from UV rays. The best part is minerals like zinc also nourish the skin while protecting your skin from sun damage. Once you try a quality mineral sunscreen, you'll never go back—trust me! 

Face Wash

If you're anything like me, there's nothing more satisfying than washing your face at the end of a long day. But, sadly, many of the facial washes we use have harsh ingredients that can strip and irritate our delicate skin. 

Some common toxins you'll find in face washes are parabens and sulfates. Parabens are found in many skincare products and are used as a preservative to help extend their shelf life. You may also be familiar with sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), which are salts that form in popular personal products like face wash, shampoo, toothpaste, and many others. 

Sulfates have been known to irritate eyes, skin, and lungs, but they're also bad for the environment and the animals they are tested on. Parabens have also been linked to breast cancer, as well as hormonal and reproductive issues. 

Fortunately, plenty of all-natural face washes out there still provide that fresh, clean feeling without harmful effects. So start by looking for facial cleansers without parabens and sulfates. You'd be surprised how many great options you'll find! 

Moisturizers 

Moisturizing the skin is a staple in most skincare regimens, including my own! But like many beauty products on the market, these too have been littered with harsh ingredients bad for the skin. 

Many people are shocked to hear that one of those ingredients hiding in their moisturizers is alcohol. But there has to be some reason why so many brands use it in their product, right? Alcohol has a magical effect on changing the consistency of a product. For example, it can take a thick lotion and make it weightless. While this, of course, makes for a great application, the drying effects on the skin's surface aren't worth it. 

If you struggle with acne-prone skin, alcohol is an ingredient you'll definitely want to stay away from. Alcohol can strip the skin of its oils, further causing more oil production, which can lead to clogged pores and more acne. 

The solution? Pick a clean face moisturizer that uses nourishing ingredients. Some of my favorites include jojoba oil, manuka honey, and aloe vera. 

Lipcare 

In the same way that we love smooth, soft legs—we also want the same for our lips. Whether you like to keep it simple with lip balm or spice it up with some colorful lipstick, you'll want to know exactly what ingredients you're puckering up with. 

The first ingredient to watch out for is petroleum, which comes from the same source as the fossil fuel that makes your car run! While it may have a unique jelly-like substance when refined, it can suffocate the skin, leading to clogged pores.

To add to the list, we also have phenol, menthol, and salicylic acid, which is the culprit for our lips feeling more chapped after applying lip balm. There are so many other pure lip care options out there that use natural, hydrating ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax. 

Mascara

Next, up on the list is a cosmetic found in practically every makeup bag—mascara

This thick, black tar we use to make our eyes pop is loaded with too many dangerous chemicals to count. Little do people know that mascara has ingredients like parabens, synthetic dyes, aluminum powder, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.

All of these ingredients can lead to eye irritations like rashes, swelling, redness, itchiness, and in severe cases, vision problems. So, save yourself the style and opt for a safe mascara that can give long, beautiful lashes without the toxins! 

Deodorant 

Last but not least is a product we all need on a daily basis. It's incredible how much a small stick of deodorant can change our self-confidence. However, the health consequences can be dire. 

Two main ingredients to avoid in antiperspirants are aluminum and synthetic fragrances. Experts are finding out more about the effects of too much aluminum in the body, which has been linked to cancer and many other health concerns. 

Although it's good that more brands are prioritizing the removal of aluminum from deodorant, it's only one piece of the toxic puzzle. Synthetic fragrances are still highly present in many of our favorite aluminum-free branded deodorants. 

Thankfully, there are many safe deodorants out there that offer the best of both worlds with no aluminum or synthetic fragrances. Some deodorants come in stick form, and others are cream-based. The options are endless for you to choose from! 

‌‌‌‌Which Product Will You Swap First?

As you can see, there are many beauty products out there that could be harming your health. While it's important to be educated on the products we're using, don't forget to be patient and kind to yourself.

You may not be able to clean swap everything out all at once, and that's okay! Take it slow and switch out products when you're ready and have done your research. Soon you'll be surrounded with products that truly promote your natural beauty from the inside out.