The Toxic Truth

The Toxic Truth

Many Canadian women follow a full beauty routine each morning consisting of makeup application, skin care products, and hair care. But plenty of these commercial beauty products are chocked full of chemicals that sound more like they belong in a lab than in the bathroom cupboard. 

In fact, according to the environmental working group (EWG), in less than one hour of getting out of bed, the average woman has applied more than 168 different chemicals to their skin.

Many of the chemicals in commercial beauty products are what holistic nutritionist, Marita Schauch, calls hormone disruptors.

These chemicals can “wreak havoc” on our hormones and internal organs, and can overwhelm the liver during the detoxification process. Some of these chemicals are known endocrine disruptors – chemicals that can cause estrogen dominance. The result is a whole slew of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including PMS and brain fog, low thyroid, weight gain, adrenal fatigue, breast tenderness, infertility, and low energy.

In order to naturally eliminate these toxins from the system, Schauch recommends starting the day with a cup of warm water with lemon, eating organic cruciferous vegetables, enjoying detox superfoods, increasing fibre intake, and taking a daily probiotic supplement.

But dialing down the number of commercial beauty products they use, and being conscious of the chemicals in those products could also have a positive effect on women's health, says Schauch.

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Joining the toxic-free beauty movement doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal and Nutters Everyday Naturals and Wash & Co. in Airdrie, Alta. are here to help.

Sales associate at Nutters, Jasper Squires, says that transitioning to natural mineral-based products is one of the best things that women can do for their body and skin.

“I definitely think the [natural beauty movement] is becoming more popular because people are starting to realize what is in commercial makeup,” says Squires.

“The skin is the biggest organ in our body and we absorb everything through [it], so why not put something good and healthy on it instead of something that is full of things that we can’t pronounce?”

According to Squires, the first step to going toxin-free is to start reading the labels on one’s beauty products.

“That’s where it started for me.”

“I did a bit of cosmetic training myself. You can find cosmetic training online, but really you can find lists of ingredients and decode those names that are confusing and very hard to understand.”

Squires says that a lot of people “get intimidated” by the big, long names on the ingredients list of their favourite products, but understanding what is in the product can bring a lot of customers some peace of mind.

And being able to know that the product is “all natural,” even if the ingredients list is full of scientific wording, can be very empowering.

“It's really all about slowly, but surely becoming informed and understanding what you're putting on your body.”

“And if you want to make that conscious choice of going toxin-free, understanding ingredients is the best first step you can take, because then you can decode anything.”

Likewise, Isabelle Guilmette from Wash & Co. says that globally people are tuning into the toxin-free beauty movement.

“I think it’s a trend everywhere in the world that we’re becoming more conscious of what we put in our bodies and what we put on our skin as well.

Washboard Soapery & Such was founded three years ago with the goal of producing natural products with raw ingredients for Airdrie and the surrounding area, while staying away from toxins and artificial ingredients.

According to Guilmette, Wash & Co. started with natural deodorant and then grew to selling soaps, and shampoos. Recently, the company has produced an armpit detox that cleanses the armpit of bacteria and odor.

“It's just a new way of looking at natural ingredients and how it can help us every day,” says Guilmette.

 “[It’s about] realizing that everything is in nature already that we can just use.”

For those who are just starting out in the natural beauty movement, Guilmette recommends attending classes at WindyPoint Soap Making Supplies, or Soap & More in Calgary, Alta.

“They sell every product you need to start making natural products, and they also give classes,” she says.

“I think it’s a good beginning. They can give you great advice, and they're there to supervise you through the learning as well.”