A few years back I started to pay attention to the buzz going round about the bad things in cosmetics and toiletries; mainly parabens and sulphates, and the research on how it can affect you in a lifetime. Whilst a lot of studies insist that they are safe, others do not, and I personally would rather be safe than sorry; parabens have been shown to affect fertility and have also been found in breast cancer tissue. Denmark, for example, has banned two types of parabens from being used in products for young children because of their concerns. So…as a personal preference, I decided that I would take steps to reduce the amount of these things I expose my skin to and looking back, it has been so easy, I wanted to share my tips…
The smallest day-to-day changes can make the biggest of differences in the long-run. A lot of you will be doing this already, but if not, I urge you to give a go!
Now, I am not a scientist and I don’t pretend to know everything about these chemicals (so scientists, don’t hit me with your stats!), but here is a very brief summary of what I understand these chemicals to be:
Simply put, Parabens are chemicals used since the 50s to prevent bacteria and act as a preservative in deodorants, make-up, moisturisers, shampoos etc. Sulphates (SLS) are generally the lathering agents that give you the foam in your shower gels, hand washes etc.
Don’t get too obsessed (don’t not wash your hands in a public loo!)
I would say that I am about 70% free of them – but I considered making a big reduction in my exposure was better than nothing. There are a few products I still use that contain them; things like my intense facial exfoliator, some make-up, some of my Bobbi Brown favourites and ‘normal’ deodorants that I put on if I have a big day ahead; going to a wedding, work trip, things like that. I am not obsessed by it at all… everything in moderation as they say.
Showel Gel, Hand Wash and Bath Foam
I used to be a sucker for picking up the colourful and strong smelling shower gels in Boots or the supermarket that were on offer (only £1 …you know the ones), but I quickly realised I could get the Sanex hypo-allergic big bottle on offer for about £2 and it would last for ages. Also look out for the smaller, often £1, Sanex Zero shower gels and bath foams. Not the first place that springs to mind, but if you have a Homesense or TK Maxx close by, you will notice a vast amount of their bathing products are 100% free, and they are divine! Yes a little more expensive, but you get more for your buck. Check out their body scrubs and hand washes while you are at it…
Shampoo and Conditioner
I am sure a lot of you are hooked on and swear by your favourite shampoo brand, but I never had a trusty favourite…so… I started to buy big bottles of sulphate and paraben free shampoo and conditioner from Homesense, with essential oils and natural ingredients. It was a simple switch. I occasionally use a Palmer’s coconut oil deep conditioning protein pack if my hair seems dry (sometimes the essential oils in the natural products dry your hair out a tad so it’s good to give it a blast of moisture every now and again).
Make up remover
A good and new one on the market that’s easy to find is Garnier’s Natural Rose Milk Cleanser.
My Anti-Aging Elixir. Drum roll…
About five years ago I started using something on my face which I have since become a bit of an off-the-record ambassador for. I have got countless friends hooked on the stuff and love to spread the word, because it really has changed my skin dramatically. It gives moisture, a beautiful natural glow and nourishes my face and neck brilliantly. It’s anti-aging properties are supposed to be great too, helping reduce fine lines and sun damage.
Rosehip Oil. I buy it from Amazon and put it on my face and neck last thing before bed (after I have taken my make up off, washed and toned) and sometimes in the day (if I am not planning to wear make up). The lightweight oil isn’t sticky, it feels lovely on my face, absorbs well – there’s no need to wash it off your hands afterwards and no sticking to your pillow afterwards! Honestly, you will love your plump, radiant and hydrated skin the next day.
Tip: You don’t need much, a 20p sized bit in your palm from the pipette. Rub the remaining oil left on the palm of your hands onto the top of your hands – you know, the bit that really starts showing your age as you get older…
My favourites are Be Youthful and Akin. For the record I have combination skin, so I am not crazy dry and still have a fair amount of oil, but the rosehip oil still doesn’t make my skin too oily. Just read the reviews and you won’t be able to resist!
Foundations and Concealer
I don’t wear foundation everyday, but if I need a little fix or am going ‘out out’ I will put on some bareMinerals powder, or my new favourite, bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation (SPF 20…which is a bonus).
I DEFINITELY wear concealer under my eyes (otherwise I would be bag central) and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is my favourite – free from parabens and sulphates.
Deodorant – Paraben and Aluminium Free
The trickiest one! I tried a lot of the natural deoderants, but ended up uncomfortably damp shall we say (!) and reaching straight back to my trusty Dove. My friend and I were on this mission together, and we eventually settled on the Bionsen mineral protective deodorant spray (Boots sell it). I’ve noticed it makes me feel a ‘little’ damper if I work up a bit of a sweat, but I tend to wear it when I am not planning on doing too much.
Finally, there’s no way I could give up my favourite perfumes, so here is a little tip which I try and do often. I don’t douse my skin with perfume anymore, I put a little on my neck and the rest on my clothes or scalf.
In conclusion, wow you’ve made it to the end of this post (sorry it was so long!), if you take anything from this – go on…try some Rosehip Oil, you won’t regret it! We can high-5 each other when we’re 60 and looking 45…
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