If you wouldn’t eat it, maybe you shouldn't put it on your skin!
Have you ever wondered if your everyday products have been affecting your health? It’s time to start paying attention to labels and check for possible toxic culprits in our skin and beauty routine! Whether we know it or not, there can be some really unhealthy chemicals in our everyday products. Sulfates and parabens, which preserve many unnatural products, can lead to not only skin irritations and breakouts, but can also put our endocrine system in jeopardy. Natural beauty products use alternative preservatives, such as grapefruit seed extract, that won’t negatively impact our endocrine system or overall health. It’s never too late to start swapping toxic products out for clean versions!
I opened my drawers and cabinets and got the expert scoop from Jenna Hershey from Take Good Care on how to make your home a safer, healthier space; from cleaning supplies to kitchen tools and beauty products, she’s got you covered.
What is Take Good Care NYC?
Take Good Care is a clean living consultancy. Through personalized services, I help my clients make their beauty routines and homes healthier and safer, eliminating everyday toxins.
What are some of the most harmful ingredients in everyday products that we should look out for?
I always say that fragrance (also on labels as parfum or perfume) is the worst offender, as it's protected under trade secret laws, meaning companies don't have to disclose what goes into it. While it's a single ingredient on an ingredient list, it is actually comprised of hundreds to thousands of ingredients, including potentially harmful chemicals. If you see fragrance/parfum/perfume on a product label and it doesn't explicitly say it's made of only essential oils, steer clear of it.
Why is it so important to clean up our lives and stay away from these chemicals and toxins?
Just as we pay attention to the food that we eat and what we're putting into our bodies, it is just as important to pay attention to what we put ONTO our bodies and expose ourselves to externally. There is very little FDA regulation of personal care products in the US, so companies are using ingredients that are not safe or healthy for us - many of them have known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, etc. While Europe has banned or restricted over 1400 ingredients in personal care products, the US has only banned 30 to date. The skin is the largest organ and can absorb up to 60% of what you put on it, so all of these toxic chemicals in your beauty and cleaning products are going directly into your body. It just makes sense to eliminate these from our lives.
What are some of the major no-no's that you see throughout the home?
I don't like to say things are no-no's necessarily, because that creates a negative connotation for people when making these healthier choices should be positive. My approach focuses on balance and gradual changes so that it's not overwhelming for people. The most important thing is to switch out the items you use most often. That being said, the common areas that need to change throughout most of my clients' homes are the cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, deodorant, sunscreen, and mattresses.
How about in the kitchen?
The kitchen is incredibly important. Most people now are making very informed choices about sourcing their food, from buying organic produce and pasture-raised eggs to eliminating processed foods and refined sugars and flours. The next step is to look at what products you're using to prepare and store that food.
What effects can toxic cooking tools have on our food and ultimately bodies?
Non-stick pans and baking sheets are incredibly toxic, as the non-stick surface is made from Teflon and PFOA, which are potential carcinogens. If using non-stick pans, always line them with parchment paper to create a barrier between the surface and your food. The aluminum in aluminum foil is a neurotoxin, potential carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, and suspected to bioaccumulate within organs. Never expose it to heat and try to eliminate it entirely!
What are some of your basic recommendations for storing food?
Plastic food storage containers are dangerous, as the BPA or BPA-free alternatives can leach into food (especially when exposed to hot food). Plastic lids are okay and most glass containers have plastic lids, but never expose them to heat and don't put them in the dishwasher or microwave - when plastic is exposed to heat, it breaks down over time and will start to leach into your food. Same goes for Ziploc bags - use glass containers or silicone bags instead. There are so many better, safer alternatives now.
Are we drinking clean water in NYC? What’s the deal with plastic water bottles?
While the drinking water in NYC is generally known to be some of the best in the country, it still contains potentially harmful ingredients, many of which are additives like chlorine and fluoride. If you live in an older home, you should also be aware of possible lead plumbing and should have your water checked for lead. I always recommend a water filtration system no matter what. These range from pitchers (more affordable) to countertop vessels to under-sink systems (more of an investment) and can eliminate 99.9% of chemicals in your water. Never drink from plastic water bottles. Not only does it contribute to plastic waste, but the BPA in plastic water bottles gets into the water. If you need to buy water on the go, try to find Mountain Valley Spring Water, which is in glass bottles. Otherwise, buy your own glass or stainless steel water bottle to refill. Healthier for you and the environment!
There is a strong link between adapting greener habits and improving one’s overall health and wellness. We are totally aware that switching up your beauty routine and household products may be a little overwhelming at first, but start slow and swap out products one by one. When one of your old products runs out, use it as an opportunity to replace it with a clean alternative. Next time you are in the pharmacy or Sephora, take the time the read the labels and know what you are putting on your skin!
So, what does my non-toxic beauty regimen look like? See below for the products I'm currently switching it up between, and don't miss some awesome discount codes I've had created for you! ; )
Beautycounter Nourishing Day Cream + Rejuvenating Eye Cream OR Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum + Clarifying Moisturizer + Restorative Eye Cream OR Honeygirl Organics Face and Eye Cream (super moisturizing)
...but my real secret to healthy, glowing skin? Plants. Green Juice. How I nourish my body every darn day!
Tata Harper: “TATAXNATHALIE” - Receive $10 off any domestic order of $100 or more (excluding shipping, handling, taxes and duties) exclusively at www.tataharperskincare.com. Offer is valid from 12am ET 10/4/2018 to 11:59pm ET 10/20/2018.
Honeygirl Organics: “allgoodeats15” - 15% off your order