Exploring Clean Beauty

By Latoya Jones

 Just recently, a co-worker of mine had car trouble because his regular gas station attendant had put diesel in his vehicle instead of the gas he usually purchases.  This mistake cost him time away from work and money he probably had better use for.

This mix-up got me thinking, if a car- an obviously inanimate object- could cough and sputter and refuse to drivebecause of something like a gas mix up, then what would happen to our bodies- the most complex of ‘machines’ if we consistently fed it the wrong things or consistently used products that have dangerous side effects.
It wasn’t too long ago either that my research for a piece just like this one unearthed the little-known fact that 60% of everything we use on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream. Yikes! That said, it’s no wonder we are plagued with so many illnesses and health issues. This prompted me to explore a more organic way to beauty. Below are some common ingredients to avoid in many of our most popular beauty products with alternatives that are a lot cleaner.


This component is found in many beauty products and essentials like deodorant. Repeated aluminium use and exposure are tied to both breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. When buying items like an antiperspirant, try to purchase an aluminium free option. Tom’s aluminium free deodorant is one of the more affordable ones on the market at a mere $5.00USD per bottle.


Paraben is found in many a deodorants, lotions and lipsticks and has been shown in studies to mimic oestrogen in the body and has also been found present in many breast cancer tumours. Again, no one is sure what levels of Paraben content in a product is ‘safe’  so regarding this ingredient, it’s probably just best to be safe rather than sorry. Even mainstream brands like Tresemme have come to embrace paraben free products.


This ingredient has been labelled legally as a carcinogen (the same stuff that’s present in cigarettes that make them bad for you) by the Food and Drug administration in the U.S.A. Formaldehyde is said to be present in nail polishes, eyelash glues, shampoos, lotions and hair straighteners. When checking for formaldehyde in products, it may also be listed as ‘formalin.’ It is not sure just how much formaldehyde is too much so consumers are advised to use products that may contain formaldehyde in well-ventilated spaces to minimize inhalation.


Sulphates are those things that give many soaps and shampoos their lather. In other words, it’s what makes it soapy or foamy. While sulphates are somewhat good for removing build up, its harsh chemical makeup strips natural oils and moisture from hair follicles and skin cells thereby worsening conditions like dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema. While some companies have switched out sulphates in their products, they aren’t necessarily using replacements that are better for you either. Your safest bet as a consumer is to look for products that are fruit or vegetable based.

Whoever said beauty has to hurt was wrong.  There just simply is no beauty product or routine that is worth compromising the quality of your lifestyle in the long run. It is the purchases of the more informed consumer that is bringing even mainstream brands to their knees. Start today, by changing what you can for a healthier tomorrow.

Photo credit: Tresemme

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