Hello Healthy Hair Tribe!
I have mentioned that inflammation is a key contributor to hair thinning and hair loss in my blog Can We Prevent Hair Loss? One of my eight secrets to achieving healthier hair is to make sure that you make smart decisions about what you put in and on your body and to use natural products whenever possible.
So how do we understand what is “natural” and what is not? This process can be difficult because cosmetic and personal product companies loaded with chemicals can still consider themselves "natural" because the beauty industry sees "natural" in an entirely different way then the "natural" products industry and natural food retailers like Whole Foods, Sprouts and Jimbo’s.
My friend and fellow hair stylist, Nicole Godbout, is my guest contributor today. She is passionate about educating her clients and friends on making healthy and natural personal product choices so she became a director at Beautycounter to help spread the word about what choosing "natural" really means and the benefits of "clean beauty".
Until last year I was under the impression that most products I used were reasonably safe, how else could they go to market if they weren’t? I learned that we are behind the curve in the US - the European Union bans 1500 ingredients that are linked to health concerns while the US bans only 30 in comparison. In fact, 80% of the ingredients in our everyday personal care products have NEVER been tested for safety. It is essential that we demand more for our bodies. Some of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, hormone disruptors, learning disabilities, infertility, asthma and allergies. In my opinion, clean beauty is not a trend but a necessity. If you are curious about what ingredients are in the products you are using, I recommend checking out the Environmental Working Group’s app “healthy living” to scan or check your products for clean ingredients.
As a cosmetologist/hairstylist in this field for over 20 years I can tell you that I’ve had my fair share of experience with all types of products. Most of my friends and family consider me the expert on all things beauty related. After I had my children I began to clean up the food that my family and I ate and clean out the toxins in my home that we were exposed to. It took me years to make the final step in cleaning up my beauty products because the information available on clean beauty had been very confusing and took me some time to sort out.
Today there are more natural products available than just a year ago and they are the fastest growing segment of the personal care industry and big companies have taken note. Clorox purchased Burt’s Bees, Colgate-Palmolive acquired Tom’s of Maine and brands large and small have introduced safe and natural products to their portfolio. The key to finding a great product that is good for your skin and your health is to stay away from certain ingredients that are linked to health concerns that may be doing more harm than good. Doing some at-home research and reading beauty product labels will help start you on the path to clean beauty. Some watch-out ingredients to make note of are Parabens, Phthalates, Sulfates, Fragrance, Mineral Oil and Oxybenzone. Switching to safer products is just as important as eating healthier. Our skin is our largest organ and it takes only 26 seconds for the products that we use to get into our bloodstream.
Here is a list of my favorite clean beauty ingredients:
1. Coconut Oil: A natural cleansing oil with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, it helps remove impurities and buildup while moisturizing.
2. Jambu (spilanthes acmella): Known for its remarkable reparative abilities, this “electric daisy” produces a protective molecule to bolster resiliency, defending and protecting it from age-accelerating damage.
3. Essential Oils: In the personal care industry, fragrance is a much-used moniker that may contain dozens of undisclosed ingredients, including some that can trigger dermatitis or are linked to reproductive disruption. Because its considered a trade secret, companies are not legally required to list the chemicals that compose their scents. It’s no shocker that fragrance is one of the top five known allergens. Essential oils add a natural clean scent and have many health benefits to the skin and body.
4. Activated Charcoal: Binds to and helps pull the dirt out of your pores, making them less visible (it’s the oil and dirt that makes them appear bigger). Look for activated charcoal in face mask products
5. Vitamin C: Provides a range of benefits, from helping to even out your skin tone, shielding skin from the visible impact of pollution, significantly improving hydration, and keeping your skin looking younger.
6. Aloe Vera: Provides skin and hair with many essential vitamins and minerals and it has anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
7. Water: Drinking plenty of water and keeping yourself hydrated also plays a huge role in great skin. I like to follow this rule: Take your what you weigh, cut that number in half and drink that amount in ounces per day.
My all-time favorite products are face oils. They are a great addition to any skin care routine (regardless of your skin type) and once you try them, you’ll be hooked on how smooth, moisturized, and healthy your skin feels. I use Beautycounter’s plumping and balancing oil. It has been a game changer in my beauty regimen, giving my skin a healthier more youthful glow and clearing up acne. I love that Beautycounter takes the worry work out of ingredient checking for me. I also love that Sarah Kate's Healthy Hair Nectars have the same philosophy as Beautycounter and I can confidently recommend them to my clients as part of their clean beauty regimen.
I will leave you with one final way to help you get started on your clean beauty regimen today... "Toxin Toxout, Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World" by Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith is an incredible book that will help educate you on how to make the best clean ingredient choices.
Always remember to "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” -Maya Angelou
Content provided by guest blogger Nicole Godbout, Director at Beautycounter
Wishing You Lots of Healthy Hair Love!