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  • Writer's pictureCiara

Clean Up Your Beauty Routine

We all know it. That space under the bathroom sink where you keep all those half-used night creams, hair gels, tinted lotions, the list goes on. Maybe you used the leave-in conditioner once, or you gave that eye cream the college try, at the end of the day, you still have half a beauty store's sample section in your cabinets that are going nowhere fast. "I paid good money for these so I can't throw them out..." "None of it's expired, I'll try again when I finish what I'm using now..."

No more excuses. It's time to Marie Kondo your old beauty products. And first things first, let's look at ingredients...

Honestly, there's really no harm in keeping a few products that you genuinely like and changing your routine up every so often, but if you're harboring let's say 20 plus bottles and jars and tubes of half-used, out of date, chemically-laden soaps and creams, their time has come.

Here are 5 ingredients you should kick to the curb.


Dimethicone is a hydrolyzed chemical found in many moisturizers. It creates a film that locks in moisture to keep skin hydrated. While it has not been proven to clog pores and is deemed safe for use by the FDA, the chemical washes out into the water supply and impact fish and plant life in aquatic ecosystems because it is not biodegradable. Alternatives to dimethicone include: jojoba oil, avocado oil, shea butter and cocoa butter.


While aluminum is a naturally occurring element in the Earth's crust and there are arguments over whether exposure through body products can cause a whole lot of health issues or not (you're more likely to experience toxicity and bioaccumulation through ingesting foods or dealing with environmental pollution), it's best to avoid aluminum ingredients in antiperspirants. Actually, it's best to avoid antiperspirants entirely. Why? SWEATING IS NORMAL. EVERYBODY SWEATS. There, I said it. Sweating is a normal function of the body to detox. If you are blocking that function with antiperspirants (that contain aluminum) you are essentially preventing your body from performing a normal function of homeostasis. Just Google 'aluminum free deodorant' to join the club of us normally sweaty humans.


This group of artificial preservatives has gained special notoriety over the past 10 years or so. Parabens have been linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive harm and even cancer. These preservatives are well-known to be in many products designed for daily use, which is what raises the alarm-the more frequently you're using a potentially toxic product, the more likely it is to cause serious harm because of bioaccumulation. The great news is that many retailers have mobilized against using parabens or even allowing them on store shelves. While we're rounding the corner of the deadlines of retailers like Target and Walgreens to commit to banning these ingredients, it's still a smart idea to read every label. Look for words like methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl- and isobutylparaben.


Yup, they put fossil fuels in your beauty products too. In the manufacturing process, these petrochemicals could be contaminated with a substance known as 1,4-dioxane which is a potential carcinogen. Petroleum in your beauty products can also contribute to kidney, respiratory and neuro-toxicity. Petroleum has many aliases. Look out for parafin, mineral oil, PEG, DEA, benzene, toluene, butyl-, propyl-, etc. Reading ingredients is your best defense. If you can't imagine where the ingredient came from or how it was derived, you might just want to put it down.

Artificial Fragrance or Parfum

These are actually terms that could refer to upwards of 3000 different ingredients or unidentified compounds, many of which are actually petroleum based. In addition to the toxicities listed above, you could be encountering allergens and environmental toxins that you wouldn't want on your skin if it was clearly labeled on the container. These fake fragrances don't just affect you, they affect everyone around you that's inhaling your 'scent'. Think twice before you use that product that you think smells so good, look for products that are scented with essential oils that are derived from nature.


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