With the rapid growth of the natural beauty market, and the push for drugstore brands to make the switch, figuring out what products to detox first and which brands to trust can be a total minefield. As chemical-laden brands push into the market by going natural or at least updating their packaging to appear “organic,” we wondered, how can we know which products to swap out ASAP and which brands to trust.
To find out, we called up Laura Townsend, Marketing Director of The Detox Market, Toronto’s one-stop-shop for natural beauty products.
If someone were to detox just one beauty/skincare product, what should it be and why?
I would say a body lotion or body wash as this product covers the bodies largest surface area, your skin! Anything you put on your body will absorb and circulate into your bloodstream within 30 seconds and wherever blood travels, toxins will travel.
Body lotions and creams contain many harmful things like foaming agents, fragrance, silicone, PEG, SLS.. the list goes on.
And let’s say we’ll keep the habit going. What are your top 5 products to make the switch to all-natural?
In addition to body lotion and body wash:
- Lip balm/lip stick
- Nail polish
- Face cream/face wash
We know there are plenty of bad chemicals in our drugstore products to watch out for. What are the biggest ones we want to avoid and why? What products are these ingredients commonly found in?
They are all terrible but the top ones people are commonly looking out for are:
- Aluminum: Found in antiperspirant (it blocks sweat ducts). Potential health concerns include: neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, organ toxicity/irritation. It’s also a carcinogen.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (aka SLS): Found in everything from your shampoo, to your cleanser, soap, body wash, exfoliator, and bubble bath (it’s a fragrance ingredient and helps with acne). Potential health concerns include: organ toxicity and irritation. It’s also an allergen.
- Parabens: Found in all types of hair, body, face, and cosmetic products (it’s used as a plasticizer, solubilizer, and denaturant). Potential health concerns include: endocrine disruption, reproductive harm, and organ toxicity/irritation). It’s also an allergen and a carcinogen.
- Phthlates: Found in synthetic fragrance and hairspray (it’s used as a plasticizer, solubilizer, and denaturant). Potential health concerns include: endocrine disruption and reproductive harm.
- Lead: Found in most cosmetics (you read that right). Potential health concerns include: neurotoxicity, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption. It’s also a carcinogen.
When we were at the Goop launch, we heard Jean Godfrey-June talk about “fragrance” as a big thing to look out for since it could really mean anything. Any tips on how to make sure we find out exactly what’s in that “fragrance” ingredient? Why could it be potentially harmful?
There is little regulation on labelling fragrance so this can make things tough when trying to track down specifics. The best thing to do is ask in store or email the company directly. If they (hopefully) are transparent, they will share the specifics of what makes up the listed fragrance.
Fragrance can cause many health issues: migraines, cancer, reproductive toxicity, allergies and sensitivities.
We talked about transparency being a huge trend in natural beauty this year. Can you talk a bit about why consumers are paying so much more attention now to not only what’s in their products but where the ingredients are sourced from?
I truly feel social media is a huge component. This info is easily accessible and knowledge is power. People can finally read and understand why conventional products are potentially hurting their long term health. Transparency from brands allows people to make conscious decisions for themselves and empower them to make better decisions overall.
What are some brands you think are doing a great job on keeping consumers informed about what’s in their products, where the ingredients are sourced from, and why?
I can truthfully say, all brands at The Detox Market do a fantastic job at this. Odacité and Tata Harper are examples of two brands that clearly list it on their packaging.