Living Low Chemical - The Cosmetics Edition

The quest for health and wellness has many of us heading down the road of the organic or low chemical. It’s a smart choice, as pesticides and herbicides are thought to have some very real effects on health. But often, it’s the little things that sabotage our organic efforts. Ground zero can be cosmetics – the chemical soups that we put on our skin in order to ‘get cute’ of a morning.

First up, know beauty comes from the inside. Therefore you’re cute already (insert other beauty-related platitudes here). If you’re still not keen on quitting cosmetics (and we don’t blame you for that!), then we are here to help. We’ve done a little shopping for you. Here’s some information on organic and low chemical alternatives.

 

Organic Standard Certifications

A lot of brands make claims about being natural or organic, and it can be hard to sort the good from the not-so good. In Australia, there are a number of certification systems that might help you through this debacle. Indeed, there are degrees of ‘naturalness.’ Here’s the low-down on what that means.

 

  • Australian Certified Organic has two levels: Certified Organic means the product “contains a minimum of 95% certified organic ingredients (excluding salt and water) and up to 5% consisting of other approved ingredients [1].” Made with certified organic ingredients means the product “contains 70–95% certified organic ingredients (excluding salt and water) with the remainder from approved non-organic sources [1].”
  • COSMOS certification. This is becoming an international standard to go by, even if it is somewhat new. COSMOS organic certification means the product is made up of a minimum of 95% organic ingredients of plant or animal origin. The thing to be aware of is that water, salts and minerals can’t be counted as organic. Hence, other minimums apply to products that are strongly water or mineral based. It does require that there are no genetically modifed or irradiated ingredients, no nanoparticles and no animal testing. (Makes you wonder what’s in everything else, doesn’t it?). 
  • Others you might come across include Natrue and NSF. Both hover around the the 70-95% organic ingredient mark. Natrue is an international certifier and NSF is an American certifier. Natrue has are three levels of certification: “natural; natural with organic ingredients (70% or more organic ingredients); and organic (95% or more organic ingredients) [1].” The NSF certification demands that “Products must undergo a thorough review by an independent organic certification organisation to verify the product contains least 70% organic content by weight [1].”

 

There are a number of other certifications you might come across, but these four are well established and quite common. 

 

Now that the particulars are out of the way, where can you get some low-chemical or organic cosmetics?

  1. Coconut and Cypress Deoderant Paste: First up, we all like to smell good, but the humble deoderant can be loaded with chemicals. To remedy this, the team from Twenty8 have developed a natural deoderant paste that utilizes organic plant oils and antiseptic and antibacterial ingredients to work on a cellular level and neutralise odours all day. Best of all, it won’t clog up the sweat glands, so you can detox as nature intended. You can locate this product online at www.twenty8.com, and while you’re there, you can check out their skin care ranges. These cater not just to the ladies, but also to teenagers and the menfolk. (Our favourites: the clay treatement mask and face lift serum.) The team at Twenty8 don’t boast an organic certification, but their range is a “100% natural range, free from all synthetic chemicals, preservatives and fragrances [2].”
  2. Toothpaste: This household staple is loaded with chemicals, a fact a quick look at the ingredients list will attest to. This leads health bloggers Kim and Anton to list the humble toothpaste tube among the seven toxic household items we should be binning straight away. Why? They allege that it takes all of 26 seconds for us to absorb the plethora of toothpaste chemicals into the fine skin under the tongue. But what do you replace it with? There are two options taking the health-blogosphere by storm: bicarb soda and coconut oil. If you’re up for the former, simply dip your toothbrush in bicarb, moisten and scrub to your hearts content. If you prefer the coconut oil option (as you can actually get organic coconut oil!), then all you need to do is add some coconut oil, or coconut oil and bicarb soda to your brush then rinse with water [3]. There is also the ‘oil pulling’ method of dental cleansing, which involves slowly swishing approximately one tablespoon of coconut oil (or similar oil) around in your mouth for ten to twenty minutes. There are a number of health benefits touted as part of oil pulling. But we will let you track them down here.
  3. Make-up: Not all of us are brave enough to forego the daily make-up ritual for various reasons, expressive and otherwise. Thankfully, there are a number of cosmetics brands out there that fit nicely in the organic or low chemical quest. Here are five of the popular ones (some of them Australian owned and based, too!).

 

  • Inika. This brand is among the top recommended by organic and low chemical fans. It is certified as organic, vegan, halal and cruelty free, so there’s something there to please everyone. They offer a variety of beautiful foundations and colours in their range. Check them out online
  • Miessence. Also a favourite for low chemical and organic fans, this brand offers some reasonably priced, certified organic alternatives to cosmetics. There are a range of mineral powders, foundations, concealers, and lip cremes to choose from. For peace of mind, Miessence lists their certifications on their website, where you can also browse their cosmetics lines. Find them here.
  • Zuii. Boasting a number of organic certifications, along with vegan and cruelty free guarantees, Zuii is an organic make-up brand for the bold colour lover. Their lipsticks come highly recommended from a number of beauty bloggers. Best of all, Zuii means you never have to go without mascara. That’s a win for low-chemical and organic fans. Find them here.
  • La Mav. Devotees of the BB Crème and Bronzer combo can’t go past La Mav. This company also boasts all the right certifications, and is reasonably priced to boot. Based here in Australia, you can find them here.
  • Nourished Life. Rounding out the top five locations for organic and low chemical cosmetics is not a brand but a website. This website came to life when its founder, Irene Falcone, started suffering unbearable fatigue. This caused her to look into the amount of chemicals she was putting on her skin. The number mounted up to a scary 500, and lead her to bin almost $5,000 worth of cosmetics [5]. She then started researching the best quality beauty products, and the result is a website helping other beauty fans live a toxin free life. Check it out here.

It’s not always possible to avoid chemical toxins in the environment around us, but making informed choices when it comes to the things we put on our skin can go a long way to helping us life toxin free. Happy shopping.

 

References

[1] Bray, K (2015), “Natural and Organic Cosmetics,” Choice,  retrieved 30 May 2016

[2] Morrison, K (2016), “Why Twenty8,” Twenty8  retrieved 30 May 2016

[3] Walling, E (2016), “12 Natural Toothpaste Alternatives,” Living the Nourished Life,  retrieved 30 May 2016

[4] Walling, E (2016), “Got plaque? Need to Detox? Try Oil Pulling (Not as crazy as it sounds),” Living the Nourished Life,   retrieved 30 May 2016

[5] Falcone, I (2016), “About me,” Nourished Life: Be Toxin Free,  retrieved 30 May 2016