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How to Get Rid of Toxic Skin Care and Learn What's Safe.

Updated on July 11, 2012

Dirty Picture of Dirty Stuff

Dirty Stuff still lurking in my home!
Dirty Stuff still lurking in my home! | Source
Try something clean. Ava Anderson rates 0 (safe) on the database.
Try something clean. Ava Anderson rates 0 (safe) on the database. | Source
Just because the packaging is green doesn't mean the product is. Always read the label!
Just because the packaging is green doesn't mean the product is. Always read the label! | Source

Ignore the green on the front: check ingredients first.

If you're vegan, green, or simply environmentally conscious you've probably faced the challenge of avoiding harmful chemicals from everyday products like body wash, shampoo, soap, household cleaners, and other products that we use every day without a second thought. I have been on this bandwagon for years now, and I really thought I was doing well.

The truth has hit me: You don't know what you don't know. I have looked up my products on the Cosmetics Database MANY times. Yesterday, I did a clean sweep of my bathroom. Here's how I cleaned up my act.

Your first step is to understand the toxins and chemicals that lurk in everyday products. To learn about that, check out The Story of Stuff (Cosmetics) on Youtube. This is a very quick overview of why "stuff" is harmful - which stuff is harmful, and what you can do to avoid the bad stuff (phthalates, sulphates, and all the other nasties hidden in your products (and your body!). Another great resource is a documentary called "Bag It" about how plastics are contaminating our earth, our bodies and our children. Here's the official trailer.

Next, understand how the Cosmetics Database works. The database provides a toxicity rating from 0 - 9, zero being not harmful and 9 being a product to completely avoid. Learn about hormone disruptors, endocrine disruptors and chemicals that leach into your body and mimic your natural hormones. Nearly all tumors are found to contain these toxic chemicals, and in a recent study phthalates were found in the cord blood of EVERY INFANT tested. Every single one. While it's impossible to avoid all forms of chemical toxicity - it is possible to decrease the toxic load on your body. This frees up your immune system to tend to other things - like keeping you healthy and well! Once you get an idea of what to look for and where, it's time to dig in. Here's how I proceeded.

I took my (previously favorite) products, some sharpies and post-its - and went to and started entering products. I put a rating on each with a post it, for visual reference. You can see the full write-up on my blog: Natural Nutrition Guru . To my shocking surprise - even my high-dollar "organic" products rated no better than mid range. I was outraged that I've been purchasing high-dollar "organic" products only to learn that they are anything but! They're equally toxic, equally poor in quality - and I have been DUPED!

Now that I've tried truly green products I will never ever go back. My days of drugstore purchases are officially over. Even brands like Alba Organics, Organix, Yes to Carrots, and Kiss My Face still pose a threat to your health. Look for brands that rate 0-2 in the database - my personal favorite is Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. There are a few other store brands that I can live with (Crystal deodorant, and my Merlot lip balm). Sadly products like Burt's Bees have been purchased by J&J and have been slowly changing over the years. Even Tom's Natural has sold out - and is full of yuck these days.

Learn, Empower yourself - and remember that YOUR DOLLARS ARE YOUR VOTES. The FDA does NOT care about you. Not one bit! Now, go forth and conquer (your bathroom cabinet, that is!)


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