In terms of creating a more sustainable lifestyle, what does the term “clean beauty” encompass? As Lady Farmers, we like to think about the health of the planet and the people when considering the things we use every day. Is the product made with naturally derived ingredients? Is it made by people who are paid fairly? Is the product able to go back to the earth in a way that isn’t harmful? Is the product going to be nourishing, supportive of optimal health, or is it harmful? When it comes to beauty, we try to identify clean products for our own use and to recommend to others.
Ingredients to Avoid
There are a multitude of factors to consider when choosing beauty products, but as a simple beginning, here are some ingredients you definitely want to avoid. Learn them, and look out for them in the ingredients lists the next time you’re shopping for skin care products
- Parabens: Parabens are artificial chemicals that are used to help preserve products. They have been known to irritate the skin, disrupt normal hormonal function and possibly cause fertility problems. Read more about parabens here.
- Fragrance: Have you looked at the ingredients of a product and seen the word “fragrance”? According to the Environmental Working Group, EWG, fragrance just means a random mix of chemicals that companies choose not to disclose! While terms such as "Forest Pine" or "Meadow Flower" might appeal to our imaginations, you can be assured that the product contains neither of those, but rather a concoction of unnatural ingredients designed to trick your brain into an artificial sensory experience. So we think it is best to avoid.
- “SLS” and “SLES”: Perhaps you’ve heard about sulfates. What you really need to look out for are two types, Sodium Lauryl Sulfates and Sodium Laureth Sulfates. These are types of synthetic detergents used in many skin and hair products. Not only can they cause skin irritation, but they are highly allergenic and contain 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process that some studies say poses a potential cancer risk. So say no to these whenever you see them. Read more about them and other no no’s, here.
Ingredients We Like
Ideally, any product we're going to put into our skin contains ingredients that are recognizable in nature and not things with unpronounceable names that are concocted in a lab somewhere. Some examples are; natural oils such as jojoba, sweet almond, olive or avocado, sustainably sourced bee products such as royal jelly, beeswax and propolis, essential oils that are known to be beneficial to the skin such as clary sage, rosehip, lavender and Roman chamomile. This is by no means an exhaustive list of acceptable ingredients. Nature supplies an abundance of marvelous beauty aids, enough for a lifetime of enjoyment for those interested. But for the average consumer, the secret is to become an avid reader of labels, and to do your research on substances that you can't recognize. If you can't find out anything about something that's listed on the label, that's usually a good reason to avoid it.
The overwhelming majority of personal beauty products come in some form of plastic packaging. This is a problem for us from the get-go, given the multitude of environmental and health issues with plastic in general, and specifically with products that are coming into direct contact with the skin. For this reason we are always on the look -out for wonderful, clean beauty products that come in glass containers. This criteria alone limits the choices considerably, and sometimes we'll like a product enough to use it despite its packaging (but not without reaching out to the company with our feedback!) We understand that non-plastic packaging might involve higher shipping costs and breakage in transit, so we know it's not an easy fix. The key is to be wise with your dollar and outspoken in your preferences.
For those joining us at our slow living retreat in November, Becky Waddell of Take Care Shop in DC will be leading a workshop entitled Finding Deep Connection With Your Personal Care Routine. She will be talking about reclaiming our morning and evening routines for moments of calm connection, which can help us navigate our lives with more intention and ease. In this workshop, we will explore how to slow down and experience our personal care routines in a thoughtful and even meditative manner through hands- on practice and personalized guidance.
Becky has studied biology and beauty products for years. and has been gathering products of the highest quality to share with her clients. We are so happy to have her as part of our slow living experience!
If you are looking for a unique and restorative weekend to guide you in your journey to more sustainable living, we hope you'll join us. You'll find full details on all of the many offerings and registration information here. So come get your personalized lesson on clean beauty at the Slow Living Retreat! We only have a few spots left, so don't wait!