Are your beauty products ruining your health?

While I'm certainly not as much of a hardcore beauty product junkie as I used to be, I do like to take good care of myself and pamper myself with delightful smelling treats that leave me feeling soft and nourished. These days many beauty and health care products come with highly impressive claims of being "scientifically cutting edge" with magical abilities to "turn back the clock" or of being "natural" and beneficial to our health, however take a deeper look and you will find that many of the most popular products are not only failing to live up to their own hype, they may actually be ruining our health.

This is something I have been giving serious thought to in recent years, my Fiancé and I are keenly interested in living a healthier and more balanced lifestyle, which is why we grow our own organic food and herbs and are planning an apothecary garden this year, we filter our water, enjoy a wholefoods plant based diet and we strive to ensure that our baby consumes only the best and most natural products, free from chemicals and preservatives.

Recently I got this amazing app called Yuka, Yuka deciphers product labels and analyses the health impact of food products and cosmetics, without any influence from brands themselves. Of course I immediately scanned all of my beauty products and makeup, to my dismay I realised that many of the products I was using were less healthy than they appeared with some even registering as highly dangerous to my health.

Even more surprisingly, I discovered that many of the products I owned that specifically claimed to be "healthy" or "natural" were actually the most dangerous among them. Such as Original Source shower gel, a popular product that is both vegan and widely available in UK supermarkets, despite its claims of being naturally fragranced and "made by the help of 82 sunrises", it showed up as having high risk ingredients such as Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, which can be responsible for female endocrine disruption and impaired thyroid function. My "natural" Amla hair oil was just as bad, containing BHT which has demonstrated to cause hormonal problems, issues with sex drive and fertility, as well as disruptive endocrine effects. Even my Holland and Barrett 99.9% Pure Aloe Vera Gel got a rating of "bad" which it turned out contained Phenoxyethanol, which is known to be toxic to the liver, and blood and is also suspected to have negative effects on the hormones and fertility.

I was stunned to realise that I have been lounging carelessly in my bubble baths not knowing I was soaking in a toxic soup, with products that could be leaving me hormonally imbalanced, infertile or that could even cause cancer.

Sadly the dressing table in our bedroom wasn't much better, my John Freida detox, repair and protect spray (heat protector) scored an unbelievable 0/100 and contained multiple high and moderate risk ingredients despite it being marketed as a healthy product made from avocado and green tea, it also contained whey powder (Yuck! I must have bought that in a hurry). I knew that certain products weren't great and had already switched out my aerosol deodorant sprays for fruity smelling salt sticks. But I noted that most of my more expensive, or designer products such as moisturisers, face masks, perfume or make up scored the worst of all, here I was believing I had paid out more for quality grooming care, yet I was actually putting toxic cocktails on myself. The sense of betrayal is so real.

Earth friendly baby products score as excellent

Thankfully, all of my baby products scored excellent. I did a lot of reading during pregnancy and I had been incredibly freaked out about the Johnson & Johnson law suits and cancer causing ingredients in talc and other baby products, when he was born I had taken extra care over his product choices I'm so glad I did! His baby wipes, talc, body wash and sun cream all scored as excellent.

Next I tested my cleaning products, thankfully my favourite anti bacterial Rhubarb cleaning spray by Method, scored an impressive 93/100 giving it a rating of excellent, and I generally use white vinegar or essential oils for much of my cleaning, however air fresheners and other cleaning products were binned that day.

The Yuka app has truly opened my eyes and I would recommend that every woman downloads it to check the products in her home, I have no affiliation to Yuka, I just love the app, best of all it gives you alternative recommendations to use when something scores "poor" which is how I discovered Jamacian black castor hair oil with mango and lime, an alternative to my hair oil with a safety rating of 100/100!

Yuka also tests food products, thankfully none of the stuff in our cupboards raised concerns, except a box of cereal that has since been discarded. The Yuka scan function is quick and simple and easy to use on the go in the supermarket and it's completely free to scan and analyse products, although you can sign up for membership if you would also like to search products yourself, rather than just scan.

Over the past year I have been making more of my own products, including my own soaps, moisturiser, body scrubs and household cleaning products, so look out for part 2 of this article where I will share some yummy recipes that are completely safe and beneficial. In the meantime, please be careful my loves, it turns out that when it comes to our well being there is more than just men and dating that we must be discerning about! Although it takes a little more time (not much), it is so worth checking the products you are picking up in stores, often the smooth talking sales pitch is nothing like the ugliness inside the bottle. Let me know about your product discoveries in the comments!

Get the Yuka app here

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