It’s no secret that we have to take extra care to protect our skin in the summer time. But what about using products that are just as safe and healthy for our sun as the foods that we eat? Okay maybe that’s a stretch, I hope you don’t want to eat your beauty products. What I mean is that the products are safe enough that if you or more likely your kids accidentally eat them, inhale them, or wear them every single day in the summer–that there there is no significant risk.
My guys and I recently went on our first family trip as a family of three to Hawaii and we had a blast! However, the sun in Hawaii was very strong and none of us wanted to get burnt. Of course sunscreen is a must, but ever since learning more about how little regulation their is in the beauty industry, I’ve been discouraged from using many of the conventional sun protection products. Of course skin cancer prevention is the most important, but I also want products that are effective and high quality. So I’ve done some research about the top safer beauty products and tested them out on our trip.
Here are my top contenders for the safest sun skincare and a little bit more on why I’ve chosen to use such products.
I love me some Vitamin D; so many of us are deficient of it living in the Midwest. I remember recently reading a statistic that about 50% of American’s are deficient in Vitamin D. 50%!! That’s huge. Getting some sun can definitely have it’s benefits, but skin cancer is also a risk and concern when your out in the sun often, so sunscreen is a must. There are two types of sunscreen out there; chemical and mineral. Chemical are the conventional brands you see on most drugstore shelves that use chemicals to create a barrier between the sun. Conventional sunscreens are absorbed by your skin and some of the chemicals used in sunscreen have been linked to hormone disruption and higher levels of heavy metals. They are a class of chemicals that have high skin irritant and allergic reaction rates.
The most potentially harmful of these ingredients being oxybenzone (very commonly used in conventional sunscreen), with octihoxate and homosalate coming in close second. If you’d like to learn more about the toxicity of ingredients in beauty products (not just sunscreen), download the Environmental Working Group App (EWG). EWG is a third party organization that rates the toxicity of ingredients in different products and is very easy to navigte.
Mineral sunscreens on the other hand, create a barrier from UVA rays on top of your skin and they are not as easily absorbed by the skin. Think of the bright white zinc stripes that are sometimes synonymous with mineral sunscreen.
Another concern with sunscreen are nano-particles (and other cosmetics such as face powders, and sprays). Nano-particles are the particles from aerosol products or powders that you may accidentally inhale or spray around the area around you. Studies have started to look at nano-particles and their potential damage. Here’s a study from MIT taking a closer look at nano-particles.
To clarify, I don’t discuss these safety concerns with products to create fear or say that all other products are inherently “bad”, but to encourage you to take a closer look at the products you are using and whether or not you can find a safer option that does not sacrifice quality.
Beautycounter recently re-formulated their sunscreen to be even more effective, even more environmentally friendly, and best of all, to have anti-aging properties. Their sunscreens protect against UVA, UVB rays, and is non-nano. Beautycounter is one of the first companies to make a non-aerosol sunscreen, as aerosol sunscreens have been found to be extremely damaging to coral reefs. Hawaii actually just passed a law banning these sunscreens and I can tell you form visiting there that they take the environment very seriously. Another bonus of their reformulation, is that even though the sunscreens are mineral and zinc-based, they rub into your skin very well and do not leave much of awhite residue. The sunscreen is made with California poppy, which has natural anti-aging properties (look I even found a picture of a poppy when I was in California!!)
There are three Beautycounter sunscreen products:
- The Spray: Air-powered, not aerosol powered, sprays on white, rub in clear. Comes in two sizes–(Linked here)
- Sunscreen Lotion: Traditional mineral sunscreen lotion (Linked here)
- Sunscreen Stick: Perfect for using on your face, neck, and ears. Also works great on babies!! (Linked here)
Safer Aloe Vera
Yes I am a Beautycounter consultant, but I do not wear all Beautycounter products. Let’s be real. There are a lot of other companies that make safer Beauty products and that makes me so happy! Happy that there are starting to be options and happy that there are other companies that take their beauty product ingredients so seriously. Beauty by Earth is another brand selling safer beauty products and their aloe vera gel is perfect for after summer sun skin, as well as for moisturizing skin.
What the problem with many conventional skincare companies? Not enough transparency for the ingredients that they use. Here is the ingredients list for a common aloe vera gel: Water, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, PEG-4 Dilaurate, PEG-4 Laurate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, PEG-4, Benzophenone-4, Lmidazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance, Yellow 5, Blue 1.
One problematic ingredient is “Fragrance”: The beauty industry’s favorite catch-all phrase. What kind of fragrance? Where is it derived from? Is it a safe fragrance? Has it been tested? These are all valid questions when looking at labels of beauty products and seeing the potentially misleading term “fragrance.” The word “fragrance” covers any combination of over 3,100 chemicals, some of which are associated with serious side effects, such as hormone disruption and reproductive problems. Another ingredient that is not dangerous, but kind of silly, is water. Why is that one of the primary ingredients in Aloe vera?!?! Why would you pay extra for a product if the primary ingredient is water.
The Beauty by Earth Aloe vera… is 98% aloe vera gel!!! the other ingredients are: Ascorbyl Glucoside (Vitamin C), Xanthan Gum, Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Citrate. Much better! You can find their products here. They also make an amazing tinted sunscreen and self-tanner!!
Safer Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo is SUCH a lifesaver! It has carried me through many a bad
day, week when I haven’t had the time or energy to wash my hair. Conventional Dry shampoos are typically aerosol based and filled with ingredients like Butane or the vague term of fragrances, that I don’t really want to put on my face. In fact, a recent study by Sciencemag found that our personal aerosol products, such as hairspray and dry shampoo, could be adding a significant amount of air pollution (Source). Yuck!!
Many spray dry shampoos also contain Talc, which in itself is not harmful, but it needs to be certified asbestos free. Years ago, most Talc was contaminated by asbestos and since then (and since there were a few lawsuits), most manufacturers have upped their Talc screening processes, but you want to be sure of this. I would hope that most big brands are testing for asbestos, but if a brand is not transparent about their ingredients as well as the testing they go through, I know I would like more information. This grey area of ingredients makes me a little uncomfortable.
All of this to say, that since there are non-aerosol versions with safe ingredients that work just as well, why not use them?! Exactly! My college friend Grace from Whole Love Organics makes her own dry shampoo and you guys it is amazing! Bonus it smells like chocolate! It also lasts excessively long. I’ve had my first jar for about 4 months now and it looks like I’ve barely used it. And trust me, I’ve used it more days than I would like to admit.
You can try the dry shampoo here, as well as, Grace’s other products, which include my favorite natural shampoo.
Plus, here’s my dry shampoo secret that I recently learned—wait for it—put dry shampoo in your clean hair. I know, it sounds weird, but it’s actually being pro-active. Of course dry your hair and then put dry shampoo in all the areas you know your hair gets oily. GENIUS, let me tell you. I am now going three days without washing my hair at a time (I was barely making it through one before) and it actually looks okay!
So have you tried any safer beauty products? If so, what’d you think?