Detox Your Pregnancy Beauty Routine

Pregnancy is the perfect time to make positive changes in your well-being. I can’t think of any greater motivation to quit smoking or drink less alcohol or eat fewer potato chips than growing a healthy baby.

Those nine months are also an ideal period to take a closer look at the beauty products we use each day. Unlike the food we eat, which is governed by the FDA, the cosmetics we put on our skin – the skin is the body’s biggest organ — do not have to answer to any regulating party. This means that many of the beauty products available today contain ingredients that are untested and can be harmful.

I’ve already mentioned a few of the non-toxic products that I used excessively during pregnancy. And I listed some more here. But letting go of your favorite products can be hard – I understand. Perhaps you’ve been using the same hair gel since high school or are committed to a particular shade of toenail polish. Finding a safer alternative may be challenging. The good news is that you don’t have to make significant changes overnight – and starting is easier than you think.

If you’re interested in giving your cosmetic regimen a non-toxic upgrade, but are unsure where to begin, Jessa Blades —  an NYC-based makeup artist and natural beauty expert — recommends taking it slow. “This information can be unsettling,” she says. “Many women want to run for the hills and never wear makeup again.” Instead, she suggests that women examine the beauty products that they use most frequently. “It’s really important to consider what you’re using once or twice a day (lipstick, mascara, etc.) as the real issue is the frequency of application and the long time effects of the ingredients on the body. It’s not necessary to immediately change the lipstick that you wear every three months to a special event.”

When embarking on the journey toward safer beauty, Blades recommends using these three points as guideposts:

Be curious. Safer beauty begins with self-education. Take the time to study the labels of your favorite products and familiarize yourself with ingredients on the no-go list (see below).

Take baby steps. Slowly add and subtract items from your beauty routine. A subtler shift is better for long-lasting change. Wait for things to run out before replacing them with something else.

Have realistic expectation for products. Some natural and organic products perform differently than their conventional counterparts. If you are used to waterproof mascara you may be disappointed when your non-toxic mascara doesn’t last as long.

As for ingredients to watch out for, Blades encourages women to study the labels on their favorite products, looking out for the following potentially harmful ingredients:

  • Petrochemicals (often used in skin astringents and perfumes or colognes)
  • Sodium laureth/lauryl sulfates and other sulfate-based detergents (most commonly used in shampoos, shower gels, and bubble baths)
  • Propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol (found in everything from deodorant, mascara, baby powder, aftershave, and more).
  • Formaldehyde and paraben preservatives (found in sunscreen, shampoos, shaving gel, toothpaste, and more)
  • Fragrance (synthetic fragrance has been found to have high levels of toxicity. Any fragrance that isn’t specifically listed as natural or organic – i.e. made with essential oils — was most likely concocted in a laboratory).

You can learn more about the safety of your beauty products by checking out the Environmental Work Group’s Skin Deep Database.

Visit Jessa Blades at Blades Natural Beauty.

 

About Marisa Belger

Marisa Belger is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor and mama. When not running around with her five-year old boy -- or preparing for the birth of his little brother -- she writes about parenting, natural beauty, wellness and green living for publications like Natural Health, Prevention and TODAYShow.com, or collaborates on books like Josh Dorfman's The Lazy Environmentalist.
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