Clean Beauty with Kate
For most people, ‘getting healthy’ means eating better food, drinking more water and getting more sleep and for many this will be enough, but what if you’re not feeling better or like many people feeling worse or getting different symptoms. How many of these people consider their toxic load? You’ll have heard me mention toxic load before because it’s a major part of our modern lives we overlook or simply refuse to address.
We’re exposed to multiple toxins every second of every day in our environment and our body makes them too. Environmentally they come from car pollution, electronic devices, plug-ins, candles, air-fresheners, household cleaning products, upholstery, carpets, office lighting, air-conditioning/heating, cookware, food packaging, food additives and preservatives, takeaway coffee cups, plastic food wraps, plastic water bottles, decaffeinated drinks, non-organic foods, GMO, moulds, perfumes, deodorants, shampoos, beauty products, cosmetics, hair dye, fake tan, false nails, nail polish, make-up, toothpaste, sanitary products, medication, vaccinations, the tap water we drink, we walk them into our houses on our shoes and the list goes on and on. Although there are many we can’t control, it is vitally important to be aware and proactive about reducing our exposure wherever possible.
So how do they affect our health? You may have heard the term ‘endocrine disruptors’ and that’s because these toxins SCREW WITH OUR HORMONES! As a result we can experience mood or behavioural changes, sleep disruption, weight gain, breast tenderness, PMS symptoms, skin breakouts, fatigue and many other symptoms and conditions such as cancer.
My good friend and fellow Nutritional Therapist, Kate is a huge advocate of clean beauty and is passionate about the subject of cleaner living so I was keen to hear her thoughts, which she kindly shares below -
T – For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve always encouraged me to be more aware of using ‘cleaner’, less toxic products both beauty and around the home. Why is this so important to you?
K – There are dozens of reasons; buying natural and sustainable products is kinder to the environment, you are allowing your skin to breathe by not slathering it with nasty chemicals, and you reduce the chances of skin irritation. Also, endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in most conventional products can cause reproductive issues linked to increased cancer risk. I believe what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in our bodies.
T – We know when you become a Mum your priorities change and you want to give your child the best start in life. A babies skin can be sensitive but also because it’s a part of our immune system it is so important we protect it, how easily was it to source products to use on your baby and did you find a trusted go-to brand?
K – This was really the point in my life when I started to delve more deeply into clean beauty. I was absolutely horrified at the thought of putting chemicals on my babies’ skin. I remember buying a well-known brand of baby wipes to check their ingredients and my grisly discovery confirmed my need to source chemical free skincare.
While sourcing products was relatively easy, there definitely wasn’t a wide selection to choose from. Even in the short 2.5 years since Ellie was born things have vastly improved. Back then, I chose a moisturising cream and bath cream from Weleda’s baby range as it measured 0 on the Think Dirty app, meaning it was 100% chemical free. I used Water Wipes and when it was time for her massage I used coconut oil. I still use each of the products today.
T – A couple of years ago you introduced me to the free ‘Think Dirty’ app we can get on our phones so I’m definitely now in the habit of scanning bar codes when considering new products but what other tools do you use, especially as labelling and the information on packaging can be very misleading?
K – You’re right, packaging can be so misleading, and research is essential. Just because it says Organic doesn’t mean it is chemical free! I love the Natural Beauty magazine, it is great for articles and product recommendations. I also reference the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database EWG if I need to check certain ingredients.
T – As Nutritional Therapists we understand the importance of reducing the toxic load in order to support the liver to do it’s job efficiently and also to prevent our hormones being messed with. This is something I speak to all my clients about, especially women who are coming up to or in their 40’s and they find they’ve got a lower alcohol tolerance, they’re suffering skin breakouts or their PMS symptoms have worsened but I also think its equally important for children, particularly teenagers as their hormones start to change. Is there one product or product range you think should be prioritised when initially trying to make the change-over to less toxins?
K – Speaking from a female perspective I think intimate cleansing products should be chemical free, especially deodorants and shower gel. Aluminium and talc are common carcinogens found in deodorant. Triclosan is another common ingredient found, known to cause thyroid and reproductive system dysfunction. It just beggars belief that companies are actually putting these nasty chemicals in products we use on our skin, products our skin obediently absorbs!
T – You recently spent a month in Australia and we’re so aware they’re leading the way with greener, cleaner products but how would you say their attitude to clean beauty differs to ours?
K – Oh wow! They are miles ahead of us. Clean beauty in Australia is the norm, it isn’t new, and it isn’t a fad. Australians demand it, and rightly so! When I walk down the beauty aisles of my local supermarket I am bombarded with chemical-laden products. In Australia, finding organic, chemical free products in supermarkets is standard. You don’t need to find speciality shops over there!
T – Did you pick up on any new trends or any exciting new products we should be looking out for?
K – We are starting to see the plastic-free campaign currently gaining serious momentum in the UK. Fast forward 5-10 years and we’ll be where Australia is now. I loved their selection of bamboo straws and stainless steel lunch boxes! I think we’ll start to see more of these types of products becoming popular here. Also, reusable alternatives to cling film such as wax cloth. With the disastrous impact plastic pollution is having on our oceans and sea life, it is imperative we start make intelligent choices when it comes to plastic.
T – Over the years I dread to think how much I’ve spent buying into every hyped product offering all sorts of miraculous results but now I know that ‘glowing skin comes from within’ I keep it much simpler and spend so much less on products and much more on better quality food. Do you think its important to spend a lot of money on products or do you have an inexpensive secret or product you swear by?
K – Like you, I fell for the hype! I fell for the advertising and shiny packaging. But now, if I had to give you one secret weapon for your skin I’d say water. And guess what? It’s free! It’s amazing the amount of people who don’t drink enough water every day. Your skin is the largest organ in the human body with its own nerve supply, a collection of different tissues and myriad of various cell types. For this complex organ to remain healthy, it needs to be hydrated. It doesn’t need to be slathered with chemicals.
T – So finally, can you share your ‘Top Three’ products or tips....
K – My top 3 favourite products are:
1. Erika Brooke Deodorant – Vanilla and Neroli. This product changed my life, honestly. I always used the conventional antiperspirant deodorants over the years and they never really worked for me. I read about Erika Brooke’s deodorant and decided to give it a try. I was blown away. It keeps you fresh all day long! I love it and could not be without it. And guess where it comes from? Yep, Australia! The shipping costs more than the product but for £25 I get a chemical free product that works wonders and lasts for about 4 months!
2. Tropic’s Tamanu Balm – Tropic is a company that is making serious waves in the natural beauty scene and the best thing about it is that it is British. I used this product on Ellie’s skin when I started to see eczema appearing on her back and legs when she was about 6 months old. After doing my own research while listening to the advice of those around me telling me to buy steroid cream from the pharmacy (!), I decided to try Tamanu. My biggest mistake was that I didn’t take a before and after picture because you would not believe the results in 24 hours. Within a week, Ellie’s eczema disappeared and hasn’t come back. I use it on her 2-3 times per week after her bath.
3. Coconut oil – who doesn’t love coconut oil? It is cheap to buy, chemical free, nourishing for your skin, and can also be ingested to help with digestion and immunity. I always use just before I get out of the shower as it leaves my skin so soft. I recommend buying Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil. Coconutty is my favourite brand.
My top 3 tips:
1. Drink plenty of water – but not from plastic bottles!
2. Use a bamboo cloth to remove your cleanser. It makes your skin so smooth and clean. It also acts as an exfoliator!
3. To keep your skin looking fresh and youthful, massage and facial exercises are better than any toxic injections or treatments. If you look on YouTube you’ll find a fabulous selection of helpful videos.
Kate, I'd like to thank you so much because as always, I’ve learned even more from you and your passion is inspiring. I hope everybody reading this has had 'food for thought' and found it valuable too. If you’ve been inspired by this post to make changes, I'd love you to let me know and as always if you require any further information, please ask. Thanks for reading!
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