I’m becoming more and more passionate each day about the hot topic of safe beauty and personal care products. Every time I learn about a new chemical or ingredient that is allowed in our everyday products that has been linked to serious health issues including cancer or infertility, I get more motivated to speak out!

For some reason, most of us trust the beauty industry to have our best interests in mind. However, did you know there hasn’t been an update to regulations in this industry since 1938? That’s insane!

More companies are fortunately stepping up to the plate and removing many of these toxic ingredients, even though the industry doesn’t demand it, and one of my favorites is Beautycounter. Their mission is “to get safer products into the hands of everyone” and they currently offer a “Never List,” which is a great go-to resource when learning which ingredients to avoid. You can learn more about it here and use it when checking your personal care products at home.

While I could talk a lot about the toxic ingredients in many of our beauty products, ranging from body wash and body lotion to our lipstick and mascara, I thought I would focus on shampoo today. My plan is to write about different products more often to help you learn what to stay away from when purchasing new products.

Here are a few ingredients to watch out for when buying shampoo:

  1. Diethanolamine (DEA): Although it creates a great lather, when combined with other chemicals, can cause carcinogenic effects. It becomes a chemical called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA), which absorbs directly into your skin. And don’t forget that shampoo is running down your body as you rinse your hair!
  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: I think most people have heard the warning about this ingredient, but surprisingly companies are still using it. Not only does it dry your hair out but it can increase retention of nitrates in the body, which can have a direct link to cancer formation.
  3. Propylene Glycol: This ingredient is used to make anti-freeze (yikes!) and when doses get high enough in the body, it can be linked to liver and kidney damage. And unfortunately, it’s easily absorbed through the skin.
  4. Benzalkonium Chloride and Benzethonium Chloride: Used as an antimicrobial these have been linked to skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, as well as worsening asthma and chronic dermatitis.
  5. Cocamidopropyl Betaine: It’s risky due to the potential to cause allergies and immuno-toxicity. Research also shows it can cause organ toxicity.
  6. Fragrance: This is especially important in every product you use (from shampoo and body wash to face lotion and toner). Fragrances may contain thousands of chemicals and many have been linked to ADD, breast cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, neurodevelopmental issues and reproductive issues. These “fragrances” can be endocrine disruptors, meaning they alter your natural hormonal state.

While there are many other toxic ingredients being used in personal care products today, this is just a short list to get you started on this journey of cleaning up your personal care routine.

Coming from the girl that used to be the Bath & Body Works Queen for a decade (ugh!!), I’m motivated to spread the word and prevent others from making the mistake I made for years (putting toxic junk on my body!) I’m not sharing this information to scare you, but to INFORM you so you can make the best choices for you and your family. Remember, just like healthy food, safe products is an investment in yourself so you can live a long, healthy life.