Paraben Talk + Clean Beauty Favorites

Pssst.  Come closer...using cosmetics and skincare shouldn't have to mean we risk our health.

In a study by, 65% of women wear skincare every day.
That means that over half of us use products that touch our skin, sits on our skin, and stays on our skin until we wash at night only to put on more night creams and serums.  The numbers are lower in how many wear cosmetics on a daily basis but for those who do, that's even more "stuff" absorbing into our face 24/7.  
We should probably be sure we know what's in these products right?
 I'm spilling the tea.

Why is it that the US has only banned eleven chemicals used in beauty products and Europe has banned over one thousand?  According to the FDA, there's no real proof that parabens are cancer-causing, even though it has been traced in urine samples, is found in breast tumors, and is known to disrupt hormone function even causing obesity issues.  Big companies will say certain parabens are ok and are backed by the FDA but each brand must make that call themselves.  

You have to ask yourself, why is breast cancer (next to lung) the most common cancer there is?  I'm no scientist but I work in the cosmetic industry and I have these conversations all the time.  As an MUA we all wonder what exactly is the common thread here and why are brands even using parabens?
Well, it's quite simple really.  They're used to preserve a product's shelf-life.  Point-blank-period.  Parabens are man-made preservatives that keep mold out and prevent products from turning rancid while they sit on the shelf waiting for their new home.

 Believe me, once you start looking at the ingredients you will find yourself going through all of your stuff checking labels.  I became obsessed mainly because I wanted to know what brands still included them in their products.  It says a lot about what a company truly cares about...their pockets or your well being.

Another thing we want to be careful of is brands that are "greenwashing" cosmetics.  Meaning, they pretend to be "clean" and healthy but aren't being honest.  Some might even use words like "clean skin" or "mineral" to make you think it's healthy meanwhile it's pumped full of chemicals.
  Check the labels to be sure.  
I've seen parabens in brands such a Kiehls and Mario Badescu blatantly posted on their label and have heard from the customer's mouth that they chose those brands because they seemed "more natural".
These are the misconceptions that lead the unknowing consumer into a blind trust. 
As a brand rep it wasn't my job to bad mouth other brands' choices, I would simply assist the shopper with finding the item they asked for and kept it moving.  It would be considered unprofessional to speak poorly about another brand and to insert my opinion to guide them away from a purchase.

This photo is of the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleanser, one of their most popular products.
The label has propylparaben and methylparaben on the label.  This is how you can find it on all your products, FYI.  Good luck hunting down this info online, most brands don't have it readily available for us to find.
This is the Cucumber Lotion, it's labeled "paraben-free"
So at least it's easy to find the products on the shelves that don't have added preservatives if you still like certain products by Mario but want to avoid others.  I still use this every night as an exfoliant/toner and will not re-purchase once it's gone.  I refuse to waste the products I already have.

I worked for Mario briefly and this was one of the things I struggled with when selling the brand, eventually leaving after a month.  I was finding I'd only want to sell the products that are labeled paraben-free because it caused me to fight against my morals. 

 Clinique moved to paraben-free a few years ago, which I'm very happy about as I love quite a few things of theirs, but they put the products containing the preservatives on sale for 50% off instead of trashing it and eating the cost.  I suppose as a brand that would make sense?
That would be a lot of money down the drain but then again so is chemo.
Someone had to say it.

I'm giving you information that's out there for you to see for yourself and I just want to make it clear I'm not implying everyone stops supporting these brands because again, each individual should research this on their own and decide what they want to believe.

I haven't made the entire leap to all-natural and clean products just yet but I'm making the switch slowly, with 80% of the products I use daily being "clean" and will not use any products with these words on the label:


I also am no longer buying products containing talc as this is also linked to endometrial and ovarian cancer.  Another "unproven" study according to the FDA but I'm not taking any chances as I myself have a pre-existing tumor in my uterus that is being monitored yearly for cell growth and has been biopsied.
Although talc is derived from a mineral, it contains asbestos so this is where one could think a mineral sounds healthy when in fact, can be harmful.

This classicly famous Airspun loose powder is loaded with talc, listing it as the first ingredient and is popular among the beauty industry, known for its incredible setting power and buildable nature.
  Everyone remembers this smell if you went anywhere near your grandmother's vanity.
This smell also takes me to the backstage of a theater where actors get ready.
If you've hugged a drag queen, this is what they smell like...well that and ten gallons of hair spray.

  It's a nostalgic love you get when first becoming addicted to the world of cosmetics, the smell of products.  I will forever be sent back to my counter days when I get a whiff of a MAC wipe.

I stopped using this years ago, don't ask me how it's still in my beauty room.

So as not to give you tons of information and no resolution, I'm sharing some of my favorite "CLEAN" brands that use simple ingredients and the products perform just as well (if not better) as anything you find on the shelf pumped full of preservatives.

Clean Rebellion
Castille Soap
  This is "I Am Happy", a lemongrass scented body wash I'm obsessed with.
There's also coconut and grapefruit scented soaps or an unscented one.
They are made with 100% organic, cold-pressed olive oil.
It lathers like NO OTHER and is so silky smooth it's like bathing in velvet.
Clean Rebellion is a female-owned small business manufactured in Portland, Oregon.  
The owner, Teju Owoye, is incredibly hands-on and I was lucky enough to be invited to be an affiliate with their brand.  I just joined but I hope to help spread the word because I literally cannot say enough good things about the performance of this soap.  I use it as a body wash but it really is an all-purpose soap you can use in your hair, to shave with (cause of the mega-suds), or even a makeup brush cleanser!  

Hair Perfector No. 3
Olaplex No. 3 is a hair repair product that has proven itself to be a worldwide cult favorite with hairstylists, beauty bloggers, the gals at Sephora, you name it, everyone loves it.  A staple for anyone who needs to repair damaged hair, wear it like a mask and rinse.  
Use it according to the condition of your hair and honestly, the advice of your stylist because this can be overused resulting in further damage.

First Aid Beauty
Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
 This puppy gives you effortless coverage by just working it in with your hands like any moisturizer.
 Pop on a little concealer and you've got a healthy balanced coverage to last all day.  Sometimes I don't even powder over it, I just let my skin glow baby.

Isle of Paradise
 Tanning Drops
A chemical-free alternative to tanning your face?  Wha?? 
That's right and I put it to the test.  You can gauge how much you need according to your tan level with one drop for light and go up.  I use two drops mixed in with my serum at night then wake up and wash.  It keeps my face up to par with my self-tanner throughout the week.

Codex Beauty
Superfood Moisturizer
Codex is a brand that I was sent to review and fell in love.  
This is their moisturizer and although it might be a bit on the expensive side, it's worth it if you have dry skin.  Your face will feel super hydrated after using this.  Once I'm out you better believe I'm getting another one of these puppies.  I'm stoked to have found a moisturizer that's clean as well as works great with my skin.

Fountain of Truth
Foaming Face Wash
Yet another brand I was sent to review and loved. 
 Fountain of Truth owner, Giuliana Rancic herself had been diagnosed with and overcame breast cancer, starting her own skincare brand to promote healthy ingredients in luxury products.  The smell of the entire line is very "spa-like".  I use this foaming cleanser EVERY night.  I first remove my makeup with a balm then double-cleanse by finishing off with a pump of this just to get that last layer of makeup residue off and for a burst of relaxing aromatherapy.
  I absolutely love it.
Translucent Loose Powder
PUR is one of the few natural brands making cosmetics that I actually consider to perform properly.  Natural makeup has come a long way from only being available in health food stores and finding it so light in application it wasn't worth the high cost. 

This loose powder is talc-free and smoothes fine lines.  
I use this to set under eye and my t-zone and bonus, it smells like vanilla cake.

Natural Deodorant
Native deodorant is the only chemical-free and aluminum-free deodorant I've found that actually works and I have literally tried them all.
My husband says it makes his armpit sticky so he prefers Arm & Hammer but I don't get the same result so to each their own I suppose.  I also really like the range of scents you can get.  This one I'm using is birch/verbana and I also have cucumber/mint and vanilla/coconut.  
I keep one in my purse, upstairs in my closet, and my bathroom.

Drunk Elephant
B-Hydra Serum
Can we talk about Drunk Elephant and its creative packaging?
I also noticed other brands are already knocking-off the design, how unoriginal.
But this is the B serum, super lightweight as I like to build on a few different serums at night.  This is usually the first layer to touch my face followed by my lotion, a second serum mixed with my tanning drops then eye serum.  No real fragrance which is great if mixing several, and an overall mighty fighter in the war against wrinkles.

Ellis Brooklyn 
Myth Fragrance
DO NOT get me started on this fragrance.
Ok do so I can talk about it.
  So this is Ellis Brooklyn, one of the many amazing clean fragrances offered at Sephora.
  My hat is off to Sephora for having the best options in this category, labeling all of the clean products throughout their store with a green leaf so they're easy to find.

The name of this one is "Myth" and it smells like a fancy bitch, haha.
I don't know how else to describe it but when I put this on I feel boujee.  It's light, clean, a tad feminine, sexy...ugg I just love it.  The keynotes are white musk and jasmine but that description doesn't do it justice.  
This is my second bottle this summer so it's time to buckle down and buy the biggun.

Love Your Selfie Foundation
So you want a natural full coverage foundation that doesn't suck?
THIS SHIT right here is fire.  
I worked for PUR as a brand rep before Covid and I swear every single person I put this on of any color, age, or skin type looked fab in it.
It's buildable, it doubles as a concealer (there's a doe foot you can twist the cap off to reveal), it covers like a mother and the shade options are endless.
A staple in my kit for sure.

Glow Stick Sunscreen
Supergoop offers a glowy, lightweight SPF that absorbs into the skin quickly so you can move on to your primer and such.
I also used it on my shoulders and decollete' during the summer for a little extra coverage, the applicator just makes it easy to dab around.
This will surely be a new staple in my kit as well and makes a great alternative when your foundation doesn't contain any SPF.  We should be protecting our skin every day whether you plan to spend the entire time looking out a window, just for good measure.

I hope these products work as good for you as they do for me if you decide to buy them.  Either way, check your labels and check your brands if you want to start going the healthier route in your products.

Clean is the new cool.

*these opinions are my own
*some links are affiliates


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