Did you know that by making small changes to your daily routine you can protect yourself from toxic chemicals that can have potentially harmful effects? Read on for a curated list of small ways to refresh your day-to-day habits to help you lead a safer (and more socially conscious) lifestyle.
- Choose a safer detergent. Skin is your body’s largest organ and it absorbs everything you put on it, including the detergent you use to wash the clothes you wear every day. Some detergents are made with potentially harmful ingredients with which your skin may come into contact.
- Choose glass over plastic. Some plastics contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), about which the FDA has issued health warnings.
- Leave your shoes at the door. Wearing your shoes inside can increase your exposure to dust, lead, bacteria, and pollutants.
- Opt for fragrance-free or essential oil-scented home products. It’s a good practice to avoid products scented with synthetic fragrances. When “fragrance” is listed as an ingredient, it’s usually a blend of various chemical compounds, many of which are common allergens or have links to hormone disruption. And since are they protected as trade secrets, there is no way to know for sure what ingredients are in the formulas.
- Swap out dryer sheets for wool dryer balls. Wool what? These reusable dryer balls are a great option for reducing waste as well as exposure to potentially toxic chemicals and hormone disruptors found in synthetic fragrances. If you want your clothes to smell fresh, just add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to the dryer ball before use.
- Buy organic. Some fruits and vegetables have a thinner skin, meaning they have a higher risk of absorbing harmful chemicals from pesticides. If buying everything organic isn’t in your budget, prioritize! Check out EWG’s dirty dozen list for fruits and veggies with the highest risk of pesticide exposure.
- Shop local. Farmer’s markets not only support the community, but also help the environment by reducing the carbon footprint from shipping. But don’t worry if you can’t make it to the market. There are services like CSA or Farm Fresh to You that will deliver boxes of organic produce from local farms to your doorstep.
- Ditch the microwave. Microwaves work to heat food by converting water molecules to steam at very high frequencies, which ends up distorting food’s chemical structure. Stovetop and oven-based cooking are safer alternatives.
- Replace non-stick with stainless steel. Although non-stick pans are easier to clean, they may be more hazardous to your health and the environment. PTFE (polytetrafluoroetheylene) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) are used for non-stick coating, which can release chemical fumes at high temperatures. These surface particles and toxic gases may work their way into your food and the air. Choose stainless steel or cast iron instead!
- Give Meatless Monday a try. Meat production causes deforestation, freshwater use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Meatless Monday is a worldwide campaign that encourages going meat-free for just one day a week to reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and chronic illness. Plus, it’s better for the planet.
- Take shorter showers. The longer the shower, the more water and energy resources are depleted. Pure, clean water is necessary for life. It protects wildlife, supports cities, reduces pollution, and conserves fuel resources.
- Walk and bike when possible. Skip the car and reduce your carbon footprint. Walking and biking help increase your cardiovascular function, reduce stress, and contribute to overall well-being.
- Make time to meditate. Studies show that by unplugging daily and focusing on your breath, you can reduce anxiety, stress, negative emotions, blood pressure, and even change your brain function.
- Add indoor plants for cleaner air. Did you know that the air we breathe indoors can be polluted if there’s not proper ventilation? Plants are an easy way to purify the air inside. Try a bamboo palm, spider plant, or aloe vera.
- Use reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags are overwhelmingly destructive to the environment: they suffocate wildlife, block soil nutrients, and fill up landfills where they never decompose. An estimated 300 million plastic bags wind up in the Atlantic Ocean alone, creating one of the biggest problems for the sea life. Canvas, cotton, or jute fiber are a few sturdy reusable bag alternatives
- Use safer sunscreen. Shield skin from the sun’s damaging rays UVA and UVB rays with a mineral sunscreen. Instead of using potentially irritating chemical filters, we use non-nano zinc oxide—a safer mineral blocker that sits on the surface of skin and bounces sun’s rays away.
- Wash your hair less often. Save water, use less product, and train your hair to be less greasy. It may sound counterintuitive, but giving your hair enough time to naturally produce oils—instead of stripping them by shampooing too frequently—will ultimately lead to less oil production.
- Choose cloth instead of paper. Tissues and paper towels come from trees (you knew that). Chlorine bleach is used to whiten the tree pulp and isn’t eco-friendly. Save paper and opt for a cloth towel for cleaning, drying your hands, or wiping your nose.
- Know the ingredients. Information is one of the most powerful factors in any purchasing decision. At Beautycounter, we handpick every ingredient that goes into our products using industry-leading screening and testing procedures. You can learn more about the ingredients we use to formulate our products—and everything we prohibit—on The Never List™.
- Choose essential oils instead of perfume. Essential oils are natural products extracted from plants with aromatic properties, and some have added benefits to address various emotional and skin concerns. Avoid perfume as it usually contains synthetic fragrances— blends of various chemical compounds, many of which are common allergens or have links to hormone disruption.