· By Mary Dale

Ready To Detox Your Beauty Routine?

Are you one of the many people who take part in a body detox every year? Whether embarking on a juice cleanse or the Whole 30 program, detoxing is definitely part of many people’s routines.  Detoxing, however, shouldn’t stop with what you put in your mouth. 

The clean beauty movement has been sweeping the country with increasing awareness as consumers start looking at the ingredients in their skincare products as diligently as they inspect the ingredients in their food. This is a good thing, since your skin absorbs roughly 70% of what you put on it and up to 100% of what’s applied in certain areas, like the underarms. With the increasingly toxic amount of chemicals that our bodies are exposed to, it’s important to lighten the load wherever you can; detoxing your beauty routine is a great step towards long term health and increased wellbeing.

My own personal journey into clean beauty started when I was a senior in highschool in Tennessee. My mom became very sick with autoimmune disease; and the treatments prescribed by her doctors left her puffy, exhausted, and sick. I started researching everything I could find to help her get better. 

I learned that mainstream beauty was poisoning us with a dizzying array of harmful ingredients. For example, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that  61% of mainstream lipsticks contain lead, an extremely harmful neurotoxin, and that ingredients like formaldehyde and hormone disruptors are drenching the products we’re putting on our skin. I was shocked to discover that the beauty and personal care product industry is virtually unregulated in the United States.  This lack of oversight makes it our responsibility to vet these products and scrutinize their ingredients. 

As a result of my reading, I switched all of my beauty products to non-toxic alternatives. At the time in 2008 there were very few options for finding non-toxic beauty products, but I became a regular at the local health food store and would scour the internet to place orders with brands I could trust. 

Just like my mom and me, almost everyone I know doesn't want to put toxic chemicals like formaldehyde or lead on their body and skin. With over 5,000 ingredients in use in personal care products today, finding truly clean, effective products can be overwhelming. But with a few simple steps you too can start detoxing your beauty routine today. 

  1. Start reading ingredient labels 
    1. Ingredients matter.  It’s time to start reading the ingredient labels on your skincare, haircare, body care and makeup products just like you read the ingredients on a food label. When you see a long list of complex chemical names, the item is probably filled with some questionable ingredients, including hormone disruptors. When in doubt, look up ingredients on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) database, the nation’s leading authority on ingredient safety. They sometimes even list products by name. You’ll want to stick to ingredients and products that have a 0-2 score on EWG. 
      1. Product Recommendation:  Agent Nateur Holi (Oil) Refining Youth Serum ($122) 

Photos by Ambre Amari of Amari Photography


  1. Opt for natural and organic ingredients
    1. When you start reading ingredient labels, you’ll begin to notice how few mainstream products actually contain ingredients you can pronounce. Look for natural and organic ingredients that you can recognize, including plant extracts and naturally derived ingredients. When either all or a majority of ingredients come from a natural source, you’ve likely found a high performance, non-toxic product. Don’t be afraid of high quality lab ingredients, like pure vitamin C. When sourced properly, these pure ingredients are 100% safe and can be a highly effective part of your non-toxic beauty routine.
      1. Product Recommendation:  Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator ($35) 

Photos by Ambre Amari of Amari Photography

  1. Ditch artificial fragrance 
    1. Synthetic fragrance and perfumes are one of the worst offenders for hormone disruption, skin irritation, and general toxicity. If you could quickly eliminate one ingredient, let this be it! Beware if you see “fragrance” or “perfume” on the ingredient list.  Instead choose products that are fragrance free or use essential oils and essential oil based fragrances. The word "fragrance" is a catch-all for undisclosed chemicals that can be highly allergenic, including phthalates. The latter are stored in fat cells and are potential carcinogens.
      1. Product Recommendation: Sangre De Fruta Botanical Body Lotion ($93).

  1. Reassess your make-up collection 
    1. Mainstream make-up can be one of the worst offenders for harbouring toxic ingredients. According to a recent study by the ​​University of Notre Dame, more than half the cosmetics sold in the United States contain high levels of “forever chemicals,” or PFAS which are toxic industrial compounds linked to serious health conditions, including cancer. Some of the highest PFAS levels were found in mascaras and lipsticks. Toxic ingredients like PFAS are not listed on the labels, making it more important than ever to buy make-up from brands that are committed to creating clean and non-toxic formulas. Other problematic chemicals to look out for in your daily makeup products are parabens, carbon black, polyethylene and phenylenediamine, which should be avoided at all costs as these ingredients disrupt the immune system and delicate hormone balance; research also indicates that these ingredients are possibly carcinogenic. 
      1. Product Recommendation: Ere Perez Natural Almond Mascara in Black ($26) and Olive Oil Lipstick in High Tea ($29)

  1. Shop with dedicated clean beauty retailers 
    1. Clean beauty shops like Verde Lusso, which I founded this year in Birmingham, have been popping up all over the country in recent years as consumer demand for clean, safe, and effective products picks up steam. While you can scope out clean beauty boutiques like Detox Market in Los Angeles or CAP Beauty in New York City, Verde Lusso offers a local shopping destination for luxury natural and organic beauty. While mainstream retailers like Sephora and Ulta claim to carry “clean beauty,” they use terms like “natural” and “clean” for marketing purposes only without actually enforcing a strong standard for non-toxic ingredients. I’m very serious about vetting the products sold at Verde Lusso and put in hours of research before a product even hits our shelves. I will never stock a product if it does not meet our strict ingredient standards for non-toxic ingredients (typically a 0-2 score on the EWG rating, which is the highest rating with the nation’s leading standard for ingredient safety). 
      1. Recommendation: Shop with dedicated clean beauty retailers like Verde Lusso. Follow us on instagram @verdelussocleanbeauty 

The Dirty List - Ingredients to Avoid 

  • Petrochemicals: Petrochemicals are commonly derived from (you guessed it) petroleum or natural gas. Not only are these ingredients problematic for your skin, they’re damaging to our environment as well. Also known as mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin wax and polyethylene glycol (PEG), they block the skin's ability to eliminate toxins, may be contaminated with cancer-causing agents and only give the illusion of actually hydrating the skin. 
  • Fragrance: Artificial fragrances, which are hormone disrupting and wreak havoc on your endocrine system, should be avoided. The word "fragrance" is a catch-all for undisclosed chemicals that can be highly allergenic, including phthalates. The latter are stored in fat cells and are potential carcinogens and hormone disruptors. 
  • Parabens + Phthalates: Phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system while parabens can disrupt hormones in the body, harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. You often won't see phthalates on the labels because they are protected as "trade secrets.


Photos by Ambre Amari of Amari Photography