The toxic ingredients in our beauty products

There’s a famous saying:

“Do the best you can with what you know. When you know better, do better”

For me, that saying rings true all the time.

When I look back at what I ate (there have been several points in time when I’ve kept a food journal… I’m a Capricorn, we write stuff down), I used to think I was so healthy. These days I look back at that and it is so vastly different to how I eat these days (and I still eat BBQ Shapes every now and again)!

My bathroom cabinet is another area that has had a serious overhaul in the last few years. When we discovered we had infertility, I made it my mission to learn as much as I could about healthy habits and I was shocked when I discovered the ingredients in some of the things we readily consume on our skin. Hormone disruptors, carcinogens, things that cause birth defects… foul! There are so many toxic ingredients in our beauty products!

I think sometimes, because we’re not putting these things in our mouths, we think that they can’t be of any harm, but if we think about some of the medicinal things that are available to put on our skin (tiger balm, vaporub, deep heat) logic tells us that they really are.

I’ve made a lot of changes in this area over the past five years, from my toothpaste, to my shampoo, but here are three of the biggest changes I’ve made:


Ditched the perfume

Every year for Christmas I used to say that I wanted perfume, and I used to love being able to go into the bathroom each morning and choose which fragrance I’d wear. Then I learnt that perfumes are basically a cocktail of synthetic compounds… benzyl this, and benzyl that… and that fragrance (and think air fresheners, cleaning products etc too) is basically another word for ‘chemical shitstorm’.

For some reason, companies aren’t required to disclose what the ‘fragrance’ is in products, but a group did a study a few years back, and found that there were a significant number of hidden (additional) toxic ingredients, including heaps of petrochemicals and synthetic musks and diethyl phthalate (which is shocking for fertility).

Said no to deodorant

So I’m living in hope that if I ever become known as ‘Stinky Robyn’, that someone will tell me, but so far I think I’m good, and yep, you read right, 99% of the time I no longer wear deodorant. I started wearing the Sukin deodorant, and then I started using a crystal, and now I never use anything, except on the rare occasion it’s stinking hot and I have a fancy dinner or lunch to go to.

The thing about deodorant, is that we’ve become accustomed to wearing it every day, and perspiration is a natural thing. It not only helps us stay cool, but it helps eliminate toxins and support our immune function.

Deodorant is also laced with SO many chemicals – carcinogens, hormone disruptors and even pesticides. Gross huh? We wouldn’t spray ourselves with mortein, but we unknowingly spray ourselves with this stuff every day! Ewwww.

Plus, deodorant becomes less effective over time, so it makes you think you need more and more. My body definitely had an adjustment period when I gave up deodorant, and I do feel like a diet with less meat causes less stink.

If you can, I absolutely recommend hopping to your health store and seeing what other natural alternatives there are out there, and trying them for at least a month so your body can adjust before making a call.

Threw out the nail polish

I used to be the girl who went to the nail bar and always had perfect acrylic nails, and you’d never know what my toe nails actually looked like because they were always painted.

And then I discovered that, no big surprises here, they’re laced with toxic chemicals too. At the end of the day, nail polish is really just a big concoction of chemicals, so these days I stay free. The only time I have painted my nails was at my baby shower, when I used a free from 5 nail polish. This means that this nail polish is free from the top five harmful ingredients, which are:

  • Toluene
  • Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Formaldehyde Resin
  • Camphor

Some of the side effects of these ingredients are nasty (links below). I’d particularly not recommend the use of conventional nail polish for people expecting (or hoping to expect), and we all know that formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, right?

You can also get 7-free and 10-free, but I opt to just go without these days, because as I say, it’s still really just a tonne of chemicals!

Are your beauty products stopping you from falling pregnant? Click to read about how some of your favourite beauty products could be stopping your dreams of falling pregnant

Some days I’m not surprised at the number of health concerns we have in society, because of how our lifestyles have changed.

Our lives have become so fast paced, and industry has become so concerned with creating things more effectively and efficiently, and for more profit, that we forget or assume we don’t need to do the research, and they have started using questionable products. Maybe they don’t realise. Maybe they don’t care. Maybe they believe that the quantities are so small they’re negligible.

But, the fact of the matter is, that it’s not just one product we’re exposed to these days. Each day, on average, women are exposed to 168 chemicals in their beauty products alone, but chemicals are in the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the cleaning products we use – they’re everywhere, and it adds up.

It’s impossible to live a chemical-free existence these days, but, if you can, like me, make small changes here and there, and doing further research into the products you’re consuming, then it’s no doubt a step in the right direction to better health. So tell me, will you make the commitment to give up any of these products?


Two of my favourite blogs that aim to help us reduce our chemical exposure and do more for the environment:

A deodorant some of my friends swear by:

Some more reading material – especially about HOW these chemicals are harmful: