When autumn hits, temperatures drop, and life gets a little busier, our beauty routines need to incorporate some extra TLC. And in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are exposed to harsh disinfectants, making the dryness and irritation caused by sulfates (present in lather-rich shampoo and body wash) worse than ever. From the weather to the pandemic-induced stress, all of these factors contribute to irritated, tired, and dry skin – but choosing products to address these skin complaints can be a stresser all its own!
In the United States, many beauty products contain toxic ingredients, which have negative effects on both our health and our environment. Below, we dive into why using clean toiletries, skincare, and makeup should be a priority, what ingredients to avoid, and a list of our favorite safe options that are perfect for fall. With this guide, rest assured you’ll have the knowledge you need to build out a safe beauty closet. You’ll be back to enjoying all the benefits of your skin care routine and your evening face mask ritual in no time.
Pros of Using Clean Beauty Products
Every single day, our bodies must deal with stressors, irritants, pollutants, toxins, and more. Sun exposure can cause cancer through its UV rays. Swimming in chlorinated pools strips our skin of natural oils. Caffeine dehydrates our bodies. Talking on the phone can expose cheeks and jaw lines to a world of bacteria collected on the touch screen. Purifying agents in public water result in chemical build up. Stress wreaks havoc on our skin, from blemishes to fine lines. Sugar consumption reduces collagen production. Secondhand smoke causes wrinkles. Air pollution and pesticides expose us to free radicals, resulting in aging skin. The list goes on and on.
With so much for our skin to deal with just from daily life, we certainly should not be adding more problems through our skincare and beauty regimens. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and what you apply to it topically enters into your bloodstream. Here at Farm Stand, we use the motto – if we wouldn’t want to eat it, then we shouldn’t slather it all over ourselves, either. It’s not worth the temporary beauty effects. In the long run, toxin-laden products are going to show up as wrinkles, blemishes, redness, allergies, and even more serious health problems, including cancer, asthma, hormone imbalances, and infertility.
Unfortunately, there are thousands of chemicals being used in beauty products today, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not authorized to properly monitor and regulate their usage. The FDA hasn't passed a law regulating personal care products since 1938! Another issue: The Environmental Protection Agency has only mandated safety testing for a few of the 85,000 industrial chemicals currently in use. As if that wasn’t problematic enough, a lack of transparency exists in the beauty world when dealing with listed ingredients. Brands can hide a multitude of chemicals under a label like “fragrance” without sharing what truly goes into the formulation. The European Union has regulated or banned the use of 1,641 ingredients, while the FDA has prohibited or restricted only 11. The FDA states: “Under U.S. law, FDA does not have the authority to require cosmetic manufacturers to submit their safety data to FDA, and the burden is on FDA to prove that a particular product or ingredient is harmful when used as intended.” Meaning, we need to take responsibility and become advocates of our own health and safety.
In 2017, Democrat Dianne Feinstein (California) and Republican Susan Collins (Maine) co-sponsored the Personal Care Products Safety Act, which would require all manufacturers to register with the FDA, grant the FDA more authority over the cosmetics industry, and require the FDA to evaluate ingredients used in personal care products. Write to your representatives to request that they reintroduce and pass it in the next Congress.
So what ingredients should you look out for when choosing your beauty and skincare products? Here are the commonly used but harmful ingredients on our no-no list:
- Parabens: Used as preservatives in many cosmetics, these are perhaps the most well-known ingredient to avoid for their link to breast cancer and endocrine disruption. In a 2018 study, scientists found that girls who wore makeup daily had urinary paraben levels 20 times higher than those of girls who never or rarely wore makeup. You’ll frequently find product packaging that markets themselves as paraben free, which is a step in the right direction.
- Chemical Sunscreens (Benzophenone, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate): Hello, hormone disruptors and cancer-causing ingredients. A 2020 study by the FDA found that active ingredients in sunscreen are absorbed into the body’s bloodstream after a single use and can remain for extended periods of time. Don’t forget, many moisturizers, creams, skin tints, and foundations often double as sunscreens, too, so look at the ingredients on those products as well.
- Phthalates: From nail polishes to fragrances, phthalates interfere with hormone function and cause developmental changes, as proven in laboratory experiments. Most often, phthalates harm reproductive organs, fertility, and developing fetuses. Unfortunately, phthalates can be hidden under the term “fragrance” on labels. To avoid them, look for products that are fragrance-free (not “unscented”).
- Formaldehyde: This carcinogen works as a preservative, and while consumers are more aware of its danger, companies have found a way to disguise its presence in their products. For example, salon keratin hair treatments and other straightening products often contain ingredients that release formaldehyde, according to the FDA. While short term exposure to formaldehyde results in watery or burning eyes, nausea, skin irritation, and difficulty breathing (i.e. burning sensation in the throat, coughing, wheezing), The International Agency for Research on Cancer has linked extended formaldehyde exposure to cancer. Look out for DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, and Quaternium-15, as these three are the most common “formaldehyde donors”.
- Fragrances (Parfum): “Fragrance” and “parfum” are umbrella terms that can be made up of literally anything. Companies aren’t required to disclose what goes into their fragrances, which are deemed trade secrets, according to the FDA. Pretty shady practices, in our opinion. So we steer clear of any product that lacks transparency and uses one of these terms, preferring to see the full list of ingredients for ourselves! Avoid artificial fragrance entirely, and instead opt for products that use natural oils to create an appealing aroma.
- Triclosan and Triclocarban: Traditionally found in many soaps and hand sanitizers, these antimicrobial ingredients are linked to thyroid disease. In September of 2016, the FDA banned the incorporation of triclosan in antibacterial soaps, but it can still show up in deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste, and shaving cream.
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs): According to Credo Beauty, “There are over 1000 PEG ingredients listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients Database.” These compounds are made from ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen linked to breast cancer, used as thickeners, solvents, and softeners.
- Siloxanes (Cyclical Silicones): Bad for the environment, bad for the endocrine system.
- Petroleum (Petrolatum): Your lip tint, lip balm, lipstick, or other favorite lip product is the likely culprit here. Often unsustainably sourced and contaminated with PAH which is linked to cancer, you’re better off avoiding petroleum and moisturizing your lips with organic, natural ingredients.
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA): This preservative irritates skin and disrupts hormones, and prolonged exposure can lead to cancerous tumors according to the National Toxicology Program. Where does it show up? BHA is often used in exfoliants and perfumes. Also, this preservative is linked to contaminating the marine environment, so it is far from sustainable.
We get it – examining lengthy ingredient lists on every single product can be time consuming and overwhelming, and familiarizing yourself with the effects of thousands of ingredients feels impossible. That is why we’ve taken on the responsibility for you. At Farm Stand, we screen every one of our beauty brand partners, making sure they share our same values for health, safety, and sustainability.
Here’s a round up of our current, fall favorite, clean beauty products, each independently selected for their benefits this time of year plus their respect of our bodies and of nature.
4 Clean Beauty Products on Our Fall List
Just because we’re not out at the beach sunbathing doesn’t mean we need to stop being vigilant about protecting our skin from the sun’s rays. Wearing sunscreen should be an essential part of our daily routines, year round – we simply need to apply it less often in the fall and winter, when we’re typically indoors more often and less likely to sweat or have the sunscreen washed off during a swim.
When it comes to protecting our skin, there’s no one we trust more than Suntegrity, which skips the chemical UV blockers that lead to skin cancer. Instead, they developed effective options using non-toxic ingredients, including soothing aloe and moisture-enhancing hyaluronic acid, that are gentle on all skin types.
We love this “warm sunshine yellow” hue for autumn, reminiscent of the harvest, and achieved using reclaimed osage wood shavings on linen. All of the Miranda Bennet polishes are made in the USA, cruelty-free, and vegan, plus they’re free from the “toxic trio” of typical nail polishes – DBP (an endocrine disruptor), toluene (a paint thinner), and formaldehyde (a carcinogen).
Fall is synonymous with flu season, so this easy-to-use roll-on oil remains in our back pocket. The high-grade, organic frankincense enhances immunity, something we all need a little more of these days. We love how rootfoot works intentionally with farmers to use only the most sustainable methods and practices, supporting the earth as it supports us.
Coming soon! Follow us @farm_stand to be among the first to hear when it launches.
When you need to soak off the stresses of the season, enhance your bath with an aromatic salt blend. Our Butterfly Grey Bath Salts are nature’s secret to aging gracefully, with butterfly pea powder, which diminishes wrinkles and prevents premature aging caused by free radicals. Our essential oils provide a lovely, completely safe fragrance which will help you relax and unwind. Plus, for every bath salt sold, we donate a care package to a woman in need through our Farm Stand for Love Project.
Our Favorite Tammy Fender Products for Fall
Our go-to brand for all things body care, Tammy Fender recognizes the importance of holistic living, and developed botanical-based formulas throughout her career as an aesthetician. From Goop to Vogue, discerning beauty editors, makeup artists, and celebrities everywhere rave about the effectiveness of her pure, wholesome products. Could you think of a better fit for Farm Stand? We couldn’t either.
Rose water has received a lot of hype over the past few years, and if you’re wondering if it’s actually worth it – the short answer is, yes! Its simple formula is no less effective, locking in moisture by encouraging skin cell turnover, proving that Mother Nature gives us everything we need to give back to and care for our bodies.
Spritz this on for a quick, restorative boost while you’re traveling, working out, or exposed to the elements for an extended period of time. This low-effort act of self-care will leave you feeling – and smelling – refreshed, and your skin will take on a soft, angelic glow.
Between Daylight Savings, back-to-school routines, fast-approaching holidays, and the bustle of crunching numbers and hitting company goals in “Q4”, you’re not alone if you’re feeling a little more tired than usual. But don’t reach for ordinary eye creams to treat under eye circles. This silky gel uses only the most gentle ingredients, soothing your complexion and reducing puffiness or dark circles.
We love activating our lymphatic systems while using the gel. Gently tap it on to apply under your eye, moving from the outer corner to the inner, then lightly massage the area using downward strokes, moving toward the earlobes, which decreases circles by moving fluid away from your eyes. Bye, bye puffy eyes.
Bring the spa home with this luxurious, decadent face mask. The Restorative Radiance Masque harnesses all the powers of jasmine to give your skin that post-facial glow on the regular. Perfect for sensitive skin (it’s a secret rock star for those battling eczema and psoriasis), jasmine enhances your skin’s natural moisture, evens skin tone, and uses antioxidants to help protect your hardworking organ. The benefits are more than skin deep – jasmine has long been used in aromatherapy to encourage internal flow, reducing congestion and stagnation.
Now that you know you need this wonder-plant in your life, back to your skincare. Tammy Fender created a gorgeous, pink mask, designed to be worn overnight or three times a week for ten minutes each. Go ahead and extend it down on your neck and chest to fully experience the benefits, then remove the mask with a warm, damp cloth when you’re finished. Alternatively, wear overnight to wake up feeling like a new you.
When the weather is particularly rough on the skin, the key is to layer, layer, layer. Tammy Fender developed Plant Milk, an emulsion serum, to address skin sensitivities and irritation she observed in her recent clients. The skin guru suspects stressful and over-packed modern lifestyles are the culprits for the increase of skin problems.
She formulated a unique, plant based serum which utilizes the whole plant – seeds, roots, stems, and petals – to get a higher concentration of nutrients and increased benefits. After applying to cleansed skin, you can add an additional moisturizer or cream on top, and it even works effortlessly under a makeup application.
We're always adding to our collection of favorite beauty products that stand in harmony with nature. Stay in touch for inspiration and for more clean beauty options.