Today I’ll be sharing three reasons to switch to green beauty products. I define “green beauty” as cosmetic and personal care products that are formulated without harmful toxins and synthetic chemicals, and are instead derived primarily from natural sources. It’s been really exciting to watch as so many people are now showing interest in cleaning up their beauty routines! We all have our own personal reasons, but I wanted to share the ones that prompted me to transition to non-toxic and natural.
I think many people begin to transition to green beauty in an effort to safeguard their own (or their children’s) health. As I’ve learned just how much our bodily systems & functions are all connected in the past year, using clean products now seems like a no-brainer. But at first, I wasn’t so sure it was really necessary. A big part of the argument against green beauty is that a lot of the questionable ingredients are only “possible” carcinogens, hormone disruptors, & allergy aggravators (but it’s worth noting that many HAVE been proven to negatively affect your health). My thought process here is this; don’t we have more to be afraid of when we go the conventional route and use chemicals that human-kind has only created in a laboratory within the last few decades? It takes time to definitively prove that these ingredients cause diseases that our country is currently, ironically, being plagued by- such as cancer, and the only ones who can afford to fund studies into their effects on our health are the companies who create these chemicals to formulate their products, which they sell for profit. If we can instead choose products that truly perform and are less likely to harm our body and our planet, then why wouldn’t we go with that option?! Green beauty has come a long way in the last few years and as more people are beginning to question the contents of their medicine cabinets, the market is only going to grow. Working on the retail side of the beauty industry allowed me to try a lot of conventional products and the reason that it was so easy for me to make the switch was because I soon realized that I didn’t have to give up product effectiveness when I transitioned to clean beauty. I love many of my non-toxic products as much or more than my old hazardous holy-grails.
Environmental Concern & Creature Consciousness
Ever seen “squalene” listed on an ingredient list of one of your products??? I bet you’ll never guess from which animal that ingredient has most likely been derived… I’ll give you a hint- it has its own week on Animal Planet. The truth is, the cruelty-free bunny stamp only goes so far in letting you know if a product has really been made “ethically”. And now, with all of the controversies of American and European brands selling in Asia (where in China, animal testing is required by the government which means even if a company has a cruelty-free certification, they allow their products to be tested by a Chinese government organization in order to sell their products in the market), that territory is murkier than the water in which millions of sharks are being slaughtered for our skin-care routines. Unsurprisingly, green beauty goes hand in hand with the protection of the environment. That’s not to say that no company who claims to be “organic and natural” ever implements questionable environmental practices but in general, the green beauty world is much more honest and upfront about whether or not their products are vegan, sustainable, and cruelty-free than the conventional beauty conglomerates. I’ve also noticed that green beauty brands are much more likely to be sensitive to their customers’ allergies and insensitivities, too, leaving out controversial ingredients that many are intolerant to, such as gluten.
Discontinue Support for Dishonest Companies
Much like my rebelling against the American food industry after watching the documentary Food Inc. three years ago, deciding to switch to clean beauty, for me, was less about protecting my own health and more about not wanting to support such a deceitful industry any longer. When I first discovered the truth about the dirty ingredients in every single product I used to use, I felt betrayed. All of those years obsessing over gorgeous packaging and the latest and greatest palettes, I was only looking on the surface and didn’t see the ugly truth- that these chemicals we’re slathering all over our bodies day in and day out affect everything from our skin, our allergies, our hormones, our fertility, and even our risk for developing cancer. Much like how the food industry markets to children by tactics such as plastering the latest cartoon characters on their nutritionally devoid processed crap, I was honestly disgusted at the thought of how many teens and young people are being exposed to these horrible chemicals at such a young age. Cigarettes, by law, must have a health warning on the package and you can’t purchase a pack until you’re 18. Yet a 12 year old can walk into a drugstore and buy a liquid lipstick laden with health-harming chemicals that she’ll inherently be ingesting. I’m sure by now you’re thinking, where the heck is the FDA?! Good question. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) sums up the FDA’s role in the cosmetics industry quite nicely,
“the personal care products industry remains largely unregulated. The FDA does not even require safety testing of ingredients in personal care products before they are used. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has limited authority to regulate cosmetics, our current laws leave them powerless to screen for chemicals that have been linked to cancer, harm to the reproductive system in both men and women, and severe allergies, among other health effects. The federal law designed to ensure that personal care products are safe has remained largely unchanged since 1938.”
Whether you’ve made a commitment to go green or are still discovering natural beauty, I’d love to hear why you have made the switch or why you’re considering it! Leave a comment below sharing your biggest reason to clean up your routine!
P.S. If you’re here for fashion content, read last week’s post where I made a pretty big blog announcement!
After two years of consistent fashion, travel, & food content creation for Epicurean Emily, I’m excited (albeit a little scared) to share today why I’m starting over. This is a change that I’ve been contemplating for quite a while and I’m excited to be able to provide you, my readers, with content I consider more a bit more “useful”. Read the Q&A session below for a brief explain of the changes that will be happening and check back for site updates and new content on these brand new topics! If you’re reading this, I can’t thank you enough for supporting Epicurean Emily thus far and I hope you’ll stick around! 😉
As a refresher, why did you start Epicurean Emily? In what ways have you achieved your goals in the past two years? In what ways have you not?
I began Epicurean Emily initially as a creative outlet and wanted to use it as the foundation for building a creative career. I had just graduated college with a photography degree but was unsure if I even wanted to pursue photography full-time, partly because I was interested in so many industries of the field- product/food, fashion, and travel and felt torn between all three. Epicurean Emily was a way for me to test the waters of working within these markets and also a good excuse to keep me shooting on a regular basis.
Being a blogger has been nothing short of a trying (yet amazing) time of personal growth. Not saying that I have it all together, but it takes a lot of willpower, motivation, & hard work to create new content every week and present it on the internet! When you don’t have to answer to anyone else is when you really see what you’re made of! The best thing I’ve learned about myself during my blogging journey, though, is that I really thrive in environments where I’m surrounded by fellow creatives. I want to structure my career to allow me to work with passionate creatives every day, whether as a blogger or in another position.
I’m a firm believer that every chapter of your life is necessary to prepare you for the next. I’ll never regret starting a blog, but one of the hardest facts of growing an online presence that I’ve had to accept is that I can’t do it all, at least while I’m trying to grow an audience. I think one reason that my blog really struggled to grow is the fact that I had too many interests. This was a frustrating truth for me to accept because as I said before, the exciting part of blogging for me was to not have to choose just one area of interest. And while I loved putting together outfits to shoot and my audience responded well to them, I wasn’t behind the camera building my own portfolio of work.
What do you think is important in terms of providing content to readers and followers?
Now more than ever, it’s extremely important to be able to provide a tangible amount of value in whatever content you choose to put on the internet as there is so much already out there, vying for your audience’s attention. And a lot of people are already doing just that in the fashion space. I think that there is indeed a place for everyone but unless you have a very different angle or are covering a unique niche, a lot of your content will inevitably start to look similar to others, making it hard to stand out and therefore hard to grow. I loved sharing my attainable and affordable personal style but at the end of the day, that type of content was not enough for me to feel like I was providing something really useful and helpful to my readers. I made the decision that I wanted to start talking about non-toxic beauty and naturopathic medicine because 1. I’ve become ridiculously passionate about them over the past year 2. I wanted to create a resource that I personally would have liked to have had when I began my journey toward clean beauty and later, holistic health. 3. I truly believe that these under-regulated industries (food/health-care/cosmetics & personal care) are the root cause of the biggest nation-wide epidemics (obesity, heart problems, cancer, infertility) and it kills me to know that so many of us have absolutely no idea what’s actually going on in these industries. I want to change that.
What can we expect from Epicurean Emily in the future?
For now, my content will be focused on non-toxic and organic beauty, which usually happens to be cruelty-free and vegan, too! I’ll be sharing effective natural products that I truly love, in addition to video tutorials on how to use them via YouTube. As I’ve learned over the last year, diet plays a tremendous role in one’s overall health and although I’m no nutritionist, I’ll also be sharing recipes and actionable clean eating tips that I’ve picked up along the way on my own journey.
Will this be an end to the fashion-type content?
I’ll always have a love for fashion but as I’ve become more aware of the cruel world we live in, supporting fast fashion retailers on a regular basis is not something that I feel great about. However, with all of the changes in my personal life that have taken place over the last year, finding ethical fashion brands has not been a top priority for me (and I haven’t been shopping that much lately, anyway). I don’t think it’s realistic to only buy items from ethical brands (at least right now), but at the same time, I’ve never been a fan of the mindless wastefulness of trendy fast fashion (even though I love a good statement piece). If I buy something from a mainstream retailer, you can have confidence that it is a versatile piece that can be worn throughout the seasons and years. I hope to share my favorite ethical retailers and designers with you, too, as I discover them.
What spurred this change?
When I moved to North Carolina last year, I joined a blogging group who holds regular get-togethers and is just a good all-around support system. The first meet-up I attended with this group was held at Be Pure Beauty, a local natural beauty store. Just the week before, I had watched a fitness blogger’s Snapchat story on the danger of synthetic fragrances and now I was not only hearing about just how dirty these fake fragrances were, but also how health-harming a ton of other chemical ingredients were that my conventional make-up and skin-care products were loaded with. Having worked on the retail side of the beauty industry, I was skeptical at first. I thought to myself, “If these ingredients were really all that bad, why would the FDA allow them to hit shelves in the first place???”. Then I recalled watching “Food, Inc.” three years earlier and remembered all the examples of how the food industry was basically getting away with murder, all under the “watchful” eye of the FDA. I started doing my own research and discovered that many of these products and their ingredients have been linked to cancer, to infertility, to allergies, and to hormone disruptions which cause conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PSOS). I thought about how many people I personally knew who were suffering from these illnesses and came up with at least one person in my relatively small circle of friends and family that was fighting each condition. I then realized how scary these ingredients truly were and became passionate about sharing this information with everyone I knew.
How do you respond to people who may disagree with the things you will be discussing or those that refuse to acknowledge some of these topics?
My goal in this endeavor is not to point to point fingers at anyone. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person, but I realize that using exclusively non-toxic beauty, or only eating only whole foods is not a realistic way to live for most people. My purpose in discussing these topics is to encourage you to start asking more questions. It’s incredulous to me how we can have so much information at our fingertips on our smartphones, and yet still “follow the herd” and not possess the urge to discover things for ourselves. We do this when choosing a political party or candidate. We do this when our doctor tells us that surgery and antibiotics are the only answer. We do this when the sales associate tells us a certain product will change our life. But we never consider the consequences of failing to find things out for ourselves until we’re in a predicament. Even if you think the science behind the claims that chemicals in personal care products cause cancer is phony, find out WHY you believe that. I’m not here to start arguments, I’m here to start conversations.
“Why I’m Starting Over” Photographed by Luke Bowes
Last week, we welcomed home our new adopted pup Flash! Luke and I are huuuge dog people and since I moved away from my parents last year, it’s been rough not having a furry friend to come home to. So now that our schedules are more predictable, we decided to take a look at our local shelter a few weekends ago and fell in love with Flash, an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix. We weren’t in the market for a puppy so at only a year old and already house-trained, it was a match made in heaven. We were finally able to take him home just last week and he’s brought us so much joy already! Something about having a dog around makes everyday life so much more enjoyable. We’ve been out exploring more than usual, primarily to make sure he gets enough exercise but in turn, we are also discovering new activities and creating new routines that enable Luke and I to spend more time together. Over the weekend, we showed him our favorite spot in Durham, Sarah P. Duke Gardens (which you may recognize from this outfit post), and he was overjoyed by ALL the smells! We’re so thankful for shelters like the Animal Protection Society of Durham (APS) who care for and nurture homeless pets and when they’ve found their “forever home”, make adoption easy for everyone. I’ve heard some adoption horror stories, and even though there are definitely shelters and organizations out there who make the adoption process unnecessarily difficult, I can’t stress enough how important and impactful it is to #AdoptDontShop. It’s so special to give an animal a second chance at life and I’m so happy that Flash will be doing life, filled to the brim with treats & belly rubs, with us from now on.
Photographed by Emily Davis & Luke Bowes
© Emily Davis