inside scoop

Beauty detox guide

Detoxing is a brilliant way to get the most from your diet, for ourselves and for the planet. There are things we know we should eat less: hydrogenated fat, saturated fat, red meat, dairy, certain preservatives and artificial colourings and sweeteners. We care about what goes into our bodies. But what about the things we put on our bodies? 

Here’s our lowdown on what to avoid in beauty products.

What to avoid in your beauty products?

  • Synthetic fragrances

Some 4000 chemicals are currently used to scent products, and that doesn’t just mean perfumes. More than a quarter of these have been flagged as “chemicals of concern” by a 2018 report from WVE. Usually the maker will not be obliged to list these, to protect their secret formula. This is worrying as some of these “chemicals of concern” have been identified as carcinogenic, or have an impact on reproductive capacities. Others may trigger allergies or sensitivities, migraines or respiratory concerns. Phthalates are one group of ingredients that hide under the “fragrance” label, and have been found to be significant endocrine disruptors. This can lead to premature puberty and a reduced sperm count in men. Look for transparency in labels: natural essential oils are much better in candles, perfumes, room sprays and other fragrant products. 

  • Parabens 

Parabens are something many of us avoid when shopping for beauty products, even if most of us don’t know exactly what they are, or why they are bad for us. Put simply, parabens are a group of preservatives often found in cosmetics and topical pharmaceutical products. Their main function is to prolong shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria and mould. Parabens can lead to allergies and sensitivities. More worryingly, perhaps, research suggests parabens may mimic oestrogen, and other studies suggest it may remain in our bodily tissues, leading to speculation that parabens can lead to cancer formation. If this weren’t enough reason to avoid them, parabens are also believed to harm marine life. 

Opt for reef safe products to reduce further damage to fragile marine ecosystems, and make sure you read the labels before you buy beauty products. Parabens are tricky to find as they are not listed as parabens but the chemical names methylparaben, ethylparaben, and butylparaben are among the most common. As with synthetic fragrances, a safe bet for avoiding parabens is to look for products that say they are paraben-free. 

  • Aluminium 

You may have spotted “aluminium-free” on your beauty products. And for good reason. Aluminium acts as an antiperspirant, blocking sweat ducts and killing bacteria. This can lead to sensitivities under the arms. But many shoppers are concerned about aluminium contributing to breast cancer and Alzheimhers. Research-wise, the jury is still out on this, but those who avoid it often quote the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease who said aluminium exposure “may be the single most aggravating and avoidable factor” of the disease. 

That said, the exposure in our beauty products is usually minimal. Those who are worried may wish to try out natural deodorants and eyeshadows and lipsticks that do not contain Aluminum chloride, aluminium chlorohydrate, aluminium hydroxybromide, and aluminium zirconium. Salt-based deodorant usually contains potassium aluminium sulphate, a type of aluminium compound thought to be less toxic. 

How to Clean Your Beauty Products

A beauty detox also means cleaning out our beauty products and makeup kits regularly; to ensure your pores aren’t getting congested with grease, bacteria and viruses. 

  • Check expiration dates

We know to throw away food that’s past its sell by date. Don’t forget your makeup and cosmetics too. As a rule of thumb, mascaras and liquid eyeliners have the shortest shelf life, lasting around three months. These products can accumulate harmful bacteria and eyelash mites, as well as contributing to acne. Moisturisers, eye creams and liquid foundations generally last between six months and a year. Mineral-based powders can last a lot longer, sometimes for up to two years. Makeup and beauty products can cost a lot, so it feels a shame to throw them out. Keep an eye on what you’re using frequently and where there is a lot of waste product and use this wisdom for future shopping trips. 

  • Wash makeup brushes 

Dirty brushes can lead to acne breakouts, sensities and skin irritation. Old brushes can build up with remains of mites, as well as bacteria and fungi - a good reason to not share our makeup brushes. Wash wet brushes frequently; two to three times a week. Dry brushes can be cleaned once a week. To wash, soak in silicone-free baby soap and lukewarm water. Swirl and rinse, ensuring there’s no remaining lather, and repeat if there is still residue on the brush. Dry on the radiator. When it’s time to replace your brushes, opt for synthetic brushes with anti-bacterial properties for a lower maintenance regimen. 


When it comes to detoxing, what we consume is just as important as what we put on our bodies. Give yourself more energy, glowing skin and a brilliant start to the summer with our Summer Detox Plans

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