How to Detox Your Cosmetics: Getting Rid of What you Have

How to Detox your Cosmetics Emma Rohmann
Emma Rohmann

Emma Rohmann
Green at Home

Emma Rohmann is a mom of 2, environmental engineer, and environmental health expert who helps families create healthier, greener homes simply.

Age: 34


Skin Type: Combination

Hair Type: Curly, dry (and red!)

Skin Concerns: None

Values: I prefer locally-made, small-batch products. Reduced packaging is an added bonus.

How to Detox your Cosmetics Emma Rohmann

So you’re ready to ditch your conventional cosmetics, toiletries and body care products. Maybe you’re sick of the eczema, or allergies, or headaches that many people get from products with synthetic fragrances. Or maybe you want to stop contributing to water pollution. Perhaps you are now aware of the carcinogens and hormone disruptors in every-day products. Whatever your reason, you’ve made the choice to detox your toiletries.

Great, you say. Now what?

I hear lots of people who want to make the switch, but then get stuck on making the first step. Often, it’s because you’ve got a closet and make-up bag full of products that you don’t want to use any more, and throwing them all in the trash just doesn’t sit right with you. Don’t worry, you’ve got options that don’t include landfilling all your unwanted products.

Here’s your guide to ditching your conventional toiletries – just find the description that best matches how you’re feeling and you’re on your way to a healthier body care regime!

How you feel #1:I know the long-term use of these products aren’t good for me, but I’m OK to finish what I already have.”

What you can do #1: Finish using the products you already have. Since concentrations of potentially harmful ingredients in any one product are small, finishing up the products you’ve already bought and started using probably isn’t going to do much harm.

If you want to start reducing your exposure to the ingredients, you can transfer the product amounts to travel-size containers for infrequent use (i.e. when travelling, going to the gym, office drawer, etc.). Your decision to replace the potentially harmful ingredients means that you won’t be exposing yourself (or the water supply) to them over the long term, and that’s something to be proud of.

How you feel #2: “I want to stop using all these products, but I feel bad throwing them away.”

What you can do #2: If you have brand new bottles, consider donating them to a shelter. I know this doesn’t exactly solve the problem of keeping the chemicals out of the water supply, but there are many folks who would greatly appreciate the gift of basic personal hygiene products. You’d be helping them get back on their feet when they need that kind of support the most. You can also try taking them to your next Community Environment Day (if you have them, like we do here in Toronto). Or you can dump the product down the drain or in the garbage, then rinse and recycle the container (if recyclable).

How you feel #3: “I feel duped and want to tell these companies what I think of their crappy ingredients.”

What you can do #3: You can go all activist and mail back the products with a letter to the company explaining why you’re no longer using them. This likely doesn’t avoid sending them to landfill, but it lets the company know what you think of their products.

No matter what your strategy, don’t let disposal paralysis get in the way of making the move to healthier toiletries. If you’re still working on finding some healthy replacements for your conventional toiletries, head on over to my Green Product Forum Facebook Group to crowd-source advice on the best natural products (because nobody wants to waste money on stuff that doesn’t work!).

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