President’s day 2011… the day my life changed forever… the day I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was overcome with joy as I could not wait to become a mother. Immediately I changed my habits. I began to eat right, exercise more and sleep more. I wanted nothing more than to break my unhealthy habits, take care of myself and do everything I could to make sure my baby and I were healthy.
However, since becoming a mom (especially a mom of two), I started to put myself last. It is now all about my daughters and the millions of other things that need to get done. Putting myself last has forced me to learn the hard way that I need to take care of me and if I don’t then I am not taking care of my daughters. This is easier said than done… and I know I am not alone, but mamas… we NEED to take care of ourselves… we NEED to take care of our inside AND outside!
Mamas… What are the first thoughts that come into your mind when I say take care of yourself? Is it eat better? Exercise more? Sleep more? Pray/meditate more? Does taking care of your skin pop into your mind? If it doesn’t then it should!!! Did you know that a woman uses approximately 12 personal care / cosmetic products a day, which can equate to over 100 different chemicals? Or that there about 12,000 ingredients commonly used in personal care products, and 80% of them have NEVER been tested for safety? How about the fact there has not been a significant federal law passed governing the personal care industry in the U.S. since 1938!!! Compared to the European Union and Canada, the United States is WAY behind when it comes to our health and safety. The E.U. has banned close to 1,400 chemicals from the use of personal care products because of links to cancer, hormone disruption, allergies, asthma, infertility, and other health issues. Canada has banned 600. The U.S has only banned 30. Shocking right?
Our skin is our largest organ and it is porous. It only makes sense that what we put on our skin can be absorbed into our body therefore affecting ones health and sense of well being in a negative or positive way. If you think about it, that’s how the nicotine patch and birth control patch work. They contain chemicals that are absorbed through the skin into the body to alter a persons chemical balance. That’s why it is important to pay attention to the ingredients you put on your body and to always choose safer, cleaner formulas.
Demi Moore once said “I’m a big believer in that if you focus on good skincare, you really won’t need a lot of makeup” and I could not agree more.
But what is good skincare? Good skincare starts with:
- Reading the ingredient list on product labels.
- There are loopholes in the law that allows companies to use toxic ingredients in the products we use everyday. As the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration explains on its website (https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Labeling/Regulations/default.htm), “The law does not require cosmetic labeling to have FDA approval before cosmetic products go on the market, and FDA does not have a list of approved or accepted claims for cosmetics.
- Know your vocabulary. There are many common but misleading terms out there. Examples include:
- Fragrance – a trade secret that can include dozens or hundreds of chemicals that do not need to be listed individually because companies are not legally required to tell you what chemicals make up a scent.
- Source – is where the ingredient comes from. Source does not determine safety.
- Safety – indicates the potential health impact of an ingredients. Not all natural ingredients are safe and not all synthetic ingredients are unsafe.
- Natural. Organic. Preservative-Free. Chemical-Free. Not all of a product’s ingredients may be natural or organic. Not all preservatives or chemicals are bad for you. These terms are not regulated by the FDA and may be used as a marketing tool. The best thing for you to do is get to know the brands that make the products you’re buying and prioritize careful ingredient screening and safety over vague words used for marketing.
- Dermatologist Approved. A product that is “dermatologist-approved” does not mean that it went through special testing to ensure that the ingredients are safe or that the potential long term health impact was evaluated.
- Know what ingredients to avoid. There are many ingredients you should avoid having in your products. Here are a few harmful ingredients to be ware of:
- Formaldehyde: A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. It is used as a preservative in cosmetics.
- Parabens: Endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Parabens are a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
- Phthalates: Endocrine (or hormone) disruptors which may also cause birth defects. Phthalates are a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies.
- Do your research.
- I highly recommend checking out the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG uses the power of research and information to protect public health and the environment. Their Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (which can be downloaded as the Healthy Living app) allows you to search over 73,000 products for hazardous ingredients. Products are rated from 1-10 with 1 being the safest product and 10 being the worse. (www.ewg.org)
As a mom with two little girls, I like products that can multitask. My two favorite, must have products right now are the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm and the Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20.
The Cleansing Balm is an ultra-hydrating facial cleanser and makeup remover which contains nourishing butters, oils, and vitamins. It can be used as an overnight treatment to intensify the hydrating and nourishing results; as a radiance booster by leaving on for 10 minutes after you cleanse your face; as a highlighter by tapping a tiny amount onto the tops of your cheekbones and down the bridge of your nose with your middle and ring fingers to catch the light and illuminate your complexion; as a defense against dry skin everywhere (elbows, knees, knuckles, cuticles, etc…); as a lip mask treatment by putting it on your lips for 15 minutes then wiping it off with a warm, damp cleansing cloth; and as a preliminary cleanse to your normal cleanser for a deep cleaning.
The Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage SPF 20 is lightweight, provides sheer hydration and evens the skin tone while protecting the skin from sun damage at the same time… a score in my book!
After plenty of research, Beautycounter is my main brand of choice for personal care products but there are other options including using coconut oil as a moisturizer and makeup remover or rubbing olive oil on your feet and covering them with socks overnight while you sleep for a deep moisture treatment.
3-Minute Makeup Routine
Now… besides multitasking products, I also need a quick makeup routine… and I have it down to 3 minutes!!! The goal of my 3-minute routine is to get some color on my face and disguise my lack of sleep or mom stress. Can you relate?
These are the steps I follow:
1. Concealer – to cover up any dark circles from lack of sleep and surprise blemishes. (Pictured: Beautycounter Touchup Skin Concealer Pen)
2. Tinted moisturizer / light foundation – to even out skin tone and skin color. (Pictured: Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer)
3. Mascara -highlight my eyes and make them appear awake. (Pictured: Beautycounter Lengthening Mascara)
4. Blush/Bronzer – just a little to add color to my cheeks. (Pictured: Beautycounter Limited Edition for Target Blush/Bronzer Duo)
5. Lip Gloss – to add some shine and color to my lips. (Pictured: Beautycounter Lip Gloss Peony)
Mamas… if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me. I cannot stress enough the importance of skincare. What I have discussed are just a few of the things one should think about when thinking about a skincare routine. If you take only one thing away from what I have written, let it be to read the ingredients of the products you use, not only on yourself but on your entire family. The goal should be a healthy self, or as I have seen (and can’t take credit for)… “heal thy self.”
My name is Michelle and I am the wife of the hardest working man I know, the Mami of 4 beautiful and AMAZING kids (3 girls and 1 boy) and a Pathologists’ Assistant turned Stay at Home Mami turned Owner and Creative Director of Mami Works Design Studio, LLC. I am super excited to share my experiences and learn from you. As women/moms/entrepreneurs, we must stick together and support each other!