beauty products

8 Toxic Ingredients to Watch Out for in Your Beauty Products

Have you ever purchased a product without reading the ingredients? Maybe you were mesmerized by the beautiful packaging, a couple of keywords on the front matched your needs like “volumizing” or “extra hold,” or you’ve heard great things about the brand.

So no need to look at the back of the package, right?

Not so fast. For the sake of your overall health (and your wallet), you should always read the ingredients before purchasing any item. You want to make sure you’re not only getting what’s being advertised to you, but also that you’re not missing any sneaky, harmful ingredients.

Just because it says “natural” or “vegan” doesn’t actually make it natural and clean.

The American cosmetics industry is worth a whopping $70 billion every year. However, the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors only has an annual budget of $8 million and 27 staff members. It gets worse– The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was the last set of laws passed to govern cosmetics, and this passed in 1938. Many years later, we have millions of beauty brands using a wide variety of ingredients and formulating techniques that need to be regulated.

The EU bans 1328 chemicals, Canada bans 600, but the U.S. bans only 30. Whether it’s for your long-term health, immediate skin irritation, ethics, or bioaccumulation, we should all be taking a closer look at the ingredients in our favorite products and every future purchase. If you see any of the ingredients listed below in your collection of skincare and cosmetics, it may be time to apply the KonMari method to your skincare and cosmetics routine.

1. Preservatives & Stabilizing Agents: Parabens, BHA, BHT

Parabens are a commonly-used preservative found in personal care products and cosmetics. When first transitioning to non-toxic beauty, look for parabens as they are the easiest to scope out.

They are found in the majority of cosmetics, although sometimes unmarked as part of the fragrances. (Did you know that fragrances don’t have to be disclosed to the public as they are considered a trade secret?) Parabens can easily penetrate your skin, even if your product doesn’t have skin absorption enhancers, bypass the metabolic process, and can enter both the bloodstream and organs without being broken down.

The scary fact is that parabens mimic estrogen, which can potentially interfere with hormone production in both men and women. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer, because they have been detected in the breast tissue of many breast cancer patients. Last but not least, parabens are not environmentally-friendly, as they are resistant to biodegradation in both water and oil.

Other preservatives to look out for are BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). Like parabens, they are suspected endocrine disrupters and carcinogens. Even worse, they are carcinogens for fish and other wildlife.

Consumers have to understand that every product used gets washed down the drain in some form — the shower drain, sink drain, or during the recycling process. These two chemicals are both bioaccumulative and dangerous towards aquatic species.

2. Foaming Agents: Sulfates

Sulfates are what make beauty commercials so enticing. Sulfates produce the suds for the shampoo, body wash, and shaving cream close-up shots. Suds are supposed to imply a luxurious and moisturizing product, but instead, sulfates are synthetic, non-renewable ingredients generally derived from petroleum that strip the skin of its natural oils and cause severe skin irritation.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) can remain in the body for up to five days, staying behind in your vital organs, can damage your immune system, and mutate into carcinogens. Another chemical that performs the same function would be DEA (Diethanolamine), which is mainly used as a pH adjuster. This chemical can have effects on the nervous and endocrine system.

3. Plasticizers: Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that help dissolve other chemicals and make plastic more flexible. They can be found in everything from vinyl flooring to shampoo, often hidden in the fragrance. Phthalates are bioaccumulative and are endocrine disrupters to both humans and aquatic animals.

4. Antibacterials: Triclosan

Undoubtedly, not all antibacterials are bad. But triclosan is a synthetic antibacterial that functions as a pesticide. It is a commonly-found chemical in many types of drugstore toothpaste and household cleaners. Unfortunately, this chemical is a hormone disruptor and can decrease fertility, produce birth defects, or alter DNA. This chemical, too, is bioaccumulative and also harmful to aquatic animals.

5. Formaldehyde Releasers: DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, and others.

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are used in many personal care products, particularly liquid baby soaps, hair smoothing products, nail polish, and color cosmetics. When formaldehyde is present in a product, consumers can be exposed by ingestion or absorption, which can cause irritation at best and cancer at worst.

6. Chemical Sunscreens: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Octinoxate.

sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens, like zinc oxide, will sit on your skin to reflect the light to prevent damage. Chemical sunscreens will penetrate your skin, absorb the UV rays, and convert them into heat that is then released through the skin.

But unlike the mineral sunscreens, chemical sunscreens can stay in the body for up to five days. Additionally, many chemical sunscreens are not considered “reef safe” and are already banned, or will soon be banned, around the world for damaging our reefs. When it’s washed off your body in the water, it stays and actually damages some of the Earth’s most precious ecosystems.

7. Light and Heavy Metals: Aluminum and Lead

Aluminum, a light metal, can be found in many drugstore deodorants, with its main function as an antiperspirant. The deodorants will have aluminum salts that help plug the pores physically preventing you from sweating. Not only has this been linked to increasing your chances of breast cancer, but it’s blocking your natural production of sweat.

On the other hand, heavy metals are less obvious to spot, as they are often not added purposely, but are contaminants. Such is the case for the infamous Claire’s asbestos scandal when a mother found asbestos in a variety of her young girl’s makeup palettes.

8. Water Retainers: Mineral Oils & Petrolatum

Petrolatum and mineral oils, a liquid mixture derived from petrolatum, are used in many personal care products to retain moisture. This is why you will often see it as the main ingredient for lotions, cleansers, lip balms, and even powders. The big problem is that as they keep water in, they also clog the pores and prevent your skin from breathing.

Used regularly, this will age your skin prematurely, and as it’s a carcinogen and endocrine disrupter, they can lead to cancer in humans and breathing problems in animals. You should also keep a lookout for 1,4-Dioxane, a common byproduct of processing petroleum-based products produced while trying to make the petrolatum less irritating to the skin. 1,4-Dioxane is resistant to biodegradation in water and soil as well as being potentially explosive when exposed to light or air–definitely not something we want in our cosmetics.

How to Transition to Non-Toxic Cosmetics

If you are serious about switching to using only clean skincare and cosmetics, for the good of your skin and the planet, you are going to have to perform a thorough inspection of all your products and toss out the ones with any of the ingredients listed above. The good news is that there are plenty of non-toxic alternatives to all your favorites.

While it may be tough to get rid of a beloved eyeshadow palette or lip gloss, knowing the ingredients are no longer safe for you to use should be enough for you to let go. As you continue to shop and replace your items one by one, you’ll get familiar with ingredients labels and start to lean on brands you can trust.

If discovering products and brands one-by-one seems daunting or time-consuming, simply look for an EWG-Verified brand or subscribe to Vegancuts.

Vegancuts has transitioned to featuring only cruelty-free, vegan, AND clean beauty items, a.k.a non-toxic skincare, and cosmetics, so the work can be done for you. It’s time for you to take charge of what products you use in your everyday life.

 

vegan keto guide

The Vegan Keto Diet – Explained

The ketosis diet, better known as the ‘keto diet’, became mainstream in 2018 – it was the most searched for diet. The premise is simple, cut down carbohydrate intake and force your body to rely on fat for energy. In scientific terms, when your body switches from a glycogen (carb) burning state to ketosis, ketones will be released into the blood as an energy source for your body.

It’s important to note, although keto is a popular diet, there is no ‘right’ way to be vegan. Everyone can find a vegan diet or vegan snacks that fit their lifestyle.

*Disclaimer – it is recommended to consult a dietician or your physician before making any significant dietary changes.

The basic formula looks like this:

  • Low carbohydrate intake (less than 50 net carbs per day)
  • High fat intake (between 111–167 grams of fat per day depending on your total calorie intake)
  • Moderate protein intake (0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight)

Keto formula

To figure out your exact macro nutrition amounts for your body, check out this ketosis calculator.

When switching to this diet, it will take your body 1-2 days to get through all of your glycogen stores (energy from carbohydrates), and start burning fat. During this transition into the state of ‘ketosis’, you may what’s called the keto flu, where you may start to experience flu-like symptoms.

How can you tell if you’re in Ketosis?

After a couple of days on the ketogenic diet, you will be in the state of ketosis. However, if you’re eager to see when your vegan diet has kicked you into a fat-burning state by way of ketosis, you can purchase keto strips, which will detect the ketone levels in your urine. This is for those who are very serious about their ketone levels.

What side effects should you look out for?

The main side effects from switching to a vegan keto diet are (i) dry mouth, (ii) bad breath, and (iii) the keto flu (explained above). It should also be noted that you may want to increase your salt intake while on the keto diet to assist with replenishing electrolytes.

What are net carbs?

Net carbs are the total carbohydrates you intake minus the carbohydrates you intake via fiber. Let’s use brussels sprouts as an example:

A single cup of brussels sprouts has 8 grams of carbohydrates, with 3.3 coming in the form of fiber. Therefore, they would give you 4.7 net carbs.

An easy way to figure out how many carbohydrates you’re consuming is to download a tracking app such as Lose it or MyFitnessPal.

But is this healthy?

The jury is still out on this.

Ketosis is a relatively new diet and has literature both supporting it and against it. It has shown promising signs for lowering and regulating blood sugar, as well as positively affecting cholesterol levels, by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

The biggest concern with the keto diet is the lack of data regarding the long-term effects of following the diet.

Is a vegan keto diet possible?

It’s definitely not for everyone. Maintaining a state of ketosis on any diet is a challenge.

If you search for keto diet recommendations online, you’ll be inundated with blogs and information suggesting you eat stark amounts of meat, and cheese–both, obviously not vegan-friendly.

The good news is that a vegan keto diet is attainable and full of great food options. You need to be careful about which fruits and vegetables you put into your diet, as some are full of sugar and carbohydrates.

What vegan foods are keto friendly?

vegan keto foods

Fats

The name of the game with fat intake is to use your favorite dairy alternatives, mixed in with fats from whole foods such as nuts, and avocados. Let’s just say if you like guacamole, you’re in luck.

-Coconut yogurts and milk alternatives

-Vegan cheeses

-Coconut oil, Olive oil, MCT oil, avocado oil,

-Avocados

-Mixed Nuts

Proteins

Your favorite vegan proteins will be essential to you getting the proper nutrition while on the vegan keto diet. If you’re buying any processed meat/dairy alternatives be on the lookout that their net carbs are low.

-Tofu

-Vegan eggs/meat alternatives

-Seitan

-Tempeh

-Vegan protein powder

Carbs

Although your carbohydrate intake will be limited while on a vegan keto diet, you will want to leverage the micronutrients and vitamins included in the food listed below. Things such as spinach cooked in coconut oil is a great side dish for any vegan dinner.

-Spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.

-Above ground veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, etc.

sauerkraut, kimchi

-mushrooms

Supplementation

We recommend taking several vitamin supplements while on the vegan keto diet. That is to help you cover your bases from a nutritional standpoint as you get used to your new diet. According to Healthline, there are seven must-have supplements vegans should incorporate into their diets.

What vegan foods should you stay away from?

When it comes to vegan foods, even ones that we think of as ‘healthy’ they can be counterproductive to the vegan keto diet. Many of the foods from standard vegan diets, such as legumes, sweet potatoes, and fruits should be avoided if you want to get into a state of ketosis. That means checking your favorite vegan foods and seeing their net-carbohydrate level.

-Legumes

-Potatoes, Yams, etc.

-Most fruits

-Grains

-Carrots

Keto was the craze in 2018, and many vegans took note of it. Although it was popular last year, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain a balanced plant-based lifestyle, with some great tasting vegan snacks in the mix.

Ultimately, there’s no ‘right’ way to be vegan. If you’re taking steps towards reducing animal suffering through choosing a plant-based diet, with or without carbs, you’re making a positive impact.

 

Vegan Skincare Guide

Vegan Skincare: Your Guide to Getting Started

The term ‘vegan’ is not exclusive to the food we consume. The increasing interest in veganism has spread far beyond the dietary context; from the clothes we wear and the linens we sleep on, to the household products we use and the cars we drive, has proved that adopting a vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to end (or begin) with the food we eat.

Swapping out your regular products for a vegan, cruelty-free beauty routine is another way to make the crossover, and according to Google Trends, more and more consumers are taking notice. Searches for the vegan skincare category have grown by 83% year over year since 2010, and for good reason.

We’ve seen the drastic benefits of a vegan diet, so why wouldn’t the same logic apply to skincare or any other vegan lifestyle change?

Fortunately for you, the environment, and animals around the world, it does. Trading your normal skincare, makeup, and beauty routine for one that is vegan and cruelty-free has an abundance of incredible benefits.                                                                                                               

What defines vegan skincare?

Firstly, let’s define what vegan skincare actually means. They are products that are created without any use of ingredients from animals, animal-derived products or animal by-products. These by-products are the parts of the animal that are not directly consumed by humans. Beeswax, lanolin, collagen, carmine, cholesterol, and gelatin are some of the most commonly used animal by-products by the world’s leading beauty and cosmetic brands, and they are found in an extensive range of items produced by these brands.

Is there a difference between vegan and cruelty-free?

Vegan vs Cruelty Free

It’s also important to note that the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty-free’ are not synonyms, though the confusion is understandable. As stated above, ‘vegan’ refers to products without any animal-derived ingredients, but it does not specify on the production process. Technically, items tested on animals can claim to be vegan. By the same token, ‘cruelty-free’ means that the final product has not been tested on animals in the process, but can contain some of those pesky animal-derived or animal by-products mentioned above.

Both are champions for animal rights and will hopefully be interchangeable in the near future.

Is there a trick to reading the labels?

vegan labels

You’ve probably noticed more than a dozen different logos and seals on your products, all making similar claims about being suitable for a certain lifestyle. It is just as critical to familiarize yourself with labels as it is with ingredients. Here are the labels to look out for and what they mean:leaping bunny

The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) is an organization made up of eight national animal protection groups which banded together to make shopping for cruelty-free products easier and more trustworthy through their internationally recognized Leaping Bunny program. Their leaping bunny logo certifies the product is 100% cruelty-free after meeting their uncompromising criteria.vegan society

The Vegan Society is a U.K. based organization dedicated to the worldwide recognition of veganism. Their seal certifies that the product is 100% free from animal products.

certified vegan

The Certified Vegan logo is a registered trademark (think the Kosher trademark) for products that do not contain animal products or by-products and have not been tested on animals. AKA Vegan and cruelty-free.

An extra benefit from going vegan and cruelty-free with your beauty routine is you are one step closer to avoiding ingredients that are toxic, unclean and unsafe. Once you make the switch to vegan and cruelty-free products, by reading labels closely you begin to learn more about the ingredients. One helpful tip from the Beauty Box Curator, “I always crosscheck all ingredients on every product I use as well as Vegancuts features on EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database. This helpful site explains less commonly known ingredients as well as lists toxicity levels.”

Now let’s get to the benefits:

It’s a big step for humanity.

cruelty free

Much like a vegan diet, cruelty-free skincare routine is kinder to animals, as it rids the need to use animals or their body parts in any capacity. Fortunately, animal rights have been on the rise in recent years. This put major cosmetic brands under harsh scrutiny for their ingredients and testing processes, and in turn, resulted in a dramatic spike in vegan and cruelty-free options for consumers.

Today’s market makes it easier than ever for consumers to find their favorite, ‘holy grail’ cosmetic item among a vast array of vegan and cruelty-free beauty brands. By consciously buying these products, we are actively lowering the demand for products being produced by animal testing.

You’re helping the environment, too!

Using animal by-products for ingredients affects not only the animals but also our earth’s precious resources. Feeding the farmed animals substantial amounts of grain and water and subsequently killing them, processing, transporting and storing their bodies is harshly energy-intensive. It also releases a significantly higher amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, into the environment.

Plant-based products are a more efficient use of our resources, as they need less energy from fossil fuels, less land, and less water. By removing animal products from our skincare and beauty routines and products, we can play our part in dramatically reducing humanity’s detrimental impact on the environment.

Many vegan brands are also very conscious of packaging. Products that would typically clog our landfills are now being recycled to create packaging. Brands like Pacifica Beauty, commonly featured in Vegancuts boxes, even boast their own recycling program.

In a world where ecosystems we depend on are being challenged by pollution and waste, every bit of conscious action counts— for us and generations to come.

Nourishing, natural ingredients greatly improve skin quality.

skincare

The fewer products you put on your skin, the better. More dermatologists than ever are recommending we stay away from too many ingredients for a variety of reasons. Vegan products are known for having cleaner ingredient lists than non-vegan products.

Vegan brands tend to use high-quality herbs, roots, essential oils, and other high-quality natural ingredients with moisturizing and anti-aging qualities. In fact, plants have been used to treat many skin conditions for centuries. These tried and true ingredients have proven their efficacy in humans long before even our basic face wash. The benefits from mineral-rich clay, for example, range from smoothing to clarifying your skin. Chamomile soothes rashes and other irritations. Jojoba treats acne. The olive leaf is used for hydration, and rose hip for regeneration.

This means you’re packing in tons of extra benefits— without even trying! Depending on what your skin concern is, your vegan beauty products may be preventing and reducing fine lines and wrinkles, eradicating eye bags or dark eye circles or even reducing acne and the scarring that came with it.  

Vegan skincare is suitable for all skin types— even the most sensitive.

Many of the harsh chemicals found in non-vegan products, such as synthetic fragrance, parabens, petroleum, and synthetic colorants, cause minor and major skin irritations. Even worse, these chemicals are often used as fillers, meaning they have no substance or purpose, irritating your skin and harming the environment for no reason. 

Vegan skincare provides long-term support.

face cream

Though you may see quick, even instant, results from chemically-formulated skincare products, you could be causing irreversible damage down the road. The debate is out as to how much your skin actually absorbs into your system, but there’s no question it does. This means that those toxins are, to some degree, being directly absorbed into your system, and we don’t know what those long-term effects are. Vegan skincare products, along with some other non-vegan products, are packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants which have proved for centuries to nourish your skin long-term.

What now?

If you haven’t already, swapping out your regular makeup and skincare routine for vegan, clean and cruelty-free products may seem like a daunting task. However, it’s also incredibly exciting, as you’re about to embark on a wonderful journey for your skin and our planet.

All Vegancuts products are vegan, clean and cruelty-free, taking the stress and time from the research phase out for the consumer. Get started with your Vegancuts subscription box today, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you have regarding vegan skincare products. We’re more than happy to help. Leave a note in the comments, or contact us via email.

 

Did You Get the Memo? We’ve Got Demos!

Darby-March-BB-Email

We’ve been on the lookout for new ways to show off the contents of our boxes, and we may have found just that! We’ve partnered with our friends at Darby Smart to bring you in depth unboxing and demo videos of a few of our current and upcoming boxes! Darby Smart is an interactive video community where people watch and share snappy how-to videos.

Want to get more in tune with Darby Smart? You can browse and share your own videos using their free app, Darby, and make sure to check out the Vegan Cuts + Darby videos for inspiration!

You can watch the demo video for the latest Beauty Box by clicking the photo above, and watch the demo for our newest quarterly Vegan Cuts Makeup Box below. Be sure to stay tuned to take a closer look at a couple other Vegan Cuts boxes soon! 

Darby-Email-Play                        

Powered by Salad: SaladPower Juice Recipe & Giveaway

SaladPower-Blog

The future of salad is here, and guess what…it’s drinkable! SaladPower was started by two NYC high school friends that wanted a juice that was lower in sugar and calories than the other guys. They noticed that most juices always put fruits first and had very little veggies. So they decided to flip it and create a juice that was packed with veggies…and thus SaladPower was born!

I am sure you’re asking yourself, “What makes this juice different from any of the other juices on the market today?” The answer is science, my friends…science. The secret is in the sauce, well in this case, it’s a veggie blend unlike any other. SaladPower takes kale, carrot, spinach, celery, cucumber, tomato and bell pepper and blends them all together to make a veggie juice base that’s super high in vitamins A + C but also low in sugar. If you don’t believe us, check out the nutritional label yourself! Next, the bottle they use preserves the nutrition so you can make a positive impact on your body with every single sip…pretty cool, eh?

IMG_0929

Available in 4 different flavors—Just Veggies, Veggies + Pineapple, Veggies + Apple, and Veggies + Mango, we are confident you will find the perfect blend to satisfy your palate. Each flavor has all a unique and delicious taste, without sacrificing the nutritional value.

If you’d like, you can also transform SaladPower into a delicious smoothie with this simple recipe!

 Salad Power Juice

What you need:

  • 1 bottle of salad power (your choice of flavor)
  • 1 banana (frozen or at room temperature)
  • ½ cup ice (add more as preferred)
  • ¼ cup almond milk (or favorite nut milk)

Instructions:

  • Blend + Enjoy!


Want to win some SaladPower for yourself? We are working with them to giveaway a case of juice to three lucky winners! Details are below:

Enter to Win SaladPower

SaladPower is giving away a case of their juice to three lucky winners! Enter the giveaway below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

A Berry a Day Keeps the Vet Away: Cranimals™Product Review and Giveaway

As a pet parent to four fur babies, I’m always looking to improve the health of my cats and dogs. Enter Cranimals™—an all-vegan, Canadian-based whole food supplement company. With formulas to prevent and treat conditions from allergies to diabetes to cataracts and incontinence as well as home health check test kits to help you monitor your pet’s health, Cranimals™ offers peace of mind for pet owners. 

Read more…