Animal-free isn’t always synonymous with healthy. Parabens, for example, appear in several vegan and cruelty-free beauty products. Likewise, formaldehyde (you know, that stuff they use to embalm people) sneaks into a slew of beauty products and treatments.
Not only does this wicked-smelling chemical contribute to skin irritation, formaldehyde is a carcinogen. On top of that, chronic exposure may lead to respiratory problems and immune-system toxicity. Not so pretty.
It’s not uncommon to find some form of formaldehyde in: antiperspirant, keratin hair straightening treatments (a.k.a “The Brazilian Blowout”), hair dye, and nail polish.
Of course, if you get a straightening treatment once a year or hit the salon for a mani only on special occasions, you may not be exposing yourself to enough formaldehyde to put yourself at serious risk (maybe). But please consider the salon technician who may have to administer multiple Brazilian Blowouts a week. The less we support toxin-containing brands, the better for everyone.
Although the Brazilian Blowout and offending nail polishes have gotten a lot of press lately—and formaldehyde-free alternatives are becoming more widely available—the beauty industry hasn’t completely abandoned this troubling chemical.
To complicate matters, formaldehyde-free usually isn’t the only consideration on the conscious shopper’s mind. While I was transitioning to natural beauty products and veganism, I was thrilled to learned that several drug-store brands have eliminated formaldehyde from their nail polishes—only to be crushed that most of these brands still tested on animals (hello, Revlon).
Fortunately, safe and cruelty-free nail polishes are storming the market. Here are just a few thrilling lacquers that are good for your skin (for toxin-free purposes, think of your nails as skin!) and your summer wardrobe:
If you’re in the market to (semi) permanently straighten your locks, you may consider Zerran Reallisse Vegan Hair Smoothing Treatment. This non-toxic, non-smelly treatment is safer for both your and your stylist.
Looking to dye your hair sans toxic overload? Read about natural hair dye options here.
(Of course, there is always the option of embracing your natural hair texture and color, but we understand that a girl’s gotta get a little creative with beautiful vegan-self sometimes :))
Your turn: Tell us about your favorite non-toxic & vegan beauty swaps!
Related: What is Dimethicone?
Photos: korigami oki kami via Flickr, LVX, Sheswai, Scotch Naturals, NCLA, Scotch Naturals