Purging of the Parabens: How to Green Your Beauty Routine

{Adios, weird chemicals. My bathroom is not a chem lab.}

A few weeks ago, I got a Keratin treatment in my hair, after which, I was told I could no longer use sulfate-based shampoos. That lead to some extensive label-reading in my shower, which lead to more label reading in my medicine cabinet, which lead to a giant purge of products in my bathroom. Why? Because too many things I was using were packed with parabens.

What is a paraben, exactly? It’s a preservative most commonly found in makeup and beauty products that has been linked to breast cancer. Its ability to mimic estrogen, the female hormone, is most likely the cause of this. Basically, it’s not good. And that’s why I did a little spring cleaning in my bathroom.

I got sucked in on the purge after I bought a sulfate-free shampoo from Walgreens that claimed it was free of parabens. And it was, but it still contained ether, which is actually a polypropylene, which might as well be a paraben. So, I returned it. Lesson: You can’t trust the front of a bottle. You’ve got to turn that bottle around and do a little research on the back. For me, if I can’t pronounce it, I look it up to see what it is I’m putting on my hair or skin. 

Fair warning: reading labels can make you a little neurotic. And if you, like me, get on a paraben-free kick, you’ll find nearly half the things you use on a regular basis need to hit the trash can. 

The pic above is everything I threw out. 

Afterward, I went on a mad search for new shampoos, soaps, lotions and scrubs. That’s when I found SheaMoisture. The line, available at Target, is free of parabens, phthalates, paraffin, gluten, propylene glycol, mineral oil (which I’m actually allergic to), synthetic fragrance, PABA, synthetic color, DEA, sulfates, animal testing and animal ingredients.


I also threw out 99 percent of my lotions and am just using coconut oil and grape seed oils from the cooking aisle of whole foods. Products like these only have one ingredient and come in glass jars, which means BPA isn’t leaking into them— a total win-win.

If you’re looking to green your beauty routine, I suggest doing some Internet surfing to find out what’s really in that facial cream. The fact is there are too many organic products out there to warrant using something that may cause you more harm than good in the long run. Sure it may cost a little more, but it and you are worth it.