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I lived in São Paulo, Brazil for four years and I knew I would have to make some changes in order to adapt, but had no idea the biggest sacrifice would be food, body and skin care. There is nothing even remotely close to Whole Foods there and even the most upscale grocery stores have a very limited organic section. Upon returning to the U.S., within 24-hours I was in Whole Foods reveling in everything I missed. My first purchase was a whole new skin care line, as I was subject to only being able to afford a well-known, American, drug store brand, which was so frustrating. I had asked my girl friend what she had been using and she told me about Acure Organics. Well after using a few of their products for two months, I’m in love!

Here are the reasons why I love this brand:

1. It’s vegan: Which means that all the ingredients are either vegetable or mineral based, and absolutely no ingredients are derived from animals.

2. Sulfate free: “Sulfate compounds (commonly called sulfates) are found in many personal care products such as shampoo, toothpaste, shaving foam, body washes and facial cleansers. In cleansers, they function as surfactants: water- and oil-soluble compounds that, when combined with water, foam and emulsify greasy substances. Sulfates are synthetic ingredients partially based on sulfur, which is derived from petrolatum or other sources.” (1) After reading that, sulfate free is the way to go!

3. Cruelty free: Meaning nothing is tested on animals. Even if you eat meat (hopefully grass-fed and without hormones), I can’t imagine you could bare seeing what they do to animals when they test products. It’s not right and not necessary. Here’s a list of companies that do not test on animals – http://ow.ly/vuxug.

4. Paraben free: Parabens are chemicals which have preservative qualities, and they are frequently used in cosmetics and other over-the-counter beauty and health care products. According to certain studies, these chemicals (which include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben, among others) may harm human health by contributing to the development of cancerous tumours. To learn more about parabens, click here.

5. PEG free: PEGs (also known as Polyethylene Glycol)  is part of a family of synthetic chemical compounds often used in cosmetic and personal care products. PEG’s are usually followed by a number e.g. PEG-7 or PEG-80, showing how many units of ethylene glycol they comprise. The lower the number, the more easily it’s absorbed into the skin. PEG’s are often manufactured using ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane. Ethylene oxide is a known human carcinogen, may interfere with human development and can harm the nervous system. For more information, click here.

6. Petroleum free: Petroleum in beauty products goes by many names (mineral oil, paraffin wax, and petrolatum, just to name a few), and its pervasiveness is more widespread than one might think. There are many reasons to avoid petroleum in beauty products. Here are a couple:

  • It disrupts the way the body naturally detoxifies
  • It slows the rate at which cells are renewed, thereby damaging collagen, connective tissue, and elastin – all of which contribute to the way skin looks and feels
  • It results in skin that ages prematurely

To learn more about petroleum, read this.

7. Phthalate free: Phthalates (pronounced “thah-lates”) are chemical plasticizers that have been widely used since the 1950s to soften plastics that would otherwise be brittle and crack when bent. Because phthalates are not chemically bound to the plastics they’re added to, they’re continuously released into the air or food or liquid. Phthalates are found in an amazing array of products. In personal care items, they’re used to help lubricate other substances, help lotions penetrate and soften the skin, and help fragrances last longer. Here’s  a list of common phthalates used in products.

8. Silicone free: Silicone is a chemically derived product that covers the skin to protect and keep the moisture in. To identify silicone in a product, look for Dimethicone or methicone in the ingredient list (definition). In fact, the general rule of thumb is that anything ending in “cone” is likely to be silicone. It sits in a layer on top of the skin keeping in moisture, it also keeps in any sebum, dirt and bacteria that may already be on the skin. Once the skin is irritated, it will breakout. Also, prolonged use of silicones may also lead to allergic reactions and may cause sensitive skin to react adversely.

9. Gluten free: Unless you have celiac disease or some type of sensitivity to gluten, you don’t necessarily have to worry about using gluten-free skin care, body care or cosmetics. However, I think knowing whether something has gluten in it or not is important. If there’s one thing that I did like about living in Brazil, is that absolutely everything is labeled whether it contains gluten or not. Wish we would step it up a bit here in North America and do the same. Here’s more info about gluten in beauty products. 

10. Synthetic fragrance free: Many of the chemicals used to formulate certain aromas are actually petrochemicals. Petrochemicals are derived from natural gas and petroleum. Benzene, toluene, xylenes, and methanol are some of the common petrochemicals used in these aromatic concoctions. It is estimated that 95% of the synthetic fragrances on the market today are derived from petroleum by-products. Petrochemicals are like many of the other ingredients in synthetic fragrance in that they build in the body over time. Petroleum by-products are used in pesticides, plastics, detergents, soaps, and much more. Repeated exposure has been linked to endocrine disruption and several types of cancer.

11. 100% biodegradable: For something to be biodegradable it has to be an organic substance that can be broken down by microorganisms. In the case of biodegradable plastic, which is usually made from petrochemical compounds, they often use a substance called Mirel which is a corn-based product. They describe biodegradable as “the degradation of material from naturally occurring microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi or algae over a period of time.” The more products that are truly biodegradable, the better it is for all of us and our planet.

12. Price: Starting at $8.99 for their Argan Cleasing Towelettes up to $29.99 for their Radical Wrinkle Complex makes this line more than affordable. I will always pay more for natural or organic produce and products (although I think they ought to be affordable for everyone who cares about their health). So, with these prices, it’s definitely a small investment for your skin and for your health.

So there you have it! You can purchase Acure Organics at almost any Whole Foods store or even online at the website.

Sources:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/look-great/skin/the-truth-about-sulfates

http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/cruelty_free_companies_search.aspx?Donottest=8&Product=0&Dotest=-1&Regchange=-1&Country=-1&Keyword=

http://paraben.co.uk/ http://blog.hellocharlie.com.au/2012/05/what-are-pegs/

http://www.mywomenstuff.com/2008/09/what-is-silicone-and-is-it-bad-for-your-skin/

http://www.naturalnews.com/033634_fragrance_chemicals.html

http://www.lifegoggles.com/1030/what-does-biodegradable-mean/

Image courtesy of Acure Organics

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