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Clean. Natural. Green. Nontoxic. Organic. It's easy to get overwhelmed by these wellness buzzwords. While we prioritize our physical and mental well-being, taking care of ourselves encompasses more than diet, meditation and exercise. We should be equally as discerning with the foods we're putting in our bodies as we are with products we are using and putting on our bodies.
When it comes to beauty products, steering clear of parabens and phthalates might be a no-brainer. But Decoding labels and marketing jargon isn't exactly easy, especially when there's a new "danger" or nontoxic product everywhere you turn! So, how do you know if your beauty and skincare routine is really safe?
At Ghost Democracy, we're helping you break down what clean beauty means to us, why it matters, and how it differs from natural, organic makeup—because who doesn't want to glow (and feel good) about what they use.
There isn't an "official" agreed-upon definition for clean beauty. Though many companies greenwash their products with labels like "natural" or "eco," that doesn't necessarily mean they're nontoxic. If you really want to find the safest skincare products, you have to take matters into your own hands —and that starts with looking at the list of ingredients.
To us, clean beauty means products made without ingredients that have harmful health effects. The U.S. restricts only 30 ingredients from being used in personal care and cosmetic products. Compare that to the EU, which has banned around 1,400. Now, you'll see why it's essential to look at each ingredient yourself and see what research (if any) has been done so that you can make the best decision for you.
Clean Beauty Tip: The Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database can be a useful resource when reviewing ingredients in your beauty products. It's worth noting, though, that the EWG errs on the side of caution when it lacks information, so take its ratings with a grain of salt.
We know that some chemicals make their way into our bloodstreams through the skin, nose, and mouth. What we don't know is how much of these chemicals get absorbed or the long-term effects they have on our health. However, several common personal care ingredients have been linked to endocrine (or hormone) disruption and cancer, and many others contain irritants or potential allergens. At Ghost Democracy, we prefer to avoid these potentially harmful ingredients whenever possible, especially when there are so many effective clean beauty products that don't use them.
Another potential concern is body burden. Have you ever heard of it? From cleaning products to pollution, and, yes, beauty products, body burden is the total accumulation of chemicals in our body. By limiting our exposure to these potential toxins where we can—like by using clean skincare products—we may be able to lessen our overall chemical burden.
While, there's no single list of harmful ingredients to avoid, individual company's set their standards around what they will (or won't) allow in their skincare and beauty products. One consequence of the FDA having very little control over the personal care industry is that many brands get away without listing everything on the label. Seek out companies that are transparent about what goes into their products and don't hide behind the sticker.
At Ghost Democracy, we believe the best clean skincare products are paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, formaldehyde-free, dye-free, and talc-free. That's a lot of free! We also suggest steering clear of the following when choosing what products you use:
- Added fragrance
- Essential oils
- Mineral oil
- Drying alcohols
- Polyethylene glycol
Instead, look for beauty products with nontoxic, science-backed ingredients such as glycolic acid (a powerful exfoliator), bakuchiol (a natural alternative to retinol), and niacinamide (vitamin B3, which soothes and strengthens skin).
Clean Beauty Tip: When looking at labels, watch out for broad names like "fragrance" or "perfume"—they may be hiding less-than-stellar ingredients under the disguise of it being a trade secret.
Organic makeup generally means that the ingredients used were grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides—but organic says nothing about the product's efficacy or its safety. A beauty product can be organic and still contain potentially toxic ingredients or allergens.
The same goes for the term natural.
In theory, natural cosmetics are made with non-synthetic, plant-based ingredients, but just putting "all-natural" on a label doesn't make it so (remember, companies can market their products however they want). Natural ingredients aren't necessarily safer or better for you.
When we talk about clean beauty, we're referring to skincare products that use safe, proven, non-irritating ingredients that actually work.
Clean beauty products are even better if they are vegan (no animal or animal-derived ingredients) and cruelty-free (never tested on animals). It's a win-win for Mother Earth... and you!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.