Safer skincare products may be more expensive compare to the ones you normally use.

How can you shift your spending to safer products yet stay within or even reduce your budget?

* Cut back on the number of products you use overall. 

You can save at least $20 a month from face toner, disposable cleansing wipes and facial masks to a simple organic-based facial cleanser.

* Look for product with multiple uses.

Businesses creates massive product range and try to tell you that you need them.  Its a common marketing ploy.  Be a wise consumer.  Look for safer products especially those with multiple uses. 

Example, Dr Lily's aloe vera gel can double up as a safe under-arms deodorant (those with added essential oils have added benefits).  This way, you do not have to buy a separate product for this purpose. 

Not only will this shift saves you money, you are doing a good part for the Earth too!  

* Give your body a cosmetic breather.

To make your products last longer, you can consider giving your body a cosmetic breather.  Your skin and body will thank you for that!

- Use fewer or no cosmetics on days you don't go to work.

- Pick a weekend a month to "go natural" - apart from washing your face and brushing your teeth, just leave your body alone. 

* Use products in diluted form, it is gentler and it lasts longer.

You can dilute concentrated products eg. your hand/body/facial cleanser and shampoo etc with water from your taps then shake well before use.  Your products will last longer.  Your skin and scalp will also thank you for that!  :)

* Shop on sale.

If they are your regular items, take advantage of special promotions to pay lesser than usual or pay same to get more products.

* Buy in bulk.

Number is power!  Join a spree organiser to buy in bulk at spree prices.  Usually, savings between retail and wholesale price is quite substantial.  Or, you can gather orders from friends/family and make a bulk purchase on your own!

Go for bigger size product rather than single serving because you need to pay for individual packaging too - unless there is a special reason for doing so.

* Prioritise your spending.

Decide which will be your first shift to a safer product.  Example, you may wish to shift to a safer deodorant (potential harm is evident) and moisturiser that stays on your face.  Then as your budget allowed, you focus on alternative shampoo, conditioners and other products that rinse off.

Focus on Ingredients

Learn to read product label.  The list can be long and complicated.  Start with below FOUR ingredients which are found in at least 50% of the standard cosmetics and personal skincare products you normally purchase.

No. 1: Avoid - Fragrances

Fragrances are main ingredients in cosmetics and personal skincare products.  As it turns out, fragrances are also the most common cause of skin problems eg. contact dermatitis.

Fragrances don't just make us itch.  They have been increasingly cited as a trigger for asthma, allergies and migraine headaches.

Some fragrances ingredients have been detected in breast milk - though we are not sure what the long-term consquences of this will be.

Other fragrance chemicals may mimic our body's own hormomes, disrupting our endocrine system and the way it regulates growth and reproduction.

The long-term impacts of fragrances may take years before the problems are felt.  Until they are, your smartest bet is to shop for fragrance-free or no-fragrance added products. 

If you wish pamper or excite your senses, go for pure and unadultered essential oils. 

No 2: Avoid Phthalates

Phthalates are industrial compounds that soften plastic and give perfume its slightly oily texture.  Phthalates are also found in hair sprays, nail polish, toothpaste and thousands of other personal skincare products.

In May 2005, researchers identified for the first time that some women who are exposed to phthalates in their daily life give birth to male babies with abnormal genitals.

Between 2002 and 2003, three additional studies linked phthalates exposure to lower semen quality including DNA damage in sperm.

In 2003, American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that research on phthalates and their effects on fetuses and infants be undertaken.

In 2000, Puerto Rican scientists found a relationship between exposure to phthalates and premature breast development in girls as young as 31-months old.

Many other scientists, public health advocates and environmental organisations recommend that phthalates be removed from cosmetics and personal skincare products.  Unfortunately, the industry regulates itself and no formal action has been taken.

No. 3:  Avoid - Parabens

The most common parabens are: Methylparaben, Propylparabens, Ethylparaben, Benzylparaben, Isobutylparaben and Butylparaben.

Similar to Phthalates, Parabens is another one of the most common cosmetic preservatives, cause problems like allergic dermatitis and skin rashes.

Something more alarming... evidence published in the Journal of "Applied Technology" indicates that parabens, which are usually added to skincare products such as body lotion, deodorant and mascara etc, can be detected in human breast tumors!

Dr Philippa Darbre, a researcher at England's Univerity of Reading, is leading a research project to prove the link between parabens and breast cancer.  She said "Parabens are used as preservatives in thousands of cosmetic, skincare products, food and pharmaceutical products but this is the first study to show their accmulation in human tissues.  it demonstrates that if people are explosed to these chemicals, then the chemicals will accumulate in their bodies". 

Parabens remain the most popular preservatives use by many cosmetic and skincare makers.  It is cheap and it prolong the life span of the products by so many more years! 

They will tell you it is harmless as they only use so little.  But, no matter how small is the amount used, it just keep adding on!  Think twice!

No. 4: Avoid - Triclosan

Antibacterial soap used to be dispensed primarily in doctors' offices and hospitals to wage battle with heath-threatening bacteria.

No more!  The latest marketing craze is trying to convince us that dangerous "super germs" lurk on every surface and in every space.  One antibacterial in particular, triclosan, is being added to produce as harmless as toothpaste, body lotion and body wash.

Dr Stuart Levy, director of the Centre for Adaptatoin Genetics and Drug Resistance at the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston said "The antibacterial craze has another potential consequences.  Studies showed that people who are raised in a more sterile environment actually experience more allergies, asthma, and eczema than those allowed to live with germs."

Ironically, excessive hygiene may interfere with the normal maturation of the immune system by eliminating opportunities for the immune system to "exercise itself" against germs using the body's own natural defense mechanism.

In fact, the more antibacterials we use, the more resistant bacteria grow! 

So do we really need this extra level of "clean"?!