Are There Toxic Chemicals in Your Cosmetics?

Just like there’s a dirty dozen for food (EWG’s list of 12 fruits & vegetables that have highest amount of pesticides), there’s also a dirty dozen for ingredients to avoid in your beauty products (check out David Suzuki’s Shopper’s Guide to see how your products rank). For example, BHA or BHT found in moisturizers and make-up can cause cancer and hormone imbalance, parabens have been linked with breast cancer and parfum can triggers allergies, asthma and cause cancer. When I first discovered Suzuki’s list, and starting comparing it to products I used everyday, I was disgusted and overwhelmed. Everything I used included at least one of these chemicals. I didn’t know where to start, and I was hesitant to give up my favourite products.

I started doing research, and discovered a bounty of healthy alternatives to standard beauty products. A good rule of thumb: don’t put anything on your skin that isn’t safe to eat. Most of them start with a natural oil like coconut, almond or avocado and are naturally scented with lavender, cocoa butter or citrus.

Awareness of toxic chemicals in cosmetics is growing, and more companies are popping up that offer alternative products, with amazing benefits for your skin that use natural ingredients. One of my recent favourites is a local company based out of Ottawa called The Kitchen Sink.

The Kitchen Sink is owned and operated by Debra Munro. As someone with sensitive skin, Debra went searching for affordable products containing ingredients she could pronounce. In the process, she decided the best way to find the ideal formulations were to create them herself. After months of research and experimentation, she developed a line of all-natural beauty products that care for skin beautifully without synthetic chemicals, skin irritants or potentially toxic additives. They’re effective and you can feel good about what’s in them. Not only are the packaging and ingredients from Canada, several of those ingredients come right from Debra’s organic gardens.

Over the last couple months I’ve had the pleasure of trying her products. I want to share some of my favourites, and also educate you about natural ingredients that have awesome benefits for your skin:


For the Face

Anti-Wrinkle Serum – $25.00, 30ml
(Calendula oil, Sesame oil, Jojoba oil, Rosehip oil, Vitamin E oil)
Calendula oil is perfect to moisturize the skin, and is especially good for sensitive skin. Sesame oil is a natural antioxidant because of it’s high content of vitamin E, which aids in quick absorption of the serum. Jojoba oil is an excellent moisturizer, and rosehip oil has been used for years as a cell regenerating and scar lessening ingredient, perfect for damaged skin. I love this product, and have noticed a difference in my skin since using it – some of my fine lines have become less noticeable. It also has no fragrance, which is so nice compared to the strong scented parfum-laden alternatives.

Herbal Facial Cleanser – $15.00, 50ml
(Witch Hazel, Vegetable Glycerine, Organic Geranium essential oil, Organic Lavender essential oil, Castile soap)
An ideal facial cleanser and safe for mature, sensitive, oil and even acne prone skin types. Naturally fragrant and antiseptic. Washes away impurities and excess oils without changing skins pH balance or stripping away natural oils. I use this every morning to clean my face, as I find the natural herb fragrance invigorating. My skin is left feeling fresh and clean.

For the Body

A Winter Body Oil – $25.00, 100ml
(Hemp oil, Sunflower oil, Olive oil, Avocado oil, Pumpkin oil, Vitamin E oil)
Hempseed oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which makes it a fantastic cosmetic grade oil. Sunflower oil has high amounts of vitamin A, B, D, and E, minerals, lecithin, insulin, unsaturated fatty acids and by all accounts, it is a good product for the skin. Olive oil is extremely versatile and is a favourite on both dry and irritated skin. Avocado oil contains vitamins A, B1, B2, D, E and beta carotene. Pumpkin oil is valued for its skin healing properties. Vitamin E plays a crucial role in protecting skin cells, and membranes from environmental damage. This protection extends to preventing damage to the skin from UV rays, pollutants and the effects of aging. I mix this oil with coconut and use it as a lotion for my 1 and a 1/2 year-old-son after baths, and it has really improved his dry skin. It also feels so good knowing that I’m not using any harmful chemicals on his skin.

Body Butter – $25.00, 240ml
(Cocoa butter, Coconut oil, Sweet Almond oil)
Coconut oil has antioxidant properties, which protect the skin from free radical damage (a.k.a. premature aging) and it also helps to build and strengthen skin cell structure. This will keep the skin strong & supple and prevent sagging & wrinkles. Sweet almond oil is an emollient, which smoothes and softens the skin. It is full of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant and a great skin protector & healer. Plus, it acts in natural skin care products as a preservative. Cocoa butter is a rich emollient, containing fatty acids to help retain moisture and build elasticity, and may also relieve rashes and irritation. I use this every morning after my shower, and it’s the only product that keeps my skin moisturized in the winter. It also fills the room with the decadent smell of chocolate. I’m also using it during my pregnancy as a way to prevent stretch marks on my growing belly. 

Coffee Body Scrub – $10.00, 240ml
(Coffee grounds, Organic Sugar, Himalayan Salt, Coconut oil, Cinnamon and Vanilla)
Caffeine stimulates blood flow, and helps reduce the appearance of cellulite, eczema, stretch marks, age spots and psoriasis. Demerara Sugar and Himalayan salt will exfoliate skin removing dead skin and other blemishes. Coconut oil will hydrate and moisturize skin. If you want to create a spa-like experience in your very own home than you have to give this a try – it’s an awesome experience, and my skin has never felt softer. I love using it in the morning as the smell of coffee and cinnamon really wakes up the senses.

Those were just a few of my favourite products from The Kitchen Sink. Debra also offers:

  • Summer Fragrant Body Oil
  • Warming Body Scrub with Calendula Oil Kit
  • Lip Balm
  • Hand and Cuticle Salve

If you’re interested in placing an order from The Kitchen Sink, just email Debra at: (she will ship just about anywhere!).

I know it seems like everything these days causes cancer, and you may be left feeling overwhelmed and wondering where to begin. Going through your beauty products is a great place to start, and with amazing natural products like The Kitchen Sink on the market, you won’t even miss your old, chemical-laden cosmetics. The Kitchen Sink products will protect, moisturize & heal your skin, prevent premature aging, and you can relax knowing that you’re cutting down on the amount of cancer-causing chemicals and toxins that you put in your body.

About Lauren

Welcome! I’m Lauren Follett. A couple years ago, while working in the corporate world of downtown Toronto, I decided to pursue my passion for healthy living and enrolled in the Distance Education program with The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I studied on my lunch breaks, after work, on the weekends, and while travelling through South America. The world of health & nutrition can be confusing. There are a lot of mixed messages out there when it comes to health: low fat, low calories, sugar-free, low-carb, gluten-free…leaving you confused, frustrated, and wondering where to start. That’s where I come in. As a Registered Nutritionist, my goal is to help you accomplish your health & wellness goals. I don’t believe in diets or quick fixes. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle, which requires you to get educated, and learn how to make healthy choices. I’m dedicated to working closely with my clients to teach & motivate them to make healthy choices, discuss healthy living strategies and create customized nutrition programs that fit with their life.


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One Response to Are There Toxic Chemicals in Your Cosmetics?

  1. Cynthia February 6, 2016 at 2:24 am #

    Have used the cleaners, serum and body butter. All are excellent.

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