Image source: Craig and Carl
When I started becoming obsessive about skincare my junior year of college, I read through hundreds of blogs posts and articles desperately looking for that one “trusted resource.” Trying to figure out what ingredients to use… what ingredients not to use… in what order… is dizzying. While I never found one place that I felt thoroughly answered all my questions (hence why I started Mirra), I did find myself referencing the same, few websites over and over again. I’m a total nerd. I obsess over the science behind skincare, and love learning about ingredients. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading Into the Gloss, Goop, or Allure... It just means that when it comes down to really understanding which products I should actually incorporate into my routine, I do my homework. Below, I've listed my go-to "nerdy" resources. Normally, I use a combination of these sites before making a purchase.
Skindeep is a resourced created by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) with the mission to protect you from everyday exposure to chemicals. The scientists at Skindeep thoroughly examine the toxicity of cosmetic and personal care items, and create easy to understand online profiles for each of the products. Cosmetic companies are virtually allowed to use almost any ingredient they want in their products -- the industry has notoriously been unregulated by the government. People apply an average of 126 unique ingredients on their skin daily. That's a lot of chemicals. So these chemicals, whether they seep through the skin, rinse down the drain, or flush down the toilet, cause concern for human health, and for the impact they may have to wildlife, rivers and streams (EWG
). After using Skindeep for a few years, one of the most interesting things I found was that the same brand may carry some products that are totally clean, and some that contain a high concentration of toxins. That’s why I always check the toxicity of each
product before purchasing instead of just blindly trusting a brand (I learned this the hard way). And of course, a lot of the time, the product that I’m thinking of buying isn’t listed here. But even if you’re thinking of buying a product that isn’t included in their database, you can still derive a lot of value from reading through their content to help you understand what ingredients you should be avoiding.
Think Dirty has essentially the same mission as Skindeep --- to help you learn about the potential toxic ingredients in your cosmetic and personal care products. Their product takes a slightly different approach. First off, it’s mobile app, which makes it easy to evaluate products in store. You just have to scan the barcode with the app to see easy to understand info on the product, its ingredients, and cleaner alternatives.
Beautypedia is a product review site created by well-renowned beauty expert, Paula Begoun (founder of Paula’s Choice Skincare
). The team assigns products a rating of 1-5 based on “published scientific research.” Each product has an “expert rating” from the Beautypedia team, in addition to a “community rating” from people who have tried the product. Beautypedia’s rating system is a little controversial. For example, they believe that any source of fragrance - whether from a natural or synthetic source - is irritating and bad for skin. Also, they take no issue with parabens. Whatever your belief may be, we think this site an awesome way to filter through the thousands of cosmetic products on the market today in a pretty frictionless way. There’s really no other website like it.
Futurederm is a very nerdy skincare blog written by Nicki Zevola Benvenuti, a blogger that seriously coined the term “skincare nerd.” Nicki was one of my favorite bloggers for a really long time. I really appreciate how she takes the time to cite her sources, and make sense of clinical trials. Overtime, I realized that although I love coming to her site to learn more about the science behind skincare, I don’t always trust her product recommendations. One reason is because all the products I’ve tried from her line have left me with extremely irritated skin. I think it’s because she, as a blogger, has very resilient skin, so us sensitive folk have to take her recs with a grain of salt. Also, whether or not a product is cruelty-free or non-toxic isn’t really a priority for her. Nonetheless, I love reading through her content, and highly recommend you take a peek at her blog.
I mention Drunk Elephant’s blog, Trunk Tales, with a little bit of hesitation. The blog is sparse, and mostly contains promotional pieces for their products. However, they do occasionally write some well-researched pieces that are definitely worth a read. Drunk Elephant is one of my favorite brands of all time, so I'm just pretty much obsessed with anything they create.
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