Have you ever wondered what harmful ingredients are lurking in your skincare products? Gaelyne Leslie, founder of Crawford Street Skincare had a rude awakening after she had a severe allergic reaction to a drugstore skincare product and since then, she’s devoted herself to creating skincare products that are friendly and good for your skin. Crawford Street Skincare is a line of all-natural skincare products made in Toronto. All Gaelyne’s products are made by hand and are free of chemicals, artificial dyes and fragrances. Think of it as skin vitamins. Her products can be purchased online and from Wholefoods Yorkville, The Big Carrot, Ecotique, Logan and Finley and Annie Aime, all stores in Toronto, with prices ranging from $5-$45.
Why did you decide to found Crawford Street Skincare?
I personally had a severe allergic reaction to a common drugstore brand of face cream and after undergoing allergy testing for chemicals commonly found in our skin care products, I realized how many toxic chemicals are used by the body care industry. My love of food and cooking led me to experiment with natural ingredients I could buy at the health food store. All of a sudden it made sense: what we put on our body is as important as what we put in it. The skin is a huge organ that absorbs everything, drawing it into the body. By slathering chemicals all over we are poisoning ourselves.
My first product was the Frankincense and Geranium Moisturizer. Everything I put in it promised to benefit my dehydrated “maturing” skin. Soon I was cooking up deodorant, body lotions and lip balms in my kitchen on Crawford Street.
What harmful ingredients are in many skincare products of which we should be aware?
Fragrance: Fragrances are in everything from shampoo to deodorant to lotion. Federal law doesn’t require companies to list any of the chemicals in their fragrance mixture on product labels. Fragrances can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top five allergens in the world.
Phthalates: Phthalates are found in a wide range of body products and are hidden in fragrances, perfumes and perfumed products like deodorants and lotions. They are hormone disruptors and can cause liver, kidney and lung damage and cancer.
Parabens (Propyl, Isopropyl, Butyl, and Isobutylparabens): Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives and studies show that they are found in breast cancer tumors of 19 out of every 20 women. The CDC has detected parabens in virtually all Americans surveyed.
PEG/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compounds: These synthetic chemicals are frequently contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which the U.S. government believes has a probable chance of being a human carcinogen and which readily penetrates the skin.
Mineral Oil/Petroleum: Mineral oil and other petroleum derivatives are commonly found in skin care products because it’s a cheap lubricant. Unfortunately it also smothers the skin, not allowing it to release dirt and toxins.
Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulfate: This chemical additive began as an industrial degreaser and is a known skin irritant.
Aluminum Chloride/Potassium Alum: There is no conclusive evidence that aluminum has harmful health effects but the fact that its purpose is to block our sweat glands, to me, means it’s not good for us. Sweat is the body’s natural way of releasing toxins. Also, we have a lot of lymph nodes under our arms and the lymph system is our body’s natural way of detoxifying itself. Who wants to mess around with that?
What ingredients should we look for when trying to pick skin care products that are healthy for our skin?
Look for ingredients you recognize! Coconut oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, evening primrose oil, witch hazel, rose water, neroli water, shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, beeswax and essential oils. These are the ingredients Cleopatra would have used on her skin!
What’s your skincare routine?
Every morning I use a mild moisturizing cleanser that I make my self (coming soon to the line) followed by the Rose Geranium Toner and then Frankincense and Geranium Moisturizer.
At night I do the same thing, only I add the Repairing Facial Oil. This stuff is amazing and is really good for your neck and décolletage. I love the smell. I swear it helps me relax and sleep better.
In the winter, I add the facial oil to my morning routine by mixing a little in with my foundation which gives your complexion a dewy glowing quality.