What do those blue PVC pipes under your sink and most nail polishes have in common? They both contain an industrial chemical compound known as DBP that has been linked to birth defects and, in large quantities, destruction of aquatic ecosystems. While the environmental and personal health risks of growing crops with chemicals is widely known, we often overlook the scientific-sounding ingredients used in beauty and hygiene products that are both polluting the environment and our own bodies.

The truth is, I love cosmetics and was happily oblivious to the toxins found in my bathroom drawer until I started developing painful sores around my cuticles from repeated gel manicures at a local salon. A Google search led me down a rabbit hole into the beauty industry’s destructive practices to the environment. As chemicals are washed down our sinks, they are recycled into our public water systems, lakes and rivers, leading to contamination of ecosystems in these bodies of water. Sourcing and producing cosmetics is also tied to mass deforestation for palm oil, coral reef destruction, cruel animal testing practices, and of course, accumulated plastic waste.

It gets worse. Nearly every personal care product I owned contained ingredients suspected of causing cancer—a harsh reminder that our skin is our largest organ and absorbs everything we put on it. Products claiming to be natural often just add a few additional ingredients without removing the synthetic, potentially harmful ones. I made a brief foray into do-it-yourself bath products, hunting for Epsom salts and citric acid in local chemistry shops filled with glass beakers and unlabeled bags of odorless white powder. After several failed experiments, I decided to leave it to the experts and started researching brands with a reputation for clean products.

Returning to what led me down this path in the first place, I discovered an array of nail polishes brands dubbed “7-free” for eliminating the seven most common toxins—including DPB and formaldehyde—found in most polishes. Sadly, not a single local salon I visited carried these brands. Unwavering in my commitment to colorfully manicured nails, Bliss Beauty Bar was born. From nail care to facials to waxing, I designed this salon with an emphasis on cleanliness—both a hygienic space and equally importantly, a selection of non-toxic products that won’t destroy your body or the planet.

In next month’s column, I will share some fantastic local brands focused on putting the natural back into personal care. In the meantime, Myanmore readers who visit Bliss Beauty Bar in August should mention this article for 10 percent off all services! Visit www.yangonyogahouse.com/bliss-bar for information.

Jojo Yang is the co-founder of MYANMORE Green Award winner Nourish Café and Yangon Yoga House, where she is also the main yoga instructor.

Address: 36/38 Alan Pya Pagoda Road (Down a small spooky alley, opposite
Park Royal Hotel), Dagon Township
Phone: 09 973 802714
Website: yangonyogahouse.com/nourish
Email: [email protected]
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs (10am-9pm), Fri-Sat (10am-3pm), Sun (10am-7pm)


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