How to Begin Switching to Safer
I am so excited to announce a four part series for the rest of January outlining easy steps anyone can make to begin using safer products in the home. Enjoy as I walk you through tools and tips that have helped me establish a clean home!
Use the EWG Healthy Living App/Website
The Environmental Working Group is a bi-partisan non-profit on a mission to protect human health and the environment. They use loads and loads of data and research to inform you, the consumer, on how to make healthier choices. They have so much valuable info so I thought I would outline the top ways I like to use EWG and their tools.
First is the EWG HEALTHY LIVING SKIN DEEP AND FOOD SCORES APP. This app rates your personal care products and food on a scale of 1-10 based on toxicity. How do they get this number? There is a specific rating for each ingredient that is in the product. This is key because you are able to view each ingredient and start to learn by seeing which ones are not so good for you. Great for you visual learners! You can scan bar codes or search the item or brand in the search bar. The app covers personal care products (think skincare and makeup) and food. Here is an example screenshot of a popular makeup product so you can see what it looks like. Upon first glance there are three reasons why I would not want to use this product: propylbaraben and mehtylparaben are both hormone disruptors and PEG-30 is an ingredient that is known for its contamination of the carcinogen 1,4 dioxane.
My next favorite way to use EWG and all of it’s goodness is by googling for home products. Products used in the home like cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc. are rated A-F based on toxicity. They do not have an app for these, but if you simply google the name of the product followed by “EWG” it is usually the top result. Here is what I got when I typed in “Tide Laundry Detergent EWG” If you scroll down from there it rates each ingredient and tells you why it is a concern.
Week 1 Challenge:
Download the EWG Healthy Living App, grab some tea, coffee matcha or maybe wine is more appropriate, and scan your products to find out what the rating is. You will be surprised at what is lurking in your bathroom especially. Find something that alarms you? Reach out to me HERE so I can help you find a healthy, high performing alternative you can feel good about. When questions come up, I also use EWG as my go to resource when doing research. If you type in any topic or ingredient followed by EWG you are bound to get a great article that arms you with info. Watch for the EWG Verified Label on products. You will start to see this more and more!
2. Start by Avoiding These Three Ingredients
Say goodbye to your fears of turning over a label only to find long words you can’t pronounce and flashbacks of science class! It doesn’t have to be this way. When beginning to switch to safer products, start by avoiding these three biggest offenders that are also common ingredients I see all the time. This will get you off to a great start. This is how I started and it helped me so much to quickly glance and return bottles back on the shelves if I didn’t want to purchase.
AVOID FRAGRANCE - This is, in my opinion, is one of the biggest culprits because companies do not have to disclose what is inside their proprietary blends. That means that hidden under that one word “fragrance” or “perfume” could be hundreds of chemicals that you have no idea you are putting on your body. This often where common carcinogens and endocrine disruptors hide.
AVOID PARABENS - There are many different types of parabens so make sure you are looking for words with this specific ending. Common example are “Methylparaben”, “Isobutylparaben”, “Ehtylparaben” and “Propylparaben”. These are common preservatives that are also endocrine disruptors. This is a fancy way of saying they mess with your hormones in your body and can seriously derail your whole system since most of our bodily functions are run by hormones.
AVOID PEG’S - PEG’s, or polyethylene glycol, normally work as thickeners, solvents and moisture carriers in your products. What you don’t know is that it is often contaminated with 1,4 Dioxane and other known carcinogens. This ingredient often has a number next to it. For example “PEG-40”
Week 2 Challenge:
While you are out picking up that cleaning product you ran out of, searching for a new lip color or grabbing that go to drug store shampoo flip the bottle over. If you see PEG-40, fragrance/parfum or any word ending with paraben put it back on that shelf! Ask someone in the store if there is a section of safe products or quickly google safer options. Hint you can use the EWG website/app mentioned above to find safer options on the go too! As always I am here for label reviews and to help you find better options for you and your family. Comment below, email or DM me. Want a handy card in your pocket to help you out? Download The Never List by Beautycounter for an easy to read card with ingredients to avoid.
3. EMAIL BRANDS
This honestly how I have the most fun with this! (Nerd alert!) I love being in contact with brands and learning about how they use products etc. See the steps below for how I do research on a product.
I started doing this in the very beginning of my switch to safer journey and it has made life so much easier. Brands hold a big responsibility to do research on sustainability, sourcing and safety. As you can see in the second email, they have a lot of hoops and hurdles to jump through with manufacturers etc. I love to support brands like this that are moving the needle in the right direction. The more we reach out and let them know it is needed the more brands will listen! After all, the goal is to make this process easy, mindless and streamlined (more about that next week) so finding brands you can trust is a huge step in your journey.
Find the product online and click the “view all ingredients” button. A lot of companies will highlight “key ingredients” and make it really hard to see the full list. Usually the ingredients they point out to you in big bold letters are ones like jojoba oil, vitamin c, macula oil etc. While these types of ingredients are great, it is important that you know everything you are putting on your body.
See something you aren’t sure about. Do they use SLS? Do they list fragrance but not what it’s made up of? Send an email! You will learn very quickly what type of company they are and learn so much about this. Here is an example of two that I sent recently and got very different responses. One brand I will stay away form and the the other one I applaud for their safety efforts. Below you can see my question and two different responses about fragrance. (Click on the image to scroll through.
Week 3 Challenge:
Research the ingredients in an product you already love, or one you have been dying to try, and email the company if the ingredient list/website does not answer all your questions. Comment below what you find! More on this topic on the website today via link below!
Week 4: Set Yourself Up for Success
This is key to creating success down the line. After all, the whole point of my mission is that switching to safer should be streamlined, affordable and stress free.
While it may take a learning curve in the beginning there are a lot of systems you can have in place to make this process easy for you now that you are ready to switch things over. To start, find your favorite resources you trust. Whether that is someone like me, a brand you trust ( Beautycounter, Follain or The Detox Market) or go to publications (Well + Good, Mindbodygreen, The Chalboard, Goop and EWG.) When you stumble upon a question these will be the first place you will look.
Next, find brands you trust and stick to them. This has been everything for me! Not only does it take the guessing out of the equation, but it also provides you a safe space to learn. Here are some brands I shop with to make sure I’m getting affordable, high quality, safe products. Once I put in the work to find them and order I never looked back. Home: Branch Basics, Seventh Generation, Everyone Products, Stasher Bag, Green Pan. Feminine Care: Rael, Lola, Sustain, Love Wellness Skincare/Cosmetics: Beautycounter, The Detox Market. Home: Parachute Food: Sprouts, Thrive Market, Imperfect Produce Vitamins/Supplements: Juice Plus, Hum Nutrition Oral Care: Dr. Brite
Week 4 Challenge:
Find one area you are willing to start switching to safer and align yourself with a brand. I would encourage this to be cleaning or skincare/cosmetics as these are big offenders and a longer process to switch over. For me, aligning myself with Beautycounter and Branch Basics (15% off any starter kit with code DETOXMETUESDAY) has been a game changer that I will never regret! If you want to learn more about joining the mission of getting safe products into the hands of everyone at Beautycounter contact me so I can answer your questions. It’s the best decision I have ever made!