U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment. -David Suzuki Foundation
Information like this is the reason why I decided to ditch conventional beauty and personal care products and switch to all natural ones and here are some tips on how and where to start.
Plan it out. Start with items you use daily.
When I decided to do this, I planned it out. It wasn’t just a clean cut. My plan was that I wouldn’t buy any new products for a few months while I used up all of my common items that I used almost daily (cleansers, face creams, makeup, body wash, shampoo, conditioner etc.) The money I was going to “lose out” on by throwing away or giving away items was staring me in the face as well as the money I was going to spend so I thought that this was a good compromise. As I started to run out of certain items, I would find a natural, clean and non-toxic alternative to that item. Easier said than done….
Do your research. Take time to get informed. Use apps while shopping.
I did my research, and lots of it. I picked up a product that looked promising at TJ Maxx or Target and would use the Think Dirty® app to scan it. Sometimes… success! It would pop up and if it was under a 3 (0 is cleanest) and if I was okay with the ingredients that were giving it this rating, then Boom! I found an alternative to try out. However, was it always that easy? No.. Think Dirty® does not have every product on the market in their database so when I would scan and nothing would come up, I would have to do my own digging. In this case, any ingredients I was unsure of I would either google or look up on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
This can get exhausting and it’s a lot of work, but you do start to get familiar with ingredient names and the ones that are “A okay” and those you should stay away from. You will also start to figure out that simple is the way to go meaning the less ingredients, the better. I also would see items while browsing that I was interested in and I would save the names in my phone so I could do the research when I was back home. You will find a system that works for you and it just gets easier over time. Also find out if you have any natural beauty or personal care stores near you. I live in Phoenix, Arizona and discovered Citrine Natural Beauty Bar. Every time I go in they are super helpful and answer every question I have. They hold classes and have special events too. Citrine also takes orders online so definitely check them out!
Find green bloggers that you can trust.
One of the bloggers I have followed from the beginning of this process is The Organic Bunny. The reason why I trusted her in the beginning and still do is because she is so strict about ingredients. She is no bullshit and she will call companies out for misleading and mislabeling even when their ingredients are considered to be better than most conventional brands. Better is not enough for her and it’s not enough for me either. I just feel that when she is backing a product, that product is one of the cleanest in its category and performs well as a needed bonus. She was my first go-to green blogger, but now I have so many great non-toxic, green bloggers that I follow and interact with on social media to stay on top of current news and the latest and greatest non-toxic personal care products.
Don’t trust labels and claims.
Know that you cannot trust labels and claims. Just because it says natural and organic doesn’t mean it is… What? Yes, you read that right. Companies can slap whatever claims they want on their bottles and there is very little regulation on if the product actually has to live up to those claims. Aveeno, for example, has the slogan “Aveeno Active Naturals”, notes “ingredients carefully selected by nature” and uses natural colors on their bottles to give you that illusion. They also only highlight the natural ingredients so that’s all you focus on like mentioning oatmeal, seaweed, lotus flower etc. So with all of this they are hoping that you think, “It must be good for me right?” WRONG. All of this is just masking the fact that Aveeno products still contain toxic chemicals. The worst part is that they are purposefully doing this, tricking us, and that’s what really bothers me. This just makes it harder for people who are trying to make a clean, healthy change to do so.
Continue to toss. Continue to learn.
As I completed the switch over to natural for all of my daily items, I then started to filter through other items I didn’t use as often (perfumes, eyeshadows, lipsticks, hairspray, etc.) For a lot of these items, first I realized I had entirely too much in general so I went through a big purge, tossing a lot of it and giving a lot away to anyone who was interested. I decided to hold on to a select few makeup items that I still have in a small box under my sink. It contains certain eye shadows or lip sticks I am comfortable saving only for special occasions, but for anything I wanted to use on a consistent basis I slowly made the swap for those items as I used up or tossed the old (eye liner, mascara, lip gloss, etc.) And here we are now, months later and I’ve completed the non-toxic overhaul.
I continue to learn what I like and what I don’t as far as natural products. I have made mistakes and bought things I thought were okay only to find out they still contain harmful chemicals. It is a process, a learning process with a lot of trial and error.
And to be honest, eventually I will probably even get rid of that little box under my sink. I haven’t touched it since I put it under my sink and have no plans to. I have found so many amazing natural and non-toxic products that I love hundreds of times more than their toxic sisters who came before them. I think there is a strong misconception that if it’s natural, it doesn’t perform well, but natural can perform even better and can still be glamorous. Your skin and your body will thank you and will show it’s appreciation. You will find that you need less makeup and less products when using natural ones because they take your skin back to an ideal state that doesn’t have to battle toxic chemicals being applied to it daily.
Good luck on your journey!
Lots of love and good health,
Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie