Update in my journey of switching to safer products

Why Safer Products:

I have been on a quest for over a year to find the best non-toxic beauty, personal care, and household products. This includes everything from skincare, to make-up, to hair products, and cleaning products. Basically everything I am putting on my body, breathing in, or using in my home. I am so conscious of everything I put in my body nutrition wise, it only makes sense that I have the same approach for all of the products I use. There is so much information out there however it’s hard to know what is actually safe to use and what to avoid. Keep reading for the reason why I made the switch, why you should consider doing it too, as well as a few tips to get you started.

I first started becoming conscious about what was in my beauty products when I adopted a vegan lifestyle 7 years ago and discovered that a lot of brand named products were tested on animals. While I am not a vegan anymore (click here to see why) this made me realize I needed to learn to read the labels on products just like food labels, and look for approved symbols on products such and “vegan” and “cruelty-free”. I made the switch to many “natural” products at this time, but only did so based on making sure they were vegan and cruelty-free. What I didn’t realize was that just because a product was labelled “natural”, “organic”, “vegan” or “cruelty-free” didn’t necessarily mean it was non-toxic, or even healthy for that matter.

The next change I made was to my cleaning products. As someone who is very sensitive to smells and chemicals I was already very picky with what cleaning products I would buy, gravitating towards unscented options. I decided to switch most of my household products to Norwex products which are free of harsh chemicals and better for the environment. Making this change made me realize just how sensitive I am to many smells and chemicals. I now get a massive headache around anything with a strong, chemical, or perfume smell, and even get itchy/red eyes and break out in hives. My body is obviously telling me these chemicals are bad for me.

Then came my discovery of Breast Implant Illness last year and my ruptured silicone implant (click here for the full story). I found out that the chemicals in my breast implants were toxic, some carcinogenic, and many were endocrine disruptors which cause certain hormones to become more dominant, throwing off our natural hormonal balance and potentially causing reproductive issues. This sparked me to look further into these chemicals and I discovered that many of the so called “natural products” I was using also contained these hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and other ingredients not healthy for our bodies. I knew I had to make changes to many of the products I used and thus began my search.

While I was tempted to just throw out every beauty product in my house and start fresh I knew that wasn’t an option, not only financially but I also didn’t know where to start. The beauty industry is an over 500 billion dollar industry and natural or “clean” products have continued to gain popularity over recent years. Many of the big brands are jumping on board, and labels such as “natural,” “pure”, and “green” are popping up everywhere. The scary thing is there is a massive lack of policy around chemicals in beauty and personal-care products in North America. The FDA has not updated the law passed in 1938 that gives them almost no authority to regulate beauty products. Right now, companies are allowed to put nearly any chemical into personal-care products sold in the US—even known carcinogens—without any safety testing and without disclosing all the chemicals on labels. The FDA in the U.S. has only banned thirty potentially harmful ingredients in cosmetics, 600 are banned in Canada, while the European Union has banned over 1400! Companies are allowed to market and label their products as “natural”, “organic”, “non-toxic”, “clean” (you name it) and it means absolutely nothing. How terrifying is it that we are putting these products on our skin everyday and letting it absorb into our bodies through our largest organ (our skin) leading directly into our blood steam?!

Thankfully there are good companies out there who are committed to making products that are truly non-toxic but unfortunately it took a lot of trial an error on my part to find the right ones for my sensitive skin, even developing a skin condition (called Perioral Dermatitis) in the process. I also unfortunately learned the hard way that my skin does not like coconut oil or other oils that rate high on the comedogenic (pore clogging) scale, as well as certain essential oils. Another lesson in that “natural” does not always mean good for your skin.

Start Slow:

I’m sure by this point you are wondering where to get started and might even be feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry though, a year later and I’m still transitioning some of my products so don’t expect to do it overnight. I suggest making the switch to new products slowly, perhaps as you run out of one, or are ready to try something new. I started with products I used the most like deodorant, soap, toothpaste, chapstick, and body lotion (click on each underlined hyperlink for my favs). Then one-by-one I eventually replaced all of my products including skin-care, makeup, hair products, and sunscreen.

Download The EWG App:

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has a fantastic app called Skin Deep where you can scan or search for your products and it will give you a safety rating. This is a great way to find safer, nontoxic products for you and your family and was super helpful for me when transitioning products. I keep mine on hand when shopping to see where a product scores. Anything in the “green zone” is considered safer with the “EWG Verified” symbol (shown in the photo below) being the best rating. The app is not funded by any specific company (unlike others out there) so all of the information is unbiased and based on scientific literature. You can click on each ingredient in the product you are searching or search for them individually to get the details.

In my search over the past year I was introduced to Beautycounter products, and their mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone spoke to me. Not only do they make high quality and beautiful products, but they are advocating for stricter guidelines and regulations in the personal-care industry to shift it away from using harmful and questionable ingredients. Going above and beyond the EU’s guidelines Beautycounter banned over 1,800 ingredients in their formulations, called The Never List™. I personally fell in love with their charcoal soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lipgloss.

The more I learned about Beautycounter’s story and the more products I tried, the more impressed I became with the company’s motto to advocate, educate, and formulate safer accessible personal-care products for everyone. Naturally I decided to sign up as a Beautycounter Consultant to help others make safer choicer for them and their families since optimizing health from the inside out is my passion. I truly love and believe in these products and I am grateful to have found a company whose standards and values align with mine.

I’d love to help you find products you love too, whether it’s Beautycounter or some of the many other brands I use. Reach out with questions or recommendations and I’d be happy to help.

What’s Next?

It’s no doubt that more and more people are making the switch to safer non-toxic beauty and household products. But how do you know it is truly non-toxic and what should you look for on the label? Stay tuned for future posts where I’ll help you find out if your product meets the list, as well as what top ingredients you should absolutely avoid. Did you find this article useful or interesting? Please give it a like below, subscribe for future posts and share it with someone who can also benefit.

Be Well, Krissy – xo

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