Family · Health and Beauty · imperfect · safer skincare · truth

My Imperfect Journey to Safer Products

I am the first person to say that I am not perfect.  My blog clearly states that I am happily imperfect!  One reason I do not try to be perfect is because it would drive me to the loony bin, as there really is no way to be perfect when you have four kids, a full time job, a second job, and a husband and house to tend to.  And, I am lazy.  As a general rule, lazy people find the easy/imperfect way to get things done.  But, they get things done and they are happy.  However, there is one thing that I do that might pull me out of the imperfect category a little bit.  I do realize the importance of choosing nontoxic products and living a “clean-ish” lifestyle.

Two of the reasons I’ve switched to safer products.

I was not always this way.  I heard all those crazy people talk about products that cause cancer, and how companies use ingredients that can mess up your hormones.  I thought it was nuts until it affected me.  Then I began to actually do some research, and found out that those crazy people weren’t so crazy afterall.

I’ve been slowly making the switch to safer products in my home over the past two years.  If I can do it, you can, too.  This is my journey and what I’ve found to work and not work for me and my family.

Let me quickly start with why I started to make the transition to safer products in my home.  I had a miscarriage in 2014 and had a huge epiphany.  Whenever you are pregnant, doctors give you a list of ingredients that you should avoid using when pregnant (retinoids, hydroquinone, phthalates, formaldehyde, among MANY others).  These ingredients are found in skincare, makeup, cleaning supplies, etc, and can enter your blood stream through your skin and cause harm to your developing baby.  I thought to myself, “what is happening to MY body when I use these products when I am not pregnant?”  “Did my careless use of these products do something to cause my miscarriage?”  “What products do I use in my home that could be affecting my family’s health?”  And from that day forth, I began to educate myself on how to remove toxic ingredients from my home.

For the past two years I’ve been doing a ton of research, and I’m going to share with you three easy tips to start transitioning to a non-toxic lifestyle, and the products I currently use.

Three easy places to start:

  1. Pay attention to labels/ingredient lists.  Avoid products that contain retinoids, rentinyl palmitate, hydroquinone, phthalates, formaldehyde, lead and heavy metals, parabens, and fragrance.  These have all been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, hormone issues, low sperm count, and birth defects.
  2. Download the EWG Healthy Living app to check your current products.  This app will help you figure out how toxic your current products are (cleaning supplies, skincare, makeup, haircare, etc).  It will also help you determine what products to start switching to safer first.
  3. Avoid any products with “fragrance” listed as an ingredient.  According to the EWG, “When you see “fragrance” on a label, read it as “hidden chemicals.” A major loophole in FDA’s federal law lets manufacturers include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name “fragrance” without actually listing the chemical.”  When you see “fragrance” on a label, it often contains a cocktail of chemicals linked to negative health effects. Phthalates, used to make fragrances last longer, are associated with damage to the male reproductive system, and artificial musks accumulate in our bodies and can be found in breast milk. Some artificial musks are even linked to cancer.

Using the information above, I’ve slowly transitioned many of my everyday products to safer versions.  I’ve tried tons of different brands and have even tried making some things at home, DYI style.  However, I realized that DYI is totally not me (remember, I’m lazy), so you will not see any of those on my list of what I currently use.  Here are all of the things I’ve switched and what I use now.

  1. I’ve said goodbye to dryer sheets and now use Wool Dryer Balls from Norwex.

    My wool dryer balls…sitting on a giant pile of clean laundry still unfolded in my laundry room.
  2. I learned that conventional nail polish includes formaldehyde, and said no thanks.  I currently use Aila and Smith & Cult on me and my kids.

    Nails by Smith & Cult.
  3. I exclusively use Beautycounter for all of my skincare and makeup.

    Beautycounter everything.
  4. I use a mix of Beautycounter and Monat for my haircare.
  5. I use a mix of Beautycounter and California Baby for kids bath products.
  6. I’ve stopped using candles and air fresheners to make my home smell nice, and instead I diffuse essential oils (lavender + lemon is a favorite).  I like Doterra essential oils the best.

    Don’t tell Callum he isn’t in the family photo.
  7.  I’ve tried a few laundry detergents, and the best one I’ve found thus far that does not have synthetic fragrance but still makes my clothes fresh, clean, and smelling wonderful is Better Life Laundry Detergent.
  8. We use Tom’s Toothpaste in our home, but I’ve also tried this charcoal toothpaste from Sparkoal Beauty.  It makes my teeth super white and clean, but my bathroom counter looks like an ink pen blew up.

Here’s what I’m still trying to figure out.

  1. House Cleaning Products:   I’ve gotten a few Norwex EnviroCloths which are great because they do a wonderful job cleaning surfaces with just water, but my house still didn’t seem clean because it didn’t have that fresh scent.  I try to combat that with my essential oils, but it’s not quite the same.  Does anyone have suggestions for safe cleaning products?
  2. Perfume:  I have been trying to create my own perfume with essential oils since I eliminated all synthetic fragrance, and thus far have not had a ton of success.  I’m doing my best not to smell like a patchouli bathed hippy.  I would love suggestions on this.
  3. Deodorant:  Every safe deodorant I’ve tried has not worked well enough for me.  What is your favorite non-toxic deodorant?

Overall, it’s all about testing and learning and figuring out what works best for you and your family.  I’ve tried a ton of different brands over the past few years  (Lemongrass Spa, Ole Henriksen, Aveda, Schmidts, Crunchi, POSH) to name a few, but one of two things happened.

  1. The products did not perform to my standards, or
  2.  After further research, the products were not actually safe at all and were using greenwashing to market to consumers!  They still had toxic ingredients, but called themselves “clean” and “natural” because there are no regulations telling them they couldn’t.

So, please do your research (or use the research I’ve done for you).  It’s taken me two years to get as far as I have with transitioning to safer products, and I am so glad that I took the leap.  I have more peace of mind as more and more research comes out that I am taking the appropriate steps to keep me and my family safe and healthy.  I feel that every little bit helps, and you do not have to change everything overnight.  Please feel free to reach out with questions as I love to educate and drive awareness about switching to safer products (that’s why I joined Beautycounter).  I can help you answer any questions and help you switch to safer.


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