Did you know that the average American uses nine products daily containing over 126 unique ingredients? That’s the average. I counted up the products I use on my body on a shower day and was easily able to think of fifteen not including household products like dish detergent, laundry detergent and hand wash. Yikes.
I honestly wouldn’t have thought twice about this until I had one of those moments when you learn something that you can’t unlearn and it changes the way you think about everything.
(If you prefer the whole ignorance is bliss approach to life you should stop reading here.)
I was super pregnant one summer lathering sunscreen on my big, round belly when one of my besties who was also preggers asked if I’d heard about an app called Think Dirty. I had not, and I wasn’t in the state of mind to hear about some pregnancy sex app. “It’s this app that tells you how safe your beauty, personal care and household products are and I’m kind of obsessed,” she said.
Hmmm, now that’s the kind of thing that can turn a mama bear on.
At this point I’d had hundreds of conversations with women about our complicated relationship with beauty but I hadn’t specifically looked at beauty products themselves. It felt like a piece of the self love puzzle I’d missed. If I was truly trying to honour and take care of my body it felt counterintuitive to be covering it with toxic ingredients. Over the last four years I’ve learned so much more and I’d like to start this conversation by sharing a few important pieces of information with you.
The Shady Side of the Beauty Industry
- In the USA the Food and Drug Association (FDA) governs the cosmetics industry, however they actually have no systematic review of safety, instead allowing the industry to self regulate through its Cosmetic Review panel.
- In the 36 years that the panel has operated it has only rejected the use of 11 ingredients in the products we apply to our bodies and use within our homes every day. To put this in perspective, the European Union and Health Canada have hotlists containing hundreds of ingredients that are deemed unsafe for use.
- These chemicals are often the primary components of the products we use (like flour is in bread) and are designed to penetrate the skin.
- Scientists have found many common cosmetic ingredients in human tissues, including phthalates in urine, preservatives called parabens in breast tumor tissue and persistent fragrance components in human fat.
via Environmental Working Group (EWG)
Okay So What Am I Supposed To Do With This Information? I don’t want to live in a bubble.
Don’t panic. We already have enough to be stressed out about so I don’t want to add another thing to your plate. Detoxing your product routine is kind of like learning to eat cleaner or exercise. It’s best done in baby steps and over time if you want it to be sustainable. Like everything, do it from a place of empowerment rather than fear.
You can read this article for some tips on how to be more mindful about the products you use on your body.
Over the last three and a half years, I’ve tried countless products swapping out my old chemical-ridden options for cleaner versions. There are still certain items I’m having a hard time replacing like my shampoo and conditioner (suggestions please!) but I also feel pretty excited about some amazing new options I’ve found along the way. I can’t wait to share these little gems with you so that if you decide you want detox your product selection you don’t have to spend the same amount of time and money I did.
Excited to walk alongside you on this next step in the beauty revolution!
Please note: Keep in mind that the beauty and household product industry is highly unregulated all around. That means we don’t have clear guidelines as to what constitutes as “clean” or “natural” and many companies are using these terms to market their products. Like other products, clean products also don’t have to undergo safety testing so they could still pose risks. The moral of the story is you have to do your research to truly understand what’s in your products. Lucky for you I’ve done some of the groundwork.
PPS. Here is a list of ingredients to avoid in beauty products.
If you want to do your own digging check out the resources below for more details on the products you are currently using.