Clean Living

One night I was brushing my teeth before bed and glanced at my lipgloss container on the counter (my makeup is pretty much always spread out on our bathroom counter, sorry Dirk). I started to read the ingredients in my lipgloss and I was baffled but then I was baffled that I was baffled. I am so careful about what my family eats, reading every label of every food that we eat, I’m also careful about what products I use on my kids and yet here on my counter sits a product that I use every day, full of potentially harmful chemicals. Here are just a few of the products that we use that are filled with harmful chemicals.

Motherhood in the Trenches | Non-Toxic Living

I immediately looked at the other bottles on my counter. I had no idea what most of the ingredients were but I needed to know what ingredients I was lathering on my face and body every day. I immediately started to research my bathroom products. There are so many carcinogens in our every day products. It was so overwhelming when I began my research because it seems that everything is loaded with carcinogens.

I know there are a lot of skeptics out there, I was one of them but here’s the thing, people are getting sick like crazy. I have so many friends whose young bodies are failing them, literally attacking themselves. Autoimmune diseases are prevalent in my family. In college, when I was stressed to the max, planning my wedding, working, taking 21 units and eating horribly, my body started to fail me. My blood work was coming back as positive for an autoimmune disease but I was never diagnosed with a specific autoimmune disease. I started taking better care of myself and as of right now I don’t have any issues but I feel like a ticking time bomb that could explode at any time. Our bodies are falling apart and while I know that food is a GIANT factor, I also know that the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to can’t be helping our bodies.

I am still researching chemicals and products daily but here’s what I’ve found helpful so far…

First of all, I asked Dirk to watch a documentary with me called “Stink!” He’s always skeptical of my “hippy choices”, as he calls them, and I knew that he would be a voice of reason in any area where I was ready to jump on the bandwagon. There were some pretty alarming statistics in this documentary. Unfortunately the website for the documentary doesn’t have a list of studies or facts but I did do some research myself. Some of the studies aren’t very extensive but regardless, I think this guy was on to something. After watching the documentary Dirk was surprisingly alarmed and was telling me to start researching the facts and to find new products to replace our current products.

So what did I find in my research for products? There’s so much to sift through but there are a few resources that have been most helpful. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics site has a page that lists “Chemicals of Concern” which has been really helpful for making my own decisions and not just relying on faulty studies. I also downloaded the Think Dirty app and the Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Living app. These two apps are a good resource for scanning products both in your home as well as at the store, to see what ingredients are in them and what the concern is about that given ingredient. I do wish that there were more products listed and that the products were updated more frequently but it’s a good place to start. I really like that I can determine what I think of each ingredient and make an educated decision, not just trust what a bottle says. If you really want to know what’s in your products and it’s not listed on either app, you can also go onto the EWG website and type in each ingredient and get information for that ingredient, it does take a few minutes but it’s totally worth it.

As with anything, I know I can only focus on one product at a time. It takes a lot of research and trial and error to figure out what to use and what works for my family. As I go on this journey to find cleaner, safer products for our home, I thought I’d share my findings and choices. I’d also love to hear of any products you guys are using and why you love them.

In this quest for healthier products, I have a list of criteria that the products have to meet:

1) It has to work. I cannot accept clean and natural if it doesn’t work. The new product has to meet or exceed the effectiveness of the product that I was previously using. I know that natural cleaning products  often take some extra elbow grease and that’s okay, I’m willing to put in a bit more work but the end result has to be just as good.

2) It can’t be too time consuming. I know that there are tons of recipes on how to make everything at home and some day I may do that but right now I’m not in a place where that is feasible. For most things I will be looking for products that I can buy off the shelf or online. I’m willing to put some effort in to making some items but it has to be quick and not make a big mess.

3) It has to be reasonably priced. I know that just like with clean eating, healthy products are going to cost more but they still need to be reasonable. We cannot afford to be doubling our toiletry or cleaning supply bill.

4) It has to be a healthy alternative. Now some people are hard core when it comes to natural products saying that they’ll only put on their skin what they would also eat. I cannot commit to that right now. I am using the EWG’s rating scale as well as the Think Dirty app. I’m looking for products that get a rating no higher than a 3 (maybe a 4 if necessary) and do not contain carcinogens or developmental and reproductive toxicity.

This is a lot to take on but with the above criteria in mind, I am going forward in this journey. Is anyone also headed in the same direction? I’d love to hear from you!