Today’s post is the beginning of a new chapter! And it’s certainly a chapter that’s taken a lot of thinking on my behalf. I’ve written and scratched and re-written this post both in my head and on my laptop too many times to count, so I genuinely hope what I share in it will be a great start to new beginnings! Y’all know I love to chat all things beauty… so let’s not waste our time here and dive in!
So, beauty products. Makeup, skincare, haircare… I love it all. Talking about products, purchasing them, swatching and testing them, using them – I’m into it. And if you’ve been following along with me and this blog since I started writing it, you’re probably well aware of that! And you’re also likely well aware of how passionate I can be when I talk about beauty. Well, after a lot of researching, thinking, ingredient checking, and cleaning out my bathroom as of late…. I have a new direction of all things beauty that I’m eager to share about!
Though I’m eager to share… I also have to be 100% honest. I’ve been really nervous to blog about me starting to switch over to cleaner and more natural beauty products. Why?! Because A) In the past, I’ve prided myself on blogging about beauty finds that are either budget friendly or really worth the price tag. And many of those products I’ve blogged about have been far from ‘clean’. So, I don’t want this new beauty journey of mine (laughing at/loathing myself for using this phrase) to come across as hypocritical. Because yes, in the past, I haven’t cared about products being ‘natural’ or ‘safe’. I’ve just cared about if they work and if they were worth purchasing! B) Beauty products are the samples I receive most from brands to try and blog about. This has been something I’ve loved about blogging and have had a lot of fun with! But sadly, many natural brands don’t work with bloggers. Therefore, I’ll be saying ‘adios’ to lots of samples and potential collaboration opportunities. And that feels risky to me with the growth of my blog and potentially loosing your interest as readers! And C) Though it’s sad to admit this, I often feel like those over-sharing or over-promoting all things under the ‘healthy living’ bubble can come across in a negative light. For example, when I see someone promoting something that I’m not doing (i.e. doing daily yoga and eating organic kale) and telling me that what I am doing (i.e. watching reality TV and eating Chick-Fil-A) is considered ‘bad’, it kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth (which is really a shame because y’all know how much I love Chick-Fil-A!). Essentially what I’m saying is, I think it’s easy for big life changes that people are making (even when those changes are really good and positive!) and sharing about them can often be misconstrued into shaming those who are not making the same changes.
So for me to just dive into why you shouldn’t use aluminum deodorant anymore and start throwing away all of your beauty products in your medicine cabinet that are toxic and start fresh is not the approach I desire to take here! Because I believe life is all about balance. I believe living a balanced life is all about making a green smoothie for breakfast and treating yourself to a burger and fries when out that night. An evening walk through the neighborhood after dinner, followed by the remainder of the evening spent on the couch lounging and watching TV. Buying organic produce for the items that are considered ‘The Dirty Dozen’, but buying everything else ‘regular’ because buying all organic produce ain’t cheap. Using more natural cleaning products for things around my home that I touch daily, but using good old Clorox bleach to clean my toilet. Are you catching my drift here?! I’m just doing my best to keep that balance of taking care of myself, my body, and my home and what I put into it. But sometimes… a girl needs some fast food and/or processed cheese. #canigetanamen
So as I’ve adapted that ‘balanced heathy living’ approach to the majority of areas of my life, I’ve knowingly neglected one huge area of my body in terms of health: my skin. Now, I don’t want to digress too much farther here before actually explaining the products in these photos, but let me just say this: I’ve been researching this topic like no tomorrow. Also, about 6 years ago I read a book on this subject and got on the same kick and was obsessively researching ‘clean’ and ‘green’ beauty and I even threw out nearly everything I owned all out once and started fresh in the Whole Foods beauty aisle. But eventually, I totally gave up. Because nothing worked. And I discovered that lots of the ‘natural’ products weren’t even any better for you than those I had been purchasing prior. And the whole situation of constantly reading labels and looking up ingredients felt so overwhelming. And that’s because it was and still is!
But alas, I’m back on the same kick. As I get older, and think about the idea of growing babies in my tummy, and raising a family of my own someday…I realize now more than ever that it’s important to really think through what I’m putting not only in my body, but on my body as well. Because, our skin is our largest organ! And everything we put on it gets absorbed into our blood stream. And when I read about cases where both men and women suffer from infertility, cancer, hormone disruption, hormone imbalance, etc….and these tragic health battles have been linked back to the cosmetics we use daily? Goodness, it hits close to home. So…
It’s time to clean up my beauty routine for good!
How have I been starting this overwhelming process? Through EWG’s Skin Deep Website. Their ‘about page‘ has way more information than I could summarize here for you, so I recommend you start there to understand how they rate products based off of their ingredients and levels of toxicity. It’s so interesting (and terrifying!) to read their research on ingredients and what they have been linked to! I highly recommend downloading their mobile app so you can easily scan products by their bar code to see their rating which is especially helpful when you’re going through your own products or when you’re trying to make educated decisions on purchasing new products. Fair warning: not every product under the sun will be listed. In fact, you’ll likely find many products you own, use, and love won’t pop up. But remember, this site is research based and not a large company with big budget funding. And goodness knows how many products are out there! So just keep that in mind and approach gracefully as you search.
So as I have scanned away and realized just how many harmful ingredients I’ve been putting on my body every day, I’ve decided to start replacing products little by little. And that finally leads me to sharing a few of the products I’m loving!
Coconut Oil as a Makeup Remover
I’ll go out and say it: cold creams and makeup removers are filled with yucky ingredients. And I mean, I get it. It’s not easy getting off waterproof mascara! So I can see why a lot of chemicals need to be added to break down all the chemicals in waterproof mascara! I’ve blogged a handful of times about different makeup removers, but here’s one I’m really loving and is about as natural as you get: Coconut oil from the grocery store, put into a plastic container. One ingredient that breaks down everything from mascara to a full face of makeup! Yes, it’s a little greasy. And you’ll want to follow it up with your daily cleanser. But it’s really become a cheap, natural, and effective way for me to take off my makeup every night!
This is actually a product I used 6 years ago when I was first on this natural beauty kick. So really, not every natural product I was using at the time was a letdown. I had totally forgot how much I loved this stuff until I repurchased it recently! I love anything minty, and this is exactly that. It gives a cooling and light tingling when you shave and it doesn’t contain the harmful chemicals found in so many traditional shaving creams and gels. Switching to a cleaner shaving cream was important to me because when you shave, your pores are open and ready to absorb. So if I can avoid my skin absorbing the bad stuff and really love the minty feeling I get with a clean shave? Done! PS. This stuff would also be man friendly! (I’m currently attempting to get Sam to switch to it).
I have super dry and sensitive skin, so finding a body wash and soap always feels like an uphill battle for me. Thick body washes feel way better on my skin, but it’s a false illusion. The reality is that so many of them are filled with ingredients which actually dry out your skin even more! So the moment you shower without it, your skin suffers. I’ve been really struggling with eczema lately, so I decided to quit my usual soap and body wash and go for the simple ingredients in Dr. Bronner’s. I don’t use very much as it’s highly concentrated, but it lathers up beautifully and genuinely makes you feel clean! I honestly don’t even use too much of it on my actual skin due to my eczema, and just use it where really, um… needed. I prefer the baby/unscented version, but they have lots of other scent options if you prefer!
Oh boy. This one product title could absolutely be a blog post in itself. Here’s the deal: traditional deodorant with aluminum as the top ingredient has been linked to breast cancer. I don’t tell people to believe everything you read on Google, but… Google it. I also recently read on the back of one of my deodorants that stated if you suffered from kidney disease, ‘consult with a doctor before using’. This made me terribly uneasy! I don’t have kidney disease personally, but my Dad did. Why must that need to be on a deodorant label?! It just doesn’t feel right to me to have that kind of warning label on a product I use daily. So, this was one of those instances where I had a ‘moment’, and I decided I needed to make a switch immediately and threw it away on the spot.
Now, the reason this switch is often controversial is that natural deodorant just isn’t known for working. And hello, I don’t blame a soul for not wanting to stink! Also, let me clarify something: antiperspirants (which usually contains aluminum) are products that are supposed to prevent sweat from happening. But wait, we’re supposed to sweat. It’s natural. And also, I used to use a deodorant that said it wouldn’t make me sweat for 48 hours on the label and I would definitely still sweat 30 mins into wearing on a hot day. So, this lead me to decide that I’d stick to products labeled deodorant only to keep the stench at bay and deal with the sweat as it comes. Because you can easily run to the powder room and blot sweat, but stench? Not as easy of a fix.
SO, what’s it been like to switch? Well, for me… pretty darn easy. Again with the honesty, I don’t actually sweat and stink all that much in my pits. But don’t get jealous – I’m much more of a head and upper lip sweater. Super attractive at a summer BBQ or wedding dance floor, let me tell ya. But we are ALL different. Our body’s compositions are all unique, Praise God! So we’re all going to have different experiences using natural deodorant. Because I don’t sweat a ton, I was willing to go with a cheap natural deodorant to start. But truthfully, most of the girlfriends and readers I’ve talked with about natural deodorant have said that Tom’s didn’t work at all for them. But they’ve recommended other options! I’ve heard wonderful things about Schmidt’s, Native, and Agent Nateur. Because I’ve heard great things about all 3, I would start off your search with the cheapest option and go from there if it’s not working. I would also recommend truly giving yourself some time to allow your body to adjust and make the switch. If you’ve used a particular deodorant for years, your body is used to it. Switching to anything, natural or not, will take time! So give yourself and your body some grace. If able, make the switch on a week-long family vacation by the beach or pool this summer! Who cares about sweat when you’re on a warm weather vacation?! Or just be prepared to air things out throughout the day. I’ve heard stories from friends whom have said they never believed they would ever be able to part with their original aluminum deodorant and have successfully made the switch. In fact, one reader told me she made the switch and had to use something else in a pinch and she stunk all day! So truly I mean this…. I believe there is hope in natural deodorant!!!
After all that deodorant talk, this natural switch will seem easy peazy! Let’s face it: we eventually eat whatever we slather on our lips. I mean, that’s gross. But that’s what happens! So I snagged this little lip balm made without synthetic ingredients and have loved it! I especially like the peppermint flavor for nighttime before bed, which keeps me confident knowing I’m not nibbling on harmful chemicals while I sleep every night!
Alright, that was 5 product reviews…. but a whoooooole lot more, wasn’t it?!
I wanted to give all that back story today because I really believe in this. I also wanted to share so many thoughts on the subject of safer beauty because I know that it’s completely overwhelming. And I want you to know that: ladies (I’m guessing all of my sweet male relatives who read my blog out of loving support have trailed off by now), I am right there with you! All of this information and research and lack of research and ingredient hunting is too much to process and tackle all at once! And that’s why I’ve decided to openly blog about my process of fully switching over to safer beauty.
I want every time I blog or talk about me making switches to safer beauty to feel like a genuine conversation with a girlfriend. I want to share about what I’m learning along the way in this new journey (there’s that phrase again – I’ve been watching The Bachelor for too long) and have it feel like I’m just sharing what’s new with me and what I’m interested in and excited about. But I do not want to share it and make readers feel like what they use is bad, and therefore they are a bad person. 100000% not the case! Because we’re all going to have our ‘things’ in life. Maybe you will never ever give up your deodorant and you work out and eat healthy all day every day. Girl, I think that’s amazing! Or maybe you are cleaning up your beauty routine but you’re not giving up the Splenda in your daily coffee. It’s okay! You. Do. You!
Say it with me:
B – A – L – A – N – C – E…. BALANCE!
I do hope you see my passion is combined with 100% transparency behind my decisions to switch over to the safer side. Because I want to share that I actually have something else in the works in relation to all of this! This ‘something’ is a mission I really do believe in, and I truly can’t wait to share more about that very soon! But for now, I just wanted to get this information out there, share my perspective on it, and really try to get the conversation going with you as readers so we can all support each other in this, if you’re interested!
And if you are interested as well, I recommend you start researching, too! But I also recommend you try to not get yourself down internet rabbit holes. Because they are certainly out there! I think that watching this segment from Good Morning America is a great place to start! I see it as an introduction to the problem, revealing that it’s an issue that is not regulated by the government, and that research is showing that these chemicals are in fact making their way into our bloodstreams. Food for thought if anything, right?!
Okay, phew. I think that’s it, for now. I’ll hop onto Insta Stories tomorrow and share any follow-up or clarifying statements in relation to all of this! Never hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram direct message, commenting on this post, or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I absolutely love chatting with y’all and consider you girlfriends! So please let me know your thoughts on this and we can talk! And you know I can talk!
I hope all of this information finds you well on this Wednesday and I look forward to chatting with y’all more about this soon!