Ever since my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, I’ve been shifting the products I use on my skin and in my home. At first, I looked for products that were labeled paraben-free as I knew this “baddie” ingredient was linked to cancer. I avoided conventional perfume since their main ingredients are fragrance or parfum, which can contain phthalates- known to mimic estrogen. After my oldest son had respiratory issues, I stopped using any products labeled with artificial fragrance in an effort to safeguard his breathing. Phthalates can also induce asthma.
The process to green my family’s personal care products didn’t happen overnight. It’s been an ongoing effort. It has only been the past year where I can safely say that I feel good about all of the products we are using, and I have a green beauty routine.
Here are the six steps I went through to ditch the toxic beauty products from my household, and switch to better alternatives:
Figure out what you want to change. Most of us don’t have the time or the money to upgrade all our products at once. What do you use most often? Maybe you only use eyeshadow a few times a year so you’ll stick with your products but you use moisturizer twice a day. Choose the moisturizer to swap out as it will have more impact on your day-to-day life.
Learn about the ingredients in your products. You can eyeball each product’s ingredient list using Environmental Defence’s pocket guide to avoid the most toxic ten chemicals. My favourite lazy and easy but effective way is to use the Think Dirty app to give yourself a beauty product audit.
Decide when you will make the change. Pick a time. When the bottle is empty,perhaps? If you want to switch to a better alternative beforehand what will you do with the existing product? You’ve acquired your conventional beauty products over time. Doing the same with your green beauty products is a more sustainable, and financially feasible way to stock your cupboards.
Try different items. I tried 5 deodorants until I found the one I love, and that works best for me. Stick with something you like. Look for promotions to explore different brands, and take advantage of the sampling programs many brands have. I tried out some new Graydon products like this with their discovery travel pack. I’m now craving their Cleanser and will be ordering it soon.
Adapt your routine. I used to shave my armpits, and then swipe on my antiperspirants. No stinging. Now I shudder to think how exposed I was putting antiperspirants on open skin! When I switched to natural deodorant I got rashes if I put the product on to soon after shaving. I’ve learned to wait. I also now put on deodorant, and most of my makeup with my fingers.
Speak to the owners. Most green beauty companies are small businesses. There is a good chance when you email a question, you will be talking with the person who actually made your product. Share any skin sensitivities and personal beauty requirements with them- let them help match you to the right product for your skin type and lifestyle. That’s how I eventually ended up with a natural deodorant that worked for me and didn’t irritate my sensitive skin. I spoke with Stacey Davis, the owner of LOVEFRESH, and she suggested that I may have sensitivities to baking soda which is a main ingredient in most natural deodorants. Well, I’ve been using her baking-soda free cream deodorant since December. This is the longest time I’ve stuck with a better deodorant because it works. No rashes, and no stink!