Becoming an Ingredient Detective
CHECK THE BACK OF THE BOTTLE Companies have gotten pretty savvy with their marketing efforts now that the consumer base is becoming more aware of toxic chemicals in our everyday products. As a result, you will often find listed on the box or front of the bottle what ISN'T included - "preservative free," "sulfate-free," "natural ingredients" or even "organic." Unfortunately, this does not give us the whole story. You have to flip that bottle or box around and take a peek at the ingredient list in its entirety to be sure a toxin or two isn't hidden in there. I will never forget my friend sending me a picture of her "organic, all-natural" shampoo for me to check (by the way, I can help translate labels for you if you send me a pic!) and one of the back so I could read the ingredients. I was shocked to find about 10 things on my "no-no" list even though she had purchased it from the health food store! I, too, was tricked by "organic, green" baby wash and that's what got me on this mission seven years ago! Below, you will find a few of my favorite tools to help you become an ingredient detective. But, if you are looking for a place to start in what to avoid, do a quick scan of the ingredients lists of your current products and look for "fragrance" or anything with the suffix "-paraben." I will absolutely not use anything with either of those listed on the label and I recommend using those up and switching those to something safer first, especially if they are in products you use every day. More to come on both of these, including an entire post dedicated to "fragrance." THE EWG HEALTHY LIVING APP The Environmental Working Group's Healthy Living App and the desktop version, Skin Deep Database, have been my go-to resources since I first learned that toxic chemicals are found in our everyday products back in the day. Both tools rank everything from hand soap to deodorant to mascara on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the most toxic. I like to keep things that I use everyday or all over my body or any baby/kids products between a ranking of 0-3. The free app is great because it allows you to scan products in your home or at the store and also includes ratings for cleaning products and food items.
THE NEVER LIST One of the first things I checked with Beautycounter (and really any company) was the EWG score and I was pumped to find all products in the safe zone. I was even more stoked to find Beautycounter's Never List - 20ish of the 1500 ingredients Beautycounter has banned in their entire line. If you need a quick pocket tool, download the Never List PDF. If your current products have any of these no-nos, consider using them up and trading them for something safer.
WVE'S TOXIC TRESPASSERS
Women's Voices for the Earth also has a great list of ingredients to avoid that cross over to cleaning products, too. Don't worry - I will get to my fave cleaning goods in another post! Check out their list of Toxic Trespassers, plus tips for how to avoid them, where they are found and how they affect our health. As with anything, please reach out to me if you have any questions about your products, ingredients or these tools. I am happy to help you!