Why We Should Care About Safer Products
I want the best for my kids. I will buy them organic vitamins, and buy more veggies than they may be willing to eat. They complain a whole heck of a lot. Sometimes, my experiments in choosing better products or food is completely unappreciated and I am laughed at. Truthfully, I think my kids would prefer that I buy "normal" products that can be found at the grocery stores. You know, like all the other mamas do.
But I am not like most mom's. I'm a cool mom (name that movie) and I choose to be that mom that researches her ingredients and uses her dollars as a way to vote.
I wasn't always into "healthier" or "safer" or "natural ingredients." I would purchase what I could afford and believed I was doing well. I didn't research ingredients. I didn't spend the time studying or caring because I didn't think it applied to me. It wasn't until I became an advocate for my own health and wellness after experiencing depression and extreme fatigue after the birth of our second child, did I begin to see the importance of paying attention to what I put inside my body and how I treat it.
Once I began my healthy habits of exercise and eating more nutrient dense foods, I started to dive into the arena of personal care products and even cleaning products. I believe the first things I began exploring was the kinds of products I cleaned my home with. At the time I began my research, we were living in a single wide trailer on the side of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. Literally. We lived in a blink and you miss it town. We were also homeschooling our children at the time and I was interested in seeing if I could switch out some of my chemicals that I was normally using in my home for cleaning (which took a lot of convincing of a certain man whose first jobs included cleaning offices....he knew how to clean!) I don't take no very well, so I went ahead and ordered a few cleaning products that promised to be safer and better. I have since switched from those initial products to others that are a better fit for me and I believe safer, but that initial journey was scary. You just don't know if you are really going to like the results. The truth is, your first foray into the world of safer cleaning, personal care, and beauty products may be an epic failure because you will hate how they feel, perform, look etc.
That is okay.
I still think we should care and I still think it is worth experimenting with.
Why should we care?
I recently read an article on the Environmental Working Group about women of color and their exposure to chemicals in their personal care products. I found it really interesting and naturally I decided to look more into this. Being as my mother's side of the family is from Mexico and Spain, I am half hispanic. Truthfully, I have not done one of those tests to validate my claims, but those that know me and know my family, know that this is true. Even if by looking at me, you cannot really tell. I am fair skinned with blonde hair, green eyes, and freckles. So what about my family history when it comes to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease? I researched these issues when I was working on my physical health. I think we should also begin researching how our exposure to certain chemicals can affect us, the women we love, and our children long term. We cannot control all factors, but we can certainly control how much we are exposed in our own homes and what we use on our bodies, right?
I began studying and reading about chemical exposure for women of color. I clicked on links and read articles. I utilized my good friend google and spent some time just really getting a better understanding of how important it is to pay attention to not just what you eat, but what you use on your body. Especially what you use on your children.
I saw this video as well from Beautycounter:
Why should we care about safer beauty and switching out our current products for better ones? Maybe it could change our overall health. Maybe, by voting with our dollars, we can demand that there be change in the beauty industry and more transparency and attention to what types of ingredients we are putting in our self-care products and marketing to, mostly, women.
We should care because we care about women. We care about our bodies. We care about our families. We should care because spend a lot of money on our personal care items and the fact that companies can choose to not disclose ingredients that could potentially harm us in the long run for profit should be infuriating. I believe in freedom, and I believe we as women should know what they are purchasing and whether or not they want to have a product that could not be safe for them or their babies in their homes. We should care about the inequality when it comes to women having access to safer products, regardless of their history, color of their skin, past, economic standing, and more. We should care and we should pay attention.
Vote with your dollars.
I am grateful now that there are many companies out there whose mission is to get safer, beautiful, high quality products in everyone's homes. They are willing to invest in the research, the time, the travel, and formulation in order to get a product they are proud of, as well as focus on serving the people and having it be a product that is safe and GOOD. There are a lot of "organic", "non-toxic", products on the market out there, but that doesn't mean they are good. Trust me, I have tried many. Some of them are downright awful and offer zero results.
Also, we don't just care for vanity purposes. I think it goes without question that a great deal of us are concerned with our overall wellness. After all, we drink green smoothies, celery juice, run marathons and go to Cross-fit and take nutritional supplements in the form of probiotics, collagen, etc...all in the name of wellness. Why should our personal care products not be considered as part of our wellness?
Think of the possible issues we as women can face when exposed to chemicals over a long period of time:
That is just to name a few. There are far more reasons we should care.
Will change in your home and with what you use happen overnight? Absolutely not. Honestly, that can be incredibly expensive and I know that most of you, myself included, cannot afford to just drop everything they currently use in the trashcan and go buy new products.
My advice? It will be the same advice you have heard me say over and over again.
*Do your research*
*Replace what you finish first. Example, out of toothpaste and deodorant first? Make those your first replacements! Out of face wash right now? Yay! Try something new.
*Follow companies on social media like @beautycounter which is on a mission to not just sell lipstick, but to advocate for change and educate the masses, as well as get safer products into the hands of everyone. They are offering a 20% discount code right now to new customers who sign up for their emails.
*Download the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep app to scan the products you currently have and where they rate on the scale of safety, plus check out what other products they may suggest for your.
Most importantly, be your own advocate. I know we cannot control everything and once we step foot outside our homes, the truth is, we will be exposed to a great deal. There is not a whole lot we can do about it. But, you are the gatekeeper in your own homes. So you get to decide what you bring in, what you take out, and what you consume. You have more power and control than you think.
Rooting You On,
FTC disclaimer: I am a Beautycounter Consultant. Any reference to Beautycounter and any links provided do take you to my personal website, where you can purchase products. Should you choose to do so, I do receive a small commission from your purchase. Thank you in advance for your support and for allowing me the opportunity to continue to provide free content and encouragement in this space. I cannot do this without you!