Saturday, June 10, 2017

Currently Used Products

Last updated: 6/10/17

On this page I will keep track of all the beauty products I currently use. For now, it's a bit sparse as I slowly replace my horribly unclean products with cleaner ones.

I've included the EWG ratings (when available) as well as where to buy the product.

Body
  • Lotion: Aveeno Active Naturals - Daily Moisturizing Lotion 
  • Deodorant: Native 
    • EWG - not on EWG, but all found ingredients are 1
    • Native
  • Sunscreen: 
  • Hand soap: 

Face (non-makeup)
  • Face wash:
  • Hydration: Batty's Bath - Hydra Healing Skin Rescue Gel
  • Moisturizer: Batty's Bath - Daily Detox (Primer) Facial Moisturizer
  • Mask: Batty's Bath - Charcoal Detox Mask
  • Note: facial cleansing products are from Batty's Bath detox kit
  • Eye makeup remover:
  • Eye cream:
  • Eye lash serum: 
  • Sunscreen: 

Makeup
  • Foundation: 
  • Concealer (under eye): NYX Cosmetics - Dark Circle Concealer
  • Powder (translucent):
  • Mascara: Physicians Formula - Organic Wear Mascara
  • Eye shadow:

Shower
  • Shampoo: 
  • Conditioner: 
  • Leave-in:
  • Body wash: 
House
  • Laundry detergent: 
  • Fabric softener:
  • Dish soap: 
  • Dishwasher detergent:
  • General cleaner:

My Chemical Detox - Skin Deep database

After making the decision to go cosmetically "clean" I almost immediately overwhelmed myself. I started, as I said in my last post, by putting together a list of ingredients to look out for in products. Unfortunately, I knew that if I took the time to research every ingredient on that list to know *why* I should avoid it and then validate those findings I'd never make any changes, so for the time being I made the assumption that these people know what they're talking about.

Equipped with this list I made my way to the store. If a product had an ingredient on the list I put it back on the shelf. I was specifically in the "natural" aisle so I really didn't think it would take too long and I'd have a fairly large choice of options. Um…no. I admit that I didn't look at ALL the products available, but it took a good 20-30 minutes to find a face wash and night moisturizer that did fairly well when compared to my list. That's way too long in my opinion, but I was still pumped. I was on my way to being clean and healthy!

My excitement (and pride in myself for making the clean choice), didn't last long, though. You see, in my mind, I typically equate "clean" products with being better working products (when compared to "not so clean" versions). Um…no. Better for you? Very likely. Better working on your skin? Not always.

Now, I completely understand that the clear-ness of your face is decided by many different factors - what you eat, genetics, hormones, your skincare regimen, etc. But in my mind, the easiest thing to blame, and change, is your skincare products and routine. Which is why I imagined my acne (yes, I'm in my late 30s and have acne…so fun!) would clear right up when I started using clean products. Um…no. But, based on my first shopping experience, how was I ever going to find a clean product that worked for my face?! Sigh.

It was at this point that I came across the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database by EWG. This is a website where you can look up ingredients or products and see how good or bad they are for you, based on the research available. While the site is far from perfect I find it a great resource as someone who hasn't done all the research myself. My biggest frustration is that the product I'm looking for often isn't included in their database. But, to be fair, there are millions of products out there…they can't ALL be in there! Plus, if I really wanted to I could build my own report by inputting all the ingredients in the product. I have yet to find an ingredient not found in their database (that I can remember, at least).

You can go to the site to learn exactly how it works, but in a nutshell the database rates products and ingredients with two ratings - a hazard rating (1 being the best or lowest hazard and 7 being the worst or highest hazard) and a data availability rating (with a range from None to Robust). The cleanest rating a product or ingredient can get, therefore, is 1/Robust.

What I found interesting, after surfing the website for a while (does anyone still say "surfing the web"?), is that many products can have a 1 (low hazard) rating even though they have an ingredient on someone's "avoid at all cost" list. That made me sigh with relief and stress me out at the same time. On the one hand, it meant that the use of "avoid at all cost" lists can be too strict. On the other hand, it meant that it's not as "easy" as just using an "avoid at all cost" list. You have to take more into account. Sigh.

The good news, though, is that EWG's Skin Deep group does all the research for you. Yes, you have to trust someone else's work. But you don't have to spend years re-learning chemistry and reading hundreds of scientific studies. I know which of those options I'm picking. If you happen to remember your chemistry or want to read horribly boring (to me) scientific studies the database denotes their data sources and includes some chemistry type of information as well.


I've found it easy to get lost or overwhelmed with the Skin Deep database, but overall it has been very helpful. In fact, it helped me find the new basic skin care regimen I'm currently using. More on that next time.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Cosmetic Detox - Background

It all started when my friend, who is always looking for a way to make a bit more travel money, told me we should start an Etsy business selling soaps and natural beauty products. I always love DIY projects so I was intrigued.

I'm not one to just jump into something at the drop of a hat, though…unless it's really stupid, of course…then I manage to ignore the need for any premeditation. Anyway, the next day I borrowed a few books from the library and started reading up on DIY beauty products. Oh boy.

I have a tendency to be pretty trusting of the written word (within reason, I'd like to think). So when I started reading about all the chemicals in our beauty products and how they're going to kill us all (ok, not really, but it sure feels like it sometimes), I was convinced that I needed to rid myself of these chemicals.

Here's my first problem…I'm typically an all or nothing kind of person. My first thought after reading some of these books was "I have to get rid of every product I own" and "I need to know every single ingredient I need to avoid." It was at this point that I became overwhelmed…before I had even started. This is why I've typically avoided learning anything about all these bad products in the past. It's just easier not to think about it. "We've lived for so long with these products and are still alive." "They're not banned by our government." "Would a company really knowingly harm me?!" I've told myself this, and more, many times throughout my life. And I've avoided thinking too hard about the truth or logic behind each statement. It's true…ignorance is bliss.

While I haven't researched every "bad" ingredient out there and therefore don't know exactly why some people consider it bad for me (yet…hopefully), I have come to a point where I want to at least give the "clean living" a shot.

Here's my second problem…going "all natural" or "chemical free" is bloody hard. It's confusing, time consuming, and you can't always see the benefits of making the change. And funny enough, going "all natural" or "chemical free" aren't really accurate names for the goal (I still haven't decided what the right phrase is yet). There are many natural products that one should avoid. Likewise, there are many chemicals that can be quite beneficial.

There is rarely any consensus about the danger of many cosmetic ingredients, either. One "expert", for example, believes you should always avoid lanolin, while another thinks it really only needs to be avoided if you're allergic to it. Because of the differing studies or opinions and the fact that the majority of the "bad" ingredients are used because they are cheap and/or effective, nearly every product out there has at least one ingredient that is on someone's "list of ingredients to avoid at all costs." This is hard for a girl who's all or nothing.

In fact, when I started my journey I knew I didn't have the time, energy, or patience to research every "bad" ingredient so I just made a list based on numerous other lists of ingredients to avoid and brought it with me to the supermarket in hopes of finding a new face moisturizer. I was in the "healthy" aisle and yet I could barely find a product that didn't have one of those ingredients in it. Let me tell you, I got a few looks as I stood in the aisle reading the composition of product after product and comparing the nonsensical ingredient names to the list on my phone.

It's, unfortunately, much more complicated than just shopping at Whole Foods or the "natural" aisle in your supermarket.

But I have decided not to give up yet. I now have a new mindset and a rough plan. That plan? Patience. Taking it one product at a time.

That probably sounds like elementary to many people. But as an "all or nothing" kind of girl this is new for me. This is also where this blog comes in. It's not so much a blog for other people as it is somewhere I can record my "learnings" and experiences so I can easily reference them as time goes by.

If anyone does read this, besides myself, I hope you find my journey helpful (assuming I get anywhere with it). If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. However, I ask that any statements made as fact (e.g. "parabens are horrible for you") are followed by some sort of reference for said fact. In this journey, I'm also trying to be more critical of what I hear/read. I'm far from being any good at it yet, but one has to start somewhere. 

~Erin

P.S. Forewarning - I love using quotation marks and exclamation points! I also stink at grammar and am not a great writer. Apologies up front!