When I started on my journey to living chemical free in 2009 I had no idea where to even start. I didn’t realize that all of those personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, soap, face wash etc.) were so toxic! And I had grown up believing that bleach and blue window cleaner were the best ways to get things clean, fresh and safe!
This in itself was overwhelming to say the least. I had been slowly poisoning my own body and had no idea. I was just doing what any normal American was doing. Buying what was labeled on the self as being the best answer to my needs.
Once I learned that I had to switch out all of my personal care products as well as home products I had to figure out how I would know if something was safe and truly chemical free. I didn’t feel good as it was and the thought of spending a lot of time and money to make these changes was daunting.
Rather than overwhelm myself and do nothing I decided to take it one step at a time. I started with buying from the organic section of the grocery store. I would buy a shampoo or soap and try it. If within three to five days time I didn’t get a rash on my arms I new the product was OK for me. Well let me tell you, that took a lot of time and money and was exhausting. Most stores will not take back an opened bar of soap or bottle of shampoo. So my trial and error lots of times was thrown away.
Then I started researching products and ingredients on the internet hoping to find answers. The only problem with that was there is so much conflicting info and you can’t always rely that the claims you find are safe. Why? Because there’s no real regulation on the words “all natural” and organic doesn’t necessarily mean chemical free.
So with my head spinning and a lot of money spent I was at a loss. That’s when I was introduced to a website run by the Environmental Working Group. www.ewg.org This orgainzation has done research on chemicals and ingredients that are in personal and home care products. They rate the toxicity of each ingredient and provide information based on what research has shown as to how those ingredients may effect our bodies.
This when when I finally had a place to learn what was truly going to be safe clean ingredients in my products. I would go to to the grocery store, look at a product, write down the name and then research it. Still seems like a lot of work right?
Guess what came along – the Think Dirty App for our cell phones! Yup – I did it all the hard way but now you don’t have too! All you have to do is download the free app on your smart phone – hold up the bottle – scan the bar code and up comes the info! It’s amazing and such a time saver!
Here are some other things I learned along the way. Just because a company was once a small indepdendetly owned operation doesn’t mean it is any more. Some of my favorite products that I started with are now owned by large coporations and the formulas have been changed. Also, a lot of ingredients that are banned in other countries are deemed as safe to be used in the US.
And before you say to me “well I don’t eat my shampoo or conditioner and it’s only on my skin for a few seconds” I want you to think about that further. Your largest organ is your skin. You skin is like a sponge and sucks in everything within seconds and goes right to your blood stream. So the next time you take a shower I want you to count and see just how long it really takes to wash and condition your hair.
If you’re just beginning this journey don’t worry you’ll get there. Just take it one step and one product at a time. If you have a similar story I’d love to hear it!
If you’d like to learn more about my favorite personal and home care products click here.