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  • Writer's pictureTara Wilson

Clean Beauty & Hygiene: Three Tips on How to Choose Safe Products

Are you aware of what's in your self-care products? What about your family's? Chances are, many of the products you're using that are marked "clean" or "non-toxic" on the label are anything but that.

But have no fear! I'm here to break it down for you and offer some tips on how you can choose products that are actually safe for you and your loved ones to use!

If you were to ask me two weeks ago how I felt about the safety rating of my beauty and hygiene products, I would have said "Amazing!!" and patted myself on the back. I had actually started making the (somewhat painful) transition of switching out my beloved makeup, skincare, body care and hair care products to products that were marketed as clean and non-toxic a couple years ago. Staying away from products that contained parabens, pthalates, sulfates, and artificial fragrances (this one was HUGE - almost every product adds synthetic fragrance) was nothing new to me, and something that I planned on researching and writing about on the blog before the end of this year.

However, I recently was made aware of the fact that many of my products that were marketed as "clean" and "non-toxic" were actually not as clean as they claimed to be!

If you've seen the four-part docuseries on HBO Max called "Not So Pretty," then you already know what I'm talking about and are probably freaking out about all of your products too (or maybe that's just me, haha! But some of those stories were crazy). If you haven't, I definitely recommend giving it a watch; each episode is only about half an hour and contains important information that can help protect you and your loved ones from going through the painful experiences mentioned in the series.

After watching "Not So Pretty," I decided that my blog post on clean self-care products couldn't wait, and immediately started researching how I could make better buying choices for my household and to share that info with my loved ones.

Tip #1 - Download the Clearya App

I checked out several different apps that could help with shopping for clean & non-toxic products, and Clearya by far was my favorite (and it's free!). Sure, you can try to learn and memorize all of the different toxic chemicals and check for them in ingredients lists before every time you purchase a product, or you can just let this awesome app do it for you. Let me show you how easy it is!

  • Click on the Clearya App, and it'll open to the page shown in the first image.

  • Type in the product you're interested in searching. For this example, I'll type in the face wash we use, which is marketed as clean with natural ingredients.

  • Then click "Search all shops" to see buying options for that product at the stores listed. For this example, we'll click on Target.

  • Once you click on Target, it'll open up Target's website, and show you the product as if you had searched for that product on Target's site. Click on the item, and you'll see Clearya give you alerts for the product in the upper right hand corner.

  • After you click on the alerts, it will show you three tabs: Alerts, Ingredients, and Discover. Once going through the alerts and ingredients, you can decide for yourself if this is a product you want to use. With the discover tab, it'll show you other products on Target's site that didn't have any alerts that you might want to check out.

Some things to note: sometimes the Discover tab will not recommend products that are what I'm looking for (for example, if I'm looking for a tinted moisturizer and it recommends a bunch of facial serums), however, I still think it's an awesome feature and sometimes the items they recommend are helpful.

I've also found that some products that I search for on Amazon won't have the ingredients listed, so the app can't say whether it's potentially harmful or not. However, if that's ever the case, or the item you're searching isn't available through those five online stores, then I love going to this website in tip #2!!

Tip #2 - Search Your Products on EWG's Skin Deep Website!

If you haven't heard about EWG yet, then you're welcome! They're awesome and really helpful when it comes to making informed choices about your food and products. EWG stands for Environmental Working Group, and they're a non-profit organization that provides free resources & info on legislation or industry practices that could be harmful to our health or our environment. If you've heard about the "Dirty Dozen," these wonderful people created that.

The EWG Skin Deep website has been an incredible free resource for me to check out the ratings on products that were either missing or had missing information on the Clearya app. I also love that you can type in a chemical ingredient in the search bar as well, not just the product, and the site will give you more information on the types of risks associated with that chemical.

Tip #3 - Stop Using Products with "Fragrance" or "Parfum" in the Ingredients List

Once you start down the rabbit hole of researching all of your products, it can get really overwhelming feeling like you have to throw everything out and start new. It's not only financially taxing, with all of the stuff you've got to get rid of and the new stuff you have to buy, but it's also bad for your wallet when you consider all of the new products you're trying will be trial & error until you find something you like. I can't tell you how much money I spent on different shampoos, hair conditioners, heat protectants, makeup, face wash, deodorant (the list goes on and on), just trying to find a product that was truly non-toxic and actually worked to my liking. Why can't the beauty industry just make safe products??

So I totally get feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start (and not having the ability to replace everything right away. I'm right there with you!). A good place to start practicing, is with artificial fragrances, and making sure that the next products you buy - whether they're cleaning products for your home or hygiene products for your body - don't include "Fragrance" or "Parfum" in the ingredients list.

Since the beauty industry has hardly any regulation, and scents can be considered a "trade secret," companies are not required to actually say what chemicals make up their fragrances. To take advantage of this, companies can actually lump up to 100 toxic chemicals into that one little word on the ingredients list and not have to disclose what any of those chemicals are. To read more on fragrances, click here.

Eventually, the goal (for me, anyway) is to be able to completely get rid of products that contain any toxic chemicals, but getting into the habit of not buying or using products with "Fragrance/Parfum" in the ingredients list is a good place to start. (I will note though, that some companies will notate somewhere on the product what the fragrance is made up of, like natural essential oils, and if so, you just have to decide for yourself if that's a company you trust and believe.)

Feeling Inspired to Shop Clean?

Let me help! Researching products all day on Clearya and EWG's site can take a lot of time, so I'm putting together lists of products that are not only approved by Clearya and EWG, but are also easy to purchase (can be bought on Amazon, your local grocery store, etc) and have a consumer rating of 4 or above out of 5 stars.

I'm working to quickly get these lists out, but want to be diligent and thorough in my research before I recommend anything, so thank you for being patient with me! If you decide to subscribe to my blog, you'll get an update directly in your inbox when these lists are done and ready to shop! If not, just check in periodically on this post, and I'll hopefully have added to this list!

Shop Clean Beauty & Hygiene

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