Let’s be clear about where we fall on the organic spectrum. We are a mainstream, middle-class family and not crunchy hippies. Our goal with going organic was purely focused on health. We care about the environment and recycle, but we were not committed enough when we had our daughter to go with cloth diapers.
We also didn’t just wake up one day and say “let’s eat only organic food and start paying attention to chemicals in the products we use.” It was a gradual evolution of becoming more aware of the chemicals and pesticides used on our food that started with my best friend and her husband slowly educating us. With each visit we had with them, we would come home just a little bit healthier with a new good habit put in place. We started to buy more organic produce, then organic meat, eggs and dairy and pay more attention to the contents in all of our food. The real ramp up to focusing on eating organic happened when we were trying to get pregnant as I started thinking more about what I put in my mouth and improving my health.
Our organic evolution took off when I actually got pregnant. I went into mama bear protector mode and wanted to avoid eating artificial ingredients, GMOs, pesticides, heavy metals or any ingredients known to cause cancer or impact development. We started buying everything organic because these products were certified to be safe from GMOs or banned chemicals. I also started paying attention to the contents of our food and buying items with fewer ingredients listed that I could actually understand…generally just trying to make sure our food was made of food!
The next phase was becoming more aware of the chemicals used in many products we use on our bodies each day. I started using the EWG Skin Deep app to look up every bath and beauty product that I bought. I would stand in the aisle at Target scanning every item until I found one that was safe. Sadly, this wasn’t easy. I started to learn what brands were generally safer than others and avoid anything including fragrance, phthalates and parabens. Some of my favorite, affordable brands that I find at Target are Jason, Acure, Burt’s Bees, Murad, Mrs. Meyers and Yes To for lotions, body wash, face wash, hand soap and hair care. I also love using Almond Oil on my face and body after the shower as a natural moisturizer. The one featured in this picture is the Vitacost brand and was only $4!
The next, most alarming toxic product that I discovered much too late was sunscreen. Most sunscreens are full of chemicals. I thought that I was being safe by purchasing sunscreens labeled “baby” but sadly found that usually wasn’t the case. I was a loyal buyer of Neutrogena brand suncreens until I finally looked them up on EWG. Since doing my research, we have tried Blue Lizard Australian SUNSCREEN SPF 30+, Baby, TruBaby Water and Play SPF 30 Plus Water-Resistant UVA/UVB Sunscreen Lotion, and Badger Balm Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream – SPF 30 for ourselves and our baby. Our favorite so far is the Badger suncreen. The worst part about the safer sunscreens is that they aren’t as easy to apply, but the Badger goes on smoothly along with having a mild chamomile scent. So far, we have not had any burns while using it!
Then, I finally got to evaluating my makeup. Looking back, I probably should have looked at my makeups when I was switching out the rest of my beauty products, but I was attached! I mean we love our favorite beauty products and many of them have been in our makeup bags for years. It’s hard to let go! I started looking for brands at Sephora and Ulta that were focused on natural products like Tarte and boscia. I am now in love with the Tarte eye shadows, eye liner and mascara.
The next sad discovery came when I learned that most nail polish contains formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate. It’s depressing for me to think about how much I have exposed myself to toxic chemicals throughout my life, but all I can do is change what I do now. I have found a safer nail polish brand that I like called SOPHi by Piggy Paint.
If you’re thinking about changing up your lifestyle, my best advice is to approach it gradually. Change is hard. If you’re like me, your own curiosity and desire to protect your family will keep you evolving down a healthy path. If you want to start learning what to look for in the products you buy, check out this article from EWG. I would love to know your story and any of the products that you love. Please share in the comments!