When I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009, I was absolutely crushed and honestly, quite confused. What had I done to deserve this? I’m a good person! I’m only 21 and have my whole life ahead of me! Why me?!
Then my mother said to me, “You know D? God only gives us things he thinks we can handle.” You may not be religious or spiritual, but you have to admit that’s a pretty powerful statement. From that moment on, I stopped thinking of my diagnosis as a punishment and instead, viewed it as an opportunity for personal growth.
So I began to look into the risk factors associated with thyroid cancer to gain an understanding of why I got cancer, and what I could do to mitigate it. While The Canadian Cancer Society says that there is not enough scientific evidence to confirm a link between exposure to certain chemicals and thyroid cancer, I knew at that moment that I was going to switch to natural beauty and personal care products. But where to start?
The World of Natural Beauty
What chemicals do I need to avoid? Will my products work without those chemicals? Where do I buy natural beauty and personal care products? How do I avoid breaking the bank?
Jumping into the world of natural beauty and personal care is no easy feat! It’s taken me years to answer these questions. That’s why I’m sharing with you, my method for finding affordable natural beauty and personal care products that actually work. Let’s get started!
What On Earth Are You Putting On Your Body?
The first thing you’ll want to do is check how healthy the products you regularly use are. Here are a few tools to help you accomplish that.
CosDNA is a simple tool that tells you the function of ingredients in a given product, whether they’re comedogenic or irritating and most importantly – their relative safety!
Simply Search for the product. If it’s not there, click on “Analyze Cosmetics,” copy the ingredients from the product page on the official website, paste it into the textbook and click “Analysis”
BAM! Here we can see that a few ingredients in the deodorant are comedogenic and irritating. But I’m more concerned about those coloured circles with numbers in them.
Here’s what the colours mean:
- Green ingredients are good!
- Yellow ingredients are iffy and
- Red ingredients are an absolute no-no!
While we can see that this product has a mixture of green and yellow ingredients, we can’t really tell how safe this product is overall.
That’s where the EWG Skin Deep Database comes in.
EWG Skin Deep Database
The EWG Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They launched Skin Deep, a database of 74,802 products in 2004.
You can find a product by searching for it on the Skin Deep website or scanning the barcode with the Healthy Living App available for free on the App Store and Google Play.
If it’s not there, you’ll need to do some work for yourself.
1. Click, “Build Your Own Report” on the main page of Skin Deep. You’ll need to Login/Register before clicking “Build your own product report.”
2. Fill out the Product & Label Information form. Simply copy the relevant information from the product page of the brand’s website and paste it into the appropriate fields. Hit “Save & continue to step 2.”
3. Reformat the ingredients list so that Skin Deep can recognize them. In most cases, this means changing commas to semi-colons (;). Hit “Save & Continue to step 3.”
4. Ingredients in Skin Deep will show up on this page. If the packaging indicates the percentage of a specific ingredient or if an ingredient is regulated by the FDA or organic, indicate this using the fields and dropdown boxes. Hit “Save & continue to step 4 then “View your product report.”
There you go! Your custom product report shows the safety of all the ingredients using the same colour coding as CosDNA, but it also gives you an overall score – in this case, a 4 which translates to moderate concern.
The page also zeroes in on specific ingredient concerns. We can see that some of ingredients in this deodorant (e.g., parfum = fragrance = red #8!!!) can harm the immune system leading to allergies or the limited ability of the body to fight disease and repair damaged tissues.
I don’t know about you, but even though this deodorant is only a yellow #4, I certainly wouldn’t want to buy it!
So you’ve found out that your favourite beauty or personal care product is risky, where can you find a better alternative?
Finding Natural Beauty and Personal Care Products
Perhaps the easiest way to find natural beauty and personal care products is by using the categories on the navigation bar on the Skin Deep website to filter down to the type of product you’re looking for. Here we can see that some products are EWG Verified, meaning they’re free from EWG’s chemicals of concern.
GoodGuide is a database of over 75,000 products and uses a rating system developed by experts in the fields of environmental and health sciences. Like Skin Deep, GoodGuide has an app that let’s you scan a product’s barcode. It’s available for free on App Store and Google Play.
Simply use the search feature or categories to find a list of healthy alternatives. Ratings range from 0/red to 10/green with higher numbers indicating safer products. Here we can see a number of deodorants with 10/green ratings.
The cool thing about GoodGuide is it also includes information (when available) about the effectiveness of a product, making it even easier to find products that are safe and effective!
Where Do I Buy This Stuff?
Amazon is a great place to buy natural beauty and personal care products. Simply use the search function or categories to find your product and be sure to sort by “Avg. Customer Review.” There are so many crappy natural products out there and by sorting by average customer review, you can be sure you’re seeing products that actually work.
In this case I would check out “Amazon’s Choice” products like Schmidt’s Lavender + Sage Deodorant and “Bestsellers”.
Well.ca is my favourite place for natural beauty and personal care products. Simply go to their “Green & Natural” section, filter down to the kind of product you want. Similar to Amazon, sort by “Popularity” to ensure that you’re seeing the most effective products first.
Make Sure They Aren’t Fooling You!
Once you find a product that you like, you’ll want to double check that it’s actually natural and better for you! Many companies make false claims just to get you to buy their products. You can: * Search CosDNA or “Analyze Cosmetics” * Find it on EWG Skin Deep or build your own report * Search GoodGuide
In this case, I’m going to check out the Schmidt’s deodorant because I see it on Good Guide and it has 4.5 stars (37 reviews) on Well.ca and 4 stars (99 reviews) on Amazon
Look! All of the ingredients are a 1!
With good reviews and a green light on CosDNA, I would definitely feel comfortable buying and using this product.
What are you favourite clean beauty products? Where do you buy them?