It’s one of those life lessons I’m constantly relearning, but never as much and in so many ways as in my first year (!) of motherhood. It applied to nursing (slow and steady progress), sleeping (even slower…and not so steady) and what I put on his skin and mine. Progress feels necessary when you have a baby chewing on your face.
The goal isn’t to live in a bubble, of course, but I’m a firm believer in making conscious choices and that when you know better, you do better. I began to dabble with “greener” products several years ago as I became aware of the fact that there is very little regulation for ingredients in our skincare, makeup and cleaning products. The federal cosmetics law hasn’t had a makeover since 1938, and unlike drugs, food and medical devices, the FDA doesn’t require cosmetic ingredients to be assessed for safety before hitting the market. The US has banned 30 ingredients from personal care products, while the European Union has banned or restricted over 1,400. Some of those are known allergens, hormone disruptors, and have links to serious long-term health issues.
You can’t unlearn these facts, but…convenience. Budget. Effectiveness. For a long time I struggled to find legit safer products (and not just ones adding “organic” or “natural” to the bottle – those words aren’t regulated either) that really worked – and didn’t cost a fortune. It was frustrating to spend more money on things that didn’t get the job done, and I’d sometimes find myself going back to certain old products. But still…progress, right?
Once I was pregnant, I committed to the swap. Even if it meant I wasn’t always thrilled with the way my makeup, shampoo or deodorant (sorry, guys) performed, it seemed like a small and very fair tradeoff. It’s important to remember that chemicals are not inherently bad – in fact, most of them are useful and very necessary. But knowing that babies are being exposed while they’re still in the womb – over 200 environmental toxins have been found in newborns’ cord blood – it was a good reminder that we should do what we can when we can. To me, that meant committing to products and companies that are equally committed to lessening our toxic load – and even more importantly, advocating for change so that, in the not too distant future, “safer” products are just everyday products anyone can find in any store.
When I discovered Beautycounter, it felt like kismet. I was thrilled to find a line of safer skincare, hair care and makeup that actually worked – and more importantly, a company with a mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. With a “Never List” that includes more than 1,500 questionable or harmful ingredients they will never use, Beautycounter is a B Corp that works hard to meet the standards they’ve set for themselves – sustainable sourcing and rigorous testing on natural ingredients and safe chemicals to ensure that the final product is not only better for you and the planet, but performs better too.
Maybe you’re curious about making the swap, but it feels like a really big (and really expensive) undertaking. The beauty is that it truly doesn’t have to be. There’s no perfect way to do this: it’s okay to start slow and make safer swaps over time. Every time we use a product with fewer questionable ingredients, we lessen our toxic load. Every purchase is a vote with our dollar, and it sends a strong message about what we want to use and what we won’t tolerate.
I’m proud to have joined Beautycounter as a consultant, because it’s not just about Beautycounter. Or beauty, even. It’s about countering the status quo. It’s about education, and the mission to get safer products – whatever they are – into the hands of everyone – whoever they are. We all deserve better.