Back in October after a bit of breast cancer awareness in the form of pink hair I challenged myself, the Daily Grommet team, and our great community out there to replace one product they use with a product free of chemicals linked to cancer. This One Product Challenge was initiated during national breast cancer awareness month but has lasted much longer. This challenge has turned out to be a great learning experience, and a means to make connections with people much more versed in safe products than I. The advice and bits of wisdom I've gathered as a result of the challenge are valuable and worth sharing with you.
When I was doing research about chemicals in everyday products I admit being overwhelmed. I'm not the only one! Joy Wicks was also overwhelmed when she started looking at what was in her cosmetics. Joy was on the search for the best beauty products that were also chemical free.
She's come a long way, and has done a lot of research as to what is safe to use and what is not. She uses her knowledge for her shop, Natural Joy Beauty, just outside of Salt Lake City, UT. She has compiled a list of ingredients to avoid and has strict standards for what she carries in her store. She also would like to offer a deal to all of you! Use the code DG15 for a 15% discount, now until 5/31/11.
Danika, a representative for Miessence, also reached out with some excellent resources for checking up on what's in your products! She suggested looking into the Organic Consumers Association's Coming Clean Campaign, Good Guide, and Skin Deep as resources to find clean, and not so clean, products. She warns not to use these as your sole resource, however, because of the lack of data available to some ingredients. The best way to be sure a product is safe, she advises, is to check for a USDA or ACO Organic Certification. Soleil Organique also commented, suggesting the Environmental Working Group as another good resource!
I went to visit The Natural Market in Groton, MA to get some face-to-face advice. Dottie was very helpful there, and told me that her favorite natural beauty product was organic coconut oil. Shari, a Daily Grommet reader, agreed in the blog comments. They both said it is the best moisturizer they've ever used, and use it every day.
Here at the offices Kate and Wendy replaced their skin care routines, using evanhealy skin care products. Once they tested it as a Grommet they were hooked, and still use it every day.
Wendy also uses No More Dirty Looks by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt as her natural skin care bible. Julia Elmer, a good friend of Daily Grommet, told us that she gets her natural beauty products at Whole Foods. (Whole Foods has a great video about all natural body care products, by the way!) The challenge reached out to our California team, too. Tori switched out her laundry products with Charlie's Soap, another loved Grommet. Tori reported that after the switch to chemical free detergent her family's sensitive skin was oh-so thankful. She noted "No more itchy or irritated skin, and it works just as well as the chemical-laden detergents! I like knowing I'm not drenching our clothes in toxins."
One of the best experiences I've had during my natural body care experiments was making a connection with Blaire Kessler, the creator of Pristine Beauty products, and getting to try out some of her amazing hair products! My favorites were definitely the shampoo and conditioner. I only used them for a couple weeks and I saw a drastic improvement in my hair. My frizz was gone, (my Dad sometimes calls me Mufassa in the morning... having less frizz is a big deal for me!), and my hair got really soft and shiny. On top of that, it smells amazing! After trying a couple other natural shampoos, I am definitely going back for more Locks of Fame and highly recommend Pristine Beauty products.
What really made trying Blaire's products special, though, was that she created them after getting a breast cancer diagnosis. She couldn't find any products that could live up to the standards she was looking for, so she created her own! How's that for determination? A portion of each Pristine Beauty sale is donated to the Young Survival Coalition and the Cancer Prevention Coalition, too. Blaire's story is really inspiring and she also knows her stuff! She gave me some great tips on how to best use her products, and pretty soon you'll be able to watch her giving tutorials about them on the Pristine Beauty YouTube Chanel.
After trying out a bunch of organic and natural products in the last couple months I have a bit of advice of my own to give. The first thing I can suggest is letting yourself get used to it for a couple days before assuming they won't work! When I tried new deodorants it took a couple days for me to feel like they were working, and for the first few days of trying natural hair products my hair got a little greasy. It does, however, get better. After getting used to natural products regular ones smell like chemicals and feel harsh. Getting used to natural products was easy, but the opposite isn't true. I don't think I'll be able to go back! The last bit of advice I have is to reach out to experts. They are always more than willing to share their knowledge and can be most helpful.
Have you tried switching over to cleaner, safer products? Do you have your own advice to share? Let us know with a comment!