Why Switch to Clean Health and Beauty...and How?
Much has changed for the better in the world of health and beauty in the last decade or so and we believe you deserve to understand and use those improved products on you and your family’s skin.
There are several reasons to change, many opinions about whether you should or not, and a variety of methods to do it, but here is our guidance about all of that. Let us help simplify the process for you.
First of all, why should you even consider switching over all of you and your family’s health and beauty products? Seems like a huge endeavor, right? Why go to all the trouble? Here’s why: for decades, toxic ingredients have been added to our self-care items because they make production easier and less expensive for big brands. There is no strong regulation of health and beauty products in the United States. In fact, the government only bans 30 ingredients from the products we put on our skin and hair, while many other nations have thousands that can not legally be added to thesesame products.
Basically, most of us always purchased these items without looking into the ingredients because you would assume the businesses aren’t allowed to add anything dangerous. I can say it never crossed my mind for most of my adult life and I’m sure it didn’t cross my mother’s mind as she chose products for my skin and hair growing up. Unfortunately, this assumption and trust we had was taken advantage of and there were and are many ingredients in our health and beauty products that are actually quite harmful and shocking.
Here are some examples of the harm some ingredients commonly found in health and beauty products can cause to humans:
Endocrine Disruption - Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with our endocrine system which could have effects such as birth defects, developmental disorders, severe ADD, body deformations, learning disabilities, cognitive and brain development issues, male or female hormone alterations, obesity, or cancers such as breast, thyroid, prostate and others.
Carcinogen - Exposure to carcinogens can take place via inhalation, ingestion or absorption and has potential to cause cancer in any living tissue.
Reproductive Harm - This includes any ingredient that interferes with reproductive organs to alter sexual behavior, decrease fertility, create menstrual change, offset puberty, increase your risk of miscarriage or a premature birth. This also refers to increased risk of reproductive cancers.
Neurotoxicity - Neurotoxin exposure that alters the normal activity of the nervous system, causing damage to the brain and can also disrupt and kill nerves
Environmental Harm - Any potential contamination of water and soil, along with other micro-pollutants that contribute to ecosystem damage
Organ Toxicity/Irritation - Damage to major organs fed by the circulatory system (heart, kidneys, brain, eyes) caused by uncontrolled hypertension, hypotension, or hypovolemia
DNA/Cell Damage - Changes in the chemical structure of our DNA, which over time may accumulate in non-replicating cells such as in the brain and muscles.
Each of these effects are connected to different toxic or harmful ingredients - some ingredients even check off more than one of the boxes above. It is shocking and frightening to first learn about the damage that can be caused by using seemingly harmless products like lotion or mascara. If you are a parent, that fear is typically even more heightened, as we are programmed to protect our children and keep them safe.
Personally, I don’t love the idea of making life choices based on fear so I walk a fine line between education and fear and try to stay on the side of education and knowledge. I hope to remain on that side as a clean health and beauty business as well. Ideally, information and knowledge should guide us as we make decisions, however, I do understand that fear this new knowledge can create.
If it makes you feel comforted, it is a great practice to take as much research and learning into your own hands as you can handle. There are plenty of great resources available to all of us to look up ingredients or products. EWG.org is a great example of a website where you can easily plug in ingredients and see their safety rating, as well as what specific concerns there might be if an ingredient has a higher (less safe/clean) rating.
Another reason it is great to try to gain at least a little bit of personal knowledge on the subject is because there isn’t one agreed upon definition of ‘clean’ when it comes to personal care products. Not only that, but there is no regulation to prevent any brand from slapping words like ‘clean’ ‘natural’ or ‘safe’ onto their products. Hopefully, you’ll come across brands or websites like Pom Vida that offer a transparent explanation of exactly what we mean when we use the word ‘clean.’ We have a NOPE List on our site that details exactly which ingredients we promise you will never see in any product on our site, as well as an explanation of WHY we refuse those ingredients. Any trusted brand or guide should offer this level of transparency of what ‘clean’ means to them and why. It is a great way to easily spot trusted sources and also to make sure you don’t get confused or tricked while simply trying to find safer options for you and your family.
Here is where it can get a bit confusing: if the government isn’t truly deciding what is safe or not and what can legally be allowed in the products we put on our bodies, who does get to decide?
Again, there is not much regulation of these products so the truth is that it falls on our shoulders to figure out the clearest path to the safest and best products. Amazing and clean products should be easily available to all and this possible confusion only adds to the exclusive and elusive reputation these products have gained. This is why we want to help you reach this knowledge and these products - they should be readily available to all.
Truthfully, what this really means is that we each need to take some personal responsibility to educate ourselves about the realities of these ingredients and make our own decisions about what we will allow on our bodies and what we won’t. However, most of us are already at capacity each day between family, work, school, relationships, etc. We do not have the time to devote to write down which ingredients are within each of our self care products, then conduct intensive research on each ingredient and its possible harm to humans, and then decide whether we feel comfortable with that product or not. Not to mention, that this process requires you to then seek out a new replacement product and go through the entire process again to make sure that that brand’s version of ‘clean’ or ‘safe’ matches your own.
Oh, and then you will of course need to try the new product and make sure you like it! Does it smell nice? Is the texture what you were looking for? Is the packaging functional? Can you afford to buy it regularly? And perhaps most importantly, does it work?
When I first learned about the harmful ingredients hiding in my face wash, deodorant, sunscreen, my kids’ shampoo, and just about every other product I was putting on my face, body and head I tried the process above...while working and raising three kids. It didn’t go well. In fact, it is actually what led me to create Pom Vida. When I realized that taking the time and energy to truly educate myself on these ingredients, the harm they can each cause, and then searching for amazing replacement products I could afford was pretty much a full time job I decided to do something pretty wild and actually make it my full time job.
Obviously, taking this on as a full time job can’t be and won’t be the solution for most. However, you still have the power to switch in the best way that works for you. If you have the bandwidth to do a great deal of research yourself and it will make you feel better about the process, go for it! If you don’t, it is okay and you are probably in the majority.
Begin by deciding whether you plan on switching over little by little or all at once. If you plan on switching many products all at once, I do suggest finding a voice you trust and allowing them to help guide you or else you will likely become completely overwhelmed by all of the options out there. If you are going to start with one product, I suggest deodorant and this blog post explains why (post link). If you want to start with a small number of products, our suggestion is to begin with these five and this blog post explains why. Basically, the way we came up with these intro products is by taking into consideration which products you use daily, seep into your skin the most, and/or have common ingredients that are the most harmful. Things like face masks or beard oils are certainly items I do suggest you find safer versions of, but unless you use them with a lot of frequency, they don’t need to be the very first personal care product you swap.
Most of all, I want you to remember that even though the system has historically been set up in a tricky way, you still have the power as the consumer. You can look up ingredients any time you want and choose to spend your money on brands that show transparency, safety and care. If we use our wallets to show businesses that we care about the safety of ingredients, they will need to listen to us.
The other important take away is that swapping your current products for clean versions should be a stress reliever, not a stress inducer. If you find yourself overwhelmed, you can lean on Pom Vida whenever you need. Try switching one product at a time if that helps and remember that the goal - especially in the beginning - is progress, not perfection. You can do this and we are here to help.