Switching to Safer

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A lot of things changed within me when I had a daughter. I'd like to say they changed when I became a mother, but something about having a daughter really did me in. I started running, eating more plant based whole foods and I began the arduous task of transitioning our household products to safer, non-toxic options.

I've received a lot of questions lately about how we made the switch and what products we use instead and honestly, it was a long road full of a lot of frustration, disappointment but ultimately - unparalleled peace of mind. And as a mama of almost 4, I need all of that I can get!

First a look at ingredients that are found in a lot of common household products. These can be found in things like cleaning agents, soaps, lipsticks, deodorants, shampoo, candles, and more. Basically think about things you keep in your kitchen cabinet for cleaning, your bathroom cabinet for personal care, and your laundry room - most of those traditional products contain any number of gross ingredients that can be harmful to our health.

Ethanolamines - found in fragrances, sunscreens, mascara, dry cleaning solvents, paint and pharmaceuticals. It's been linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption

Formaldehyde - used as a preservative in cosmetics and I'm sure you've heard about this article about the dangers of it and it's link to leukemia and other ailments so I probably don't need to share much else.

Oxybenzone - used in sunscreens and moisturizers and has been linked to irritation, sensitization, allergies and hormone disruption.

Parabens - found in shampoo, face cleansers, body wash, lotions and foundations. These are endocrine disruptors (hormones again) - not good.

Phthalates - found in anything that's had a fragrance added - air fresheners, dish soap, even some toilet paper. This is another endocrine disruptor. When it's absorbed it goes straight to your organs.

Triclosan - Found in dishwashing detergents and anything that's "antibacterial" - *hint* the more claims something has on the bottle, the worse it probably is for ya* - overuse of anything antibacterial can lead to overuse and how microbes develop resistance. It may also disrupt endocrine function and it's a known probable carcinogen.


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I really don't want to overwhelm so I'll leave it there for now. But do a quick google search for 'household toxins' and you'll find enough to convince you to start thinking about a switch to some safer options.

It may be tempting, after reading all of this, to run to your cabinets, toss everything and replace it right then and there. And while replacing everything is definitely ideal, it's not really the most cost-effective or eco-friendly way to go about it. I started slow in our home. I made a master list of everything we had that I wanted to swap and did a TON of research to find better options to add to my home. But I didn't go out and replace them all right away. I went through and found items from my list that were close to or past expiration - mascara, lipstick, sunscreens were easy targets. Then I replaced those with safer options. The rest of the things I waited until we ran out to replace. Some things, like shampoo, took a long time but things like all-purpose cleaner or laundry detergent went quickly. As each item ran out and was replaced, I added that info to the master list. Sometimes the new product I swapped with didn't quite work out (DIY dishwashing detergent - not a good move), so I'd update the list with something else I tried.

Eventually, we got to the point where nearly everything has been swapped for a safer option (aided by the cross-country move and one cross-town move - easier to move without all those products and movers won't usually pack cleaning stuff!) and I feel so much more at ease when the kids want to help with the dishes or laundry or play 'dress up' with my makeup now that I know there's not a bunch of junky chemicals lurking around. 

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HOW TO SWITCH

1. Make a master list of all the items you want to swap in your home.

2. Start your research (I've linked a bunch of my favorite products below to help you get started) and find safer alternatives to your current products.

3. Go through your current products and see what's expired or close to an expiration date (I find this helps get the ball rolling so you don't forget about starting the swaps now).

4. Replace the expired products and add the safer swap to the master list to keep track.

5. Wait until products get used up or expire and begin to replace those as they do so. Add safer swaps to master list.

6. Adjust and rework. If a swap isn't working, find another option! Either wait until it's all used up or go out and get a new swap right away (if, say, your DIY dishwasher fluid doesn't wash at all - go find another option and suck up the sunk cost of the DIY stuff, it's not working anyway!)


SAFER SWAPS

CLEANING //
All of the household cleaners in our home are either Thieves products from Young Living or DIY using vinegar, water, olive oil, alcohol and essential oils. You can find 5 DIY household cleaning product recipes HERE

COSMETICS // 
I honestly don't wear much makeup anymore but what I do wear comes from Beautycounter. I like their mission and trust the products and they really work. Young Living also recently launched a makeup line and I've tried their mascara and it's AMAZING. 

SKINCARE //
Skincare has been so tough but, again, I really like Beautycounter if you wanna go all in. I've been really minimal lately and simply use a couple drops of Frankincense oil on my face after cleansing and that's all! For lotions and moisturizer I use coconut oil and an essential oil or shea butter and oil (like on my pregnant belly!)

TOOTH CARE //
I use the Thieves toothpaste from Young Living and a Quip electric toothbrush. I'd love to swap to bamboo but I have overactive salivary glands and need to visit the dentist every 3 months for cleanings. A regular toothbrush just doesn't keep up with the buildup in my mouth - TMI - so I really like the Quip because I'm only ever swapping the head of the brush and I have the metal base not the plastic one.


That's pretty much it! I'm by no means an expert and I'm always learning, replacing, and reworking. This is just a small look at what's worked for us so far and how we got here (it took 3 years!). 

**WHERE TO BUY
I love the Young Living products so much that I ended up signing up and getting the starter kit (definitely what I'd recommend - most of the oils I use for cleaning and facial care are in there!) because of the 24% discount. It also means you can use THIS LINK, shop for your own kit. I used the kit for a looong time and then ended up getting on Essential Rewards to earn credit for my purchases and still get the discount on other products like detergent, toothpaste, cleaners, etc. 

You can sign up to receive your essential oils starter kit here and I will add you to a community page where I've learned so much about how to incorporate them in to not only cleaning but wellness as well - stress, hormones, respiratory support just to name a few! It's so helpful to have a place to drop some questions and get some answers.