How to transition to a clean beauty routine

After learning about the disturbingly “dirty” side of the beauty industry, I was ready to toss out just about everything in our bathroom and start over from scratch. Actually, part of me wished I could just unlearn everything I’d read and go back to using my favourite moisturizer and shampoo worry-free.

By choosing products that were advertised as being “organic” and “natural,” I thought I was choosing the healthiest options for myself and my family. Now I know that it’s not that simple.

Do the best you can until you know better. And when you know better, do better.

Maya Angelou

I knew I wanted to start buying “cleaner” products – both for myself and for my family – but I didn’t know where to start. If we can’t trust the safety of the products being sold on our store shelves, how can we determine what’s safe for use, and where can we find those products?

After a little research, I came up with some resources that I found helpful in transitioning to a cleaner routine. I thought I would share them here, along with the steps I took to replacing my family’s personal care products with cleaner options.


4 Steps to a clean, nontoxic beauty routine

Download these apps

First, download the Think Dirty app. Think Dirty allows you to scan a product barcode and it gives the product a rating from 0-10 on it’s “Dirty Meter” (0 being “clean” and 10 being “dirty”). It also provides a list of ingredients, allowing you to click on each one for more information, including alternative names, possible health implications, and warnings from regulatory agencies (if any).

A similar app that allows you to scan and search products and ingredients is EWG’s Healthy Living. EWG’s Skin Deep Database is an online database for cosmetics and personal care products and their potential hazards and health concerns. You can also download EWG’s Quick Tips for Choosing Safer Personal Care Products, a guide with tips on how to read personal care product labels and how to shop cleaner options.

Evaluate the personal care products you and your family are currently using

Starting in our bathroom, I got out all the products I use on a daily basis, including things like hand soap and deodorant. I used the apps I just mentioned to scan the barcodes of each product to see how they rated on a scale from “clean” to “dirty.” I did this for the products my husband and children use too.

Sort each product as being harmful or safe

I made a note of all the products that rated highest in terms of “dirtiness” (an 8-10 on the scale) and made a list of the products I wanted to replace (which, unfortunately, was way more than I would have liked). In fact, there was a handful of products in the “dirty” pile that I’d been using faithfully for years. It was disappointing to learn that those products were full of hidden toxins that I wanted to eliminate from my daily routine.

Start replacing your dirty products with cleaner alternatives

There are different ways to go about this. You might want to start by replacing the products you use most often or the ones that rated highest on the “Dirty Meter.” In No More Dirty Looks, O’Connor & Spunt suggest switching out the products that cover the most surface area first (moisturizer and body wash, for example). I decided to replace a handful of products right away and wait to replace the others as I run out.

I expect it will take time – and some trial-and-error – to find cleaner replacements for my tried and true favourites, but I know it’ll be worth it once our family is living a healthier life, free of hidden toxins in our everyday personal care products.

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