When I was a few months pregnant with my oldest, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. We were told he had 6-12 months to live, and I prayed every day that he would live long enough to meet my baby, his first grandchild. We were so thankful that he not only was able to meet him, but that he lived until the week before he turned one, and during that year, we were able to take an Alaskan cruise, visiting Seattle and Portland during the trip, which checked off my dad's life-long dream of visiting all 50 states.
As I was pregnant, I started researching all the baby things I would need. At some point while pregnant, I read about baby shampoo having formaldehyde in it, and I was both shocked and horrified. Once we found out my dad had cancer, I started reading even more about ingredients in common products having harmful ingredients. Y'all, it was horrifying.
I decided then that we were going to start switching out products in our household for those with less harmful ingredients. I was pregnant, sick, exhausted, working full time, and with a terminally ill parent, and the idea of switching everything at once was overwhelming (not to mention expensive). So I decided small steps in the right direction were the way I was going to go, and over the past 4.5 years, that is exactly what we have done.
We still have a ways to go, and lots to learn in making our home as toxin-free and healthy as possible, but we've come a long way from where we started! The first thing we switched out was laundry detergent. We skipped the Dreft that everyone recommends for babies, and went to Molly's Suds for our whole family. We threw out the dryer sheets, and started using wool dryer balls (we use the Molly's Suds brand dryer balls). Then we started working on getting rid of harsh cleaners, switching out plastic for glass or stainless steel, and cutting down on processed food.
Makeup had been something I had read a little bit about when I initially started researching. I went ahead and switched to a shampoo that was billed as organic around that time, and picked up a few different makeup/skincare/bath products at Whole Foods to try out, but wasn't really impressed with any of them. I was too overwhelmed to spend a whole lot of time trying to find something that worked, so I put that on the back burner for a while.
About a year ago, I learned about Beautycounter, and I was immediately interested. The mission is getting safer products into the hands of everyone, and just the fact that there is a mission statement for a makeup company was intriguing to me. The products also looked way nicer than anything I had seen at Whole Foods, and much more comparable to the makeup I was currently wearing. I decided to order a couple of things and give it a try, and it didn't take long for me to get hooked!
As I started using Beautycounter products, I became so impressed with the advocacy work and the commitment to sharing information. I realized that the organic shampoo I had been using actually only had 1 organic ingredient, and the rest of the ingredients weren't so great.
I hope that the tide is turning where we have the knowledge and voice to let big companies know that our health is worth more than a few extra dollars in their pockets.
Switching to safer is a big task and can seem so overwhelming when you are thinking about getting started. But the more you learn about the things we are exposed to through our personal care products, our cleaning products, our food, and so many other things we use on a daily basis, and then you start thinking about the many diseases that are so prevalent today - from cancer, to infertility, to autoimmune diseases and more... I think that there is a price for the convenience we put such a priority on. I hope that the tide is turning where we have the knowledge and voice to let big companies know that our health is worth more than a few extra dollars in their pockets but until then, I'll be making as many small steps as possible to make our home safer, one product at a time.