Back in September, I attended CleanCon — a virtual conference hosted by the Environmental Working Group — that was focused on clean beauty and personal care products. Throughout the five hour event, there was one overarching message that I kept hearing over and over from clean beauty advocates, scientists, CEOs and small business owners…
Health Living app from Skin Deep and EWG (FOOD, HOME & BEAUTY)
Think Dirty app (BEAUTY)
GreenChoice app (FOOD)
Back in September, I attended CleanCon — a virtual conference hosted by the Environmental Working Group that was focused on clean beauty and personal care products. Throughout the five hour event, there was one overarching message that I kept hearing over and over from clean beauty advocates, scientists, CEOs and small business owners. In this episode, I’m going to echo that public service announcement because it’s so important for us to be aware of.
I’m going to start off this episode by sharing a little personal history for reference — I am an Enneagram 8. If you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, it’s a personality test that focuses on 9 archetypes and how those personalities interact. An Enneagram Type 8 is “The Challenger” — we are assertive, self-confident, often too direct and the running joke is that we worry we’re the worst type.
And while yes, 8’s can be too blunt, hot-headed, and get a bad rep, we are also the archetype that seeks truth and justice and is very protective of others.
As a kid I had a tendency to challenge my teachers in class, while also having the tendency to befriend the underdog or new kid. As an adult, this has manifested into questioning the narrative and never taking anything at face value.
So, where am I going with this?
For most people, if you see a product on a shelf or available to purchase online, you assume that it is safe. Why wouldn’t it be, right?
Why, in the world, would anything be available for sale — for us to exchange our hard earned dollars — and for that product, in turn, to cause us harm.
Fundamentally, that just doesn’t make sense, right?
But here’s the thing — and it’s the thing that has been echoed over and over by clean living advocates:
There is no regulation, no legislature, no standard when it comes to personal care and beauty products. So that means that any company can claim to be “natural,” “non toxic,” or any of the other buzzwords without anything to back it up.
So you have two sides of the coin: You have companies claiming to be safe and non-toxic or “natural” and it not being true. Or you have companies that don’t even try to claim those things because it would be so far-fetched but they know it doesn’t matter because they’re household brand names and they know people won’t ask questions or necessarily care.
The truth is, it’s very hard to know which brands to trust because corporations don’t necessarily have your best interest at heart.
You may be thinking, what about the FDA? They have safety standards in place to protect us. But the sad fact of the matter is, FDA-approved doesn’t mean a whole lot. Their standards are so laughingly low when it comes to beauty and personal care products that a product could contain several ingredients that are currently banned in Europe, but still get FDA approval.
The other argument from the FDA and big corporations is that some products may contain questionable ingredients, but they’re such trace amounts that it’s virtually nothing.
The problem with that is most of us use these products, like body lotion or shampoo or makeup or deodorant, every day.
So, let’s say your stick of deodorant has five questionable ingredients, but they all have trace amounts, combining those five ingredients together is no longer a trace amount. To top it off, this is a product that you probably swipe under each arm every day.
I know, I’ve gotten all doomsday on you — again. But that’s why this education is so important. The only way to truly know which products are safe for you and your family is read the labels, learn the ingredients or find someone you trust who can recommend products to you.
Because the real truth is, as cliche as it has become, is that the most impactful way to make change is by voting with your dollars. We’ve already seen just from the early movement of people in the clean beauty space that the market can and will shift. And when the market shifts that’s when clean products will become more affordable and accessible to everyone.
Thanks so much for listening to this episode of The Clean Living Podcast — I’m your host Shannon Lohr. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend or family member who you know needs to hear it. Here’s to creating a cleaner, more sustainable world for all of us.