Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Cosmetic Detox - Background

It all started when my friend, who is always looking for a way to make a bit more travel money, told me we should start an Etsy business selling soaps and natural beauty products. I always love DIY projects so I was intrigued.

I'm not one to just jump into something at the drop of a hat, though…unless it's really stupid, of course…then I manage to ignore the need for any premeditation. Anyway, the next day I borrowed a few books from the library and started reading up on DIY beauty products. Oh boy.

I have a tendency to be pretty trusting of the written word (within reason, I'd like to think). So when I started reading about all the chemicals in our beauty products and how they're going to kill us all (ok, not really, but it sure feels like it sometimes), I was convinced that I needed to rid myself of these chemicals.

Here's my first problem…I'm typically an all or nothing kind of person. My first thought after reading some of these books was "I have to get rid of every product I own" and "I need to know every single ingredient I need to avoid." It was at this point that I became overwhelmed…before I had even started. This is why I've typically avoided learning anything about all these bad products in the past. It's just easier not to think about it. "We've lived for so long with these products and are still alive." "They're not banned by our government." "Would a company really knowingly harm me?!" I've told myself this, and more, many times throughout my life. And I've avoided thinking too hard about the truth or logic behind each statement. It's true…ignorance is bliss.

While I haven't researched every "bad" ingredient out there and therefore don't know exactly why some people consider it bad for me (yet…hopefully), I have come to a point where I want to at least give the "clean living" a shot.

Here's my second problem…going "all natural" or "chemical free" is bloody hard. It's confusing, time consuming, and you can't always see the benefits of making the change. And funny enough, going "all natural" or "chemical free" aren't really accurate names for the goal (I still haven't decided what the right phrase is yet). There are many natural products that one should avoid. Likewise, there are many chemicals that can be quite beneficial.

There is rarely any consensus about the danger of many cosmetic ingredients, either. One "expert", for example, believes you should always avoid lanolin, while another thinks it really only needs to be avoided if you're allergic to it. Because of the differing studies or opinions and the fact that the majority of the "bad" ingredients are used because they are cheap and/or effective, nearly every product out there has at least one ingredient that is on someone's "list of ingredients to avoid at all costs." This is hard for a girl who's all or nothing.

In fact, when I started my journey I knew I didn't have the time, energy, or patience to research every "bad" ingredient so I just made a list based on numerous other lists of ingredients to avoid and brought it with me to the supermarket in hopes of finding a new face moisturizer. I was in the "healthy" aisle and yet I could barely find a product that didn't have one of those ingredients in it. Let me tell you, I got a few looks as I stood in the aisle reading the composition of product after product and comparing the nonsensical ingredient names to the list on my phone.

It's, unfortunately, much more complicated than just shopping at Whole Foods or the "natural" aisle in your supermarket.

But I have decided not to give up yet. I now have a new mindset and a rough plan. That plan? Patience. Taking it one product at a time.

That probably sounds like elementary to many people. But as an "all or nothing" kind of girl this is new for me. This is also where this blog comes in. It's not so much a blog for other people as it is somewhere I can record my "learnings" and experiences so I can easily reference them as time goes by.

If anyone does read this, besides myself, I hope you find my journey helpful (assuming I get anywhere with it). If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. However, I ask that any statements made as fact (e.g. "parabens are horrible for you") are followed by some sort of reference for said fact. In this journey, I'm also trying to be more critical of what I hear/read. I'm far from being any good at it yet, but one has to start somewhere. 

~Erin

P.S. Forewarning - I love using quotation marks and exclamation points! I also stink at grammar and am not a great writer. Apologies up front!

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