Eating organic but using the same bath and body products...

Making the switch to healthier personal care products:

Whatever your reason for deciding you need to clean up your personal care and cleaning selections, welcome! It's exciting and fulfilling to make informed decisions for your family. I've found that many people who scrutinize what they're putting IN their body don't necessarily do the same for what they're putting ON their body. And remember, our skin is our largest organ!

Does it really matter if you're using so-so products?

Consider this: I've read that the average woman in the U.S uses a dozen products (or more) on her skin every day. You take a shower and you use shampoo & conditioner, body wash, shave gel. Get out, put on deodorant, lotion, body spray, hair gel, 5 types of make-up, the list goes on. If each of those products contains something even minimally concerning, I truly feel there is potential for a cumulative effect.

I've also found that a lot of people trust that if they shop at certain stores that specialize in wholesome foods, they assume that store is also offering the safest personal care products on the market. That is not necessarily true.  Greenwashing abounds. What is greenwashing? It's a marketing tactic that makes products or companies seem more eco-friendly than they are. Just because a brand features green leaves on the label, or even if they have the word organic in their name, it doesn't mean you can blindly trust the products to contain the best of the best ingredients.

So, where do you start?!

Do you just throw everything in the garbage and replace it all at once? No. That's bad for the environment and your budget. My advice is to finish up bottles you've already opened. If it's unopened, you could donate it to a shelter or post in a local free group as a gift. Then, as you run out of your current products, replace them with healthier alternatives. My advice is to start with the products you use most frequently, and those coming in to direct contact with your most sensitive parts. Deodorant is an important product to scrutinize because we have lymph nodes in that area. If you're rubbing lotion from head-to-toe, you want that to be a healthy choice. Hair gel, nail polish, maybe at the bottom of your list of things to switch out.

What are some things you can expect when you first start using new products that contain more natural and organic ingredients?

Important to take into account is that there are a lot of variables at play that affect product performance: hair  and skin type, water (hard or soft), machine type (dishwasher, washing machine) and most importantly expectations. What one person loves and highly recommends might leave you feeling a little underwhelmed. So expect a trial and error phase. A lot of companies do offer sample sizes in some products. You can reach out on social media, ask if any of your friends or family are using products that might meet your criteria as being healthier, and see if they'll pass a sample on to you.

Also remember that it is possible your hair or even skin might need to go through a bit of a detox phase. If you're washing and styling your hair daily with conventional products, making the switch to products with minimal, natural and organic ingredients might have a bit of an adjustment period. Conventional shampoo and conditioner contain many ingredients that can strip your hair of its natural oils. One option is to start cutting your shampoo 50/50 with the healthier counterpart you eventually want to switch to. If you're switching from an antiperspirant deodorant, your pits might have a bit of a detox period. Sweating is your bodies way of removing toxins, so when that process has been prohibited and then you switch to a non-antiperspirant, you may have a period of unease while you get used to sweating again. And some people even develop a rash as the toxins are finally able to be excreted again. But remember, it's worth a small bit of discomfort to get your body back on track doing what it's designed to do. Some people find that applying a paste of bentonite clay to their underarms helps speed up the detox process. And the good news is that many people have a pretty seamless transition!

And remember, it's okay to ask for help.

Others have been on this path before you and can likely offer advice! I've been on my “green” journey for well over a decade, and it's just that, a journey. It never ends! But once you've begun, there is no going back. While it might seem overwhelming at first, before you know it you'll be able to look in your cabinets and feel great about the products you see. Little changes add up to big changes over time, it doesn't have to happen over night!

I have shared a few guidelines I follow when looking over a product label on my post Label Reading 101.

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Jess is a mother of 2, blogger, and label-reading advocate who lives in WI. She has been a Poofy Organics Guide since 2014.

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