Did you know that even a product marketed to you as “clean” can still be unsafe? It’s true and I’m going to share with you how and why. Marketing can be deceiving and corporate business practices can be deceptive so I am also going to share how I shop for cleaner products and better options for our family and it all comes down to a very convenient app!
It’s something called the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973. Through this legislation, companies can leave out thousands of additional chemicals from their product labeling to protect their company trade secrets. While the law requires companies to list their ingredients, it specifically leaves out “fragrance”. This is in order to protect the manufacturer from having to divulge exactly how their product is made. The problem? “Fragrance” is a catch-all term that can actually be a cocktail of hundreds, if not thousands, of additional chemicals that are not listed on the back and which you, the consumer, know nothing about.
Something to note about this: When looking on the back of the product within the list of ingredients, you might see “fragrance” or “parfume” listed. However, “fragrance” is not an ingredient. It is comprised of things.
So that “natural” and “green” cleaner you shopped in the “clean” section of your local big-box store? Probably isn’t what it says it is. This is called greenwashing and an entirely separate subject for another time, but if the product was natural and clean there should be no reason every ingredient can’t be listed.
Along with that giant loophole the FDA created for companies, they also state that the agency cannot legally require companies to warn about allergens in cosmetics and other products as they do with food. How convenient.
Because the chemicals used to make fragrances are extremely toxic. These chemicals have been classified as carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, asthma triggers, and more. And because our skin is in fact our largest organ, anything that comes into contact with it is absorbed into our bloodstream. That should make us all think harder and be smarter about what we invite into our homes.
Fact of the matter is, a product doesn’t perform better because it smells good. We have been conditioned to think that clean has a smell when in reality? It doesn’t.
While it can be overwhelming when you first learn about ingredients and how much of a toll the unhealthy ones can have on your health, I am so grateful for the options out there that are available to us. Our family has discovered so many that we love and truly experience a positive difference with. Here are a few that I recommend:
Honest Company (baby & personal care products)
Public Goods (home cleaning & personal care products)
Renzo’s Vitamins (supplements for the kids)
Young Living (essential oils, home cleaning, & supplements)
Dime Beauty (clean makeup & skincare)
Primally Pure (personal & skincare products)
Ilia (skincare & clean makeup products)
Beauty Counter (clean makeup & skincare products)
John Masters Organics (hair care)
Natracare (feminine products)
Azure Standard (a one-stop shop)
Porter Road (our favorite clean meat shipped to our door)
Organic Olivia (herbal medicine)
But back to what this post is about. When the time calls that we need to find something locally, I absolutely love using the EWG Healthy Living app to help navigate ingredients. I have previously shared about the Think Dirty app, however, there have been some things that have caused me to not trust it so much. Previously negative product ratings suddenly were more positive, etc so I ditched it because no mother has time for any funny business, you know?
EWG’s app is free to use and super simple. All you need to do is scan the barcode to view the ratings of each ingredient within that product. And with a database of, I think, over 120,000 products within the personal care, beauty, home, and food category? It’s my favorite shopping buddy to make sure what we are buying is on the up and up. I also have been a longtime consumer of the research, data, and studies that the EWG publishes and have found their organization to be an incredible resource in our quest of cleaner living!
Once you start using it you will see how eye opening it is! Products that have been touted as clean and safe scoring a D rating or lower and guess what it is mostly because of? Yep. That darn fragrance.
Does it feel like another something to keep up with in everyday life? I’m not going to lie, it will in the beginning. But when we started noticing skin irritations no longer being a problem, asthma symptoms lessening, and other ailments subsiding? Absolutely worth every ounce of effort in building the habit of being intentional with the products we purchase. I simply think of it as an investment into our greatest wealth and every little bit matters.
I hope you find the EWG Healthy Living app as helpful as our family has! I made sure to install it on everyone’s phone so even Dad knows what is best and purchases with confidence. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?! Wink!
And I hope sharing how I shop for cleaner products and better options helps you as you take baby steps to make changes and purchase intentionally!
If you are looking for more resources and education, you can browse more of my wellness posts right here. You can also join me over on Instagram where I share peeks into low tox living and how our family is doing it.
Cheers to wellness and intentional living!