Choose Healthier Personal Care Products This Holiday Season

Today, we’re gabbing with Elizabeth Allen, a safe beauty advocate and toxin-free educator. She is passionate about educating women about safer alternatives for healthier personal care products.

The products we choose to use not only affect us. They affect the people around us, our community, and the world. During the holiday season, many of us give and get lotions and potions, so this is a perfect time to look instead to healthier personal care products.

Why Healthier Personal Care Products Matter

It’s important to remember that our skin is our biggest organ, and what we put on it is absorbed. Studies show that 60% up to 100% of what we put on our skin goes right into the bloodstream, with no filters. What you use in your daily routines matters to your overall health.

Europe has banned more than 1,300 harmful chemicals from everyday products. The United States Food and Drug Administration, on the other hand, has only banned 11. That means we need to be very diligent in what we purchase and use in and on our bodies. Unfortunately, our government isn’t always looking out for us.

Don’t Be Fooled by Greenwashing

Given the minimal regulations on packaging and ingredients in the US skincare industry, companies are likely to claim what will help the product sell—regardless of the truth behind it. The packaging may highlight “good ingredients” and not mention the harmful additives. In fact, they may even lure you in with pictures of flowers or natural surroundings. As a smart consumer with an eye on healthy ingredients, you need to review the ingredients yourself.

Ingredients to Avoid in Healthier Personal Care Products

How can you know which ingredients are good and which are bad? Elizabeth has a rule of thumb, and she consistently avoids three specifics products. They are:

Fragrance

Elizabeth refers to fragrance as the f-word for good reason. Did you know there can be up to 3,000 different chemicals hidden behind that fragrance? Companies don’t have to list them because they are protected as trade secrets. Unless the product specifically states that it uses essential oils, it’s a smart idea to avoid anything that’s blanketed as fragrance.

Phenoxyethanol

It is often suggested to avoid ingredients you can’t pronounce, and one of those is phenoxyethanol. This is a preservative that is commonly used in brands that are marketed as natural and safe. The truth is that it can cause allergic reactions, eczema, and hives. When ingested, it can lead to central nervous system damage, diarrhea, and vomiting. You’ll find it in many bubble bath brands targeted to kids.

Talc

Commonly used in cosmetics from baby powder and eyeshadow to feminine hygiene products, talc is a lung irritant and has been linked to organ system toxicity. There is even a concern that talc has been associated with cancer.

Start with Baby Steps

It can be very overwhelming to think that the products in your home might be causing you and your family harm. Your first response may be to trash everything in the house, but that can be costly. Instead, as you run out of a product and go to replace it, look for healthier personal care products. Scan the labels; avoid the big-bad ingredients; and seek to improve your health.

And as you look for holiday gift ideas, be sure to read the ingredients. These days, healthier options are available at every store. You don’t need to shop only at specific places to find great options. Read the labels at Walmart, Target, and the grocery store. If you shop online, look at those ingredients.

Take the first step to a happier, healthier you. You’ll be glad you did.

Subscribe on iTunes and get the show notes on The Green Gab Podcast.

Resources

Green Gift Giving Guide: My recommendations for greener holiday gifts

Returnable Refillable Shampoo and Conditioner

California Baby Everyday Lotion

Better Life Natural All Purpose Cleaner

Pure Intentions Health and Beauty Facebook Group

EWG

Full Transcript Below

Welcome to the Green Gab Podcast.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Thank you for having me.

Marla E. C.:                         This is Marla, and this is Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yay!

Marla E. C.:                         So, Marla the Green Home Coach in studio in Oklahoma City. I am loving this new studio. Elizabeth, this is your first time up here.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. I love this studio, too. It’s nice and cozy.

Marla E. C.:                         Isn’t it?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative). Feels comfortable.

Marla E. C.:                         I know. Not bad for an inner office. This is a really kind of cool place because it’s a coworking site and they have a podcast studio in here that I use, so I am just … I’m loving it.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         So, Elizabeth, give us a little bit more about you.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Okay. I am a mom, a wife, and a NICU nurse. NICU is a neonatal nurse, so I take care of tiny little babies.

Marla E. C.:                         Aww.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. I’m also a safe beauty advocate and a toxin-free educator. My passion is to educate women and let them know of safer alternatives they have for beauty products and personal care products.

Marla E. C.:                         We use a lot, don’t we?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, we do. We’ve got to stay beautiful.

Marla E. C.:                         I know, because we do use like, what? Twice the number of personal care products than an average man?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, we do. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marla E. C.:                         That can be a lot of bad stuff going into our bodies.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. We are more susceptible to body burden.

Marla E. C.:                         Yeesh. So, how did you get into all this?

Elizabeth Allen:                 I didn’t have a big aha moment. I think just journeys throughout my life. My sister had cancer, and she was diagnosed with celiac disease, so that kind of went into food choices. Then whenever I was pregnant, that made me more aware of what I was putting on my body. It’s just kind of like you said, a domino effect. Different experiences cause you to look at different ways of living. Knowing that there are safer alternatives out there, I thought to myself, why not? Knowledge is power. When you know better, you do better. As a consumer, it’s important to know what ingredients are in our products and how they’re affecting me and my family and the environment. You have to be a self-starter. Sometimes products out there just want your money, so you have to be a self-educator, a self-digger.

Marla E. C.:                         I love the fact that you acknowledge that what we use affects not only us, but the people around us, our community, and a lot of times, most of the time, even our world. This conversation’s come up a few times. For instance, if you’re choosing organic foods, not only is it helping your own body by treating it with organic quality foods, you’re also helping the people who produce that food out because they’re now using safer methods and not using all the chemicals, so that you’re helping the farmers and their families, so thinking up-

Elizabeth Allen:                 And the people working the farms.

Marla E. C.:                         Yes, so thinking upstream and more big picture is such a big piece of this. I mentioned this quote to you and I think this is the perfect place for this quote. I get a newsletter from a group called GreenBiz.com. That is all about corporate and business and organizational sustainability, but I love to keep my fingers on this. It’s a great resource if you’re interested in that as well. The gentleman that runs this, Joel Makower, who’s also one of the authors of a great book, but he wrote about this today in the newsletter, or yesterday. He said for people and sustainability, they are starting to see this connectivity. The way he put it was best. “The definition of what it means to be sustainable is expanding, albeit subtly and not necessarily consciously. We’re seeing the connections amongst social, economic, and environmental issues, the proverbial triple bottom line.”

I love the fact that people are starting to tie this all together. This is about … It’s not just about our planet. It’s about us and it’s about our whole world. If you care about people, then you probably care about this stuff, even if you don’t know that you do.

Elizabeth Allen:                 It’s your intentions.

Marla E. C.:                         Exactly. I’m so grateful that we’re starting to see this connection and people are starting to make that. I think the hardest thing, and you probably see this is a lot, is there’s so many choices, so fast. 15 years ago, there was very few choices. When I first got into this and I was picking cleaning and laundry products and household cleaners and personal care products because of some chemical sensitivities with my daughter, there weren’t a lot of choices. Now, oh my gosh, you’re like banging your head on them all the time.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative), and also to realize just because a product is out there and available doesn’t make it okay, safe for you, the environment.

Marla E. C.:                         Right. Before we go down that rabbit hole, which is the rabbit hole we need to go down, I’m so happy to get to know you and just kind of … Actually, it was pretty funny, how we met.

Elizabeth Allen:                 What? We had lunch together. We didn’t know.

Marla E. C.:                         We kind of virtually had lunch together. I’m at a local restaurant, having lunch with my mom to show her my brand new shopping website, Everyday Green Home, and Mom got so excited about it. She grabs my computer and she walks over to your table. You were having lunch with your husband and your baby, your precious little baby girl. I don’t know what exactly she did.

Elizabeth Allen:                 She said-

Marla E. C.:                         You’re going to have to pick up the story.

Elizabeth Allen:                 “Look at this awesome website that my daughter just created.” She just sits down by me and shows me what it is.

Marla E. C.:                         It was great.

Elizabeth Allen:                 We finished. She got up, and my husband and I finished our lunch. I was just like, wow. It’s so crazy how you cross paths with people. It was meant to be.

Marla E. C.:                         I know. It’s just like-

Elizabeth Allen:                 A part of the same journey.

Marla E. C.:                         I know, and then you came by the table and told me more about you. I’m like, oh my gosh. Talk about fortuitous. It was perfect.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I think we ended up talking for like 20 minutes.

Marla E. C.:                         I think you’re right, but it’s funny.

Elizabeth Allen:                 It was meant to be.

Marla E. C.:                         I know. You got to love these connections. I love the fact that I have fun, crazy stories about so many people I meet.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         You just never know.

As we’ve gotten into this whole world of better stuff, I mean, there’s a lot of people talking about better stuff, but like you said a little bit ago, it may or may not be.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Greenwashing.

Marla E. C.:                         A lot of people are putting in the word “natural” on things, and anyhow, greenwashing, yes. How do you know? Just in your realm, in personal care products and beauty products, which is one of the least controlled or regulated areas, how do you know?

Elizabeth Allen:                 There’s lots of tips that I have. Is it okay if we go into them?

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Okay.

Marla E. C.:                         Go for it.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Just a couple of facts that I like to remind myself whenever I’m making these choices is that Europe has banned over 1,300 harmful chemicals, and the United States, our FDA, has only banned 11, which is extremely alarming to me.

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah. It’s like, wait a second. Does Europe know more than us?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative), or does Europe care more about their people?

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah. I mean, we are a much more make your own choices country here.

Elizabeth Allen:                 True.

Marla E. C.:                         However, we’re also a lot more business-oriented and a lot more money-oriented here-

Elizabeth Allen:                 Driven.

Marla E. C.:                         I think that may have something to do with it, but there’s a lot of companies that are doing things a lot better, but we have to know how to find them.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. So, our skin is our biggest organ. What we put on our skin is absorbed.

Marla E. C.:                         We don’t have like a liver for our skin, do we?

Elizabeth Allen:                 No, we don’t, so it’s absorbed into our bloodstream, where if you eat something, you have enzymes when it’s digested that can help with the toxic chemicals that you’re putting in, like if you have food that has pesticides. It’s just a different way.

Marla E. C.:                         Still not good for you-

Elizabeth Allen:                 No, but your body-

Marla E. C.:                         … but at least it filters out some.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. So, whenever it’s put on your skin, you have no filtering system. 50% of what you put on your skin is essentially absorbed into your bloodstream.

Marla E. C.:                         I’ve even heard as high as 60.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marla E. C.:                         Yeesh.

Elizabeth Allen:                 It takes, some say, only 26 seconds for it to absorb into your bloodstream, and so that’s very alarming too. I think it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting on your body and what you’re exposing yourself to.

Like we talked about greenwashing, basically it’s when a company misleads you to believe that their product is safe for the environment, safe for you by highlighting some, quote, “good ingredients” and not talking about the bad ingredients they have in their product. The outside may have flowers, nature. It’s natural and it draws you in. It may say it doesn’t have this, but, lurking in the ingredients, it has bad toxins. It’s important to be aware of that.

Marla E. C.:                         Like so many of them that put … well, for food, all the ones that are putting gluten-free. They’ve always been gluten-free, but because that’s the hot topic right now, they’re cashing in on the phrase. We have skincare and personal care product that may be doing similar things. Is that true?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         Okay.

Elizabeth Allen:                 It’s important to be aware of greenwashing.

Marla E. C.:                         Tell you what, there’s a ton down that rabbit hole. Let’s take a quick breather, and then let’s dive in.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Okay.

Marla E. C.:                         We’ll be right back, folks.

Just a good place for a quick break.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I stumbled over my … when you … the enzymes, whenever you’re eating food. I stumbled on that part, so they’re going to have to edit that.

Marla E. C.:                         They’ll be fine.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Okay. I feel bad.

Marla E. C.:                         No worries. You ready to go on?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marla E. C.:                         Okay.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         Back on the Green Gab, gabbing about personal care products, skincare products, all that stuff we use on a daily basis and how to find it better.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         Elizabeth, keep talking. We started talking about how so many companies are what’s called greenwashing, putting labels on their products that they may not be able to substantiate the claims.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, or an example would be like detergent. It’s free of dyes. It’s the clear detergent, but they still have fragrance in there or other bad chemicals.

Marla E. C.:                         Okay, fragrance. Now, fragrance sounds innocuous enough, so what’s the big deal?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Let’s talk about tips when you are looking for safer products. Three ingredients. Whenever I’m looking for products, I … It’s overwhelming. You pick up a deodorant, and the ingredient list, you can’t pronounce some of them. They’re … go on forever. You’re just like, oh wow. I don’t know. I can’t memorize all of these. I don’t know what’s good, bad. I have a rule of thumb. Three ingredients. One of them is fragrance, and I call it the F-word.

Marla E. C.:                         I like that.

Elizabeth Allen:                 If I see fragrance on any product, I just put it down because fragrance is a loophole for companies. The federal law basically protects manufacturers from revealing trade secrets, so there can be up to 3,000 different chemicals and they don’t have to list it because it’s their trade secret.

Marla E. C.:                         In the fragrance?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. It’s a loophole.

Marla E. C.:                         So, that’s their magic recipe, but they don’t have to tell what’s in it, so we have no clue.

Elizabeth Allen:                 As consumers, we have no idea what’s in fragrance.

Marla E. C.:                         We do know as some of these products have been tested that this is where a lot of the not-so-great chemicals are showing up.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, carcinogenic. Yes, very much so. If they use fragrance, they’re obviously hiding something that they don’t want us to know about because of the loophole, so I just set it down. Deodorant can be … can have essential oils to add a fragrant smell to it, to have a scent, but it needs to say essential oils. If it says fragrance, just put it down.

The second ingredient is phenoxyethanol. It is a preservative commonly used in brands that market themself as natural and safe. They can cause allergic reactions, eczema, and hives. When it’s ingested, it can cause central nervous system damage, diarrhea, and vomiting. This was found in Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream in 2008.

Marla E. C.:                         Wow.

Elizabeth Allen:                 This is a second ingredient I would avoid. It’s in a lot of bubble bath for kids. You just don’t want your kid ingested it, little babies around.

Another ingredient is talc. It is commonly used in cosmetics, from baby powder, eyeshadow, feminine hygiene products. It’s a lung irritant and has been linked to organ system toxicity.

Those are the three ingredients that are usually common, commonly found. If I am going down the Target aisle and I need something new and I need to pick it up and look at the ingredient list, I make sure if those three ingredients … or one of those, I just put it down.

Marla E. C.:                         Gotcha.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Those are my go-to, “This is what I need to know.”

Marla E. C.:                         Okay.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Tips all around to changing, like transitioning your personal care products. [inaudible]. Have faith that there are high performance, safer alternatives. You don’t have to compromise your health and you don’t have to compromise your beauty for your health. You may think, “It’s not toxic so it’s not going to perform as well,” but that’s not true. Don’t be discouraged is what I tell a lot of people.

Marla E. C.:                         You may have to try a few things for what works for you.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         I mean, just like anything else.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Everybody’s body’s chemistry is different.

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I get the question a lot: Where do I begin?

Marla E. C.:                         That’s a great question.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Because it’s very overwhelming to think I have all of these products in my home, because when you think about it, what do we use on our skin daily? My first thing is don’t trash everything. Don’t think, “I’m going to go through my house and trash it,” because, one, that’s very costly.

Marla E. C.:                         Yes.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I say rule of thumb, when you run out of a product, then you think, “Okay, I’m going to go replace this product and I’m going to replace it with something better.”

Marla E. C.:                         Better. I love it.

Elizabeth Allen:                 That’s where you go. That way, you’re not so overwhelmed with, “I need to do this, that,” you know? When you run out of deodorant, look. What am I going to replace this toxic deodorant with? I say focus on what you’re putting on your body every day. If that’s shampoo, body lotion, body wash, makeup, deodorant, those are the things I would focus on because that’s what you’re exposing your skin to daily. That’s why women have such a higher exposure to body burden, which is toxins into your body. Our body is meant and made to rid toxins, but we overload it and it can’t do its job.

Marla E. C.:                         Then you get sick, and that’s when your immune systems gets damaged or something else, or-

Elizabeth Allen:                 It’s just a-

Marla E. C.:                         … cancer or whatever, I’m assuming.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah. Okay.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Then I focus on your house. I would say candles, wax melts, air fresheners.

Marla E. C.:                         Plug-ins?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, plug-ins. All of that is where I would … but first I would start with what you’re putting on your body daily, and then … so you’re not overwhelmed.

Marla E. C.:                         There’s obviously a lot of choices.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         The good news is is there’s a lot of better choices.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         I found an article the other day that was drugstore choices that were better selections. I actually went to the drugstore and read labels for a few minutes and picked up two skincare products that were in the local drugstore.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative). I guess we think if it’s in a health foods store that it’s safe.

Marla E. C.:                         Supposed to be better.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s not always true, and so that’s why I think it’s important to use resources out there so you know, “Hey, I’m not getting fooled that this is just a natural grocer so it must be better for me.”

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah, and I know these places do work to do a better job, but they probably don’t have the resources to read the ingredient-

Elizabeth Allen:                 To tackle it all.

Marla E. C.:                         … labels on every single thing.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative). A resource that I suggest is EWG. It’s an app you can get on your phone. The-

Marla E. C.:                         What does EWG stand for?

Elizabeth Allen:                 The Environmental Working Group.

Marla E. C.:                         It has some great guides.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, and so you can download the app on your phone and you can scan the product.

Marla E. C.:                         Oh, I haven’t installed the app yet. Oh. Totally.

Elizabeth Allen:                 If you install the app, you can scan the barcode on the product. It pulls it up and it will rate the product.

Marla E. C.:                         That’s awesome.

Elizabeth Allen:                 You can go in and it will tell you it’s ranked this because it has fragrance in it, and it will tell you all about fragrance and why it’s bad.

Marla E. C.:                         Does it give it the letter code, like the A, B, C, D … or A, B, C, F-

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         I can’t do this. Like you’re graded in classes, A, B, C, D, F. It does use that same … because I know their guides use that same ranking system.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, and then the Think Dirty app uses a number system.

Marla E. C.:                         Okay. What’s the Think Dirty app?

Elizabeth Allen:                 The Think Dirty app, there’s some controversial thoughts about the Think Dirty app, that it’s … because the EWG is non-profit, and Think Dirty, they don’t … They are not necessarily a non-profit, so you have to be careful.

Marla E. C.:                         Okay. Okay, I gotcha.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I use that. I can pick up my Think Dirty app and I can pick up a product and scan it. It will come up and I can compare what I have in hand to the Think Dirty app. If the ingredients match up, like if it’s rated a 10 for bad, don’t use. I can click on it and I can see the ingredients. What I have in hand, I can see if it matches. Sometimes, I know their formulas will pull up and it’s a different formula, like the 2015 formula of this product, and so you have to be careful and use discernment, maybe reference it, but it’s a good source to know, like, hey, this product in the past has had fragrance, or it has had phenoxyethanol.

Marla E. C.:                         Okay, because I know I found some listings for products the other day that were … They were several years old, and I know some of those companies have upgraded their products quite a bit.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. The EWG is more reliable, but if you can’t find it on EWG, Think Dirty is just a good reference to know.

Marla E. C.:                         I kind of liken it to … When I go to the grocery store, I have my route through the grocery store and I know what my products are that I’m good with and that I use in my home regularly. Then once every few months, I’ll take some extra time and I’ll read labels to try a few new things. I think if you can kind of take that approach with your personal care and beauty care products, then you get an opportunity … Like you said, don’t try to replace everything at once, and don’t become overwhelmed with it, but arm yourself with a little more knowledge.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, and don’t assume that everything is okay out there.

Marla E. C.:                         Is great, yeah.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I think it’s just also knowing that you’re not going to be able to conquer ridding all toxins out of your life-

Marla E. C.:                         Well, there’s … yeah-

Elizabeth Allen:                 … but if you have the intentions of, “I am going to know what I’m consuming and I’m going to try to make better choices with knowledge that I have,” and if you go into shopping or choosing different products, you’re going to have … Eventually these little steps are going to make a bigger difference. For you, it may be important that you choose a shampoo that is toxin-free and also isn’t in a plastic bottle.

Marla E. C.:                         And I have one.

Elizabeth Allen:                 You may have a shampoo bar that you are choosing for your life so you aren’t adding to the waste in our world. Everybody has a different niche. Eventually when you get into this realm, you’re going to want to conquer it all. You’re going to want to not use straws. You’re going to want to have a stainless steel water bottle and not buy water bottles, plastic water bottles, at home. As you educate yourself, it’s going to empower you to make better decisions. I think that-

Marla E. C.:                         I love it.

Elizabeth Allen:                 … is why I haven’t … Every little thing makes a difference. You can’t do it all, but … and don’t be hard on yourself.

Marla E. C.:                         I know.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I know we all get that mom guilt.

Marla E. C.:                         You got to have the grace.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         Okay, so take a deep breath.

Oh my gosh. I am learning so much today from you, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I’m glad to hear that.

Marla E. C.:                         Thank you. I mean, just these apps alone that you’re talking about are going to be so much handier in the drugstore than me referencing an email or a website that I found. If y’all, our listeners, really want to learn more, the Environmental Working Group has a lot of really great guides for different sections of your home and your personal routine. They’re downloadable guides. Yeah, we’re putting a plug-in for EWG, but they’ve done a lot of good work.

I know just from my personal experience that there’s a lot of people tackling this in different ways, and so like you were saying, pick what’s important to you and go that route. For instance, if packaging was a big deal to you, you could go with shampoo bars instead of plastic bottled shampoo. If that’s not working for you right now, buy the biggest shampoo bottle you can so at least you’re not having to buy a lot of plastic.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Or reuse because recycling … China isn’t taking ours anymore.

Marla E. C.:                         Right. Yeah. We’ve got to just flat-out cut down on how much waste we’re using.

I found a really cool product. It’s made by a group of … a group of sisters? Two sisters. It’s called Plaine Products. They put all their shampoo and body wash in metal bottles, and it’s a subscription service.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Send them back.

Marla E. C.:                         You just mail them back. They sanitize them, they refill them, and send them back.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Awesome.

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah. I’m finding a lot more people putting their product in glass bottles because at least glass is easier to recycle locally and tends to get recycled more locally because it’s so heavy, so that’s another option. I know some of the big companies that, especially some of the network marketing companies that are doing better products, not necessarily … Depends on your terminology of better. There’s lots of resources you can get for those, but a lot of their reps have started asking about, “What are you going to do about packaging and recyclablility?” Pick what’s important to you and, like you said, go for it.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Then eventually it will all be important to you.

Marla E. C.:                         It will, and that’s … I started this journey 13, 14 years ago. You probably had the same thing. What I found is once I started doing a few things, it was like a challenge. It was like, “Oh, what else can I do?” because we get competitive with ourselves.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         But over time, it just becomes a habit. There’s some things I still haven’t found great alternatives for, but there’s other things that I’ve had out of my routine for so long, I don’t even think … I’m just like, “Doesn’t everybody do it this way?”

Elizabeth Allen:                 It decreases your exposure. Even if you have one bad thing, rid yourself of five bad things. It takes that load off of your body so your body can do what it’s made to do.

Marla E. C.:                         To do. There are some great options, anyway, so much out there. I’m sorry, folks, but people have been making stuff for millennia. Yes, we’ve gotten more sophisticated and stuff, but cosmetics and skincare have been around since I think the beginning of history.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         Like, just changed. That’s why a lot of us are going back to some of those.

Elizabeth Allen:                 We are.

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Very true.

Another tip I was going to give, whenever you’re looking for products and if you’re in the store, a big red flag is if they don’t list all of their ingredients.

Marla E. C.:                         Now, why wouldn’t they have to list all their ingredients?

Elizabeth Allen:                 They may list some and then they will say, “The full list is on our website.” A lot of times, that happens with candles, or they use a little bit of soy wax and then a little bit of the bad stuff. If they don’t list it, then that is a big red flag. If you’re on a website and you’re having such a hard time, they’re not transparent-

Marla E. C.:                         Finding it.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, then you’re kind of like, “I give up.”

Marla E. C.:                         That’s really a really good tips, folks, because that lack of transparency says that something awry.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes. Transparency is key if you can find a list.

Marla E. C.:                         It makes sense to me.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I also have a Facebook community group. It’s called Pure Intentions Health and Beauty.

Marla E. C.:                         She puts lots of good stuff up there.

Elizabeth Allen:                 We do a lot of safe swaps, so if you’re used to using this deodorant, here is … I provide why this deodorant isn’t great for you and here’s a safer alternative. We do that with all type of categories, from self-care products like shampoo, makeup, face wash, lotions, to even food and also straws or water bottles. There’s just a lot of information out there for like-minded women to be transparent, like, “Hey, I tried this product and it’s not working great for me. Does anybody else have a product they’ve tried that they like?” or “So-and-so’s having a sale,” and so it’s just a really nice resource if you are having a hard time using discernment on what to use [crosstalk]-

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah. You don’t have to figure it out by yourself.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. Exactly.

Marla E. C.:                         That’s the best thing. Take advantage of this because it’s … to our lovely listeners … because just getting one or two tips is really going to help you get on the road, and it’s-

Elizabeth Allen:                 And take off, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah, and it’s … I think once you get going, it’s a lot easier than you think it’ll be.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, I agree. It can be overwhelming some days, but I promise if you just take one product at a take, it makes the world of difference.

Marla E. C.:                         Do you remember what the first one was you did?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Let’s see. Probably my first would’ve been deodorant.

Marla E. C.:                         Okay.

Elizabeth Allen:                 My first change would be deodorant.

Marla E. C.:                         The simple thing for deodorant is, if nothing else, switch from an antiperspirant to a deodorant so you’re not using aluminum. That’s the big first change you can make. Then there’s obviously a lot of other grades you can go to. I’m going to have to get your recommendations because I’m looking for a new brand.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Another change that I did was a laundry detergent-

Marla E. C.:                         That was my first one.

Elizabeth Allen:                 … and dryer sheets. I use dryer balls now.

Marla E. C.:                         Wool dryers balls?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes.

Marla E. C.:                         Don’t you love them?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative), and if I want a little scent, I just put some essential oils on them and pop them in and I have … because I think that was the hardest thing for my husband, and I think men in general, is the fragrance, smell, like, “There’s no smell on my clothes,” because we think clean equals-

Marla E. C.:                         Is a smell.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative), and it’s not. It’s not a smell. But my husband now will walk down the cleaning aisles in Target and he’s like, “Oh my word. I’m getting a headache.” I’m like, “Exactly.”

Marla E. C.:                         From all the fragrance?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah. That’s me. I can be a mile away from-

Elizabeth Allen:                 And it’s like in your throat.

Marla E. C.:                         … candles that aren’t pure, and oh my gosh. It’s like, wow.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. Don’t knock it until you try it. That’s another thing.

Marla E. C.:                         That’s great advice.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Give yourself time to detox. Stay away, and then when you have done that for a while and you go back to a store that has fragrance, you … It’s mind-blowing, I promise.

Marla E. C.:                         You’ve got a little one, so I’m sure you cleaned up her routine, or it was clean before she came, I’m guessing.

Elizabeth Allen:                 It was clean before she came.

Marla E. C.:                         What are a couple of tips when we’re looking for great products for our little ones?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Like I said, the phenoxyethanol in the bubble bath is what I would eliminate. I would also eliminate fragrance in our detergent because their senses are way more sensitive than ours.

Marla E. C.:                         That makes sense.

Elizabeth Allen:                 They want to smell mom and dad, their natural smell, not a big flower ball of nasty.

Marla E. C.:                         Of stuff, of artificial flowers.

Elizabeth Allen:                 A synthetic flower smell is what I should say.

Marla E. C.:                         There you go.

Elizabeth Allen:                 I think it’s important to do the fragrance laundry detergent and their body wash and body lotion, because they have clothes on, and when you’re bathing them, you don’t want them ingesting that. Carina Organics is my favorite baby wash.

Marla E. C.:                         Okay.

If you want help getting started, our dear, sweet listeners, please, besides checking out this podcast, which you’re already doing, jump on Elizabeth’s Facebook group, and reminds us-

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes, Pure Intentions-

Marla E. C.:                         Pure Intentions.

Elizabeth Allen:                 … Health and Beauty.

Marla E. C.:                         There you go. If you can’t find the resources you are looking for or need some help, message me, contact me through the podcast, whatever you need to find us. We’d like to help. Really, there’s a lot of resources to get you going. You don’t need all of them. You need to pick one or two and then get going, right? Don’t you think?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. On the Facebook group, you can search, like if you’re looking for baby wipes, deodorant, body wash. I also have a master list on the Facebook page. It lists in categories things that I have tried and that I would buy again.

Marla E. C.:                         Oh, okay. That’s awesome.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative), so from every aspect, like men body wash, women’s, kid’s, diapers, detergent, baby wipes.

Marla E. C.:                         Oh, I may need to look at that, just see about putting a few more things on the online shop.

Elizabeth Allen:                 My master list is awesome. You can just google it, like master list, and it pulls it all up.

Marla E. C.:                         Okay. Sweet.

Well, I’ve learned so much today. I love doing this because I learn so much from everybody that comes on.

Elizabeth Allen:                 Knowledge is power.

Marla E. C.:                         Knowledge is power. You’re so right. I cannot thank you enough for your time, coming on today and sharing all your knowledge with the Green Gab audience. Please-

Elizabeth Allen:                 Thanks for having me.

Marla E. C.:                         Yeah. Connect with Elizabeth, and find one or two things and get started, right?

Elizabeth Allen:                 Yes. Go for it.

Marla E. C.:                         Go for it. I love it.

Well, everyone, you have a great, green day. Please, if you love this podcast, let us know. Let us know what else we can talk about for you. Leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast. We look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Have a great day.

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