4 Tips to Simplify Clean Living

Happy New Year, everyone! How is it 2022? I hope you all had restful, joyful holidays and are staying safe and healthy through this omicron surge. I wanted to take some time to simplify how to start bringing cleaner products into your life, since I know that while many are interested in this, the process can be overwhelming. Here’s four tips that can be used right away:

1. Avoid Synthetic Fragrance/Parfum

Fragrance/Parfum is the combination of chemicals that give products their scent. Almost everything we use on a daily basis has fragrance in it, and you’ll find it listed towards the middle-end of the ingredient list.

The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) doesn’t regulate what companies are allowed to actually put in their fragrance? It’s one of those industry loopholes, and since fragrance is considered proprietary and therefore private or secret, companies don’t have to disclose to anyone what’s in it. Fragrance is where many toxins and chemicals hide that are know to disrupt our endocrine systems and hormones.

Fragrance is also known to contain phthalates, a man-made chemical that helps a scent linger and makes plastics softer or more durable. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive issues among others, but avoiding them entirely isn’t possible. Since the plastics boom 50-60 years ago, phthalates have become knows as an “every day chemical” because it’s in nearly everything we use. You know the scent a new vinyl shower liner emits? There’s even phthalates in that. So it’s in the air and in the environment regardless, but that doesn’t negate how impactful our small daily choices are on our health when we avoid fragrance.

2. Pick One Product

Like I just mentioned, fragrance is used in pretty much everything: perfume, shampoo, dryer sheets, laundry detergent, soap…just turn the bottle over and you’ll probably see it on the ingredient list. So to make things easier and less overwhelming, start by avoiding fragrance in one product that’s on your skin all day. Here are three suggestions to get you started:

*Anything Beautycounter below, use code “cleanforall20” for 20% off your first purchase*

  1. Moisturizer:

My favorite daily face moisturizer

2. Body lotions

Clean body lotion

This melting body balm smells like a tropical vacation

3. Foundation

My new favorite clean foundation

MERIT - The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Foundation and Concealer Stick Cream 0.13 oz/ 3.7 g Clean at Sephora

3. Use a Sustainable Version of a Day to Day Item

A sustainable product typically means one that’s packaged in recycled or partially recycled material or is one that minimizes waste by being reusable. You might hear about this described as a product’s “carbon footprint”, and as we think about the health of the earth and the environment, it’s great to support company’s working hard to minimize their carbon footprint. The good news is that there are lots of options to incorporate sustainable products into our lives, doing so saves us money in the long run, and I’m linking my top picks below:

Instead of dryer sheets, use wool dryer balls

Dryer sheets are often filled with fragrance and phthalates and don’t break down easily once they’re thrown away. Try wool dryer balls like these, which are each good for 3 years! Add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like lavender), and you’re good to go.

Instead of cotton balls, use machine-washable cotton rounds

There are so many of these on the market and they really are so great because they’re gentle on the skin and they don’t generate waste. Use them for applying toner, removing makeup, etc. Just toss them in the wash once you’ve used each one up. Most sets come with a mesh bag for the laundry so no need to buy one. I’m currently using this set from Target.

Instead of paper towels or sponges, use a reusable version

This was a gift my friend and Beautycounter mentor Heidi gave me, and I really enjoy it. I’m linking the set of 2 + a drying hook here for you. Paper towels are so expensive and sponges breed bacteria and get that mildewy smell so quickly, so this is an awesome swap to try. You use one of these just as you would a paper towel or sponge: dampen under water, then use to clean dishes, clean up spills, anything! Run it under the faucet then drape over your faucet to dry.

4. Download the EWG (Environmental Working Group) App

This free app is one of my most used app on my phone. Environmental Working Group helps gives us the clarity and transparency about the safety of our day-to-day products that the companies themselves do not. Just type in whatever product you want more information about and EWG generates a rating from 0-9 or A-F along with a break down of all the ingredients and what the mean as far as how they affect us. They have over 130,000 products on their database, so whatever you’re looking for, it’s probably there.

I hope this post has helped you envision how you could bring in cleaner and more sustainable products into your life in totally manageable and cost-effective ways. As always, you can connect with me here or on Instagram. I’m over at @cobbleandbrick. Come say hi and thanks so much for reading!

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