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Ingredients

It’s time for cosmetics regulation reform and you can help!

I don’t usually ask for you to take political action, I’m just not that overt about my politics.

But there’s an important bill that needs our support in DC.

When I heard about it I immediately sent my representative a letter. And you can too.

This link makes it quick and easy. 

Why you should care…

There are major gaps in the federal laws that govern beauty and personal care products. The current law is only 2.5 pages long and is over 80 years old. I’m pretty sure there have been some changes in the way cosmetics have been produced in those 80 years.

Representative Jan Schakowsky introduced the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 (H.R. 4296), finally adding stricter regulations including:

  • Banning over a dozen of the worst chemicals from cosmetics

  • Funding research into safer alternatives to toxic chemicals negatively impacting communities of color and salon workers

  • Requiring full disclosure of fragrance ingredients*

  • Banning most animal testing

*Fragrance/parfum is currently a proprietary term meaning that cosmetics companies aren’t required to reveal the individual chemicals included within the term

You can get more details about H.R. 4296 here

I’m asking you to please take a moment and support this bill. Show Congress that we care about the safety of our products.

Each of us is an advocate every day. How we choose to spend our money is advocacy. 

Buying organic vegetables -  you’re an advocate for farming practices with fewer pesticides. Bringing your reusable cup to the coffee shop - you’re an advocate for creating less waste. Choosing a local restaurant - you’re an advocate for local commerce and supporting a family business.

Thank you for voting with your dollar and making smart and conscious decisions about the products and causes you support.

If you want more suggestions how how to get involved, check out my quick to do list.

Let's Have Some Fun with a Smokey Eye Tutorial

Talking about harmful chemicals all the time can get a little bit depressing.

Am I right?!?

So I thought we could switch things up a bit with a fun eyeshadow tutorial. I shared some easy-to-follow tips for a fun fall look!

I review my super quick everyday look, a subtle smokey eye, and a more bold evening look too. All in this quick 5 minute video.

Here are all the 100% safe and high performing products I used in this video: Makeup brushes 5, 8, and 9, Highlighter in Afterglow, Eyeshadows: Peach, Fearless, and Faux Suede, Lipstick in Pomegranate.

What’s your favorite look for fall? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for transitioning your makeup with the change of seasons!

Endocrine Disruptors and Puberty - Why You Should Be Paying Attention!

My oldest daughter just turned 13 on Friday. 13!

My interest in toxin free living snowballed after she was born. I was scared by the recent recall of lead in toys. Yes, you read that right. Lead in the toys that my baby was putting in her mouth. I continued to learn more about the harmful toxins that we unintentionally expose our kids to. Like flame retardant pajamas. Sounds safer, right?

Wrong! 

The most common chemical used in flame retardant pajamas is polybrominated diphenyl ethers, an endocrine disruptor.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) deserve way more than one blog post, but I’ve been curious about how EDCs impact puberty. After all, I have a couple of daughters who are going through that developmental stage.

What are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?

Let’s start with what they are. EDCs are natural or synthetic environmental chemicals that mimic hormones. They are introduced to the body through the air, water, and food. They can also be found in furniture and items used within the home or office. Additionally, EDCs can be transferred to the infant via the placenta and through breastmilk. They especially interfere with reproductive hormones and thyroid hormone (important for development of the brain and nervous system). 

How do Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals affect the body?

EDCs can harm every organ in your body and have been linked with male and female reproductive disorders, obesity, diabetes, neurological problems, immune and thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, and hormone-related cancers. The strength and breadth of linking EDCs to chronic disease has been compared to the evidence linking smoking with lung cancer. (https://www.endocrine.org/topics/edc/why-you-should-care)

Since we’re focusing on puberty here -

EDCs can negatively affect breast development. Rapid mammary gland development happens at three stages-  in the womb, around puberty, and during pregnancy. 

Disruption of normal development caused by EDCs at any or all of these stages can cause abnormal development, impact breast cancer risk, and impair lactation. 

For males, breast development occurs in utero and is stopped by a surge of androgen right before birth. In rodents, anti-androgenic EDC exposure has caused reversal of this response in males. (10.1007/s10911-013-9275-7)

This basically means that EDCs can prevent the body’s natural response to stop breast development in boys. Scary, right?

How do Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals impact puberty? 

Puberty onset and course is controlled by the neuroendocrine system. 

“Factors affecting the timing and regulation of the functions of this system may alter the onset and course of puberty.” (10.4274/jcrpe.v3i1.01)

Because they act like hormones, EDCs can influence puberty. EDCs can affect the hormone system agonistically or antagonistically and can affect puberty in an estrogenic, antiestrogenic, androgenic, antiandrogenic manner or through directly affecting the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). 

I’m not an endocrinologist, and I’m guessing you aren’t either...so what does this all mean? Summed up, it basically means that EDCs can cause early or delayed puberty, or may lead to sexual differentiation disorders.

There are natural endocrine disruptors, like phytoestrogens, found in food we eat every day. Coffee, carrots, legumes, cherries, garlic, apples, to name a few. But these are considered weak in comparison and must be consumed in massive amounts to have estrogenic effects. 

Synthetic endocrine disruptors on the other hand, are different. Here’s a story about one of the most well known EDCs, Diethylstilbestrol (DES). DES was used for years until it was banned from production and marketing in 1997. It was used for pregnancy toxemia and preterm labor. However, there were some major issues found. Mothers exposed to DES had a twofold increase in breast cancer and for female infants exposed through their mothers, a higher rate of cervical cancer, ovarian germ cell cancer, cervical or vaginal dysplasia, and vaginal clear-cell adenocarcinoma. (J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2011 Mar; 3(1): 1–6.)

Where are endocrine disruptor chemicals commonly found?

Many chemicals in everyday products are likely EDCs. 

Parabens, phthalates and BPA (bisphenol A) are examples of EDCs you’ve probably heard of.

EDCs are often found in:

  • Pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides

  • Cleaning products 

  • Cosmetics

  • Dyes

  • Plastic found in toys, bottles, food containers, lining of canned food, and cash register receipts

  • Flame retardants used in clothing, furniture, and flooring

How can I avoid Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals:

  • Eat organic and fresh food as often as possible

  • Say “no” to canned food and beverages which often have an EDC lining. (Even BPA free linings often contain other chemicals that might be worse.)

  • Avoid exposure to gardening and cleaning chemicals

  • Reduce your exposure to EDCs in beauty and personal care products

  • Wash your hands and dust and vacuum often - this will remove the EDCs commonly found in furniture, electronics, and other products in the home.

  • Stop using fragrances and don’t use products that include the ingredient “fragrance” or “parfum”

  • Reduce the amount of plastics you buy and use

I hope this article has you feeling informed and ready to make healthier choices to reduce your EDC exposure. 


Wishing you health and love friends!



More Reasons to Stop Using Disinfectant Wipes

Last week I shared my mission to get disinfectant wipes out of the classroom. My reasoning focuses on the fact that conventional wipes are harmful to the classroom environment and can affect the health of both students and teachers.

What I didn’t include is how unnecessary and often ineffective they are. Plus they’re just wasteful and bad for the environment.

Our society has become antibacterial crazy. The truth is that some bacteria are good and we shouldn’t be killing all bacteria everywhere! Before we had antibacterial products, people used hot soap and water, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide to clean. Soap helps loosen and lift dirt, while alcohol and hydrogen peroxide damage cell structures and quickly evaporate.

Antibacterial products, on the other hand, leave a residue on the surface. This may foster the development of resistant bacteria - plus studies show that we just don’t need antibacterial agents.

"Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water."  

- Janet Woodcock, director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

Until 2016, antibacterial soaps used a chemical called triclosan as an active ingredient. In September 2016, the FDA announced a ban on the use of triclosan, and 18 other antiseptics, in antibacterial hand soaps. 

What is triclosan?

Triclosan is an antiseptic. It is a registered pesticide, that bioaccumulates (builds up in the body). 

Why is triclosan bad?

Yes,  the FDA banned the use of triclosan in hand soaps, but it can still be found in other other items like acne treatment, deodorant, cosmetics,  and other items which aren’t under the FDA’s jurisdiction like: 

  • plush toys

  • building blocks

  • craft supplies. 

Unfortunately, with these types of items there are no labeling requirements to inform consumers that they  include antibacterial agents.

But back to cleaning...

All of this information is a good reminder to use the appropriate cleaning agent for the job. We shouldn’t be using harsh chemicals when soap and water will do. 

It’s also a good reminder that we need to be vigilant consumers. Antibacterial products became very popular. When they came on the scene you could see the word “antibacterial” highlighted everywhere. Perhaps this was because of the scare tactics used in marketing resulting in increased sales. As I often tell my daughters - don’t to believe everything you see on the screen.



Lipstick, Safe Ingredients, and Breast Cancer Prevention for National Lipstick Day!

Today is National Lipstick Day and I LOVE lipstick! It has always been my go to way to spruce up my look. In middle school I would head to the Clinique counter to try a new color and get a free gift - BTW, how many free Clinique bags did you collect over the years?

You may be wondering what National Lipstick Day has to do with toxin free living? 

I don’t know about you, but lipstick was one of the first makeup products I switched. I couldn’t stand the thought of not only wearing but actually ingesting lipstick with questionable ingredients - ingredients linked with hormone disruption, skin irritation, or cancer. No thank you!

Not only do I love lipstick, I also love organizations that share in my mission of educating and advocating for change. The Breast Cancer Prevention Partners are leading this movement through science, advocacy, and education. Their Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is spreading the important education of paying attention to the ingredients in cosmetics - something you know I stand behind! 

If you haven’t yet seen it, I encourage you to check out this video, a quick synopsis from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics on why choosing safe products is so important.  

Along with education, BCPP focuses on advocating for systemic reform around exposures related to breast cancer and they create scientific reports highlighting research to further support this cause. Policy change causes systemic change, a much greater impact in reducing the number of chemicals affecting us and the planet.  

As I hope you know, my mission with Detox by Design is to help women change their every day routines to be healthier and more toxin free, so I’m thrilled that Crunchi has partnered with BCPP. Today’s National Lipstick Day donation is a great way to both spread the word about the great work done by BCPP and provide funding to BCPP through simply buying a lipstick.

So grab your favorite shades today, ladies and wear your lipstick loud and proud! 

I’ll be wearing Marilyn!

DIY Label Analysis - Learn the Basics of Label Reading

Label reading is something I do for my Detox by Design clients, but there’s a DIY version I’m happy to teach for free!

Why should you analyze and ingredient label? 

Toxic body burden is the cumulative amount of toxins in the body. These come from what we expose ourselves to every day, like: 

AIR  FOOD  WATER  WHAT WE PUT ON OUR SKIN 

The level of a person's body burden is affected by their age, gender, disease status, nutritional habits, and genetic makeup. Dose, time between exposures, duration of repeated exposures, and interaction with other chemicals also contribute to an individual's personal factors. 

Our bodies can process some toxins, but if overburdened, they accumulate in the organs and tissues of the body. 

In essence this is why paying attention to ingredients and choosing safe products is so important. We don’t want to overburden our bodies with unhealthy elements.

As my greenwashing post shared, we can’t exactly trust product packaging, can we? 

How can you determine if a product is safe?

The first thing I do when considering whether I want to buy a product is check the ingredient label. First I look for these ABSOLUTELY NOT ingredients:

Then I search the EWG Skin Deep Database to see if they have a rating for the product.  If they do have a rating, then I make sure it is the same version as the product currently on the market and determine if the product and the ingredients meet my personal safety standards.

And if the product isn’t in the EWG Skin Deep Database… then I enter every ingredient into the database and determine if the ingredients individually are up to my safety standards. 

That’s a quick glimpse into my process. Yes it takes time and can be a bit annoying, but it’s worth it!



Mrs. Meyer's Products...Have I Been Greenwashed?

Mrs-Meyer-Clean-Day-Liquid-Hand-Soap.jpg

Have you ever been greenwashed? I know I definitely have!

There’s something about a beautiful label that draws me in. That’s what it’s designed to do, after all! 

Marketers use clever labels and popular phrases to catch the eye and make the sale. When those phrases are focused on clean and eco-friendly living but the product itself isn’t exactly as clean as the label, that’s called greenwashing.

Greenwashing is when a company markets or presents itself as an environmentally conscious or that their products are safe and healthy - but in reality they aren't.

When I see terms like…

  • Vegan

  • Green

  • Eco-friendly

  • Non-toxic

  • Cruelty Free

  • Natural

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Free of… (parabens, preservatives, aluminum)

My greenwashing radar turns on. Most of these terms are unregulated and hold no real meaning.

Healthy living has become trendy. Marketers are paying attention, redesigning labels, and creating new product lines to fill this niche.

What about Mrs. Meyers???

Let’s chat about a brand that greenwashed me (and maybe you too)…

Mrs. Meyers:

  • Super cute packaging

  • Inspired by grandmotherly figure Mrs. Meyers

  • They claim: “All of our cleaners are made with plant-derived ingredients, essential oils, and other thoughtfully chosen ingredients.”

  • Sold on websites like Gove Collaborative and Thrive Market

But when you look past the clever marketing, are the ingredients truly safe? 

I spent a little time looking into each of the ingredients listed for the Basil Dish Soap

Mrs. Meyers Greenwashing.png

Here is a diagram of the ingredients listed on their website. I listed the rating next to the ingredient for those ingredients rated lower than a B by the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

Six of the ingredients are rated a C or D! Additionally, the ingredients disclosed in “fragrance” are all rated a C and many aren’t even rated by the EWG. 

Also, Mrs. Meyers isn’t exactly a small family owned business. The parent company is SC Johnson. 

As I admitted earlier, I was totally greenwashed by Mrs. Meyers! I’m so glad I have the knowledge to choose safer products, not just those that say they are.

Once you start paying attention, you’ll see greenwashing everywhere!

Let’s Support Ethical Companies!

Transparency is important to me! I get very irritated when a company actively misleads customers. 

When we buy products, we are financially supporting the company and their product. 

Yes, it takes more time to determine which products are safe. Yes, it’s confusing to analyze an ingredient label. 

That’s why when I find companies I trust, I stick with them. (And I keep checking up on them to make sure they haven’t been bought out and reformulated their products.)  

While it may take more time to determine which products are safe and eco-consciously produced, it is important to do! Making informed purchases supports transparent and ethically minded businesses. 

So the next time you shop, look beyond the label and dive a little deeper. You might consider researching:

  • If the brand is owned by a larger parent company or corporation.

  • Where the product is made.

  • How the ingredients are sourced.

  • And if the ingredients live up to your personal safety standards

I hope you now feel confident to make informed decisions and can more easily spot greenwashers! 

Have you been greenwashed before? How did you feel when you realized you’d been misled?