I really enjoy a good hot shower. I love the feel of the water pounding down on my back, the way the steam warms up even the chilliest of fingers and toes, and that clean, floral smell that lingers on my hair and skin afterward from my body wash and shampoo.
But, you know what kills shower euphoria pretty quickly? Finding out there are yucky, cancerous chemicals lurking in your body wash!
A couple of years ago, I joined Thrive Market, which is essentially an online, Costco-esque Whole Foods. They have a warehouse model, offering low prices on eco-friendly, ethically made, health-conscious products.
While browsing the website one day, I noticed they had a section of beauty and body products. A friend had recently recommended natural body care brand JĀSÖN, and I noticed that Thrive Market carried JĀSÖN body wash. The label boasted that the body wash contained no parabens, SLS, petrolatum, artificial colors, or phthalates. I honestly didn’t know what most of these were, but I figured they couldn’t be good. And, since my favorite Suave body wash didn’t make similar claims, I assumed that it must contain bad ingredients.
Up until the past year, I made most of my clean beauty choices this way. I didn’t necessarily research whether my current products were healthy, I just assumed that they weren’t if they didn’t state so on the label. I would then opt for a product that did claim to be clean and natural. The vast majority of the time, this meant that I did, in fact, make better product choices. However, I often wasn’t making the BEST possible choices, since I was basing my decision on a label rather than an intelligent understanding of which ingredients were actually good or bad.
Fast forward to this year, when I downloaded and started using the Think Dirty app. Y’all. This is such a helpful piece of technology. Think Dirty rates how toxic beauty products are based on their ingredients. The ratings are on a 0-10 scale, with 0 being the best score and 10 being the dirtiest. Think Dirty also explains each ingredient and describes potential ill-effects. The app even suggests cleaner product alternatives based on the type of product you’re looking up!
I had been right to assume my Suave body wash wasn’t exactly the healthiest for me. It ranks in at an unhealthy 9 on the Think Dirty scale with no-no ingredients such as fragrance (hormone disruptor/allergen), ammonium chloride (organ system toxin, skin irritant), and ammonium lauryl sulfate (possible carcinogen, skin irritant). Yikes!!
What I wasn’t prepared for was the rating on my JĀSÖN body wash. I assumed it would be somewhere in the green range (0-3). Wrong! I was astonished to discover that my JĀSÖN body wash was also rated a 9. The main culprit? Fragrance. I know that sounds harmless enough, but read this article written by my friends at Be Pure Beauty to get the inside scoop about what the word “fragrance” really means in the context of an ingredients label.
As thoughtful consumers, we should of course keep in mind that these ratings were given by one organization. I like Think Dirty because it is independently owned and uses real research data from nonprofit and governmental studies, but there are other sources as well (I also recommend EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database or simply Googling an ingredient and reading different articles that come up). Still, even knowing that Think Dirty’s rating system isn’t necessarily foolproof, it is a source that I trust, and I want my beauty products to rank low on their scale. Seeing those red 9s next to my favorite body washes was the kick in the pants I needed to get serious about finding a cleaner product. I use body wash at least 365 times per year, so I want to make sure it is not harmful to my body!
After poking around to see what was available on Thrive Market while also cross-referencing Think Dirty, I eventually decided to order a bottle of Acure Organics Energizing Body Wash. It scores a 3 on the Think Dirty scale–not a perfect score to be sure, but squarely in the “clean” range. The only concerns are that some of the ingredients could cause allergic reactions in a small subset of people.
Trying clean beauty products can sometimes be nerve-racking, as you never know whether they will work well or totally flop (boy, do I have some flop stories…coming soon to a blog near you!). Thankfully, this body wash is a total win. It is affordable, smells good, and does the job! And, I love that Acure’s products are 100% organic and use ethically sourced ingredients. Good for me, others, and the environment? Sign me up!
Cleaning up my personal care and beauty products has been a gradual journey for me. The prospect of researching all of my products at once and realizing I have to throw them all out is too daunting. Instead, I have been slowly phasing in cleaner products once I’ve used up the products I already have. This has been doable and satisfying! It is a great feeling to toss a bottle of toxic ingredients and replace it with a bottle containing healthful ingredients. My beloved shower time has been made even better by knowing that the products I am using are good for me.
Stay tuned for more of my clean beauty switches coming soon to the blog!
P.S. – I was not compensated for this post in any way. All opinions are my own! This post does contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link and purchase a product, I may receive compensation.