For the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing my insight, experiences and recommendations for switching to natural products. During this time, the feedback I’ve received from readers has been overwhelmingly positive. Many people have been reaching out to tell me about their experiences or to say that they are planning on doing this in their lives. After reading through all of your feedback and comments, the one thing that continued to come up was that many people want to do this in their lives, but they are overwhelmed at the idea and don’t know where to start. One person even asked for a “Dummies” guide! While I can’t say that I have an entire book of knowledge to share, I can say that I have created a “Beginner’s Guide to Natural Products” to share with you all today as I bring my “Going Natural Series” to a close.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty “how-to”, let me start out by saying this: I am not perfect and I am not a professional. My home is not a sterile environment where everything in it is free of all potential hazards. That may be the case for some and if that’s your goal, that’s fantastic. But I know that in some cases, it is almost impossible to avoid it. So, I do my best. I focus on what I can control like the products I clean with, use on my body and come into contact with everyday. I read labels. I do research and I make informed decisions. I think that’s all you can really ask for.
So, are you ready to make the change? This how-to guide will help you make the switch to natural products in your home and your personal routine without all the headaches.
Decide why you want to make the switch.
Many people make the change for various reasons. For some it’s in an effort to prevent any potential negative health impacts and for others it’s out of concern for the environment. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to recognize what it is and remind yourself of that reason when you hit some bumps in the road.
Do some research.
When I decided to make the change, I did a lot of research into what chemicals were harmful and why they were harmful. While I did some of the leg work, don’t just take my word for it; look into it yourself! You can read about some harmful chemicals in my first post from the Going Natural Series and also on the Environmental Working Group‘s website.
Create a plan.
I’ve talked a lot about how it can be an overwhelming process, but having a plan can make the transition much smoother. Choose one area of your life to focus on: Home, Hair, Body or Make-up. When creating your plan, you could think about things like your budget, the time you can allot to shopping for new products and trying them out, the time of year and who else may be affected by the change. My plan was to start with home cleaning products, then moved to body (which included oral hygiene), hair and finally makeup, however yours may look different.
Don’t try to overhaul your entire inventory all at once! Make one change at a time, focusing on one new product before switching to something else. Replace your products as you use up your old ones, adding in one new product at a time. If you choose to start out with a new toothpaste, that’s great! Spend a few days getting used to that before you add in a new moisturizer or body wash. Every change, no matter how small it may seem, adds up to make a big difference in your life.
Grade your current products.
Before you go replacing all of your products at home, check to see what the ratings are first. Not only may some of your products be safe to use, but if they aren’t it’s important to understand what is so bad about them. You can scan all your personal care products using the Think Dirty App and you can look up your household cleaning products on the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Products on both platforms are given a rating from 1-10 with a green, yellow or red safety indicator. You can decide what level is healthy and safe for you. That might mean using products with only a “Green” rating, or you might have some leniency – it’s all up to you.
Become a pro at reading labels.
Reading labels on cleaning and personal products can be very challenging, especially if you don’t know what any of it means. Just like with food, if you don’t know what an ingredient is, it probably means that you shouldn’t use it. To make it easier for you, I’ve created this downloadable Natural Products Ingredients Guide to help you avoid twelve of the worst offenders while you’re shopping.
Ask for samples.
Many stores that sell cosmetics and personal care products carry samples that you can ask to try out such as Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart. If they don’t have samples for the products you’re looking for, check with the store’s return policy and if the brand offers a money back guarantee – this way, if you’re not in love you don’t have to commit.
Commit to the process.
Transitioning to natural products often involves a detox process; it takes some time to rid your body of the toxic chemicals you’ve been using for years. However, good products are worth the time and effort to find. When you know what to expect, you’re more likely to be successful. You can read about my experience and what to expect here and read my suggestions for some of my favourite products.
When I made the change, I didn’t have a neat, step-by-step guide to help me through the process. My hope is that this guide will encourage you to get informed about the truth behind common household cleaners and personal care products and make the decision for yourself. I am happy to share the information I’ve learned, but in my experience, it meant a lot more to me when I was able to find out the truth myself. Be sure to print out my Natural Products Ingredients Guide and take it with you the next time you go shopping. Also, make sure you download Think Dirty so you can quickly and easily make the best choices for yourself.
Let me know how it goes for you and if you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comments below! Don’t forget to connect on social media @kels_blisslist on Instagram and Twitter!