Empower Yourself RATHER Than Should-ing All Over Yourself

I often talk about the monkey mind and how all of the NOISE of other people telling us what we SHOULD be doing turns into a cacophony of absolute un-sortable nonsense in our brains.

This is why I pinky promise never EVER to tell you what to do.

However, I will point you in directions that I've found to be useful, helpful, and nonsense free. Today I want to talk about one of those resources that I always assume everyone knows about, like CNN or the alphabet or National Geographic:

The Environmental Working Group.

I was just at Whole Foods for some coffee and Kevita, and I got totally sidetracked by the cosmetics section. Typically, I'm a BeautyCounter user; and I LOVE it. But the problem with BeautyCounter is you have to order it from a consultant, and I gotta be real honest with you right now: I'm the type of girl who doesn't notice her concealer and face lotion are almost out until the last pump.

Now, I could use this as an opportunity to go sans makeup until it comes in.

I thought about it for a minute, and realized that MY voice wasn't the one making that suggestion; instead it's the voices of the feminist within who is carrying slight shame about her love of makeup, and also the voice of men throughout my life who have told me: "you don't need to wear makeup; you're beautiful without it."

Cool. I accept your compliment graciously and thank you. And there are many times when I do not wear makeup.

But... I like makeup.

So nope, that wasn't my voice. That was a definite voice of: "if you were really into holistic wellness and a true leader, you wouldn't wear makeup," which is a real asshole voice, if you ask me.

But, I digress.

Lugging a twelve pack case of sparkling lime water, my coffee, and two Kevitas, I stopped off in the cosmetics aisles, just to see if they had any makeup that suited my requirements.

A quick note on why I'm even talking about makeup: Our skin is our largest organ. We absorb things through our skin. We can choose to pay attention to the things we're putting into our bodies through our skin just as much as we do through our digestive tracts. Holistic health. Whole body. Now, one caveat here: there are a HECK of a lot of environmental toxins, so trying to be perfect about this is a fool's errand. In the south, we would say "bless her heart" about someone on a mission for perfection, 'cause we know damn well it's not going to happen. However, we do our best where we can and, if it brings joy, it's healthy. If it brings worry and concern and feelings of deprivation, it can go out with the bathwater.

Back to Whole Foods: While checking out, I was chatting with the gal at the register about the makeup I'd selected. She'd not tried it and wanted to know if I had. I basically told her everything I just told you, and when I came to the Environmental Working Group part, I figured, being a Whole Foods employee, surely she would know what the EWG is.

Nope. She didn't know.

I sometimes forget that I too once didn't know about the EWG.

I'm all about EMPOWERING you to make informed choices to silence the noise and tune in to what you want for yourself.

Lo and behold, I went to the EWG website when I got home to link to it from here, and their tagline is:

EWG empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.

Yes. Hallelujah, EWG. Empowerment!

Consumer choice. We all have a choice, especially when it comes to spending our dollars and what we put into our bodies. You have a choice. And I'm certainly not here to tell you what the RIGHT or WRONG choice is.

From yearly rankings of pesticide in produce (yielding the Dirty Dozen) to home guides to Skin Deep, the skin care/makeup app I'm talking about here, the EWG can be a great resource for mindful living.

Download the app (called Healthy Living) and you can scan barcodes while shopping to review its rating and pick the choice that makes your heart sing.

For Food: Rather than rating products based on nutrition, the EWG rates items based on nutrition along with ingredient concern and degree of processing. They then combine those three scores into a single overall score. Nutrition is weighed most heavily followed by ingredient concerns and processing is the last concern. The highest rating something can receive is a 1 and the worst is a 10.

For Skin Care: Tally up how many products you use throughout the day on your skin. From showering (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, shaving cream) to makeup to lotion and washing your hands throughout the day, the number can add up pretty quickly. Often, we don't even think about what we're putting on our skin (and into our bodies). Skin Deep's aim is to fill in where industry standards and the government falls off. In 2004, they began compiling a database and have over 80,000 products and rankings in place. A lot of the products on the shelf are not reviewed for safety, so Skin Deep stepped in to bridge the gap.

I invite you to check it out and review it for yourself. I know that I love scanning items and reading about the ingredients and rankings.

A rundown on what I just bought and their Skin Deep Ranking:

  • Trilogy Vital Moisturizing Cream: All Trilogy Products receive a ranking between 1 and 3.
  • Mineral Fusion Eye Shadows: 3 (mainly due to allergen concerns)
  • Alba Botanica - Fast Fix for Undereye Circles: All Alba products receive a ranking between 1 and 2
  • Mineral Fusion Liquid Concealer: EWG Verified for your Health (1)

I'll compare this to my old concealers of choice:

  • Neutrogena 3 in 1 Concealer for Eyes: 6
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer: 5
  • Covergirl Eye Shadows: 4

Note that the second set of what I used to slather all over my face also doesn't have HORRIBLE rankings. This isn't about fear mongering. I've yet to find a mascara I like as much as my CoverGirl Lashblast mascara (I discovered it while in a production of Sweet Charity where MEGA 60's Mod lashes were required, and I've never looked back), which is ranked as a 4. I'm okay with that until I find something that makes my short thin lashes feel as vavavoom as I like.

It's not about being perfect. It's about being informed about your decisions and feeling GOOD. Trusting yourself above and beyond what anyone else tells you.

A few other companies coming to mind that I've tried and loved for mindful ingredients:

  • Norwex - home cleaning supplies
  • Annmarie Skin Care
  • BeautyCounter
  • Dr. Bronner's (for soaps and such)
  • LUSH! I mean, you can literally eat any of their products and be fine
  • Primal Pit Paste (the only natural deodorant I've found that works for me, but funnily enough, this depends on your unique body chemistry)

Do you have any particular brands your totally devoted to? Let me know, especially if you have a killer mascara recommendation.

Brittany KrigerComment