When I graduated from business school, I decided I was going to make it big in the business of music and put my shiny new degree to good use, so I emptied my bank account and moved to LA where I was offered an (unpaid) marketing job working on a movie. When I wasn’t designing posters, conducting guerrilla marketing, or working screenings, I was interviewing for administrative jobs that I was “highly overqualified” for, and working on my tan. It was a great and very strange experience, and I made a really good friend out of it.
One day as we were going for lunch, my friend told me she couldn’t eat at this particular restaurant because she was allergic to wheat (unheard of in the early 2000s), and I thought, “Well this is some kind of phony California affliction.” Lo and behold, my friend who is an advocate for the Celiac Disease Foundation told me about the symptoms, lent me a book, I identified deeply, and when I eliminated gluten from my diet, difficult as it was, my lifelong symptoms vanished. I got tested, and am not Celiac, but am no friend of the gluten. That was the beginning (of the end?).
Fast forward to 2008, heading marketing for the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine under the direction of Andrew Weil, MD, working with thought leaders, authors, chefs, and activists in health like Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Chef Rebecca Katz, MS, Robert H, Lustig, MD, and many more. I was exercising, cooking whole foods and eating right, taking all the best supplements, and sleeping well (before kids, mind you). Little did I know…
I was at a conference having dinner one night with a colleague and one of our integrative medicine pediatricians, who told me that many of the mothers he worked with had difficulty conceiving due to environmental exposure, poor diet, and lifestyle, and in my mid-30s hoping to have kids someday, I began to pay closer attention to cues the universe wrapped up with a bow and hand delivered to me.
Like the No More Dirty Looks book (they have a great blog too) that my colleague and friend – a fashionista, astrologist, and amazing communicator – gifted me, and from that moment and forevermore, I was clean beauty obsessed.
So, this is why I feel stars, hearts, and rainbows for clean, green, and indie personal care products, and why I hope you will too:
- My own health: I raised a beautiful, organic baby, have felt so much better, and even look better with some lifestyle changes. Food is medicine, and so deeply affects your whole organism. Further, your body absorbs 80% of what you put on it, and truly, you shouldn’t put on your body anything you wouldn’t eat. If it tastes toxic, it probably is (looking at you spray sunscreen fumes). Plus, I make sure that all the products I use are doing really great things for my skin.
- The ritual: There isn’t much I do for me and me alone, but I can usually take two minutes of my day to mindfully enjoy the scents, luxurious feel, and healthful benefits of what I’m putting on my face at the end of the day, and take a moment to truly connect with and ground myself.
- Reducing my kid’s environmental exposure: My daughter and I are so close that she lives in my bubble. There is never any personal space, and it’s nice. Lately, she has been channeling her inner cat, which means that I get licked and rubbed against, and I know that whatever she’s touching is a-ok. I try to use green cleaning products, as well, for the very same reason.
- Monkey see, monkey do: Little girls want to be like their mamas. I followed my mother’s lead, and my daughter follows mine. I never leave the house without eyebrows, and I’m uncomfortable without lipgloss. The situation escalates from there. When I’m not home, she gets into my brushes, and lipstick, and powders and rubs them haphazardly all over her beautiful face. I’m sure she eats the chapstick. It’s all fruit pigment, coconut oil and beeswax anyway, so play on little player. It makes me happy that I can lead by example and hopefully influence my daughter’s good decisions down the road when she is ready to use makeup a little more artfully.
- Meanwhile, up on my soapbox: I enjoy influencing the people that I care about and helping them make good decisions for their health and their future. I tell my sister not to use endocrine disrupting products so her future little boy babies don’t have little girl parts. But really, I want her to be happy and healthy. Making myself aware of the options helps me make stronger recommendations and provide informed guidance (or at least refer to the right experts), and that’s one of my goals for this blog, as well – advice and lessons learned, shortcuts and hacks, and from time to time, a little soapbox.
- Believing in what you do: I care about brands that are grounded, care about their customers, and are passionate about their products. I’ve had so many wonderful conversations at conferences like the Nutrition & Health Conference and Natural Products Expo through the years and at the Indie Beauty Expo with inspired, intelligent change-makers in health and wellness, beauty and nutrition. Further, I am especially partial to products whose owners are knowledgeable about clean and sustainable sourcing, and wildcrafted and clinically-proven potent ingredients, without a whole lot of bad crap. Clean brands tend to be smaller and more agile, respond to market changes and customer needs, and can adapt their formulations and explore.
I’m happy, if nothing else, to be a fan of good, clean products for selfish reasons, and to do the best I can for my family, but even more, I’d like to help increase accessibility and grow the movement toward wellness, influence others who have not yet had access to the resources to which I’ve been privileged, and truly support the community of clean, green, and indie brands that are shaping a bright future.
[Feature photo by me and my iPhone. Subsequent photos by me, courtesy of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.]
Disclosure: A few of the hyperlinked products here that I use and recommend (and link to for your convenience) contain affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase after clicking on them, I will receive a small commission (for my convenience). Feel free to buy from the suggested vendors or from anywhere else you frequent or find value.