Mommy Scientist Series: Why I’m Overhauling My Skincare Products (Part 1)

Mommy Scientist Part One: Skincare Overhaul

I like skincare and beauty products.  A lot. A lot a lot.  I never used to think twice about what products I was throwing in my shopping cart.  I was the perfect consumer sucker for big companies marketing.  I used to assume that just because a product claimed to be “natural” or boasted the word “healthy” all over it that it was, well, healthy. Most of these products claim to do all kinds of magical things, when in reality they are creating an endless cycle of a need for more and more product.  This isn’t good for our health or our wallets.

Hello Mommy Scientist!

With that being said, I’m starting a fun, and hopefully helpful, series called Mommy Scientist.  Am I an actual scientist?  Not even close, but as I’m sure you know, figuring out what does and does not work for your skin is a process of trial and error.  A big part of my approach towards healthier living is looking at the full picture.  That includes the food my family is eating, the products we use around the house, and what we are putting on our skin.  I’m not going to delve into each and every potentially harmful ingredient, there’s just too much information there and truthfully, it hurts my brain.  I will tell you the main ingredients/culprits to look out for and I’ll show you how I’ve been changing up different aspects of my beauty and skincare regimen one product at a time. 

Why I’m Making A Change

The book “No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products” by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt  is a real eye-opener into the multi-billion dollar industry of cosmetics and skincare. This book really breaks down the harmful ingredients we are being exposed to, how to read labels, and the good and bad of different brands and products.   This made me really start to look at the labels on my makeup and skincare products and question what it was exactly that I was putting on my skin, which also happens to be the largest organ in our bodies.

Fragrance: An (Un)Necessary Evil

One ingredient in particular is something that we are all familiar with…fragrance.  But just because it does not have a super long scientific sounding name does not make it any less scary.  See, when the word “fragrance” is on a label, that could mean an additional dozen, or hundreds, of synthetic ingredients. The reason being that companies are not required to list what formulas they use to make fragrance under trade secret laws. What happens when these different synthetic ingredients start to combine?  Well considering that some of these chemicals are considered toxic, any number of things including skin rashes and hormone imbalances.

Fragrance is the first ingredient that I wanted to talk about because it is in everything. Not just perfumes where you are expecting it, but also body washes, detergents, hair products, makeup, your child’s body lotion.  Don’t assume that just because something doesn’t have a strong smell to it that it doesn’t have fragrance in it. Bottom line, if you see the word “fragrance” on a product label, don’t buy it.

Where To Begin Your Product Overhaul

I’m not going to lie, knowing where to start changing up my skincare and beauty products was totally overwhelming to me at first.  I can’t afford to ditch everything I have and buy strictly organic, and I also don’t have time to make all of my own stuff.  Take a deep breath my friends, no need to do either of those things. I’ll show you how you can DIY some very easy, but effective, products with things that are probably already in your house.  I’ll also give you some suggestions for cleaner store-bought options with a short list of ingredients.

The simple approach that I took in beginning to overhaul my skincare products is starting with one product at a time, beginning with one that I use very often. My facial cleanser seemed like a logical place to start and will be the focus of Part Two of my Mommy Scientist Series. I’ll tell you why I ditched my popular facial cleanser and made an easy transition to a homemade one that my skin (and wallet) love!

 icon-thumb-tack Quick tip: If you ever want to know more about the specifics of an ingredient or product, head over to my Resource page to find out where and how.

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46 thoughts on “Mommy Scientist Series: Why I’m Overhauling My Skincare Products (Part 1)

  1. Amanda

    This is such a great idea for a series. I am such a sucker too….it’s time for me to really understand what I am slathering on my skin every morning. Can’t wait to learn from you!

    1. Jody Post author

      Thanks Amanda! I love experimenting with new stuff so it’s been interesting! (Plus it’s fun to try out new face masks and see how long it takes my husband to notice when sports are on 🙂

    1. Jody Post author

      It is! I never really enjoyed science experiments back in school but these kinds are much more fun! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Amanda Marie

    Great post! I am always weary about what is in products these days! It seems everything from food to makeup to clothing contain harmful ingredients in them! I never really thought about fragrances tho! I have started to buy from companies such as Burt’s Bees! I like how they use natural ingredients in their healthcare products from lotions to face wipes ect! Thanks for sharing this post, has me thinking about what products I want to use and which ones I do not! Have a great weekend!
    ~Amanda Marie~

    1. Jody Post author

      Thanks Amanda! Yes, it is definitely a bit scary once you start reading the labels, but luckily there are a lot of healthier options available now. I love Burt’s Bees, it is one of the only shampoos that actually helps detangle my daughter’s curly hair. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Stephanie

    This is such a great idea for a series. Since having my daughter 2.5 years ago, I have slowly started weeding out chemical-laden products. Now that I am about to have our second (and last!) in 2 months, I plan to make this a huge part of our lives moving forward. We are big fans of the Honest Company but look forward to hearing about new companies to give our support. I have to say that since we have moved to natural/homemade products, the smell of perfumes, cleaning products, etc all give me horrific headaches now. Really scary. I look forward to Part 2.

    1. Jody Post author

      Thanks Stephanie! I totally hear you about the headaches from other products now…my husband teases that our house often smells of vinegar and lemon oil but I’ll take that over the chemical filled products any day! Luckily there are a ton more options out there now for natural/green products, and also some really easy DIY. Thanks for stopping by and congrats on the upcoming baby!

  4. Nina

    Great book rec! I’ve never heard if it before but now I want to read it. I have super sensitive skin, so I could probably use a little beauty overhaul. Looking forward to the rest of your series!

    1. Jody Post author

      It’s a great book Nina! (And I actually downloaded it onto my kindle from my library, so free too!) I also have really sensitive skin, as does my daughter, so finding more natural products has definitely helped a lot. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Debbie

    I am slowly substituting my products.
    As from June 10th, they will finally open a “bio” supermarket not far from here. I will be easier to get products mainly now that I cannot drive too long.

    1. Jody Post author

      That’s great Debbie! I am slowly replacing things as well…I find it is less overwhelming that way. Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend!

  6. Kathleen

    What a great subject to bring to us all. I too get headaches from chemicals and try to eliminate them. I am so glad that this subject is coming more and more out into the open, thank you for contributing to that knowledge bank that we all need.

    1. Jody Post author

      You’re welcome Kathleen! It is definitely scary to read about all of the chemicals that are hidden in our products. Fortunately there’s so many more options now for cleaner ones, including things we can use straight from the pantry! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Kim Hilbert

    The thing I hate most in a product is Fragrance. I wish they wouldn’t put it in. I received 2 samples from Ponds to review and I can’t wear the first sample b/c it has a fragrance that, while very small, gets on my nerves. I get tired of constantly smelling it. So while I’d love to review that product I just can’t keep it on my face for 2 weeks for a good trial.

    I’d love to know how we can tell manufacturers we don’t want the fragrance. I do it with my dollars, of course, but other than that, what can we do?

    1. Jody Post author

      Agreed Kim, fragrance, even the smallest amount now, gives me a bad headache. That’s a really good question about how we can tell manufacturers that we don’t want fragrance in our products. I am trying to understand more about that very subject right now. Obviously as you stated, not spending your money on them is a huge way. Luckily there are a lot more great clean, organic companies that are available now so that helps. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject!

  8. Christie

    Last year I made the transition to using natural beauty products as much as possible. And by natural (you can’t go by the names of products at the store since they are so misleading!) I mean I’ve even made my own cleansers. I feel so much better knowing I’m not putting harmful products on my body. Thanks for sharing this info with us! 🙂

    1. Jody Post author

      Yes, totally agree that you can’t go by the words that they use to market the products! I love trying out new homemade products, so much healthier (and easier on the wallet!) Thanks for stopping by Christie!

  9. Carissa

    I’m getting picky with ingredients as well! The good news is that it is much easier to find non-toxic products locally if you need it faster than Amazon can ship it to you! This week I found Alba lotion and Garnier Pure Clean hair gel at Walmart (both are made without Parabens/Dyes/etc.) and Honest Kids sunscreen on sale at Costco — cheaper than chemical sunscreens like Coppertone!

    1. Jody Post author

      Good to know Carissa! Sunscreen is next on my list to stock up on so I will check it out! I love that there are many more brands and companies now that are making cleaner products, hopefully other big companies will follow! Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Sandy Sandmeyer

    I just read the report on sunscreen products and was shocked that my Neutragena product wasn’t all that great. I immediately found a more reputable product that wasn’t dangerous. It just arrived today, so I look forward to using it in the morning. Thank you for your contribution at the #AnythingGoes Link Party. See you next week!

    1. Jody Post author

      Great Sandy! Yes, labels can be a scary thing to read once you know what some of those ingredients are! Luckily there seem to be more clean and healthy options available now. I would love to hear what you think about the new sunscreen! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Kimberlee

    I too have overhauled my skincare since last Dec. – I am now trying to use mainly homemade products and products I make using Young Living essential oils. It is so much better for your skin and does save money.

    1. Jody Post author

      I definitely agree Kimberlee! I have actually really enjoyed trying out different homemade products. I feel so much better know exactly what are in the products we are using now! I would love to hear about some of the different products you have made and liked! Thanks for reading!

    1. Jody Post author

      I’m excited too Linda! It’s been a lot of fun trying out different products and easy DIY! I agree, it can definitely be hard to stay away from processed things, that’s why I’m doing it one product at a time. It makes it a lot less overwhelming! Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Amanda

    What a great path to head down! Since I started using Essential Oils in the beginning of the year, I’ve been doing more and more research on making my own skin care products as well as household products. There are so many harmful chemicals, toxins, carcinogens in the products we all use on our faces, bodies, and in our home. I’m excited to follow along with your series! Thank you for sharing at Merry Monday!

    1. Jody Post author

      Thanks Amanda! Agreed, it is scary to read about what some of these products we are accustomed to using actually contain! Luckily there are many more cleaner products available now, plus it’s been fun learning how to DIY with things I already have in the house! I am excited to share my findings and would love to hear how you have been using Essential Oils! Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Amy Ngai

    Good idea with the new scientist series. I never know what’s in my skin care products. There’s so much that I don’t understand on the labels. This will be great for anyone looking to learn more about what is in their make-up. Thanks for sharing! #ConfessionsLinkUp

    1. Jody Post author

      Thanks Amy! Yes, reading labels can be totally confusing and overwhelming. That’s why I am taking a gradual approach with changing up my products. I hope the series is helpful! It has definitely been fun trying out different homemade products, and it has saved me a lot of money! Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Karen Patten

    This is so great! It is a big shocker to discover what is permitted to be sold. I started to be concerned about what was on my cleaners and beauty products as soon as I learned that up to 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed!!! Thanks for joining the Healthy Living Link Party!

    1. Jody Post author

      Thanks Karen! Agreed, it is shocking once you start reading about different ingredients and how they are in so many of our products. Fortunately there are a lot of healthier options out there now, plus many that are already in our pantry! Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Deborah Davis

    Hi Jody,
    You are playing my song! I used to be a huge consumer of high end, high-priced commercial skin care products which made great promises that never really delivered. I mean, I still look the same. (smile) Fortunately, several years ago I discovered natural beauty recipes and I stopped spending my paycheck on the brand of the moment and basically switched to using organic coconut oil and castile liquid soap for most of my body care needs. I also use almond oil and rosehip seed oil. My skin never looked better! I also experiment for kitchen beauty masks, moisturizers and cleansers for pennies per use. I can’t wait to read your Mommy Scientist Series. I am delighted that you shared your skin care overhaul plans with us on the Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up. I appreciate it. I’m pinning and sharing.

    1. Jody Post author

      Haha Deborah we definitely seem to be on the same page about these things! Yes, I love those oils as well, I am going to be talking all about them in part 3! 🙂 My skin has loved these so much more than the heavy moisturizers that I used to use. I love trying out different homemade skincare recipes, it is amazing how much money I have saved, plus the health benefits are wonderful! I would love to hear about your homemade skincare recipes as well! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Jody Post author

      Thanks Alexis! Haha, I am definitely a pretend scientist but it has been fun experimenting with homemade skincare products! Thanks for stopping by. I just visited your blog and pinned your recipe for the Vanilla Chai Tea Frappuccino…looks amazing!

  16. Casey

    This is a great post! We have gone through and replaced most of our products in our home with natural alternatives. If you can use a natural version, go for it! Less toxins!

    1. Jody Post author

      Thanks Casey! I totally agree, that’s why I’ve been working through my products one at a time! It actually has been a lot easier to replace many things than I had thought…easier on the wallet and better for our health! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Jody Post author

      I totally agree Anne! It is scary to read about what is in a lot of our everyday products, but empowering to know that we can make simple, but long lasting, changes! Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Deborah Davis

    Knowledge is power so I am delighted that you shared your fabulous Mommy Scientist Series: Why I’m Overhauling My Skincare Products with us on the Healthy Happy Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m pinning and sharing.

    1. Jody Post author

      Thanks Deborah! I totally agree…the more knowledge we have, the better decisions we are able to make! Thanks for sharing and stopping by!

  18. Jenny

    I hardly used anything on myself. Not because I know what’s in them but pure laziness so I guess it’s a good thing now. lol After reading this I won’t be buying so much in the future even if I do want to use it. Scary stuff. lol Thanks Mommy scientist. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

    1. Jody Post author

      Haha yes Jenny! It can definitely be scary but luckily there’s many cleaner options available now, plus some really easy DIY. Thanks for reading!

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