[Quyen] Day 2: A Past Challenger’s Tale

Jul 10, 2013

Whenever I get into something new, I like to talk to people that are already ¬†involved in the something new in some way. Little did I know that my sister actually went through a challenge of her own a little while back. I knew that she had gone through this period of phasing out her beauty products to be eco-friendly, but not until I mentioned this project to her husband did I also learn that it was quite an adventure for her as well. Let’s see what she had to say.

Tell us about your organics journey. When did you start and what made you decide to do it? Did something trigger it?

I want to say 4 years ago. I didn’t want to put chemicals and unnatural products in my body in any form or fashion, so I wanted to switch over to anything organic or green as much as possible. I don’t know if anything triggered it, but I’ve always wanted to be green, I’ve always supported pro-green movements, so this was just another way of supporting that.

How did you go about it? What was your process?

I just started looking around on drugstore.com which was where I bought all your hygiene needs. They had a whole green section on their website. I tried to find something for everything that I use on a regular basis. In order to decide which ones to buy, I read customer reviews. I went with products with the least negative reviews, or the negative reviews that were more constructive or wouldn’t mind dealing with. The only other research I did was to go onto the manufacturer’s website to read up on what they are about, what they put into their products, what they stand for.

What was most important to you in selecting new products?

A little bit of both price and review. If the reviews were high and the price was high, I was not likely to buy it. If the reviews were good and the price was average, and the price was average, I would probably buy it. I just went with average. I also compared the price of the organic product to the product I was currently using to be close to what I was currently paying.

What surprised you the most along the way?

How many products there were out there that labeled themselves as organic. There was a huge selection of products to choose from for being green. I thought there was going to be a limited selection and it was going to be easy, but it was more difficult because there was more of a selection to choose from. Difficult because I wasn’t sure which product was the best product, so I had to do a lot of research to see what product might be best for me. It took a lot of time and effort. I’m a little indecisive (chuckles), so it even took me longer than that to decide if I wanted to do it or not.

What about the products that you already had? What did you do with them?

I donated the unopened ones to family and friends who would be willing to use them. As for the ones already opened, I just saved them for camping trips or trips where I would have to go places, put them in small bottles and not having to care about them getting old. I wouldn’t have to worry them getting bad, whereas with organic products I would have to worry about the expiration date.

Now have you fully switched over?

No, I have come to the realization that I am not fully comfortable switching. At this time I don’t feel I want to fully switch over because I don’t feel that certain products in the organic line are comparable to the non-organic product version. For example, I was using Arm & Hammer toothpaste before and tried to switch over but it wasn’t giving me the same results, so I switched back. I tried 3 or 4 different toothpastes with good reviews, and didn’t find anything that was comparable. Same thing with my mouthwash and floss. All of my oral care is non-organic. With hair products – shampoo and conditioner – I tried switching, but again the results were not as good as the non-organic product. It was just drying out my hair too much, so now I’m using a salon product. However, for hair styling products, organic products were pretty comparable. They may be a little more expensive, but they are comparable. I decided not to stick with those just because of price though, not results.

What organic products are you currently using that are working for you?

I’m using a face wash as my night face wash: Beauty Without Cruelty Vitamin C Facial Cleanser. It somehow makes my skin look better after a day in the sun. I can feel it tingling and working. It advertises itself to reverse the effects of UV rays on the skin. It’s very gentle and feels good. It doesn’t sting – very gentle. I have a Beauty Without Cruelty eye makeup remover that doesn’t have any oily residue and doesn’t sting either.

This might seem out of the ordinary – I use organic pads and pantiliners. They are from Seventh Generation. I used to use Always, and they are more comfortable than Always (and Always was pretty comfortable). They are soft like Stayfree but not as thick.

I also use a nail polish from Peacekeeper. They also donate a portion of the proceeds to women’s issues. I have one of their lipsticks too which works really well.

What would you recommend to others who are trying to do the same (besides your sister that you know you love so much)?

I recommend doing a lot of research and reading a lot of reviews. I know I only looked through drugstore.com, but I say do the research before you buy. My general takeaway is you get what you pay for. If you want to go green, you have to pay a little extra for it. It costs more to produce organic products than to produce chemically based products. If you have the means and you’re willing to pay the extra amount, then great, awesome. If you don’t have the means but are really serious about going green, you can look up natural remedies and will find other ways to save money in the process. It will be more difficult because you’ll have to do more research.

Anything else you want to share about your experience?

Just because a product doesn’t work for you the first time, don’t hesitate to try again because it might just be a bad batch. What I’ve noticed is that sometimes I’ll buy an organic product and it is different from the last time I bought it – it smells or doesn’t feel right or something. Something probably just went sour, because it’s organic. They probably don’t have preservatives since they’re trying to be green. Over time products might start to smell funny but they still work the same – if you’re able to ignore the smell, that’s cool. As far as health-wise, it’s better in the long run, but if you have allergies you might want to talk to your doctor first.

Don’t always believe all the negative reviews that you read. I’d buy products and did not agree with the negative reviews. Don’t be afraid to try things for yourself.

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