My Frustrations: The Green Marketplace

You know the expression, “opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one.”

Well, here are a few of my gripes with the market known interchangeably as non-toxic/green/all-natural beauty.

I say this with love and respect for all those who strive to bring ethical, eco, non-toxic skin and beauty products to consumers. I will always buy and support non-toxic, ethical brands!  But I still get cranky about a few things.  Namely:

 

  • How many times have I struggled, staring at a screen, trying to decide what color or shade would work best on my skin tone?  I’d hate to know the exact amount of time I’ve spent on doing just that. Selecting the right shade of a product is a bit of a gamble at best, and downright frustrating and time consuming at worst.  Unless you are blessed to live in a major city that has a green beauty store, you’re like me and have to rely solely on reviews and internet pictures…or, if you’re super lucky, samples. [And of the websites that DO sell samples, they aren’t all that cheap.  Usually one sample is around $3-5 and many charge shipping in addition. Recently I wanted a sample of a product.  The sample was about $6 and the shipping was more than that.  I chose not to buy the sample.]

 

  • If you buy a product online and the color doesn’t match, your skin has a reaction, or you just hate the performance, 9 times out of 10, you’ve just lost your hard-earned money. It’s happened to me multiple times, and all I can do is toss it or pass it along to a family member who *might* use it. Yes, some companies accept returns, but most don’t and even when they do, it’s a hassle.

 

  • Desire for pure ingredients versus the higher the price tag. What to do when the price of a product exceeds what you can reasonably spend, but the alternative products are not “clean” enough?  There is no compromise sometimes.  A few times I’ve had to decide between the more expensive clean product and the less expensive dirtier product.

 

  • Off the top of my head, I can think of two or three beauty bloggers that I trust what they say.  Like, really trust.  The rest of the beauty bloggers I take with a grain of salt, or sometimes with a very suspicious eye.  Right now, there are a couple of green beauty bloggers I’m this close to writing off because they seem so insincere.  There are quite a few green beauty bloggers that receive lots of PR packages (i.e. free products!) and the reviews are almost always glowing.  It must be a double edged sword for some of these bloggers. Most people feel driven to say gracious, complementary things about gifts.  Think about Christmas time when friends and family give you items you aren’t thrilled with – you wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings by saying something negative, right?  I’m sure beauty bloggers feel torn, too.  Sure, most of them will include a disclaimer that says something about “all opinions are my own” and so forth…but, really?  I’d bet money that if they were all 100% completely honest, free PR products at least sometimes skew their reviews, even if it was done unconsciously.  [No, I don’t receive any PR.  No, I’m not jealous.  Even if I were given PR products, I’d be seriously upfront about my honesty, at the risk of losing that PR relationship.  But…that’s ME.]

 

  • There has been a major push towards “self care” in the women’s beauty space. While a lovely and beautiful sentiment, part of its mantra seems to say, “buy this expensive green product because you’re worth it.” But for women/families on a budget, you really have to think long and hard and make decisions on what to spend money.  Yes, I actually do believe in self-care whole-heartedly and I know that self-care doesn’t always mean you need to buy a product.  Self-care can be as simple as taking a walk or a hot bath or doing yoga.  But let’s be real – a lot of self-care harkens back to using products.

 

  • Some companies will proudly tell you that yes, their products are very expensive because they are luxury, high quality, all-natural products – and I get that, but it alienates people, too.  Why can’t one company have high-end and more affordable products as well?  The short answer is, they could – they chose not to (for various reasons, I’m sure). Everyone is entitled to do their own thing, and I respect that, but it’s disappointing when lovely brands are leaving out an entire population of more budget-conscious women and men.

 

I have been using non-toxic green beauty products for at least 10 years.  That doesn’t mean I went 100% non-toxic 10 years ago, but that’s when I started transitioning.  I wouldn’t go back to the mainstream dirty beauty items of my teens for anything – I’d rather go bare faced than use toxic makeup and skincare.  So, yes, we’re all sisters-in-arms in this green beauty space.  This is all said with love and respect, but it’s also healthy and natural to vent about the things that could be improved upon.

Baby #2: First Trimester Musings

Photograph from the book “Yoga: The Essential Positions” by Jacqueline May Lysycia

I received one of the biggest shocks of my life last autumn.  At an ob/gyn appointment for cyst pain, the doctor said she wanted to do a routine pregnancy test.  However, I really, really, really didn’t expect the doctor to come up to me 10 minutes later with a funny look on her face…and then tell me I was pregnant.

It has been several years since I had my one and only child, my daughter.  It truly feels like starting all over in many ways.  However, I’m older than the first time around, and hopefully more prepared this time.

The whole spectrum of emotions has hit me at different moments over the past several weeks.  I’ve felt shock, disbelief, scared, overwhelmed, anxious, excited, happy, and blessed.  Sometimes I feel several different emotions in one day.

As with my first pregnancy, my true prayer is to have a healthy child.  Here are some changes I’ve experienced as well as the things that have been the most useful and comforting to me thus far.  Now I am nicely into my second trimester, but I’m dealing with a second round of morning sickness, which stopped around 12 or 13 weeks and then came back about 2 weeks after that.

Symptoms & Body Changes

  • Nausea/Morning Sickness accompanied with dizziness and body aches
  • Discharge a.k.a. leukorrhea
  • Mild to moderate fatigue
  • Ovarian cyst pain around weeks 2-6
  • Tender breasts
  • Tender stomach
  • Beginning of a belly bump
  • Mild breakouts on my face, almost exclusively around my mouth and chin area
  • Bizarre dreams
  • Restless sleep
  • Very frequent urination

 

New Habits I’ve Adopted

  • Daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid/folate – pretty standard
  • Kegals – to strengthen the muscles in preparation for childbirth
  • Daily stretches and squats – again, to strengthen my muscles and be as fit as possible for childbirth
  • Walks – as applicable when the weather allows
  • Meditation/Relaxation practices, light yoga as allowed (when I’m not sick) – As an aside, this isn’t really a new habit – but I added it to this list and I think it is essential that when you’re pregnant and growing a baby, you try to have as calm and peaceful a demeanor as possible for YOUR set of circumstances.  I have many stress triggers in my life, but I constantly bring myself back to a state of relaxation and meditative peacefulness for my sake and my baby’s sake.

 

A Few Pregnancy Favorites So Far

  • Peppermint tea – for morning sickness/nausea
  • Pregnancy tea – soothing and mild, suitable for when I’m nauseous
  • ASMR – for relaxation when I have morning sickness or anxiety
  • What To Expect When Expecting book & app – for weekly summary of how baby is developing
  • Meow Meow Tweet Spot Treatment – for hormonal breakouts
  • Motherhood Maternity & Old Navy Maternity – for comfy, affordable clothes;  I’ve also purchased a few maternity clothes from consignment stores
  • Sea Bands – for nausea…I couldn’t say how well they worked, but I have them
  • Sour hard candies – for nausea…again, not sure how much they helped, but they were cheaper than Preggy Pops and essentially the same thing
  • Hot cocoa in lieu of coffee – heat almond milk and then whisk in cocoa and stevia.  Voila.

What are/were your favorites during pregnancy?  I’d love to hear about what you love(d) in the comments!