Earlier this week, I started another Whole30 round. I wasn’t feeling super great, in part thanks to poor diet choices, so I needed to get back to my cleaner eating roots to get back to, well, me. When I prepare for a Whole30 round, I like to go into toss it out mode. I’ll assess what we have in the house, what we can get in the grocery store, and I’ll pay closer attention to ingredients so I can make sure I’m true to a round.
So some time has passed, and I’m feeling pretty good about what I have in the kitchen and in the fridge. I have some meals prepped for the week so my life is a little easier. I’ve already planned out compliant meals to get at restaurants so I don’t veer off course. I’m feeling pretty good and on top of my game.
Until I get to my bathroom.
I’m getting ready for bed the other night, and I see all of this stuff on my counter. I have face wash, makeup, antiperspirant, nail polish, hair styling products… and as I’m looking at all of these bottles and jars, I realized that I only use a fraction of what is on my counter. These unused products are taking up valuable real estate, and for what?
An inability to throw something away for fear of tossing that money down the drain?
When I got to that last question, I froze on the spot. That was exactly what was holding me back from saying, “Toss it out.” I had this weird attachment to all of these skin care and personal care products and their associated costs, thinking that if I just kept them, I wouldn’t be throwing that money away.
So instead, I held onto lip glosses from college.
That last sentence is not an exaggeration.
With the kids tucked safely in their beds, I went to work. I looked through my tubs and bottles and jars and sprays to come to the conclusion that I need to toss it out.
When I finally compiled my little bag of goodies, I got a little curious. The bag had heft. This trash bag was substantial. I tied it up, put it on our bathroom scale and audibly gasped.
I threw away 12.5 pounds of expired, unused, ungood skin care, makeup, nail polish, junk. Truth be told, I feel a little queasy saying toss it out to 12.5 pounds of products that I’ve been carrying for years, but I ultimately came around to these 4 reasons why I needed to say toss it out.
1. Was it expired? Toss it out.
So much of the products I threw away were expired. And using expired products is a bad idea. Fortunately, I hadn’t really used a lot of it – much of it was hiding in bathroom drawers or in my old makeup train case – but I’m not a fan of infection, dermatitis, or inflammation. So anything old and gone? Toss it out.
2. Was it unused? Toss it out.
I haven’t worn green eyeshadow in over 15 years. And you know what? I still had a little palette in my bathroom. It was sitting there, hiding in the dark recesses of my beauty drawer, desperately waiting to be used. Or thrown out. But for years, I just didn’t. There’s some interesting psychology around why we hold onto stuff, and maybe I held onto the green eyeshadow in hopes it came back in style, but if that time comes around again, I’ll pick up a new palette. Promise.
3. Has it been in the bathroom? Toss it out.
My mom reads my site so I won’t go into the nitty gritty about bathroom behavior because, well, I’d like to think we’re all well-versed about what happens in a bathroom. Except for my toddler. Right now, he’s fascinated with flushing and making toilet paper mummies. But I digress.
Bathrooms are breeding grounds for bacteria (among other things), and we keep stuff that we put all over our faces and skin in the bathroom. With, you know, the other stuff. I think this qualifies as a pretty good reason to toss it out.
4. Is it not safe for me and my family? Toss it out.
Since joining up with Beautycounter, I’ve gone a little bit into researcher mode on what ingredients I want in my products. As kind of a corollary to doing Whole30 where I think about what I put in my body, I started to think about what I put on my body. And when I started learning more and more about certain harmful ingredients that are in our face washes, mascaras, shampoos, I started to get a little squishy. There are several great lists concerning what ingredients you should look out for, and anything that didn’t pass muster? You’re right. Toss it out.
Once I applied these 4 criteria to my search, I very quickly ended up with 12.5 pounds of skin care, makeup, and personal care products that had to go. I’ll admit that it feels a little scary to just get rid of all of that stuff, but I know the next time I get ready, I’ll feel better about what I have at my immediate disposal.
But before I close, I want to be really clear with you about this endeavor. Sometimes, I feel that when we make big gestures like this – and dumping 12.5 pounds of crummy personal care products is a big freakin’ gesture – there may be an implication that if you’re not making the same grand gesture, you’re not doing the right thing.
Let me speak on that for a hot second.
These changes are not a zero sum game. I don’t get a gold star for dumping 12.5 pounds of stuff (and I’ll bet that when my husband reads this, he’ll be a little agog that I had been carrying around that dead weight for years). The Greener Living Fairies aren’t magically going to leave me a gift card to Whole Foods as a reward. Nope, that’s not in the cards.
I did this exercise because that’s where I am in my healthiness journey. If you’ll recall, I’ve been with Beautycounter since September 2016, and I’m only just now getting around to dumping it out. That’s over 10 months since I learned about safer products, and I still had the icky stuff in my bathroom.
So please, dear friend, know that this is not a competition. And I am not out to shame you or call you bad or weird or whatever. That’s not what this is about.
I will quickly say, however, that I have seen this sentiment floating around on Instagram that says something to the effect of:
If you eat organic and also spray, rub and wash your largest organ with chemicals, you’re doing it wrong!
Y’all. Y’ALL. That is not it. It’s not what I want to convey to you and that’s not how I want to run my Beautycounter business. Let me be clear: I get it. I get what this message is trying to convey. Many of us want healthier lives. We want to look good. We want to stick around for a long time.
But y’all, shaming is not the way to get folks to toss it out.
Skin care and personal care product choices are such a, well, personal choice. And if you can move the needle a little bit, that is awesome. And if you’re not quite there yet, I know a girl who can help you when you’re ready.
Could you be so bold? Would you be willing to go through your products and tell me how much you’re ready to toss out?