Today, I’d love to get your input in a little community discussion on something about which I think we could all benefit… I want to hear your thoughts on sharing the truth about personal care products in a loving way to friends and family members who are still using conventional, mainstream products.

When I first began to learn about greening my personal care products, I devoured as much information as I could find and shared it with anyone who would listen. Learning about the Skin Deep database gave me a powerful tool that I wanted to share with others, a way to take back control of the products and ingredients I was using.

The more I learned about the truth behind personal care products, the more I wanted to evangelize– to tell those I loved how unsafe their favorite products were, to share the facts about cancer and other side effects, the questions and the research, and reveal the good products I was finding with them… with the ultimate underlying motivation of educating others for their own safety.

In retrospect, I may have come across a little strong at times in my viewpoints  to those who weren’t ready to hear them.

Photo by BLW

It’s a fine line– sharing something you believe to be true and important without coming across as offensive and rude. This is an issue we will all face in many aspects of our lives– schooling choices, faith, money issues, lifestyle choices and more.

The thing I found with personal care products is that they’re really, well, personal, and people can tend to have strong opinions about which ones they love. It’s different than trying to teach a sibling about your composting techniques, or even explain to a friend why you cloth diaper. For me, it’s more difficult than even trying to explain my almost-complete ban on plastic water bottles.

I think it’s because we want to believe that the FDA, or some other governmental agency, is protecting us. We want to assume that whatever is bottled with a chic design, smells lovely, and makes outrageous claims to its efficiency to do great things for us is, in fact, as great as it appears. We’ve been brainwashed, in a sense, by the media, our culture and the last couple of generations preceding us to be trusting of the claims labels make, especially when they invoke the recommendations of pediatricians or dermatologists.

Many of us have been startled to learn the truth behind the products we so liberally apply to the largest organ in our body, our skin, or even on our hair, or in our mouths. We’ve begun investigating ingredients and avoiding the most dangerous, or even sticking to ones we can pronounce. Maybe we’ve even gone as far as giving up store-bought products and making our own, or buying from local artisans.

As I think about the most effective, loving ways I’ve learned to share my research with those I care about, the best ways I’ve found are simply modeling and gift-giving. By casually being outwardly open about what products I do use, and by giving safer or even homemade products as gifts, I’ve found that I can more subtly offer alternatives to the mainstream without having force-feed my research into unready mouths. As with most things, I find that my message is more well-received when I’m speaking the truth in love.

So I’d love to hear from you now… What are the most effective ways you’ve been able to communicate the truth about the dangers of personal care products and available alternatives? What methods have and haven’t worked for you? Do you have any success stories of those you know “converting” to more natural products after learning the truth– or are you one of those success stories yourself?