I had the good fortune of being connected with Lauren Breiding through a mutual female entrepreneur friend just a few short weeks ago. “You two need to know each other,” was how my friend described Lauren to me. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Lauren is a self-described clean living consultant who has built her business, and her life, around helping others to make safer choices for their homes. Now that we are spending more time than ever at home, it seemed like a truly serendipitous moment at which to sit down (virtually) with Lauren and talk about how we can all be reducing our toxic load at home, and to break down what that even means to begin with. Her blog, Detox Me Tuesday, is an incredible resource for clean living options, from what’s in your pantry to what’s in your medicine cabinet, and everything in between.
Read on for our virtual interview, and can’t wait to hear your feedback!
Hi Lauren! Can you please share a little bit about yourself, and how you came to be interested and invested in the world of all things eco-friendly?
Hi and I am so excited to do this interview with you! My journey started when a good friend turned me on to a company called Beautycounter about five and a half years ago. I loved the website and the branding, but was also intrigued by the female founder, Gregg Renfrew, and immediately started researching her. I was so impressed by her mission, which was all about getting safe products in everyone’s hands, and this started me down a clean product rabbit hole. Did you know that it has been 82 years since a major law has been passed regulating the ingredients in the products we use in our home and on our bodies every single day?! I was blown away, and immediately started looking into the products that I had in my own home. After realizing that there are many toxic chemicals that are commonly found in our everyday products, and also knowing many people in my life who are directly affected by health issues such as infertility, cancer, asthma, allergies, and other illnesses that environmental toxins have been linked to, I became angry and ultimately felt empowered to share what I had learned.
What does being eco-friendly and sustainable mean to you?
I think it means to do what you can to give things more than one life and to preserve the beautiful creation that we have. While I am more passionate about safe products and the actual ingredients, I have gotten more into sustainability because it starts to go hand in hand. Brands that have safety as their core message almost always are on top of sustainability – it’s no coincidence here. It is a huge subject that can seem daunting, but just like safety, rather than thinking “What am I doing to save the oceans?” it has helped me to zoom in and ask “How can I be in control of what I am using in my home every single day?” For example, I can commit to not using paper plates as often, but also I know that if I do need to use them, I’ll try to find ones that are compostable or recyclable. It’s all about doing what you can, when you can. Small steps always lead to a greater impact.
How did you start your business, and what was your primary purpose in doing so?
After recognizing that every single circle of relationships in my life was being directly affected by unexplained illnesses in some way, I got angry, quite frankly. That’s when I took it personally and decided to start sharing a single “switch to safer” option each week called Detox Me Tuesday. I knew that I wanted to be a compassionate voice in this space; no fear-mongering or making people think they need to spend a lot of money overnight to enact change. So many outlets make people feel as though they need to be an expert to switch to safer products or have a more sustainable lifestyle, and that is not the case at all! I didn’t want moms to feel bad anymore for putting their kid’s sandwiches in plastic bags. Rather, I took the approach of empowering through knowledge. There is still so much grey area due to the extreme lack of regulation, and no one can be perfect overnight (or at all). I set out to be a safe place for people to begin their switch to safer options, no matter what that means to them. The other side to Detox Me Tuesday is connecting consumers with brands they can stand behind. I nerd out over finding, what I like to call, #doitbetterbrands. Think brands that have safe ingredients, are eco-friendly, have a giving back component, and are innovative. There are so many amazing brands out there that consumers can trust to do the hard work for them.
Real talk: we’re in a pandemic at the moment, and I think many out there see “going green” as a luxury, not a necessity. Why is it more important than ever to detox your home?
Health is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now. While it is impossible to know if your body lotion, for example, causes cancer directly, there are plenty of studies that link certain toxins to cancer. It’s all about doing what you can, when you can. If you know that there are products out there that would do what you want them to do while not compromising your immune system or your hormones, wouldn’t you want to give them a try?
And I say this always, but it’s especially relevant right now – remember to go easy on yourself. Do your own research and find where you are most comfortable switching to safer options. Start with products that you don’t have an emotional connection to, such as your feminine care or your cleaning products. Have fun learning along the way!
What are a few simple hacks and tricks that readers can take to detox their homes this week?
I love a hack! Having said all of that above, I am all about doing what you can, when you can so that you don’t add any stress to yourself or your wallet, especially right now. Here are a few of my favorite hacks:
- Start with what you are bringing INTO your home. Oftentimes, while I am helping people switch to safer what is already underneath their sink is overwhelming, so I suggest they start with what they are running out of. Make a list of what you are running low on and then find a safer option!
- The generic ingredient “fragrance” is a whole other topic, but this one word can contain up to 200 chemicals that do not have to be disclosed due to them being “proprietary.” Spray your perfume on your clothes before you put them on. That way it is not getting directly on your skin and you give it some time to air out. (And while you are shopping for safer options, watch out for “fragrance” on the label. This is an excellent place to start when learning about ingredients).
- Use products you already have in your home as replacements. For example, white vinegar mixed with three parts water for cleaning your countertops, or coconut oil to hydrate the skin and remove your makeup.
- Take your shoes off at the door. I am admittedly not the best at this, but if it’s something you can incorporate, this will stop a lot of nasties from being tracked into your home, which is more important than ever right now.
- Be proud! Every single switch to safer matters for your health and the health of your family.
Do you have any favorite resources and products that are accessible to readers?
Absolutely! Here are some of my favorite resources:
- The Environmental Working Group is a non profit that rates products’ toxicity. You can download their Healthy Living App or just Google the product name followed by “EWG” and it’ll be the first link that pops up.
- Me! I seriously LOVE helping others find brands they can trust and find safer alternatives that work for you. I answer every single email and DM. Follow me on Instagram and check out my website too.