Health is about so much more than what you eat, which is something you probably know from FitU already! 🙂 In fact, you “consume” other types of products into your body in different ways all day, some without even really thinking about.

Over the past year, I’ve become a lot more aware of the products that I’ve bought to apply to my skin – after all, your skin is the biggest organ in your body. It’s important to take care of it.

If after reading this, you still want to learn more about toxic products and their huge impact on your health, check out the documentary “Toxic Bust”! We watched this film in one of my HSSP classes at Brandeis, and it’s helped me become a more conscientious consumer. While it seems like a daunting and wasteful task to clean out all of your products and replace them, you can still take small steps to ensure that the new products you’re buying are safe for you and the environment. Enacting these small changes is a great way to prevent future health problems. So, you may ask: how can I do that?

I follow Amanda (), an organic beauty blogger, on Instagram. Today in one of her posts, she mentioned the app Think Dirty (click here to download for FREE), which is described in the App store as:

“the easiest way to learn about the potentially toxic ingredients in your cosmetics and personal care products. It’s an independent source that allows you to compare products as you shop. Just scan the product barcode and Think Dirty will give you easy-to-understand info on the product, track dirty ingredients and shop for cleaner options”.

Normally, I try to buy products with natural, recognizable ingredients whenever possible. However, it can certainly be easy to purchase beauty products (not just makeup- body wash, shampoo, lotions, etc. all count as well) after seeing their ad on TV and not thinking twice about their ingredients. I mean, their ingredients must be super safe and healthy if they really have all of the promised benefits! Even the natural ingredients on labels are usually surrounded by other ingredients that I just assume are okay for me because when I’m shopping and need a beauty product, I don’t necessarily have the time or money to research the top quality ingredients. However, I know now that that’s not always the case. This app looked promising, so I downloaded it as a way to know and understand more about the products I own and so I can become a more informed shopper in the future.

When I made a free account to go along with the app and subscribed to e-mails, I received an informative (and scary) e-mail from Think Dirty. Here are some of the highlights:

Only 10 Chemicals are banned in US.

Canada has banned just over 600 and The European Union Health Commission has banned over 1,300 chemicals.

There are lax government regulations when it comes to cosmetics.

There’s no pre-market approval requirement for cosmetics to be on sale in US and Canadian markets.

Laws do not regulate the use of words like “Natural” and “Organic” on cosmetics and personal care products.

Manufacturers are not required to disclose specific fragrance ingredients on the product label. Instead, the generic term parfum is listed, representing a mixture of potentially dozens of chemicals.

Luckily, this app can help break consumers out of their rut of buying available products that look neat. Here are some of the features I already love:

  • Barcode scanner- it’s so easy to scan products! Once you’ve scanned them, the app comes up with a “Dirty Meter,” a rating of the product, with 1 being the cleanest and 10 being the dirtiest. The explanation of the score for that product is provided and easy to access, and is based on ingredients and health impacts, including carcinogenicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and allergies and immunotoxicities.
  • If a product isn’t listed, you can quickly add it to the database by typing in some simple information and soon it will be rated on the app. You will also receive a notification when it is rated.
  • Once you’ve scanned a product, you can add it to customized lists or to “My Bathroom Shelf”. This way, you can keep track of products you currently have.
  • The home page of the app displays the overall rating of the products you’ve added to your Bathroom Shelf list. This is a fantastic feature because you can go back and remove products from your shelf as you replace them with less dirty products.

Once you’ve gotten acquainted with the products you currently have (and find out you’re probably not too happy with their ingredients and ratings- at least that’s what happened in my case!), you can go back to each product and go to the tab labeled “You May Also <3”. This tab has similar products listed that have cleaner ratings than the product you currently have (example from my bathroom shelf below). You can make shopping lists from these product suggestions, or buy them from Amazon through the app.

I’m looking forward to replacing as many of the “dirty” products that I currently own with cleaner products, so my bathroom shelf can eventually achieve a green number/status! I know this process will take a little bit of time and I don’t want to waste everything I have now, but this app makes it so much easier to compare ingredients, prices, and overall just reduces the hassle of shopping for beauty products that will be kind to your body. Think of the time you spend scanning these products and using this app as an investment in your long-term health. The Think Dirty app is better than any game- and hey, seeing your score go from red to green is kind of like getting points in a game, right? Except infinitely better for you 😛

Best wishes <3


About The Author

Kate is a junior at Brandeis University, where she hopes to create her own major in Human Development, Media, and Communications, as she loves to read and act and get to know about people and their stories in many different ways! She has been running since the age of 9 and has always loved being outdoors and trying new things and being active! She also loves cooking and finding fun and delicious alternatives that prove that healthy isn't boring! Her main goal every day and in life is to make people smile :)

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