Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Choosing Healthy Skin Care Products for Our Black Children

A few weeks ago, I shared with you our favorite hair products and also our favorite hair-themed children's picture books.  And now, let's talk about skin care.  

First, choosing skin care products is just as important as choosing good hair-care products, but for different reasons.  

1:  What you put on the skin, the skin "drinks."

The skin absorbs what you put on it.  Those products are then internal.  The child's body essentially "drinks" what is put on the skin.    

If the ingredients label contains words you cannot pronounce or have no clue what they mean, how in the world can they be healthy to put on your child's skin?  

2:  The beauty industry is highly unregulated.  

Unlike required food ingredient labels and disclosures (though some companies have managed to skirt around and manipulate in their favor), the beauty industry doesn't face the same requirements.  However, companies that do choose healthy ingredients will let you know:  loud and proud.  You might see labels that state their products contain no parabens, for example.  Products that are unhealthy can get in big trouble, such as Johnson and Johnson in 2016, thankfully, but you cannot rely on the beauty product industry to tell you what's healthy and what's not.  You need to know for yourself by understanding the toxicity of certain ingredients.   

3:  The beauty industry can capitalize on uneducated consumers.

In addition to not being required to tell you how dangerous certain ingredients are, unhealthy products are very beautifully packaged to lure consumers.  Think bottles that have plants, flowers, and water droplets on the labels (looks natural, right?), pretty fonts, colors that have us envisioning health (think "earth" colors like shades of brown, blue, and green).  And, of course, there are celebrity endorsements.   Price is also a big deal for consumers.  Why buy a bottle of $6.99 lotion when there's a $3.99 version?   

4:  History.  

Certain products have been the go-to for different communities and generations over the years.  When I was a child, Baby Magic was all the rage for parents.  Then Dreft came along, a "baby" laundry detergent.  (Both of which are not products we use and are not healthy.)  Some families swear by Vaseline (toxic), which again was all the rage when I was a child.  Now the Dreft and Baby Magic both smell divine, in my opinion, but if you read the above link talking about dirty beauty product ingredients, you learn that "fragrance" can be a cover word for smells-good-but-is-a-carcinogen.  (And as a recent breast cancer survivor, you'd better bet I'm going to do my very best to make sure cancer isn't something my children face in their lifetimes.) But nostalgia and tradition shouldn't determine the products parents choose to put on their children. 

5:  Future.

Your child will use lotion for his or her entire life.  Ashy isn't cute.  Dry skin is irritating.  Skin is our largest organ and should be treated with care!   Therefore, because a child will use product for a long time and in great quantity, choosing good products is very, very important.  

So now that you know the importance of choosing healthy products, here's how we determine what skin care products to use on our kids:

1:  Ingredients.

If the products contain "dirty" beauty ingredients, we aren't buying them.  Period.  

2:  Price.

We have four kids.  We cannot spend $30 on a bottle of lotion, no matter how "clean" it is.  But I also refuse to buy cheap products, because cheap products typically means cheap (AKA: dirty) ingredients.  

3: Black-owned and Black-created.

I prefer to support companies headed by people of color for a few reasons. First, they know products as they've used them their whole lives.  Second, I believe in using my dollars to support those who look like my kids.  

4:  Smells good, but not overpowering.

I have a lot of scent sensitivities, and I have four kids.  I cannot have each kid smelling like something different!  I want light scents that smell nice.  Subtle.  

5:  Convenience.  

I'm not going to drive all over the state trying to find products for my kids.  If I can't buy it locally or have it shipped to me, I'm not buying it.  Again, I have four kids.  How often do I really load them up in the minivan to go product shopping?  (Hint: never.)  

So what products do we use?  

Over the years, we've tried many different products.  (Isn't that the life of a multiracial family?)  During the past 1.5 years, I've been committed to one company:  Sweet On You Beauty Bakery.  

First, I love the scent options:  especially the cotton candy, toasted marshmallow, and birthday cake.  The scents are light.  

Second, I appreciate the disclosure in ingredients.  No dirty ingredients.  Nothing that causes me to pause and wonder if I'm rubbing poison into my children's skin.  

Third, the owner is a Black woman who is also a mother.  She understand the struggles parents face in choosing skin care products for their children, and she's solved the problem for us!  

Fourth, the products are affordable.  Again, remember, cheap prices=cheap ingredients.  But expensive isn't always quality.  These products are perfectly priced, and a little product goes a long way!   

Fifth, we all use them.  Yes, even this white woman.  I keep the cotton candy bodywash in my shower.  It's aromatherapy for me after a long day of mothering!  

In addition to nourishing body lotions and washes, Leslie also offers candles (um, yes!), bath crumbles, conditioner, lip balm, and much more.  

Find Sweet On You on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Get 25% off your purchase with code DESSERTS20 at checkout.  

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