When I transitioned to this organic lifestyle and focusing on clean beauty, it was undeniably hard.
One of the hardest things for me was not knowing which brands I could trust. At the time, there were obviously so many brands claiming to be natural and organic and it made things so much harder for me.
I remember then, I actually thought that as long as products stated “natural” or “organic” that they were safe to use.
It’ll shock you to know that many products have words such as “natural”, “100% natural” and “organic” branded on them not because they truly are these things rather, these terms are plastered on them as marketing strategies. This is considered Greenwashing.(This is one of the lies in the beauty and food industry that I will gladly write a thing or two about greenwashing in future posts).
When I started learning about greenwashing, it was critical for me to start examining individual ingredients in products for myself. I followed a personal rule that if I couldn’t pronounce at least 50% of the ingredients, then I wouldn’t buy it.
This worked for a while but it was challenging standing in the middle of the aisle in grocery and beauty stores going through ingredient lists especially when I would be in a hurry. However, I was okay with it because there wasn’t any other alternative.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I randomly came across this app that changed my life forever! I have since used this app so much that I feel so confident reviewing it and recommending it! This app has changed the game for me, I tell ya! (This is legit stuff, I’m not getting paid to say this).
The founder has an interesting story behind the name and I think it’s fun. According to their website, analyzing each product focuses exclusively on the chemical content of the products they analyze. This is actually really great because factoring in other aspects of the products and brand would distort the accuracy of the result for each product analyzed.
It also says on their website that the app “is the easiest way to learn about the potentially toxic ingredients in your cosmetics and personal care products. Just scan the product barcode and Think Dirty will give you easy-to-understand info on the product, its ingredients, and shop cleaner options!”
They continue… “Think Dirty® empowers and educates the consumer on the cosmetics industry by allowing them to make an informed decision on what products to purchase. However, Think Dirty® is more than just a mobile app – it’s a consumer revolution for safer cosmetics by learning one ingredient at a time, changing to cleaner options, one product at a time.”
Boy, are they right! The methodology is explained in-depth on their website if you want to read more however, I’ll summarize how the app works and why I love it so much here for you all.
On their website, this is what they said about their methodology
“We assess the overall risk of a given product based on the potential health impacts of its published ingredients. Each ingredient listed on the product label or manufacturer’s website is evaluated for documented evidence of Carcinogenicity, Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity and/or Allergenicity & Immunotoxicity.
Evaluations are performed by Think Dirty’s Founder and Advisory Board, all of whom have extensive experience in relevant fields such as Medicine, Biochemistry, Biology, Physiology, Environmental Toxicology, Environmental Health & Safety and Chemical Engineering, and a track record of working with Health Canada, the US Food & Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, Environment Canada, the US Environmental Protection Agency and other related government and not-for-profit agencies”
Basically, the app has a DIRTY METER. Which basically is a meter and shows you where the ingredients in each scanned product lie in the following categories:
• Carcinogenicity (tendency to cause cancer)
• Developmental & Reproductive toxicity
• Allergies & immunotoxicity.
Though the app is relatively new, it currently has over 3,000 brands, over 600,000 products, and over 5 million scans. This sounds like a lot (and it is!) but considering the sheer volume of products on the market, you may not find some of your products here yet.
Once you download the app, you are able to search for products either by scanning the barcode or entering the product name in the search bar to see where the ingredient lists lie on the dirty meter. You should see this in each of the three categories listed above and decide if it’s safe or just too toxic for you. The combination of scores in each of the category gives you the overall score of the product on a scale of 0-10; with 0 being clean and 10 being Dirty.
Some other cool features on the app:
*When you first download the app, you might get prompts to scan items in your bathroom. This is one feature I really like. You can start by checking the ingredient list on the items you already own in your bathroom. The more items you can scan, the more it’ll tell you how “clean” or how “dirty/toxic” your bathroom is. Don’t worry, I was yelling “ouch” when I first tried mine.
* The app has a “LISTS’ feature. This feature essentially categorizes your bathroom shelf (based on the items you scanned) into “clean products” or “dirty products”. Also, on the homepage, you are able to look at products and like them. These liked products will appear on your “products I liked” list. I love this particular feature also because I can randomly browse the app and like products that I’d love to try!
* One cool thing I love to do with the app is to type in a random alphabet into the search bar, (e.g A). I noticed that it lists products already scanned that starts with letter A or has the letter in it. This enables me search through tons of products, read about brands, see alternatives to eachproducts & brands and see which brands I like and would love to try.
* You are also able to shop certain items from the app through brand ads (I believe).
* When you read through products, there’s the “our picks” feature which allows you see the alternatives to that product and you can choose! I want to assume these picks are the staff pick in the app.
* I did say earlier that the app is relatively new and so you may not find some of your products on their database. One solution I have for that is to find similar products and see how they are rated. I also would look at the ingredients on my products that aren’t yet on their database and see if I find similar ingredients in other products. That’ll show me where that particular ingredient is rated in the three categories.
Personally seeing and reading about the members of their advisory board gave me even more reasons to appreciate this app. I have heard of other similar apps, downloaded a couple but this one stood out! I hope you all give it a try! If you do, let me know on twitter or instagram or in the comment section of this post!
I love to hear from you guys!