I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Lauren Breiding for our Mother’s Day blog! Lauren is passionate about living a non-toxic lifestyle. She is a Beautycounter consultant, runs her own Clean Living Consulting with #detoxmetuesday, is a mother and wife and overall amazing human. Lauren’s advice about life as a mother and living a non-toxic lifestyle were innumerable. Below are some of my favorite parts of our conversation but she is multifaceted and has so much knowledge to give so be sure to follow her on Instagram @laurenbreiding and check out her website detoxmetuesday.com. She loves answering any and all questions!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself Lauren?
I’m from Alabama but I’ve been in California for ten years with my husband and now 21 month old. We were dating long distance so I came out here and finished my Communications and PR degree at Cal State LA and then we got married in 2013 and up until 2019 I was helping run an Amazon fraternity and sorority line called Fashion Greek then we put it on Amazon kind of at the right time where it was blowing up for small businesses for that to be a revenue stream. So I learned a ton, and on the side got into Beautycounter and started working my way towards working full time as a Clean Living Consultant.
So being a mother to a 21 month old, can you describe your personal transformation from a human to a human with a child and a little bit about that metamorphosis?
The older I get the more I’m like, we really are all children at heart and we are all making this up as we go. In a good way right! I was someone when I was younger that always looked up to people especially that were older. I had three older brothers so I was always the youngest one around. My husband is six years older than me so in that initial friend group I was younger and then finally it’s like oh I’m a mom and I’m thirty and I’m that age of people that I was looking up to and it seems so odd. But really I think what I found from being a mom is that you can do it. For people who are thinking about it or not sure on timing, you can do it. We are all in this together. You’d be so surprised how people are willing to help and be there and connect with you.
And for me personally it just makes your priorities shift. No one has time to do anything else or add a job or add a kid or whatever but it’s just a priority shift of ok now I’m in a time block when I’m doing my work and my time and the rest of the time I want to be able to fully focus on Benjamin [son] and spend time with him. It’s like a built in best friend it’s awesome.
Built in best friend I love that!
Yeah it’s like a built in buddy that always wants to hang out and play! And they look at you like you’re the greatest thing on the planet and you’re like “ok I can do this.”
What has the word “motherhood” come to mean to you?
The first thing that comes to mind is just stepping into a new role. I think it’s something that’s in addition to who you already are in your true self. I don’t change from being Lauren just because I’m a mom. And I think it really is crazy how women really are built with those motherly instincts. And they kick in. And for anyone reading this who’s pregnant and maybe haven’t had their first child yet there are things that kick in and you’re like “whoa, no wonder.” You’re like, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this!” and then all of a sudden all you can think about is taking care of this life and it just happens and it’s just natural.
I love that it’s just an addition to who you are it’s not changing who you are. And I think that’s a beautiful way that our society is changing as well. It’s not that you’re only a mother.
Right and I think with our generation most households are two income households and that’s very normal. I think it’s just something you get to add to your resume for lack of a better term. You just get to add it in, why not? Now I’m a mom too!
So how did your clean living journey begin?
Six and half years ago a friend reached out to me about Beautycounter, a safe, high performing cosmetic and skincare company. We reference it as a movement because while the products are incredible and speak for themselves, they don’t sacrifice performance or safety. That’s what really filled a void in the market.
But what I love about Beautycounter and what really fuels me is that they’re way more than the products. There’s a huge part of the company that’s for abdicating. So actually getting laws changed. There hasn’t been a major law regulating the ingredients in our products since 1938.
And I think to date they’ve been a part of nine state level bills banning [ingredients]. So there’s things happening on a smaller scale that’s going to affect all of us on a national level. In California there was a law passed that banned 24 toxic chemicals from being in products. Knowing that I was a part of that was so cool and empowering.
I’m really business minded, like I love an entrepreneurial podcast, so she sent a video that kind of touched on that lack of regulation and I was like, “I don’t even know what that means. I’ve never even thought of the safety of our products ever.” I went on the website and loved the branding, was really impressed with the founder; she had been an entrepreneur her whole life and had started and sold several companies before. And I was like well I kind of want to be a part of what this woman is doing because she is impressive and if, I was 24 at the time, if I can learn something from her I’m down.
And then as a byproduct I started asking around to my friends and family, “hey are y’all, do we know about how the ingredients in our products aren’t regulated?” And Greg [husband] was like, “you are talking about this so much, you’ve got to just do something about it.” I was like, “ok!” So I became a consultant [for Beautycounter] and I fell in love with it.
Fast forward two years later and my life was effected by cancer and infertility from the people around me. A handful of my mom’s friends had breast cancer, my father-in-law passed away from a cancer that wasn’t genetic, a ton of my friends with infertility issues. It came at a point in my life where I was like, “I’ll never be that person that’s affected by cancer!” when you’re young and naiive. And that’s when I got angry about it and really was like “I want to do something” because I feel like if there’s small things we can do to maybe protect our health why aren’t we doing them?
So I literally had a Facebook group at the time and I was like, “I’ll just share what we’re doing,” because I started switching my pots and pans out and from plastic to glass and I just started sharing that. And 2016 is when it kicked in that I wanted to educate beyond Beautycounter.
And that’s what you do through Detox Me Tuesday, can you tell us about how that began?
I think the day I wanted to share it happened to be a Tuesday and I was like “what’s a hashtag ? #detoxmetuesday!” But when I really hit my stride was probably like 2018/2019. There’s a group of girls here in LA that I collaborate with a lot and we put on several wellness events and I taught workshops and I love going on podcasts and talking about it and then literally all day every day in my dms I’m always helping people with safer switches. Like last night it was someone with training pants for their kid. So I just keep answering peoples’ questions and try to be a recourse. I’m kind of just making up the business model of Detox Me Tuesday as I go but I know that what fuels me is answering people’s questions, helping them find safer switches that are affordable and where they shop so it’s accessible to them.
A huge part of me wanting to start the #detoxmetuesday brand was taking the fearmongering out of it. There’s nothing that drives me more nuts than when this topic is fearmongering like, “you’re going to get cancer if ____.” That’s not valid and it’s not that simple. We can’t say oh my body wash gave me cancer, but we do know that a heavy toxic lode and increase in, for example, endocrine disrupting chemicals, which are basically hormone disrupting chemicals, has been linked to early puberty in teens.
And I like helping people be empowered with knowledge and education but also teaching them to have fun with it, because that business brain in me wants to connect people with brands that are what I call “Do It Better Brands” and that’s like Will & Ivey. That’s somewhere where you’re making good products and you’re doing it differently. There’s a mission behind the company.
Because I think consumers want brands that give back and have a story and a mission and also know all you’re fabrics are Oeko-Tex certified and they are safe and organic. There’s nothing that brings me more joy than someone asking for a product and I’m like, “oh my gosh you’re going to be obsessed with this brand here.” That’s the other thing right now, the onus is on the consumer, so finding brands like Beautycounter, or Branch Basics is my favorite cleaning product, that I know and I can trust what they’re doing. And then it shouldn’t cause a lot of stress, because stress is worse on the body anyways short term. So I would just try to remember to have fun, do what you can and go from there.
Do many pregnant women reach out to you? That seems like a stressful time.
I think that’s when things click because it’s that thing I was mentioning earlier in your brain where all of a sudden you are thinking about yourself as the last priority and all you can think about is this beautiful life growing inside of you and wanting to take care of it. And I think that’s just when the perspective shifts for a lot of people. And it comes at an age where, “oh I have kind of been naïve, a lot of people around me have been sick and maybe it has been related to environmental toxins.” And I think it is a life shift that happens all at once for a lot of people.
And I will say, a lot of pregnancy books are like, “Ok watch what you use, don’t use these ingredients,” then they move on. But if I read that and I didn’t know what I know now I would be like, “well what? What do you mean?” So it’s kind of this thing that’s hit on and then you kind of move on.
Because you can say non-toxic but people may not know what that means.
That’s interesting you bring that up because that is kind of the largest issue that we are seeing now is greenwashing. Like none of these terms have a legal definition.
I love that term greenwashing, I’d never heard that before.
Basically because of the lack of regulation, anyone can slap anything on a label and put a green leaf next to it and say, “botanical” and then you can pick it up and think it’s safe but when you turn it over it has three different parabens and fragrance. So there’s no accountability there.
And I think what really drove it home for me is that the FDA does not have any power to actually recall a product. If something’s been proven harmful you can write in and alert [the FDA] and they can highly suggest that a company recall a product, but the FDA has zero power to recall a product off the shelves. And that was where I was like, “woah.” It’s like when there’s a salmonella recall or something. Can you imagine if they were just allowed to just be like, “eh that’d be a waste we’ll just leave it on the shelf.” So that was what really hit it home for me and I was like, “We have got to be in control of what we bring in our homes.”
And thinking about what’s in your home can be so overwhelming. Like we as women use a dozen plus products a day, plus what we clean with. So I tell people to start with what you’re about to run out of. You’re going to spend you dollars to replace that anyways, so let me or another recourse help you use those dollars for a safer alternative that’s going to work just as well. So now maybe you run out of your favorite lipstick so let’s look at brands that offer safer high performing lipsticks and see what can compare. And then I tell people if you just need that one product that works so well, great let’s start with your toothpaste then. Like sometimes there’s that emotional connection to products, especially for women like, “I’ve been using this since I was sixteen I can’t get rid of it!” Well let’s start somewhere else then. You probably don’t care about your toilet bowl cleaner so let’s start with that.
I find that these products can be more expensive right?
I think it totally depends on where you’re shopping. As far as personal care products, yes if you’re used to drug store makeup it’s going to be a step up. But as time moves on there are so many accessible brands that are coming into the market. There’s a lot of newer makeup companies that are launching and their prices are really comparable. And there are companies like Thrive Market, they have a great selection of food and cleaning products where you always get savings. There’s the Clean at Target section, the Clean at Sephora, and at Walmart even there’s Hello Bello, they have awesome kids products and they are so affordable. Diapers, baby wash, sunscreen, bug spray, all of it. So I think it’s just going to be more and more for sure.
Because consumers, we’re voting with our dollars. It was interesting I was in Target and I was looking at, now a lot of times as Target they have like safer candy brands, ones that don’t use any artificial dyes or anything like that, and that section was almost gone, like sold out. And that is an excellent example of the consumers talking you know. Like we want better options.
So through all your learning and starting up your own blog and consulting people, what has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced?
I think part of it has been just imposter syndrome. Like who am I to talk about this? Or even with Beautycounter, I’ve grown a team of over 100 women and every time I do a coaching call I’m like, “what am I doing?” But I think when you hit that point of being uncomfortable, that’s probably when you’re doing something right. I’ve always been reminded that people connect with people and authenticity and stories. And so the more I can just learn out loud and be myself and show up I think that’s when people find it approachable to then ask questions. But I think we all just sometimes forget to just be ourselves. And since I’ve just started owning it and being really imperfect my business has grown a lot.
Let’s shift over to clothes now because I want to hear your opinion on what it’s like when you’re pregnant and you’re looking at baby clothes and there are a lot of adorable options out there, what is it like shopping for a tiny human?
It’s like there’s this whole world of kid’s clothes that I’m not even aware of. And at first your mind goes to these big box brands. You’re like, “well I guess I’ve got to go to Carters.” But I think it’s so fun when you’re pregnant walking around and imagining because it’s kind of this weird thing where I’m giving them an image. Do they want the shirt with the dinosaur or the plane shirt with the stripes? But it’s fun! And when they’re so young they grow out of it so quick and so I feel like it’s fun to go through the stages as well. Like there’s totally newborn stages of pajamas all the time and then they hit a year and it’s like, “oh my gosh he needs pants!”
So when looking for clothes what are maybe the top three aspects you look for?
I do always try to find organic cotton just because I’ve also found that it’s way better quality. While there can be stuff at a lower price point I swear kids grow out of cheaper quality clothes five times faster than better quality because there’s no give or stretch or soft material that can king of fit with them. I’ve found that its always worth it to spend a little bit more because it has lasted on Benjamin longer. I’m a pretty minimalist, when people were like, “what’s his theme for his nursery?” I was like, “gray. We are doing soft grays and you will see hints of blue on the sheets and that’s about it.” Mainly because if I have another kid I don’t want to rebuy everything. So that’s something to, especially when he was a baby baby I was thinking, “could a girl possibly wear this also down the line?” Because you’ve got to think about that. And then I always felt better about spending more too.
I can’t do that stuff with words all over it, it’s too much for me. So I like to find something that’s simple, classic, has good fit and it has to be comfortable for them because they are moving nonstop so if he can move in it and feel good in it than it’s good.
As far as Will & Ivey goes, and be as candid as possible there’s no hard feelings, what have been some great things? Are there any things you wish were different about the clothes?
Oh I love them. They were all that exact velvety, silky organic cotton feel but they had substance. And he always loves them. I will say I recently got the Jessy Jumpsuit and I am obsessed. It is the most comfortable thing but it’s sturdy, you can style it so many different ways. I will just put in a plug for that I’m a big fan.
And for Benjamin they have all been awesome. And they fit him, we had the jogger and they fit him for a long time. And they had that leg with the cuff at the bottom where if they were a little short they were cute. I thought they were really cute for a bunch of different stages.
And when clothes last a long time, that’s important for the environment, for your wallet, etc.?
Exactly. And then I think I have the bloomer shorts that we bought for him last summer and I was like, “oh I hope they still fit” and they totally do. They still work and I love them. And for me growing up in the South what I appreciate about Will & Ivey is that it’s nicer but it’s different than the everyday monogram, everything has a collar, Southern baby look. But I felt like I could get glimpses of that which is fun for me and then also have him in a really comfy shirt with it and it looks really good still. Like with the bloomer shorts, I have the light blue ones with the cream stripe, and we put him in a navy simple t-shirt with it and it looked so good! Little sandals on he looked all polished but still comfortable and not in something I was scared to spill on.
Speaking of spills, I feel like you mentioned this in the other podcast I listened to so I’m just going to steal it, there was some kind of cleaning product you talked about?
The Branch Basics Oxygen Boost. That company is started by an aunt and niece and her best friend and they all had these chronic illness issues and then learned through switching products in their home and realizing so much of the air in our home, our indoor air quality, is so bad because of all the crap we’re using. So they created, and talk about an affordable switch, all of their products are based on one concentrate and there’s different bottles you mix with water at different levels. But they have this one product that’s called Oxygen Boost and it’s basically a bleach alternative. I use it on everything from stains in my kitchen sink to clothes. And it has caused me so much less stress knowing I’m really not worried about that stain.
Yeah I bet because you don’t have to micromanage your child as much. Especially once he starts getting older.
I think the stress thing is huge. Whatever is going to make your life the most smooth.
And I think moving into becoming a mom you realize all that stuff that would stress me out before does not anymore. Even little things like the dirty floor, and that’s when you’re like, “I just need a product that will clean it up so it won’t matter for me.” And then knowing that it’s a safer product, has relieved so much more stress.
If you had any last tidbits of advice for a new parent who wanted to live with less toxins in their life and they were looking to start out, what would be your plug?
I would say start with what’s empty that you need to spend money to replace anyways. And, from a family perspective, I think cleaning products are an excellent place to start because it’s effecting your whole indoor life and indoor air quality and it’s touching every surface. And that’s probably an easier one because you’re probably not emotionally attached to Comet.
And then I would also say for yourself look at what you use the most, what’s staying on your body? Is it a lotion you put on your body every day? Or I put this sunscreen on me and my kids all day every summer maybe that’s somewhere we should switch. Start there. Pick one at a time because your home definitely doesn’t need to be perfect overnight.
Is there any really popular product that a lot of people use that you’re like “don’t use that”
I think Myers Cleaning honestly is not that great, they have a lot of hidden fragrance.
Top three things to look for on the back of a bottle to avoid:
- Parabens (ethylperabens, methylparabens) anything where “peraben” is the last part of the word.
- PEGs usually looks like PEG-100 or PEG-4 because those are highly contaminated most of the time with a hormone disrupter.
- The words Fragrance or Parfum
- Fragrance is commonly known as an ingredient loop hole because they don’t have to list what’s inside fragrance. So when I tell people when you’re looking at products in the store, number one when you flip the bottle over start with the words fragrance or parfum and there’s not asterisk that’s like “natural essential oils only” that’s a great place start because inside that one word can be hundreds of ingredients and a lot of times that’s where these endocrine disrupters [hormone disrupters] come in.
So if a company doesn’t have any of those then it’s a good first threshold to know that it’s probably a safer option.
And do you have any personal advice as a new mother?
My advice would be to just go for it. Own it, don’t forget who you are. I have a huge soft spot for people that want kids but don’t know when to start trying. If you think you want them, I mean obviously don’t make a dumb decision, but start trying and go for it because you don’t know. That’s the other thing is I had two miscarriages before Benjamin and so you don’t know what that journey’s going to look like. And I think everyone has a different story, pregnancy, getting pregnant and birth and it’s probably not going to be what you think. So go for it, know that your body is so smart and God created our bodies to know exactly what to do. And after that just have fun, and know that we’re all just figuring it out so just keep asking questions.
One more question: what is better? There’s FDA approved products and then people make their own all-natural soaps and sell them on Etsy. Are those ok?
I mean that’s the other thing like anyone can make anything and I think those people are most likely being honest for sure but you’re also not going to get the high performance product side from those things. So I think it’s looking at, like for a hand soap heck yeah buy that shea butter lavender hand soap stick it by your sink and you’re good to go, but I think if you want a really good face serum that’s going to perform you’re probably not going to find that there and you’re probably going to find it from an actual brand that makes their own products and has done all the research and testing and whatnot.
But there’s also, if you have low maintenance skin or whatever product you’re looking for you can kind of look at where you want to value your spend. I know for me a facewash I can probably go on the less expensive line of a facewash but for my Vitamin C Serum I want to make sure it’s a good one.
And I think it’s just knowing what works for you. Especially if you don’t have a facewash and a moisturizer just start there and all the time a sunscreen. It doesn’t always need to be the most complicated thing, but maybe you stick in a Vitamin C Serum or a chemical exfoliator once a week to kind of rejuvenate the skin, I think there are things you can do to enhance.
So if people wanted to get in touch with you and ask you for a consultation how could they do that?
You can follow me on Instagram its @laurenbreiding and then my website is detoxmetuesday.com and firstname.lastname@example.org is my email. I answer all questions!