Healthy Living Choices

Healthy living app environmental working group image

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Selecting the Safest Skin Care and More

Healthy Living App 1

  • What: EWG’s Healthy Living App
  • When: Birth and beyond
  • Why: Get rankings on the safety of food and personal care ingredients
  • Where: Environmental Working Group

I swear by the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetics database, and I have ever since I learned of its existence at a prenatal birthing class back in the day before I had kids of my own. I’ve been obsessed since then with looking up every skincare product I own or buy, particularly sunscreens.

EWG’s Skin Deep database works independently to assess every skincare product they can and provide results on the ingredients. They rank products based on a 10 point system, where 1 is the least harmful and 10 is downright toxic. The ratings also include a handy circle background colored green (good), yellow (caution), or red (warning). Since I didn’t want the sunscreen I applied liberally multiple times a day to give my kids cancer later in life, I loved it.

My only complaint was the huge size of database. Often times I couldn’t find the products with the best scores in stores or online. Instead, I had to take a bulky list with me to the store and hope that one of the ten or so products I’d written down matched something on the shelves. (Obviously that’s less of a problem now that I have a smartphone that can do things like search websites in store, but I still suffer from hit or miss shopping from the database.) I could only handle typing in so many products before I got frustrated and gave up.

Healthy Living App 2
A screenshot from EWG’s Healthy Living app.

So you’d think I would’ve known about their app, called Healthy Living, as soon as it came out, but it never occurred to me to check. But I love the app even more than the database itself. It contains all the helpful info from the database built into the app on my phone. I still need an internet connection to search, but now I use the camera on my phone. I scan a barcode label and it returns results immediately. No more typing in long painful names and not knowing if the super duper moisturizing formula is the same thing as the long lasting moisturizing formula.

Even better, the app includes not only personal care products, but offers a separate category for food. You can choose to scan a bar code or browse the database.The app lets you enter the product name directly as well. It was developed in collaboration with EWG’s Food Scores database as well as my old flame, Skin Deep. Food Scores has data for more than 80,000 foods including 5,000 ingredients and 1,500 brands. Food products ratings are based on nutrition first and foremost, followed by ingredient concerns, and lastly, degree of processing. Skin Deep has reviewed over 65,000 products, including almost 2,000 brands, comparing ingredient lists with known and suspected toxins.

I spent the first hour or so after I downloaded the app scanning everything I use in my bathroom. It amazed me how many products I use on a daily basis without even thinking about it. I considered myself a person who doesn’t use a lot of skincare products, much less on a daily basis. Instead, I found my soap, shampoo, face wash, lotion, chapstick, eyeliner, moisturizer, and hand cream. That’s eight products I use, some more than once a day.

Since I want to protect my kids, I love having the power of Skin Deep’s database in my pocket. Healthy Living enables me to make informed choices about what we buy, use, and eat.

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