Irene Falcone, founder of toxin-free beauty and lifestyle website Nourished Life, provides some helpful hints on how to get going on that beauty detox in a sustainable way that won’t terrify the family.
Irene Falcone, founder of Australia-based website Nourished Life, is a self-confessed beauty junkie and always has been, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that Irene realised the myriad of beauty products she had stockpiled on her shelves were doing her more harm than good. After a solid bout of research, Irene discovered that she had been applying at least 500 chemicals to her skin. And that was on a daily basis. Cue an epic product purge that revolutionised not only the lifestyle of Irene, but the many devotees of Nourished Life as well.
We chat to Irene about how to tackle the toxin-free journey and detox our own shelves of hidden nasties, including tips on where and how to start this brave new world. We also ask the ever-elusive but ever-important question echoed by millions of busy people everywhere: how do you switch off at the end of the day?
Tell me about Nourished Life and where the idea came from?
I started Nourished Life as a blog to share information about natural health and beauty products after discovering I had been covering myself in hundreds of chemicals every day, making me feel tired and completely run-down. I made the switch to natural and organic but quickly found that there were a lot of women out there wanting to find safe, toxin-free products but didn't know where to begin. I created Nourished Life with a strict ingredients policy in mind so that my customers don't have to worry about doing the hard work and have access to informative blogs to help with choosing the right products.
What do you think the biggest hurdle is for people when they begin the toxin-free journey?
I think for a lot of mums especially it can be hard to feel like you need to replace everything all at once. When you think about all the products in your house that contain nasty ingredients – makeup, skin care, toiletries, cleaning products, it can seem impossible to find effective alternatives for everything, but I've found the best of them all. Going cold-turkey is difficult – it's so much easier to swap out anything you can to start with and then make gradual changes to find what works best for you and your family.
What was your biggest hurdle?
The biggest challenge was doing the research to find out what was natural and what wasn't. Some brands market their products as being 'natural' or 'organic' but if you look at the ingredients, they're really not – this is a confusing tactic known as 'greenwashing' and it can make things really difficult. Figuring out which ingredients were absolutely no-go was a lengthy process but it's made things much easier for my customers so it was so worth it!
Can you outline some ways in which we can start becoming more conscious consumers?
It's a great idea to not only look at products' ingredients but their packaging as well. Recognising and reducing the amount of plastic you use is a big step towards being a more environmentally friendly consumer – try to look out for products packaged in recyclable glass or paper instead of disposable plastic to minimise unnecessary waste, and use reusable packaging and storage for food wherever possible. There are lots of great reusable storage options for the kids' lunches now so there's no need to use things like plastic wrap ever again.
This brand is amazing - no plastic at all in the entire range and 1 bar of shampoo replaces 3-5 bottles of the regular type!
Do you have any advice for families who are looking to make more eco-friendly and toxin-free lifestyle changes?
The biggest issue is that families beginning their toxin-free journey can feel overwhelmed by realising just how much stuff needs replacing or changing. Taking smaller steps and making it a gradual process is more manageable and less daunting. Figure out what's easiest to replace first and start with that - it might be just replacing your dishwashing liquid to start with, and making more little lifestyle changes from there.
Considering so much of our time is now spent on our devices and computers, what are your top tips for winding down and counteracting the constant buzz (or is it possible?!)?
It's definitely hard to switch off from the busyness and rush of the everyday but the most important thing for me is taking the time after the kids have gone to sleep to relax, enjoy a cup of tea and read a book or magazine for half an hour before going to bed to unwind and de-stress each night.