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  • Writer's pictureKate Markovitz

The Ditch + Switch Challenge: Safe Swaps Month 1

For 7 years now (whoa!) I've been a Beautycounter consultant and talking about the importance of what we put on (and in) our bodies. In this role, I speak mostly about personal care products.

Through the years, I got the sense that many felt what I shared was exaggerated or not worth paying much attention.

And listen, you are busy and overwhelmed already… so I do get it.

I have many areas of my life where I don't know much about because it feels mind-boggling to even start… but I'm in your inbox today to let you know that I've come up with a way to make it easier. I'm really excited about this AND we have new research on the importance.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the average woman uses 12 products a day, exposing herself to 168+ chemicals.

This year, research was released showing a reduction of daily-use parabens and phthalates reversed accumulation of cancer-associated cells in breast-tissue of cancer-free women.

(PMID: 36746253, DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2023.138014)

And not just by a bit.

Ditching parabens and phthalates in personal care products resulted in over 70% of known cancer cells to be turned off within a month.

“Notably, expression of 19/26 (73%) known cancer-associated genes within this profile display transcriptional shifts to a relatively ‘normal’ profile demonstrating that the REDUXE protocol reverses and thereby reduces high-risk phenotypes in healthy cells, promoted and maintained by the use of usual XE level PCPs.”

HOLY MOLY! This is worth celebrating… and a significant enough finding to DO something about.

Here’s something I know: we are all seeking to improve our health and increase our longevity.

Before I got in the personal care product space, I worked with nutrition clients.

Here's what I learned: nutrition and lifestyle changes are difficult because it requires habit change and new habits to be formed. It requires emotional buy-in and identity shifts.

But I’m not asking you to change your habits or your identity.

I’m asking you to make a safer swap - simply SWITCH the product you are already using… and this WILL have a positive impact on your health - more and more research is proving this.

Are you worth it? The answer is YES.

Okay, let’s do this!

What are we looking for?

This study focused on including products free of parabens and phthalates. What the heck at these? Here's a cliff-notes version.


These are chemicals used as preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Parabens are known endocrine (hormone) disruptors and mimic estrogen in the body.

How to identify - Look for products labeled as “paraben-free." Paraben are fairly easy to find on a label because common they include the suffix -paraben (i.e. isopropylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben) or hydroxybenzoate in the name.


These are a group of chemicals used to soften and improve the flexibility and durability of plastics. They are pronounced THAL-ates. These are also endocrine disruptors and disrupt several hormonal systems in human bodies.

How to Identify - Look for products labeled “phthalate-free.” Avoid products with words “fragrance” or “perfum" or “parfum.” Avoid fragrances and air fresheners - choose unscented or only essential oils. Also avoid DBP, DEHP, DEP.

Sunscreen on a beach bag with text overtop

For the next 12 months, we are going to switch 1 product a month… this will add up to swapping out 12 products … recalling from above, this is the average number of products a woman uses a day AND goes at a slow but sustainable pace.

EACH SWAP MATTERS!!! I'll be giving suggestions based on the REDUXE kit described in the study.

A couple years ago, I wrote about this exact topic and I gave a few different strategies in switching products, such as, switching the most harmful first, switching based on use (what runs out first and then swapping as it is empty), switching based on specific ingredients.

I bring this up because if you run out of foundation this month, it may be a good idea to consider switching THAT product instead of what I’m suggesting, especially if you are on a budget - but I am going to try to give many great safe suggestions at a variety of price points as possible throughout this challenge.

Safe Swaps Month 1: May - Sunscreen

First up, sunscreen since May marks Memorial Day in the States and the start of sunscreen season where I live.

Are you ready for this - in the REDUXE kit, they gave to participants, the sunscreen brand was… BEAUTYCOUNTER! I didn't even know this until I started looking into how they conducted the study.

A couple additional notes about sunscreen can be found here (i.e. choose mineral over chemical, avoid oxygenzone, octinoxate, etc.).

Note: zinc sunscreen can have a white tint to it, important to check out reviews about performance before swapping.

For this challenge, we are specifically limiting parabens and phthalates!!

Safe swaps sunscreen recommendations

(I've only tried Beautycounter's, so that's all I can personally speak about!) Environmental Working Group also has a lot of resources here.

I hope this safe swaps resource has been helpful! :) Please let me know if it has.

If you would like a PDF to help keep track of your progress during this challenge, email me and I will send it to you!

Limited Time Offer on Beautycounter's Band of Beauty Rewards Program

Throughout the next year, I'm going to help you switch 1 product in your routine every month… will that always be a Beautycounter product? Realistically no - maybe because it'll be out of budget or maybe because it's something we don't even make (hi, toothpaste).

Regardless, I do hope you'll consider switching to some BC products throughout this journey, which means the best way to save is to upgrade to the Band of Beauty Membership. Right now, it is $10 less than usual, making it only $19 to join and get the following perks:

Image of text of the Band of Beauty rewards

If you bought $75 in products today (hey, stock up on that safe summer screen!), you would save on shipping ($6.95), get $7.50 back on your account, and get a free welcome gift (Face Primer - $65 value) = that's almost $80 in savings!!!

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