The founder of the Honest Company gets it: Knowing what is safe for your family is hard. But with her one quick tip, healthy shopping just got easier.

By Rebecca Rakowitz

Better-for-you alternatives have taken over the marketplace, but as with most things in life, doing (or buying) what is right is not always easy. Understanding packaging plastered with terms like “vegan,” “eco,” “green,” and “natural”–words that are not as straightforward as they may seem–can leave one wondering: Is this #fakenews? After all, a lotion may be “vegan,” but does that mean it is good for me? And something may be “natural,” but does it work? How do we become our best earthy, crunchy, Gweneth Paltrow-healthy selves without the risk of wasting money on overpriced, watered down scams?

Deciphering labels and ingredient lists can be time-consuming and off-putting, but consumers don’t need to be experts to sniff out unhealthy options. Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company, said one simple way to know you’re getting a good product is to check the ingredient list for “perfume,” “parfum,” “fragrance,” and “synthetic fragrance”–umbrella terms that are sometimes covering potentially harmful chemicals.

“And if you can make sure that when you look at the ingredients list, they’re not there, then you’re golden,” Alba said. “If they’re not putting parfum, perfume, fragrance, or synthetic fragrance, usually there’s a different consciousness about how they’re formulating.”

Conscious formulating has become Alba’s life. When the actress became a mom over 10 years ago, she scoured the shelves for products she felt comfortable using on her baby. When searching for safer alternatives, she said she found products that were not performing, had boring designs, and fat price tags–an all-organic tale as old as time if we do say so ourselves. 

“I was like there’s got to be a company that does all of the research and the hard work for me and can give me amazing design but also products I can trust,” Alba said. “As I was searching for a solution, I just felt like, ‘Gosh it doesn’t really exist out there and someone’s got to do it, so why not me?’” Now that is one determined momma we can get behind.

In the six years since launching, The Honest Company has produced personal care items, beauty products, household cleaners, and their diapers, which are like an absorbent version of Alba’s mission: they use plant-based materials, hold 17 times their weight in water, and have adorable patterns. Seriously, these diapers are about to take your Insta feed to a whole new level of cuteness.

Though The Honest Company is pricier than conventional alternatives, it is on par with or cheaper than a lot of natural competitors, something Alba said people should demand from their products. So demand we shall!

“You should be able to achieve your healthy needs without breaking the bank, and I think that’s another misconception,” she said.

For Alba, the company has always been about more than the products. They emphasize social responsibility–donating over 16 million products, 16,000 volunteer hours, and money to families in need– female empowerment, and the idea that healthy living is about more than what you buy. Leave it to a driven momma to get the best products for her children by creating it herself while also benefiting the greater good simultaneously. What more could one ask for in a company?

“We do a lot of content around the lifestyle, just living the best life,” Alba said. “Better choices in your life can actually accumulatively lead to a much healthier wellbeing.”

For more tips on how to pick healthy options and a deep dive into “living the best life,” add Alba’s book, The Honest Life, to your reading list.

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