The MASS EDEN BLOG team has received a number of questions about TL’s passion for green. A majority of the questions range from asking why she started a green wellness brand; how she transitioned to a green lifestyle; and, what are the benefits of a (mostly) green lifestyle. For this month’s Tell Me About It (TMAI) blog post, we’re sitting down with TL Robinson, Founder & Owner of MASS EDEN to understand her wellness journey and reason for going green.
What was the catalyst for creating the MASS EDEN green body care brand?
Initially, it was to get quality green (natural and organic) products to consumers with sensitive skin. There is a big misconception in the market that all natural and organic products are gentle enough for sensitive skin and that just isn’t true. My skin is triggered the same way with both artificial and green products. The point that I have to keep in mind is that poison ivy is natural but it’s not good for skin. The brand expanded to include the MASS EDEN BLOG because of the many questions we would get regarding natural and organic products. Over time, the blog evolved to include wellness topics.
We found that people were curious about natural and organic products but didn’t know where to start to get information or find products. Others, like myself, were interested in transitioning due to health reasons and wanted safer options to manage their respective illnesses.
Was your illness the catalyst for going green?
No and Yes. I learned about green body care products produced per EU standards while on vacation in Cuba. A local farmer had products that I was able to use [for a two-day excursion] because I forgot my own at the hotel. These products were amazing! They soothed and cleared my sensitive skin in less than 24 hours. Once back in the states, I did more research on green beauty and learned the difference between EU and US standards.
I started cleaning up my diet at this time. Shortly after, I had a better understanding of my health, invisible illness. And, with the information I learned and the experience I had, it made sense to also green my body care. In short, wanting to care for my sensitive skin was the catalyst and the health benefits were the reinforcement.
What is an “invisible illness”?
A chronic impairment to one’s health with symptoms that are not readily visible. It is believed that 96% of sufferers show no outward symptoms. Symptoms (visible or not) can be disabling either temporarily or long-term.
I have a hormone imbalance that created fatigue, tumors and other stressors. For me, I’d been having symptoms for many years, but they were not attributed to my illness. It wasn’t until my surgery that I, my family and physicians really had line of sight of the big picture.
How did you transition to green?
I transitioned to green slowly but surely. Our bodies become “addicted” to some of the artificial ingredients in our products and going cold turkey can cause some skin and body issues. Having that understanding upfront was very helpful in ensuring that I successfully transitioned to green. I picked one product and used it for a few weeks to ensure that there was no negative skin reaction. If there was a problem, I went back to the prior product for a few weeks then tried a new green product. I also kept a journal. I would log negative skin reactions and the ingredients in the triggering products. It was and still is a good way for me (or anyone) to identify triggers.
Going green is a journey. There is no one timeframe to make this transition. I encourage everyone to go at a pace that is comfortable for them.
What are good sources for finding quality natural and organic products?
Natural and organic foods are available and just about every (major) supermarket chain. The big push that made these products available was the healthy eating trend that started years ago. Now that people are connecting the dots between diet, body care and overall health, especially where artificial products are concerned, green body care products are in higher demand. We are starting to see natural and organic toothpaste options, deodorants and make up in mainstream stores. For people with sensitive skin, there is still a struggle to find quality products.
There are two major ways to search for natural and organic products, online and search and green beauty expos. Both are great ways to get intimate knowledge about the companies and their products. It’s how I started before founding the MASS EDEN brand. And, if I’m not participating in an expo, I will attend at a consumer to learn about new products and brands.
How can someone new to the natural and organic world sort through conflicting and false information?
Unfortunately, there is a good amount of false information in the green space (same as any industry). The data age makes false information more prevalent and readily available to anyone with a computer. I’ve come across resources that contained false information both online and even within my cosmetic formulation curriculum. So, I’m not immune to the frustration caused by receiving wrong/outdated information.
They best way to ensure that you have accurate information is two-fold: 1. get access to the information source for the information you’ve received and 2. understand the criteria around the information. I’ve found that not many people want to intentionally mislead people. Incorrect information is either copied from another outdated resource or shared out of context. So, the best way to ensure that you are getting accurate information is to look and/or ask for information sources. Once you have the sources review them for legitimacy and “freshness”.
When it comes to practicing medical and wellness professionals, educators and information sharers (like bloggers), I think it’s important to be academic in approach. By this, I mean, to not assume that our body of knowledge is the end all be all of information. We should always seek to learn, understand and share information. So, I also encourage consumers to seek information from resources that demonstrate this type of effort.
Do you think that people should transition to using natural and organic products?
I am not a hard-core “green pusher”. I, along with many others, have realized benefits from limiting or eliminating the consumption of artificial ingredients. When it comes to considering whether or not to go green, I believe that people should do what’s best for them.
But, for anyone who wants to start, I do recommend that they first learn the differences between natural, organic, organic certified to USDA standard. Having his information will provide a good foundation for proper product selection.
Learn more about the “Tell ME About It” blog series and why TL Robinson, MASS EDEN BLOG EIC, believes it is important to engage medical and wellness experts.
Interview. TL Robinson; July 17, 2018