Hi! My name is Irina Webb, and I am full of joy that you are here! If you have read testimonials throughout my website, you may sense that joining our I Read Labels for You community might be a life changing experience. It is an honor for me to be part of the community we have built here.
Before I tell you what you can get out of the I Read Labels for You service, I want to talk to you about the foundation upon which this community is built: thoroughness, honesty, and integrity.
As you peruse the pages of this blog, you will notice affiliate links. It means that I receive commissions if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.
Here is my unique approach to product research.
Product research is a very time-consuming endeavor. Over time, I have had to do so much research that I have acquired an understanding of how products are made. For instance, I understand what types of ingredients a typical shampoo that lathers must have for it to function as a shampoo. In fact, baby shampoo was my first research project.
First and foremost, before I write about any product, I research it as thoroughly as I can (see below). I refuse to recommend a product unless it meets my strict safety criteria.
Before recommending a product, this is what I do.
First, I survey the whole industry. In other words, I first read as much as I can about the industry to see what the popular brands are in that particular industry segment.
Second, I learn as much as I can about manufacturing processes to understand how the products in the subject industry are made. Additionally, I try to get to the bottom of things such as how unlisted contaminants may be introduced into the products, and what harmful by-products may result from a certain manufacturing process.
Third, I proceed to study the ingredients of the product in question. If it is a personal care product or a cleaning product, I do not just rely on the information in the Skin Deep Database powered by the Environmental Working Group or the Guide to Healthy Cleaning powered by the ThinkDirty app. I don’t rely solely on them due to their limitations. When I read the sources of information they rely on to form their opinions, I sometimes form a different opinion about the same ingredients or products.
In my blog post, you can learn how to use the EWG Skin Deep Database for the best results. In addition, my rating system is different from theirs. I have built my own rating systems, which form the basis for my various Rating List e-books. I have also developed what I call a “superpower method” that you can use to estimate a product’s safety in a matter of seconds. You can learn more about it in the educational Facebook group.
Thus, instead of relying on someone else’s opinions, I read scientific studies and regularly review the following:
- California Proposition 65 List
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) Lists of Known and Probable Carcinogens
- OSHA Occupational Chemical Database
- Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Pesticide Database
- Silent Spring List of Mammary Toxins
- TedEx List of Potential Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
- Cosmetic Ingredients Review reports
- European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety reports
- American Contact Dermatitis Society reports
I am also subscribed to DeepDyve.com, which is a fee-based electronic hub for numerous peer-reviewed science journals.
Moreover, I have started consulting with a board-certified medical doctor who practices functional medicine. She is well versed in the importance of reducing exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. You can see whether she has reviewed the post you are reading by looking for her name, Myrto Ashe, MD, MPH, IFMCP, under the heading of the post.
Fourth, I discern the safest options available to manufacturers of the products in question, and, if needed, I contact the manufacturers for more information. At the beginning of my career as a full-time product researcher and educator, I contacted as many companies as I could find, and that was how I became knowledgeable about how products are made. By the way, at this point in my career, many companies seek my advice on the choice of product ingredients. When I write dedicated review posts, I certainly interview manufacturers to learn more about their character and whether as consumers we can trust them to do the right thing.
Finally, I get the product and test it for an extended period to learn whether it is practical and of good quality, and how I like it. Keep in mind that this step applies to products/brands about which I write dedicated review posts. It would be impossible for me to try all the products I include in my guides, rating lists, and the shop section of my website. There are so many!
When a product passes all my strict safety criteria, I am ready to write its review on my free ireadlabelsforyou.com website. To do that, I require a compensation in the form of affiliate commissions from the seller. By the way, I review products upon request of the members of the Savvy Consumer Circle and in one-on-one consultations (read the list of my services below). As you might know, no organization, even a non-profit, can exist without any income. For instance, EWG and ThinkDirty charge fees to put their stamp of approval on products. While there is no conflict of interest in my mind, I understand that there might be a perceived conflict of interest, especially when I am very enthusiastic about a product. (Now that you have read my due diligence process above, you can probably understand why I get enthusiastic about a product that passes it.)
Here are some posts where I could have received paid commissions, but I chose to voice my criticism of the products instead.
Note a comment left on this post by Lady Billy Budd:
You are so refreshingly honest and your integrity to the truth is unwavering. Your voice cannot be bought. Do you know how few people can claim that? I know you just reviewed a clay pot, but I’ve read book reviews, product reviews, pet food reviews, and all manner of other reviews that were nothing more than paid-for shilling. I was surprised to read your honest review and I’d trust your opinion and judgment on other things. If you ever feel the temptation to blur the truth or hide some uncomfortable facts for the sake of selling something, remember this review and don’t give in. If you continue to remain so refreshingly honest for your readers, you could be someone we all need in a world where everything negative is brushed under the carpet and we, the public, are led around by our noses.
Lady Billy Budd is right, and thank you for appreciating this, LBB! As a follow-up, I will say that I have never been “tempted to blur the truth or hide some uncomfortable facts for the sake of selling something.” Instead, I get a great deal of satisfaction from knowing that we’re building something unique here, based on truth.
In fact, they had contacted me with the request to recommend their products to you before all the lawsuits came about. I feel so fortunate that my robust research system helped me stay away from them and not mislead you.
If you read comments to this post, you will learn about negative and sad experiences that many women have had. And again, I learned about them after I had written a post. However, due to my robust research process, I wrote a warning post instead of a promotional review.
The list can go on. At this point in the digital world, almost every company has incentives for bloggers to promote their products. And I will do so, but only if the product passes my strict criteria. Sometimes, I like only certain products offered by a company, but do not recommend other products.
There is so much going on behind the scenes. There are even reviews that I decided not to publish (despite many hours of work that my assistant and I put into them) just because I was not confident that this was the best product for you to use. I could not even write a critical review, because I did not have proof of my suspicions. So, in silent pain I have to watch people make what are, in my opinion, wrong decisions.
And now, let me outline the services that you can get from the I Read Labels for You community. You can choose what suits you best based on where you are in your health journey and your learning styles. I want to warn you, though, against adopting the all-or-nothing approach. I have noticed that many tend to subscribe to it when they first learn about potentially harmful chemicals in products they use on their bodies and at home. For example, some people go overboard and try to eliminate absolutely all toxins from their life, all at once. In my experience, this approach is impractical, stressful, and counterproductive. Remember that stress is the biggest toxin. Instead, I recommend taking meaningful steps and praising yourself for taking them.
I Read Labels for You Services
Read my blog posts.
I have written hundreds of various educational blog posts, free to you, on ireadlabelsforyou.com — and you are welcome to search there! You can browse my website by typing an ingredient or product name or brand name in the website’s menu.
Stay informed and motivated!
I believe signing up to receive my weekly emails is a really good way to stay motivated, get exclusive deals, and be on top of the latest developments in the world of I Read Labels for You. Plus, when you sign up, you will receive the 5 Powerful Steps to a Non-Toxic Home guide. You can sign up here.
Visit the IRLFY Shop.
Be sure to check out the IRLFY Shop as I often add new products. This is a really good way to get product recommendations for free.
Take advantage of my Free Beauty Email Consultation.
If you visit my Shop, you will see a lot of skincare products. In addition, I have not had a chance yet to list all the beauty products I have researched and tested over the years. Some people (and you might be one of them) get overwhelmed with so many choices. So, I can help you make choices if you book a beauty consultation with me.
Please keep in mind that I am offering this service for free with the hope that afterwards you will buy some of my recommended products via my affiliate links, and I will get paid by the companies. (If you want to learn about the safety of products of your choice, you can book a paid email consultation here.) So, if you agree to the terms of the free consultation, fill out this intake form, and I will email you my recommendations within 1-5 business days, depending on how busy my schedule is.
Note that in addition to this free beauty consultation, I also offer, for a reasonable fee, telephone or Zoom consultations on other topics, including hair color, water filtration, and the like.
Join the Healthy Simple Beauty Facebook Group (for my US followers only) .
This is where we talk about clean beauty products, from ingredients to application tips. I announce and post replays of the Clean Beauty Workshops where you can learn about the importance of reading ingredients, how to estimate product safety within seconds, and more about Crunchi. I am able to teach these workshops at no charge to you because there is always the possibility that you will buy makeup and skincare products from my favorite makeup company called Crunchi through my Crunchi replica website.
Check out my all-in-one rating list e-books.
If you already know you want to make cleaner choices when shopping for a shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, hair dye, nail polish, baby wipes, or diapers, these rating lists will make it a cinch! Check them out here.
Book a consultation.
If you want to discuss your challenge one-on-one with me so we can identify solutions that will work for your budget, health condition, and appetite for change, book a consultation! You can also find out what my thoughts are on any particular product by email – take a look here.
Join the Savvy Consumer Circle.
This is a separate website, not a Facebook group. The exclusive content is driven by requests from the members. The current members love the product reviews they requested and enjoy sharing their experiences of using the products with their peers. It is a paid service but it’s totally worth it if you are not new to clean living and want to go deeper with healthy living. To learn more about it, click here.
In sum, I try to provide services for every preference and stage of the healthy journey upon which you have embarked. Feel free to let me know if I am missing something.
And lastly, I know that there are a lot of wonderful people, who, out of the sense of gratitude and love, would like to send me some money to help me continue my mission. That often happens especially around Christmas time. If you have it in your heart, I can only say, “Thank you!” You can do that through Paypal.
Thank you for reading! It is so exciting to have you here!