Emily Vickers, the mother of two young daughters, moved to Greenwich in 2020 from Boston and is the founder of Social Dearest, a website dedicated to clean living and beauty. She started her blog as a way to share what she was learning about living and consuming products that are good for our bodies. Having suffered from eczema all of her life, she didn’t realize the products she was using were actually making it worse. Thankfully, in her late 20’s she became more educated and realized that what you put on your body was also equally as important. After all, your skin is your largest organ.
Today in our beauty industry, there is minimal regulation so I want to provide tips on how to avoid greenwashing and common ingredients to avoid and why. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act has not updated the ingredients that they’ve banned since 1938 and the number of ingredients that they banned in cosmetic products at the time was 30. For comparison, the EU (European Union) currently has 1,400 ingredients banned from cosmetics. This Act at the time, focused mainly on regulating misbrand products, or products that were falsely packaged. However, labeling products “natural” or “organic” does not qualify as misbranding. So anyone can put that on their box and even if it’s not true.
Once Emily began changing out her toxic products for clean ones, overnight her skin changed. Minimal breakouts, looked brighter, maybe even a few years younger? By the time she had her first child she became simply obsessed with bringing the cleanest products into her household and then had the idea to create a blog that helps busy women feel more confident and educated about what they expose themselves and their families to.
Please tell us a bit about your family and life in Greenwich (names/ages of kids, what do you love to do in Greenwich, etc)?
Originally from Boston, I moved to Greenwich in the summer of 2020 with my daughters who are now 4 and 6 years old. I was very intimidated by the thought of moving to Greenwich – where I knew no one and knew very little about the town. We are so fortunate to live in mid-country where we have wonderful neighbors and our girls attend GCDS which has been our biggest blessing as the parent community is so welcoming. The women I’ve connected with are so supportive and while many have no idea what “clean beauty” is all about, they have all shown enormous interest in my passion and support in growing my business.
Where do you live and what do you love about Greenwich and your neighborhood?
We moved to mid-country in 2020 after only three trips to visit Greenwich from Boston and we chose this area due to the close proximity to the children’s school. We are so lucky because of the proximity to the center of town, the highways, walking trails, and the beach all within a 10-15 minute drive from our home.
What led you to form Social Dearest? Can you please share about your professional background and career highlights?
I have suffered from eczema all my life and for a long time didn’t realize the products I was using were actually making it worse. Thankfully, in my late 20’s the health and wellness craze was really in full swing. I was working in finance but I found myself spending all my free time on blogs I trusted, meeting founders of clean beauty companies at events in Boston and shopping at stores like Credo Beauty that I trusted due to their stringent standards on which ingredients are allowed in products they sell. I started to talk to my close friends about my independent research and experimenting with homemade beauty products. Women like myself have become more educated consumers in what we eat and how we move our bodies.
By the time I had my first child I became simply obsessed with bringing the cleanest products into my household. I had this idea to create a website that helps busy women feel more confident and educated about what they expose themselves and their families too.
Why are you so passionate about clean beauty products?
Many of my friends had suffered from infertility, family history of cancer, allergic reactions and like myself, were learning of product recalls and lawsuits that were linked back to product ingredients. Soon I began changing out my toxic products for clean ones and overnight my skin changed. Minimal breakouts, looked brighter, maybe even a few years younger? 🙂 Most importantly, my eczema after decades and decades was finally manageable. My friends and family started following in my footsteps and they felt better inside and out from taking control of the products they were using too.
Tell us about Five Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare!
There are a lot of ingredients that I check to make sure they’re not in the products I buy but that can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out! Here are five ingredients that I urge you to move away from if they’re found in your current beauty products. It’s a great starting point on your clean beauty journey!
- Fragrance/Parfum: An Engineered scent that usually contains dozens of (if not hundreds!) chemical ingredients used to create fragrances. Fragrance and flavor formulas are “trade secrets” and can therefore remain undisclosed. Exposure can use skin allergies and irritations, trigger asthma attacks, neurotoxicity, and endocrine disruption.
- Formaldehyde: (look for: Diazolidinyl urea; Quaternium-15) A known carcinogen – exposure can cause cancer. Formaldehyde is a preservative and can be found in shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, nail polish.
- Chemical Sunscreens: (look for: Avobenzone, Benzophenone, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate) These ingredients are used to filter UVA/UVB rays. Unfortunately, these ingredients can be absorbed into your bloodstream causing endocrine disruption and increased risk of cancer.
- Talc: (Also known as Talcum Powder) Used in a large range of cosmetics like blush, foundation, concealer, eye shadow, face powder, mascara and lipsticks. The risk of asbestos contamination can cause very serious lung problems, including lung cancer.
- Perfluorinated Compound (PFASs or PFCs): Used for oil-,stain-, and water-repellent properties. Compounds in this category do not break down in the environment, and have been linked to a variety of health issues including cancer, hormone disruption, liver toxicity, and obesity. These compounds can be found in cleaning products, personal care products like shampoo and dental floss and cosmetics like nail polish and eye makeup. Look for products with “perfluor” and “polyfluor” as part of their ingredients.
What are your Top Five Beauty Recommendations?
- Mascara: Ilia Limitless Lash Lengthening Mascara, $28 full size / $13 travel size
- Deodorant: Beautycounter Clean Deo (4 scents & refillable), $31
- Lips: Hurrah Lip Balm (tons of flavors), $12-16 two pack
- Face: Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil, $36
- Body wash/shower: Kosas Sport AHA + Enzyme Exfoliating Wash, $22
What is your working mom mantra?
Try to be as patient with yourself as you are with others.
What’s next for your brand?
Besides using my website and social media to navigate products and brands you can trust in your home, I’ve recently started offering a one-on-one consultation. I call it a makeup bag makeover. Send me your seven most used beauty products and I’ll find you nontoxic alternatives. A quick, easy, cost effective, and completely customized approach to clean beauty.
We love to support local businesses. What are your fave places locally to:
Grab coffee: Coffee For Good.
Workout: Long walks with my dog at Babcock Preserve and Montgomery Pinetum.
Go on a date night: I love the vibe and cosy atmosphere at Le Penguin.
Go out for a girls night: I’m a fan of a girls lunch with wine instead of a night out (so lame!). My go-to is The Cottage.
Go out to dinner as a family: My girls and husband love pasta at Polpo and I love their margaritas.
Get your nails done: Not in Greenwich but I highly recommend the nontoxic nail salon, To And From in Darien.
Have fun as a family: Tod’s Point.