When first switching to a clean, low tox lifestyle, it can be INCREDIBLY overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you look for on a product label? What ingredients should you avoid? Are your current products safe? Sooooo many unknowns! Back when I was first making swaps, using mobile apps to scan my products was super helpful. Nowadays, there are tons of apps that can do this for you, but today I want to focus on one in particular, Switch Natural!
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored; I purchased the app myself and it reflects my honest thoughts. The post does contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission on app purchases made through the links.
A Quick Note About Scanning Apps… ⚠️
I will start by saying that no app is perfect, in my opinion, and I do not recommend relying on them verbatim (they can give inaccurate ratings or have data gaps, for example). I truly believe that the best thing you can do is learn about individual ingredients and get familiar with reading labels yourself. In time, you shouldn’t really need to depend on apps and it will become second nature to know if a product is clean or not within seconds of skimming the label.
That being said, I totally understand the appeal of having an app to quickly scan products for you, and they can definitely be helpful when you’re first getting started on your non-toxic journey.
It’s also important to note that not all of the apps out there are created equal and there are things to watch out for. We’ll touch on that later in this post!
About the Switch Natural Mobile App 📱
Switch Natural was created by Andrea Dahr and launched in 2022. After becoming pregnant with twins, she was determined to eliminate any unnecessary health risks and began investigating ingredients in everyday products. After nearly a decade of research, she wanted to create a tool that would help others switch to safer products too! A bit more about it:
- Patent pending
- Works in most countries but only on English labels
- Available on the Apple Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android
- Scans all beauty, skincare, personal care, and cleaning products (not food or supplements)
- You simply take a photo of an ingredient label or upload a screenshot and it will point out which ones are possibly harmful and should be avoided
“I created the Switch Natural app to make it super easy to switch out everyday products with toxins for clean versions that work.” —Andrea Dahr, founder
Related post: “Don’t Be Fooled by Greenwashing (33+ Brands to Watch Out For!)”
Pros & Cons of Switch Natural
- Fairly straightforward and easy to use with a minimal interface
- There are no ads within the app and no recurring fees after the initial purchase
- It provides information about potentially toxic ingredients, why they should be avoided, and their health effects (along with links to research and studies)
- You can also look up specific ingredients (instead of scanning a label) if you’re curious to know if something is possibly detrimental or not
- Instead of scanning barcodes to pull up information from a database, you take photos of the ingredient label itself and the app parses each ingredient individually. This is good because sometimes databases can be outdated or reflect incorrect product labels.
- The main aspect of Switch Natural that I appreciate is that it’s independently owned and operated by Andrea, not some giant company; I love supporting small businesses when possible! Not only that, but I feel like some of the original scanning apps have gotten so big that they’re no longer as trustworthy (ie. Think Dirty or EWG Skin Deep). There are also concerns with some of those popular apps taking outside funding, having biases, data gaps, inaccurate ratings, etc.
- It is $20 upfront which is quite expensive for an app
- It won’t accurately read photos that are blurry or ingredients on a curved bottle, for example. So there’s always a chance of things not getting flagged correctly unless you use a good photo/screenshot. So sometimes I’m not 100% confident that everything was detected thoroughly.
- Unlike most other scanning apps, it doesn’t give you an overall product rating or have a hierarchy of ingredients. Some others might give you a color-coded or numerical rating so you know how important it is to avoid something, but Switch Natural just highlights any potentially harmful substances.
Overall, it’s not perfect! But I do recommend it as a starting point if you’re going to use an app, especially since it’s a small, indie, woman-owned business I feel good about supporting!
For even more resources to get you started, check out this post:
Do you use any apps to scan your cosmetics or personal care products? Have any faves? Lemme know in the comments. Thanks for reading 💚