How Label Reading and Hives Clash – A Story of Allergies, Sensitivities and Solutions

Laura Forshee is one of my US readers and a Norwex consultant herself. This is her story of how and why she started to cut the toxins out of her life (years before she discovered Norwex to make it easier!).

Putting together the puzzle of allergies, sensitivities and label reading can be hard but so rewarding. |

My family all has pretty sensitive skin and when my twins were babies and toddlers this showed up in a big way.  I first noticed that detergents and fragrances gave my babies a rash, so we switched to fragrance free-dye free detergent.  Still a rash persisted, so we ditched the dryer sheets and things improved.

Also my husband has eczema and it was still really irritated in the winter months especially.  We tried finding gentle soaps to use, which helped some, but it was still bothersome. On top of all that, one of my twins had developed a dairy allergy, so with that came all the label reading on both foods and cosmetics.

Two years later, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

This came as a huge surprise as we don’t have a strong family history of it – in fact only one other relative we know of had been diagnosed with this in the past.  So, while she was going through chemo treatments, she had to be really careful about the products she used on herself and in her environment.

During this time I started looking into the potential “why” of my mom developing cancer.

She didn’t have a history of health problems and for the most part, she ate healthily, aside from a bit of a sweet tooth.  I started reading articles about artificial sweeteners, GMO foods, right through to things about cosmetics and personal care items containing ingredients such as parabens, etc.


After reading much of those articles, a lightbulb went on…both my girls had a terrible time with many of the sunscreens we had tried.  Their sensative skin would break out in a rash after a few days use of each new sunscreen we would use.  My mom had done this too on a family trip to the beach.  Wow.

Then a few months later, my other daughter – the one not allergic to dairy – sprayed a kid’s perfume on that she had received as a Christmas present.  Within 20 minutes she broke out in hives.  So, again, the researching commenced.  I determined that she was allergic to an ingredient called cinnamate.  This is in all kinds of lotions with fragrances.  So, in the trash went the perfume.

Well, I became quite the label reader after all of that.  I found and my awareness increased as I read articles, looked up products and their ingredients, etc.  We tried our best to find “safe” products and cleaners, but I have since learned that many of those are not as safe as the big companies would like you to think.

Then, a few years later, when my girls were five years old, they had the unfortunate luck of acquiring a really bad stomach virus.  Yep…as the virus progressed, so did the messes on the way to the restroom.  We have hard wood floors in our house, so I really never felt I was truly getting rid of those nasty germs because you aren’t supposed to use harsh chemicals on them or risk ruining the finish (not to mention exposing your family to strong fumes).

Two weeks later, a lady from my church invited me to a Norwex party.  I almost didn’t go because we had had a busy day, but she mentioned something about silver being in the cloths and how we could clean without using chemicals, so I went, arriving late.

The girl showing and telling about the products really didn’t talk for long, she showed us 3 cloths and how great they picked up dust and how awesome they were at cleaning butter off of a piece of glass–leaving no residue.

The ladies next to me and I were all amazed! I mean, how could this be?  Then she got out raw chicken and rubbed it on the piece of glass and cleaned with just one of her microfiber cloths and water.  She then tested it with some protein swabs to show that all the chicken had been removed leaving nothing behind.  Oh, I was excited now and my next question to her was “do you have a mop?”

Remember the yucky messes I had experience just weeks before?  She said yes, and brought out the Norwex mop and showed us how it worked, again using only water and the mop pads.  I decided to purchase a mop pad and a couple of cloths.  After I got home I looked through that catalog and researched the company.  No one approached me about signing up to sell anything.  The girl at the party barely mentioned much about it at all.  I was just really intrigued by this product!

After a few days, I decided I might want to become a consultant, not only for the awesome discount, but because I felt the products would go over well in the community that I live in as people seem to be more health conscious here than in my hometown where I grew up.

I had a lot to learn, but I was excited to give this a go!  That was in March of 2012 and I have been working it since then.

I loved the mission of the company, all of the free products that can be easily earned, and a chance to earn some extra income, all while teaching others how cleaning could be really easy using just a cloth and water.  I’ve made some great friends along the way too.

The Norwex adjustable height mop with dry superior mop fibre attached | SustainableSuburbia.netNow, 2 & 1/2 years later, I am facing a surgery on my wrist as a result of a bad sprain while on vacation earlier this year.

While that all seems stressful to an extent, I can at least take comfort in the fact that my eight year old girls can really help with the housework because I won’t have to worry about them using any harsh cleaners.  They have their Envirocloths, dusting mitts, and bathroom scrub mitts to help clean when mom can’t.

Oh and did I mention they love to help mop? Love it!

Laura Forshee - Independent Norwex Sales Consultant | Sustainable SuburbiaLaura wrote this piece for Sustainable Suburbia months ago while I was travelling, but I never got it together to publish until now that I am back!  She’s now been on her Norwex journey for almost three years!

If you are in the United States you can purchase Norwex products or contact Laura for more information through her Norwex website,  and of course, if you are in Australia you can contact me or purchase directly through my site at:

Now that I am back and on task, this post will be shared as usual at the fabulous Jess’s IBOT page for the week.

Now over to you dear Reader… Do you have a story of label reading, allergies, or sensitivities to share? How did you overcome it, or what are you trying? Or have you approached non-toxic living from another perspective? Do leave a comment and share your experience, or ask your questions, and if you liked Laura’s story, do please like or share her post, using the buttons below. 🙂

  8 comments for “How Label Reading and Hives Clash – A Story of Allergies, Sensitivities and Solutions

  1. Chantel
    February 17, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    I eat primal, so am constantly reading labels of what we eat – but I’ve never ventured into looking into the things we use around the house. I’m so strict about what we put into our bodies, you would think I would have thought about what we put on/around our bodies

    • Kirsten McCulloch
      February 21, 2015 at 10:03 am

      I think it’s pretty coommon Chantel, to start one way or t’other, and then eventually make the cross over 🙂
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. February 17, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    I always find it fascinating reading stories like this that just remind you how negative a lot of products are. I have a severe reaction to flavour enhancers (MSG) so we tend to make a lot of our food from scratch, which is fine but I find that if my kids or husband do eat anything with MSG that they now get a mild reaction to it because their bodies just aren’t used to it. Just goes to show you how bad it actually is.

    • Kirsten
      February 21, 2015 at 10:04 am

      That’s really interesting Malinda.
      I’m curious, do you react to MSG-like substances as well, like yeast extract?

  3. February 17, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    I’ve heard so much good stuff about Norwex. I really need to give it a go.

    • Kirsten
      February 21, 2015 at 10:05 am

      Hey Jess, I’ve emailed you 🙂

  4. Mackenzie
    February 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Hey Laura,

    Have you tried any bees’ products for sun protection? Burt’s Bees claims they don’t use phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or SLS. It might be worth a shot. I’m sure there are other products available on the market that don’t use nasty chemicals. Hope you’ll find something suitable for your family members. Good luck!


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