Theda Stone and her family moved to Colorado in 2001 to be closer to her husband’s parents, who lived in Monument. Stone said she and her husband, Ian, had always wanted to live in Black Forest because the area reminded them of Maine and New Hampshire, where they grew up.
They found the “perfect home” in Black Forest and today enjoy spending time outdoors, hiking and walking with their dog, Stone said. Family is Stone’s focus, but she is also passionate about health and all-natural products.
Stone said she enjoys cooking and creating healthy, gluten-free meals for the whole family.
Fourteen years ago, her son Will was diagnosed with Celiac disease. "Back then, they really didn't know much about Celiac, and he was basically a failure-to-thrive baby,” Stone said.
“When he was 3, he asked me if I'd be gluten free with him because he didn't want to be the only one in the family. I said, of course, and have been gluten free ever since.” She said she feels much better being gluten free, and she raised her two younger boys to be gluten free also because it can be genetic and/or triggered by stress and environment.
Eating healthy “keeps us away from a lot of processed food choices and sweets, too,” Stone said.
Seven years ago, other health issues led Stone to begin using cleaning products with fewer chemicals to “lesson the toxic load on my body,” she said.
Four years ago, her sister-in-law suggested adding healthy skin care choices to her lifestyle, and introduced her to Beautycounter. Stone said she has been hooked ever since. “I wanted a clean skin care (product) that would work for me and my family, and it intrigued me that they had products for my boys and my husband,” she said. Stone said Beautycounter provides education on ingredients and product safety. “It’s not just a beauty company, it is a movement to make change to have more protective laws when it comes to personal care products,” she said.
Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew testified as the only expert witness in a congressional hearing on cosmetic reform in December 2019, Stone said. To share what she has learned with others, Stone has a Facebook site called Safer Beauty for Better Health.
“I was leading a pretty healthy life, but until four years ago, I never thought about what I was putting on my skin,” she said. Making changes doesn’t have to be expensive, she said. “If you want to make changes but want to be economical about it, replace what you are using when it runs out with something cleaner; swap out as you run out for something safer,” Stone said. “It’s progress we’re looking for, not perfection.”
On June 25, 1938, Congress passed the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. It has been 80 years since Congress last voted to regulate cosmetics and protect consumers from harmful ingredients in their makeup or skin care, Stone said. Chemicals are affecting fertility, the onset of puberty; and, in some cases, cancer, she said.
Stone said she relies on the app provided by The Environmental Working Group or EWG.org to stay informed about safe products; the app uses a rating system, with one being safe and 10 harmful.
She said it can be tedious, but start by eliminating products that contain a few of the major chemicals like parabens, phalates, formaldehyde or anything listed with fragrance. She said the FDA does not define organic or natural in relation to skin care products. Look for labels like EWG verified or the leaping bunny logo for safe products. Also look for B corporations, as it is a coveted certification for companies that are transparent about their products.
Stone said clean, high-performance skin care often means higher costs because the ingredients are more expensive, and it costs more to prevent cross contamination. She said the good news is higher quality products last longer — usually because less is needed to be effective. In the end, Stone said the consumer often ends up spending more money on skin care that contains unsafe ingredients.
“You ultimately have to ask yourself what your health is worth to you; and the more you know and educate yourself, the more you will realize you can’t go back to using some of the unsafe products,” she said.
Stone said she has an in-home office where clients try the products. “Too many times, I have had clients say to me, ‘I wish I had known this before I got sick,’” she said. “I can’t save everyone, and so I educate those who are interested in changing their health for the better and understanding what they put on their bodies does matter.”
If the above is not enough to keep her busy, Stone also works with her mom, Barbara Lehman, who lives in Colorado Springs. The two plan, coordinate and decorate for parties and events. Stone said they both have a strong, creative side — and make a great team.
"I'm a wife, mom of four boys, an educator for safe beauty; and my life is busy,” Stone said. “I enjoy every minute because each part gives me a sense of purpose and fills my soul with an abundance of joy."
Theda Stone lives in Black Forest and has an office area, where people can visit and learn about all-natural skin products. Photo by Leslie Sheley