Tips For Switching To Natural Beauty Products
Over the last few years I’ve put a lot of emphasis on cleaning up my diet, trying my best to avoid processed foods and pesticide exposure by choosing organic whole foods when possible.
But the endocrine disrupters in everyday cosmetics and toiletries can be just as harmful to our bodies. Our skin is our largest organ and its pores provide a natural way for the body to detoxify. So what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in them. Which is why I’ve been trying to switch to more natural products that lighten the toxic load on my body.
Here are some tips I picked up along the way that may help if you are wanting to transition to more natural beauty products.
Replace things as they run out
There’s no need to throw out your entire toiletry and make-up bag in one go. I would have found the idea too daunting (and expensive) so I’ve tended to replace things as they run out which gives me time to do a bit of research on products I want to try.
Prioritise products that stay on your skin the longest
If you are confused about what changes would give the most bang for your buck, I’d say start with switching out products that are used closest to your skin (and therefore definitely get absorbed) and that sit on your skin the longest. Body lotion, face moisturizer, deodorant and foundation spring to mind in comparison to shampoo and conditioner which are rinsed out after a couple of minutes.
Research your favourite brands for any “Code Reds”
I found the American website Skin Deep by the Environmental Working Group really insightful and was shocked by how toxic some of my favourite products were. They colour code products like a traffic light system, green is ok but red means that there are a lot of toxins and they also rank the level of toxicity from 1 to 10 so you know just how toxic a product is.
While the site is for products sold in American and European regulations mean that products may vary slightly here, it’s still a good website to get an idea of what isn’t too bad and what should probably be tossed. I found out that the foundation that I’ve been using years and was feeling guilty about using isn’t actually too bad. While it isn’t the best choice possible it’s still in the green zone so I’m prioritising switching out other products first while still experimenting every now and then on more natural foundations until I can find one that I like.
Beware of Marketing
This is where I feel a lot of people are caught out. They look at the front of a product and they see “natural” and think they are making a great choice. But just because it says it’s natural, it doesn’t mean it is. There’s a strategy of “greenwashing” used in the cosmetics industry where some brands spend more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that actually make so. So take a minute and question what the advertisement and packaging is actually saying.
Get interested in the Back Label
Much like I tell clients to read the ingredient lists of food they eat, it’s good to have a look at the ingredient list on cosmetics and toiletries. I was surprised at how many ingredients went into making products and that I didn’t have a clue what they were.
Now when picking out products, I look for the biggest offenders: fragrance, parabens, sulfates and phthalates. If they’ve got any of these, I pass. Then I look at the other ingredients and the order they appear. This is a good way to see what the product is mostly made of as the ingredients are listed in order from most to least.
Have Fun Experimenting
I started looking for new products in my local health food store as I thought the chances of getting cleaner products there were higher. Between getting recommendations and doing research I was able to discover other brands and products that I never knew existed. Some worked out and have since become my favourites and some didn’t. It’s all part of the process and it doesn’t need to be stressful.
I had thought that natural products wouldn’t work as well, would cost a fortune or I’d end up smelling like incense but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the range, quality and price on offer. And things will only get better as the demand for more natural skincare grows. Some of my favourite products are sold in mainstream stores like Sephora now so it shows that things are changing.
I hope to write more about natural beauty on the blog here in the coming months (favourite products, new discoveries etc) as it’s still a learning curve for me and I’d like to share what I’m learning along the way.
Would love to hear your recommendations of natural products that you love. Do you have any favourites?