In our quest for a clean and toxin-free lifestyle, we often forget that our skin is actually our largest organ. Our pores provide our bodies natural ways to shed impurities from our system but can also absorb harmful chemicals. It is interesting to observe vegan health crusaders who would not touch processed food with a 10-foot pole but cover themselves with harmful chemicals via body products and make up. Wake up, kittnes!
Getting your beauty routine down to a more natural way does not have to be difficult or break the bank. In fact, there are five easy steps you can employ which can have a significant effect on what you are putting on your face and body.
1. Check for red flags.
If you are worried about some of the brands you are using, do a quick cross-reference on the Environmental Working Group’s website, Skin Deep. If the product is a level 1 or 2, it’s probably not worth throwing away immediately. Anything higher on the scale means that the products are relatively safe to use. You might find yourself blown away by the levels of certain toxins in some of your beauty mainstays.
2. Start with the products that stay on your skin the longest.
Face moisturizer is the number one place to start as it immediately gets absorbed into your skin and you (should) use it twice daily. Next up is foundation, or any other make up that you directly apply to your face. Take into account how close each product is to your skin’s surface, and how long it sits on skin. Ex. shampoo is rinsed out after a minute or two but your face and body lotion linger around all day long.
3. Forget the front of the package.
Just because something says it’s natural doesn’t mean anything. This is all part of a strategy called “greenwashing” used by the beauty industry and is simply a marketing tactic. Even labels like “cruelty-free” and “organic” are beginning to lose some of their meaning so don’t trust the packaging.
4. Read ingredient labels.
Remember to READ, READ, READ. Begin by scanning for the biggest offenders: fragrance, parabens, sulfates, phthalates. Then take into consideration what the active naturals are and where they fall on the list. If the first ingredient is water, the formula isn’t going to be as concentrated and give you as much bang for your buck. If the front of the package touts rosemary and it’s one of the last ingredients, chances are only a drop went into the vat and therefore will not have a huge impact on your skin. Learn how to make sense of labels and remember that the fewer ingredients, the better. A general rule to use is that if you can’t pronounce a product ingredient, it is not something that you want to take part in.
5. Find brands you trust.
Just like getting to know the farmer’s at your local market, learning more about the mission and people behind your cosmetics is the best way to navigate the landscape. Chances are, if you believe in the mission behind a company, you can trust their products a bit more as well. Not suggesting blind brand alliagence, just an educated choice.
3 cheers to transitioning to natural and sustainable products for a health, happy and pretty face :) Check out the Skin Deep site to see how your cosmetics stack up.