Your beauty routine invariably involves your skin and whatever you put on your skin is more than 60% absorbed into your system, so it makes such good sense to go the natural route.
Have a good look at your personal beauty routine and see where you can make it safer for you.
1. Always look for natural alternatives to the commercial beauty brands.
Even some of the latter are starting to realize the power of the consumer and proudly putting on their labels and packaging when they are natural, organic and/or offer some eco-friendly alternative. So always read the labels with the ingredients (however small they may be) and if you cannot recognize or pronounce the ingredients, you can be fairly sure that they are chemicals that you should not be applying to your skin.
2. Natural products
are so much kinder to the environment. They are biodegradable and they won't contaminate the water systems. For example use bar soap such as Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile soap made with moisturizing essental oils wrapped in coated paper for minimum impact on the environment but maximum impact on your skin.
3. There are many brands now available that tick all the boxes as far as cruelty-free, not tested on animals, using natural or organic ingredients and promoting green practices
. Stores such as Target and Sephora are now carrying a wide selection while the Nordstrom Well Beauty Boutiques (in 25 of the chain's beauty departments) offer products that are free of petrochemicals and parabens with recyclable packaging. They deserve your support and your skin deserves a safer application. Changing to all natural products will not mean you have to be any less glamorous or feminine. Rabbit icons denote cruelty-free products and so do labels with phrases such as vegan or no animal-by-products.
4. When choosing and buying beauty products, don't be distracted by the attractive packaging,
which is there to tempt you before it winds up either in the trash can or at best the recycling bin. Look for products with the minimum, biodegradable and recycled packaging. Don't forget that you will be paying extra for that excessive, attractive packaging in the price of the product.
5. Be ruthless with yourself and decide whether it is possible to cut down on the number
of beauty products you use. If possible, pare it down to the basics to save you money, clutter and more. We all tend to hold on to products even if we never use them. Old mascara containers can even harbor bacteria.
6. When you have your complete set of natural cosmetics and toiletries that you are going to use regularly, look for ways to extend their life span
. When you think you cannot get any more out of a tube, cut off the end and then you have another day or two's use before recycling that container. You may think that your lipstick has reached the end but wait, a Q-tip will safely give you several more applications before you need to throw the empty lipstick away. "Almost empty" shampoo and conditioner bottles can have a little water added to help finish off the remainder of the contents or just turn them upside down ready for a final use the next time. You are not just being frugal, you are being green!
7. In this age of the disposable,
don't be tempted to use items only once. Instead of face wipes, buy a reusable face cloth (such as a micro fiber one) and throw it in the washing machine with the rest of your washing every time. An electric razor or one with replacement blades is more environmentally friendly that using a throw away plastic razor.
8. Part of helping the environment is to use less power and energy
. Let your hair dry naturally and then just finish off the necessary styling with a hair dryer or your appliance of choice when it is almost dry. This is not only a saving but also more safe and gentle for your hair. We all know that we should turn off the tap when cleaning our teeth or washing our face - but perhaps we need a reminder.
9. I have already spoken about using natural shampoo and conditioner for your hair but one of the biggest culprits for chemicals and toxins is hair colorants
– unsafe for you and unsafe for the environment. If you are not happy to embrace your natural hair color (even though most of the time the hair you were born with suits your skin tone the best), look for a hair salon that only offers natural products (such salons are growing in popularity) or buy and use your own natural hair colorants to use at home. You will find these in health stores. Herbatint made in Italy (although not 100% ideal) is against animal testing, and contains no ammonia, parabens or resorcinol. I understand natural Henna is the safer option.
10. If you must use a sun screen
(but be circumspect because you do need that vitamin D top up by regular exposure to sunlight) then a chemical-free sunscreen such as Burt's Bees SPF 30 Chemical-Free Sunscreen should fit the bill.
11. Another area of concern is nail polish and nail polish remover
. Nail buffing is the safe alternative and you can find out all about this from my post
. If you want to paint your nails, then choose those polishes that are free of dibutyl phthalate, a chemical that has been banned by the European Union and believed to interfere with the endocrine system. Such a polish is OPI Nail Lacquer in Mod-ern Girl.
12. Be wary of scented products which will often have the word fragrance
on the ingredients list. This can actually mean the inclusion of many different synthetic ingredients including petrochemicals. There is very little regulation and companies are not required to disclose specific ingredients. Look for a natural product where you can read about what you are getting. Remember too that the perfumes you wear can seriously affect those around you as many people today are chemical sensitive at worst or they suffer from hay fever at best.
It does take a bit of time and effort to go the safer route but take it one step at a time and you, your skin and the environment will definitely benefit.