Did you know that the average woman uses up to 12 different products a day, containing 168 different chemicals? If you’re wondering if what you put on your skin really has that much of an impact on your health and hormones, then the answer is yes. While individual products do not pose a significant risk, all those daily products layered on top of one another can have an impact on the health of your skin over time.
For me personally, I began switching back to clean(er) beauty choices a couple of years ago. I had used organic products (Dr Hauschka) exclusively in my twenties to help clear up my adult acne but I had drifted away from all-natural choices as a beauty editor. Seduced by all the top brand’s packaging and promises, I began experimenting with the latest releases. And while the products themselves usually worked in the short term, my skin never really glowed. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still tempted by all the latest beauty offerings but I’m trying to make better, more natural choices and streamline my skincare products overall.
If you’re interested in transitioning to a clean(er) beauty routine, here’s five tips to help you get started plus my top ten clean beauty products I’m loving right now.
1. Learn to read the labels
Reading a label of ingredients is daunting, even if you’re a beauty expert. I’ve been writing about beauty for years and am still bamboozled. But basically, the higher up the ingredient list, the higher the concentration of that particular ingredient.
Often the first ingredient in a product is water, which means there will be preservatives added to prevent mould growing. One preservative you have probably been avoiding is parabens, which some studies have been found to be carcinogenic, but other preservatives include phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin.
And even if an ingredient is derived from botanical sources, it can still affect sensitive skin types. So if you’re making the switch from regular products to cleaner versions, take the time to research the ingredients, botanical or otherwise, and always remember to patch test.
2. Start with the body products
As your body absorbs the most, start replacing body lotions and deodorants first. Prioritise upgrading your sanitary products too as the vagina absorbs 100% of chemicals from tampons and towels. I always stock up on NatraCare Organic Tampons when I’m in the health food store.
Don’t forget to upgrade your haircare products as your shampoo tends to wash all over your body in the shower. I particularly like the Sukin range of haircare products.
3. Keep it simple
Most clean products are multi-purpose. I use the organic Sweet Almond oil from Atlantic Aromatics as a face and body moisturiser and a hair mask. A tub of cold-pressed organic coconut oil is also great as a body moisturiser, intensive foot cream and for oil pulling for whitening teeth. (Avoid using it on the face, however, if you suffer from break-outs as it can clog pores).
A creamy natural lipstick, such as this gorgeous Lily Lolo one, can also be used as a cream blush for blusher-related emergencies.
4. Replace as you run out
Transitioning to a clean beauty routine is expensive. As someone who absolutely hates waste, I would use up what I have in the bathroom cabinet first and then begin replacing products one by one.
A great way to boost existing products is to add a drop of your favourite essential oil. I add one drop of Ylang Ylang or Rose to my night cream, to reap the benefits of these powerful oils. As with all new ingredients, especially essential oils, patch test before using.
5. Be realistic
When it comes to make-up, it can be difficult to beat the man-made versions. If you are looking for waterproof eyeliner, mascara and long-wear foundations, natural make-up may not be up to the job.
With my make-up bag, I’ve started very slowly, and realistically I will probably still hang on to some of my favourites (MAC’s Ruby Woo, I’m looking at you!). Lily Lolo do gorgeous, mid-priced foundations and BB creams, while Ilia Beauty have fantastic mascara and eyeshadows.
The aim is to reduce your overall toxic exposure so try starting with your skincare and take it from there. Good luck!
10 clean beauty brands I adore
1. Innersense Refresh Dry Shampoo
This foam to powder dry shampoo eliminates excess oil, builds body, creates texture and renews second day hair. Tapioca starch and witch hazel help pull oil, while Certified Organic honey adds body and imparts shine. (Available here)
2. Evolve Beauty Sunless Glow Body Lotion
With organic papaya to smooth the skin and organic aloe vera to soothe, this rich body lotion gives a realistic gradual tan after a couple of applications. (Available here)
3. Lily Lolo BB Cream
Lily Lolo’s silicone free beauty balm is packed with nourishing, anti-ageing ingredients and mineral pigments to help blur imperfections and even skin tone. (Available here)
4. Ella & Mila nail polishes
Ella & Mila’s gorgeous polishes are vegan, cruelty-free and free from all the usual polish nasties including formaldehyde. (Available here)
5. Ilia Beauty mascara
A delicate blend of waxes, aloe extract and avocado oil, Ilia Beauty Mascara is made with 100% natural dye to add a glossy tint to lashes. (Available here)
6. Organii Sun Milk SPF 50
Containing nourishing extracts of olive fruit, jojoba, sunflower and argan oils, Organii sun milk is paraben, fragrance and colourant-free and won’t leave a white residue on the skin. (Available here)
7. Ben & Anna’s natural deodorant sticks
With no nasty aluminum, PEGs, parabens or phthalates, Ben & Anna’s divine deodorant sticks are gentle on the delicate underarm while keeping you fragrant throughout the day. (Available here)
8. Ere Perez Papaya SOS Marmalade
This all-purpose balm contains a nourishing cocktail of coconut, hemp, chia, grapefruit oil and fermented papaya to heal and protect skin. (Available here)
9. Nunaïa Nourishing Radiance Serum
A 99.5% organic serum from Irish clean beauty brand Nunaïa, the serum contains sustainably sourced botanicals from the Peruvian Andes and Amazon basin. (Available here)
10. Honest Beauty Organic Facial Oil
A blend of pure seed and fruit oils like avocado and apricot kernel help nourish skin and restore vital moisture while rose, ylang ylang and clove oils lend the silky formula its subtle, natural scent. (Available here)
*Main photo courtesy of Honest Beauty