Recently taking up yoga and a meditation practice has led me to countless lifestyle changes. I’m trying out a minimalist existence and cutting out processed foods entirely, but perhaps most harrowing: overhauling my personal care products. As you know, the skin is our largest organ, absorbing everything from air pollutants to fragrance. So, when I looked at the milelong list of ingredients on the back of my facewash bottle, most of which I couldn’t pronounce, I knew it was time to change.
Because the FDA does not regulate our beauty products, as they do with food and drugs, it’s up to us to know what we’re slathering on our skin, especially considering the average woman wears 515 chemicals a day. But making the switch to natural beauty products can get confusing – not to mention expensive. That’s why I’ve outlined my best advice on transitioning to a clean beauty routine. Trust me, it doesn’t have to be a painful – or ugly – process.
Remember, you don’t need to overhaul your entire routine in a week. It’s unrealistic to throw away every skin care product in your drawers, so finish off the products you paid for while researching what you will replace them with. If you’re starting from scratch, swap out your skin care (think cleansers, creams, serums, deodorant) before moving onto makeup, nail, and hair care products.
Do your homework
It’s not only important to know what ingredients to stay away from, but why. Learn what’s been associated with health-hazardous risks, such as cancer, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, hormone disruption, birth defects, or other conditions, and how to identify these ingredients on labels. I started by using websites like the Environment Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to check if there were endocrine disrupting chemicals, like parabens and BHA, in each of my products. If I couldn’t find the product in question, I crosschecked its ingredients with BeautyHeroes’ “Villian Ingredients” list.
Try before you buy
The good news: As the demand for natural beauty products continues to grow, the selection is becoming increasingly impressive. Enjoy the excitement of trying new products and take advantage of samples. Head to your local beauty store and explain that you are making the change to natural products. The sales rep can show you bestselling products and send you home with sample packets to try before making a big investment. This gives you the opportunity to test for any adverse reactions while also getting a feel of the texture and scent. A lot of online stores like Credo Beauty, which carries the largest selection of non-toxic beauty products, also offer free samples; though in many cases you have to pay for shipping.
Find products you love
I had been using my cleanser for eight years. It always worked, and I knew finding a replacement wouldn’t be easy. The trick with natural products is finding ones that not only work for your specific needs, but also have scents and textures you love, so you’ll use them consistently. Don’t change your expectations or settle on the first product you try. After plenty of trial and error, I’ve found my favorite clean skin brand is Osea. Their website has a quiz on the homepage that will match you to products that work for your skin type (mine being combination), and since switching to the Ocean Cleansing Mudd, my skin feels alive again. Plus, the scents of the products ground me instantly.
Don’t give up
Don’t give up if something doesn’t seem to work for you right away. When you switch to a clean beauty routine, you may experience new pimples or excess oiliness – this is normal! Your skin needs a full three weeks to adjust to new products, so unless you have a severe reaction or breakout, wait it out to see exactly how it affects your complexion. Given time, without the overload of chemicals on your skin, the nervous, endocrine, and digestive systems can take a break from metabolizing them, and you’ll be glowing as a result. When you are kind to yourself and the world around you, your body will show it.