ready to launch? the beginner’s guide to safe, healthy beauty products!

So you’ve heard that beauty products contain parabens, pthlates, and other nasties. You really do want to make some changes, but where to start? Here’s my quick guide to dipping your toe into the world of natural beauty!

1. Oil-Up!

One of the easiest and most effective switches you can make (and cheapest!) is to swap out your body lotion or night cream for an oil. Buy organic, coldpressed if possible. For body try coconut oil (available at Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and most supermarkets). For face I like jojoba oil, which mimicks the skin’s natural sebum and cleanses pores. This is a good option if your skin is oily. Others swear by sweet almond, and my mom, who has amazing skin, uses olive – good for mature, dry skin. Experiment to find one that’s right for you.

Additions:

  • Try mixing sugar or salt with an oil to make a lip or body scrub.
  • Make your own relaxing body scrub even more relaxing by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil!
  • Speaking of essential oils, a few drops in the shower will turn your morning routine into a spa-like experience! Choose lavender to calm, clary sage to balance, a citrus oil (like sweet orange) to refresh, eucalyptus to energize and for colds, and rose to relax and renew.

2. Nerd-Up!

There are some great resources out there to help you make the switch. Blogs and websites are awesome, cheap, and keep you current. Here are a list of my favorites, in no particular order (not including mine, of course!) which spotlight eco-friendly and/or cruelty free buys:

Finding One’s Inner Eco Diva: www.ecodivablog.wordpress.com

Dame De Rose: www.damederose.wordpress.com

One Lost Mama: www.onelostmama.wordpress.com

Vegan Beauty Review: www.veganbeautyreview.com

Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” database: www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Wellness Mama: www.wellnessmama.com

The Makeup Dummy: www.diytherapy.wordpress.com

The Organic Life Blog: www.theorganiclifeblog.com

Short, Small & Sweet: http://shortsmallsweet.net/

Rainbow Feet: http://www.rainbowfeet.co.uk/

I bet there are tons more I haven’t yet discovered! If you know of some, please put them in the comments…

Books: A couple of great ‘starter’ books on the subject of natural beauty available from Amazon are “The Green Beauty Guide,” by Julie Gabriel (alongside “Holistic Beauty from the Inside Out”) and the breezy, slightly more ‘fun,’ “No More Dirty Looks,” by Siobhan O Connor and Alexandra Spunt. If you’re ready for a more interrogative book about the beauty industry as a whole, check out, “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry,” by Stacy Malkin.

You might also like to try the magazine “Natural Health.” I sampled an issue last week, and found it pretty informative.

3. Fill-Up! (the shopping cart!) Save money and effort by starting with simple substitutions for skincare and lipbalm.

The way I’ve started is by slowly swapping out my skincare items, and not worrying too much about make-up. This makes sense, because your skin is a large surface and thus is the primary recipient of toxins when slathering on lotions, facecreams etc. Lipbalms, which we apply every day all day, are another obvious ‘switch-a-roo’ item. But where to find the products? May I suggest a trip to Target? Target has a great natural beauty section where you can find awesome and not-too-expensive brands such as Burt’s Bees, Yes To, and Pacifica. I love the Yes To Carrots moisturizers and CC cream. And while you’re there pick up a Burt’s Bees lip balm! I also love the Mi-Me brand lipbalm (see my review on this site!). If you’re lucky enough to live near a Sprouts or a Whole Foods these have great brands too.

Are you ready to launch?

4. Sign-Up! Explore new brands by signing up for a subscription box.

I’m loving my subscription boxes. Through them, I’m learning about new eco-friendly brands, and their websites are a portal for buying them which is really convenient. I’ve tried both Vegan Cuts ($19.99 a month for a box of full-size and sample sizes; about 5 products) and Petit Vour ($15.00 a month for a box of, usually, sample sizes; about 4-5 products, but higher-end). Another ‘portal’ shop is www.birchbox.com where you have the ability to refine your search to show ‘ingredient-conscious picks’ only. Through them you can buy (and read product reviews of) brands like W3LL People, and explore lesser known brands like Wild Honey Apothecary. I also love http://www.thedetoxmarket.com/

Last, but not least, don’t be overly-perfectionist to start with. We want to do it ‘right,’ and the temptation is to dump all our old stuff and start anew, but be kind to yourself and let the process take time. Even just switching out one or two products is an awesome start, and if money’s tight, find some DIY recipes and make your own products! They’ll be just as awesome, I promise.

I’m still learning, so I know how it feels to be figuring this stuff out. Thus, this guide, which I hope helps. Let me know what you think, and if you’re an eco-beauty fiend, do leave tips and websites in the comments below.

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