Take a deep breath in through your nose. Can you smell it? Spring is just weeks away but the aroma of fresh blooms is already tickling our senses! It’s this time of year that we tend to start thinking about cleansing and renewal. So how can we start cleaning up?
We’re still a few weeks out, but it’s nice to have a game plan. If you’re not sure where to start, why not begin with your daily personal care regimen?
Sift through your makeup bag and your vanity drawers, are your beauty and skin care products as healthy, safe and eco-friendly as you would like?
Eco-beauty is about becoming more discerning about the personal care products you select, as your skin is highly permeable, absorbing up to 60 percent of what you apply to it.
Going “green” with your personal care has numerous benefits, both for you, the Earth and the animals that many cosmetic companies test on. Spring clean your beauty routine with these four tips:
1. Minimize your chemical exposure
Once you look past the attractive wrapping that many commercial personal products are packaged in, you’ll notice what’s inside isn’t so pretty. A closer inspection of the ingredients often reveals a surprising array of chemical additives.
Just as you diligently read food labels, it also makes sense to inspect what’s in those personal care items you use every day, such as shampoo, body lotion, shaving cream and deodorant. You’re essentially feeding your body on a topical level.
According to the Environmental Working Group, Americans may use up to 126 different ingredients daily, 30 percent of which potentially lead to health problems over time. These include parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic dyes and fragrances, talc, triclosan, dimethicone and more. (Check out the dirty dozen of beauty products.) As these products are not regulated for safety, reading labels is especially important.
2. Re-think synthetic fragrances
One of the best ways to green your routine is to avoid chemical fragrances. As Renee Loux, author and natural living expert, explains, ninety-five percent of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic petrochemicals, including phthalates, which operate as solvents to "fix" fragrance so scents stick around longer.
Independent studies by public health organizations reveal that about 70 percent of personal care products contain phthalates, which can bioaccumulate in human tissue and are linked with serious health problems. They are also toxic in the environment.
Opt instead for products with natural, essential-oil-based fragrances. Or, create your own signature aroma with essential oils that appeal to you such as lavender, rose, bergamot, grapefruit or tangerine.
3. Embrace natural alternatives—even on a budget
The good news is that you can find safe, non-toxic products in virtually every personal care category. And while some are more expensive than conventional drugstore products, a host of natural brands offer high-quality, reasonably priced facial cleansers, deodorant, toothpaste and the list goes on.
Another way to save is to target multi-use items. For example, instead of a separate face cream and sunscreen, find them both in one product such as MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield SPF 28. You might also swap foundation for tinted moisturizer, which offers sheer coverage that hydrates your skin.
Keep in mind that many of these “green” products are fairly concentrated meaning they last must longer, resulting in far less spending.
4. Fall in love mineral makeup
According to Julie Gabriel, green beauty guru and author of “The Green Beauty Guide,” mineral-based makeup is a clean, natural alternative to many conventional products.
Take foundation, for example. While many drugstore brands include synthetic fragrances, chemicals, preservatives, mineral oil, talc and other dubious additives, mineral makeup is typically nothing more than finely powdered minerals, comprised largely of titanium dioxide, a naturally occurring mineral found in beach sand, as well as zinc oxide, which has anti-inflammatory benefits for skin.
Minerals can be milled so finely that they cling to the skin’s surface without the use of unhealthy binding agents, nor do they require preservatives, as they contain no water. You can find mineral-based makeup to fit all your needs, from eye shadow and foundation to blush to mascara. (For spring, I’m totally loving this Mineral Fusion lipstick in peony.)
While you start incorporating these natural beauty basics into your routine this spring, it’s important to continue supporting your beauty habits by getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, exfoliating your skin, being diligent with sunscreen, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Celebrate your natural radiance!