Transitioning your beauty products to natural or organic may call for a little work and patience at the front end, but the payoff is a regimen you can feel good about inside and out (and it’s healthy for mother nature, too). An added bonus? It’s amazing for sensitive skin, too. Here are five keys to a successful switch to an eco-friendly beauty routine.
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1. Be patient and realistic.
Natural beauty products have come a long way in the last decade or so, so thankfully you won’t have to compromise much (or even at all) when it comes to finding a product that works as well (or often, even better) than the conventional ones you are used to. But give your trial enough time to reap the benefits. When you switch skincare, for example, some people may find their skin will break out. “It’s a minority of people, but some people do breakout and that because their skin is detoxing from the products they’ve been using,” says Kristen Ma, co-owner of holistic spa
Pure Simple in Toronto and author of
Beauty Pure and Simple. She recommends following through on using the product you’ve opened (“you’ve purchased it and already started it, after all,” she says) and see what your skin or hair is like once you’ve finished the product.
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2. Don’t be scared off by the higher prices of some natural beauty products.
How many more pennies you’re doling out for your natural goods is often a concern. And while some natural products may cost more, Ma notes that often you will use less product each time because the concentrations tend to be higher and there are fewer filler ingredients compared to conventional products.
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3. Consider starting your switch with what’s in contact with your skin the most.
For many of us, that would be our skincare—this is what Ma suggests swapping for natural first. So your face moisturizer and sunscreen, for example. These products are on your skin for longer, says Ma, and also, she adds that there are so many advances in natural moisturizers that this can be the simplest swap to natural for most people, even those with sensitive skin. On the more difficult end of the spectrum? Antiperspirant (there aren’t any natural products that inhibit sweating) and hair care—many of us are so accustomed to the frothy, bubbly texture of conventional shampoo, that the more limited lather of a natural product can throw us for a loop. Remind yourself of the health payoff (and when it comes to your hair and scalp, you’ll notice the benefits of clean but not stripped feeling once you use natural goods for a few weeks) and you’ll come around to getting used to your new natural products.
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4. Understand that you can react to natural products.
Just because a product is natural doesn’t mean it rules out having a reaction to it. Often, it’s an allergic reaction to a specific ingredient, perhaps an essential oil, for example, and while Ma says this is rather rare, reactions can occur.
5. Use online resources to make informed, balanced decisions.
There is a wealth of
beauty products on the market and the different ingredients can be overwhelming. Empower yourself with information from sites such as www.safecosmetics.com and www.ewg.org. On the Environmental Working Group site, thousands of products in their "Skin Deep" database are rated from 1 to 10 in terms of how hazardous it is. Decide what level on this scale you are comfortable with. While Ma personally chooses most products that are 0 or 1 on the scale, she notes that it’s a personal decision of where you want to draw the line. “Take into consideration if there are certain textures you are really married to, and affordability, too,” she says. While she advocates staying at the lower end of the spectrum, Ma also believes it’s about balance. For example, you may find that the natural mineral cosmetics don’t offer the same bright pigments you want for a night out. Following a natural regimen doesn’t have to be a complete hardcore overhaul—it’s ok to own and wear that one vivid non-totally-natural fuchsia lipstick occasionally.
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