There are a myriad of reasons for making a transition to greener beauty products, from claims to better health outcomes to glowier-looking skin to being a better environmental citizen.
But taking the green beauty plunge can be daunting. From choice paralysis and cost, to trust and reliability, the question of where to begin can be a huge deterrent.
Here are a few tips to help guide you and your pocketbook through going beautifully green:
You don’t need to switch everything at once.
Replacing your entire beauty supply lineup is a huge undertaking and financial burden, even if you don’t have an extensive routine. Start by switching out one or two of the products you use most often, products that cover large parts of your body, or products that stay on your skin all day like moisturizers, deodorant, and makeup.
Eliminate the worst culprits.
You’ve heard it before: Your skin is your largest organ and what you put onto it can have long-lasting detrimental effects.
“We’re seeing a lot of people–women, men, and kids–with hormonal imbalances as a direct result of xenoestrogens from the chemicals found in personal care products,” says Dr. Rachel Schwartzman, ND.
But knowing how to decipher the ingredient list on your care products can require a degree in chemistry, so where do you even start?
Schwartzman recommends eliminating parabens as a first step.
They are one of the worst culprits and “are our biggest hormone disruptor because they mimic estrogen, bind to cells, and cause things to grow.”
The average person isn’t going to know about or understand the impacts of chemicals like phthalates, propylene glycol, and sodium lauryl sulfate on the body’s homeostasis. So, the Environmental Working Group developed the Skin Deep app to help guide your choices. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great starting point for figuring out what’s safe to use on your body.
Remove or replace unnecessary items.
It’s easy to make a case for grandfathering out a not-so-green, but impeccably flawless concealer. But there are items that we use with regularity that are truly unnecessary.
Scented bath products, for example, are an obvious case. “Your pores open up in a warm bath. And any chemicals that are in the water are taken in via those openings and eventually absorbed throughout your body,” says Schwatzman.
The solution? Just simple Epsom salts, coconut or olive oil, and herbs or essential oils will give set the same tone without all the adverse chemical effects.
Ask for what you need.
Not sure which foundation or lipstick to buy? In-house, free, and often well-trained product experts are available at both small boutiques and larger beauty supply stores to answer questions and to lead you down the right path when it comes to your skincare and makeup routines.
While this strategy isn’t foolproof, talking to someone who knows about the products can help to minimize mistakes and needless spending. Being clear up-front about your wants, needs, desires, and budget really helps this process end with good results.
But even before investing in a family-sized container of the latest overnight repair serum that your beauty guide is insisting you buy, consider seeking out sample or travel sizes to see if you really love the product and if it’s truly doing what it’s supposed to be doing. After that, feel free to buy the vat.
Don’t Poo-Poo the DIY.
Oatmeal for dry skin, raw honey for acne, coconut oil to reduce inflammation, and sugar for exfoliation are some of the many products you already have in your pantry that have been shown to be useful in natural skincare.
So, if after all that, you’re still not ready to go shopping for new products, start your spa day in the kitchen by mixing up a hydrating oatmeal mask or gentle sugar lip scrub.
No matter where you start, each choice, step-by-step will help shape a cleaner and greener routine that will benefit you, the beauty industry, and the planet.