After I was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease, I made the decision to only use skincare and beauty products that were completely free of synthetic chemicals. I wanted to know and understand exactly what I was putting on my body and where it came from. The results were so impressive that I quit my job, trained in essential oil science and skincare formulation, and launched my own organic skincare company.
In an unregulated skincare market full of greenwashing, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin if you're ready to ditch your old, synthetic skincare staples for new, clean beauty products.
Whatever your motivation, if you're ready to make a change to your skincare, here are the initial steps you should take towards a clean beauty regimen.
Ditch: Foaming face wash
Foaming face wash is undoubtedly appealing because it leaves our skin feeling squeaky clean. But, beware! Those foaming bubbles you love so much? They're created by synthetic additives called surfactants that can turn your skin alkaline and strip it of its natural oils — creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria which, inevitably, leads to acne.
Discover: Natural cleansing balms
Cleansing balms are made with simple, plant-based oils. They remove dirt and impurities (pulling double-duty as a makeup remover), while also protecting the skin’s moisture balance, and are effective for both oily and dry skin. An added bonus? They feel amazing to use. and feel amazing to use!
Ditch: Plastic microbeads
These tiny plastic beads are found in many synthetic exfoliators, designed to remove dead skin cells. While they do a decent job exfoliating, the problem occurs when they're washed down the drain where they end up in lakes and oceans. Since they're often made from polyethylene, they result in plastic particle water pollution, contaminating and ultimately killing marine wildlife.
Discover: Oatmeal, jojoba beads, fruit powders
Natural exfoliators have been around for centuries, long before synthetic beads. There are many clean beauty alternatives on the market today that use ingredients like jojoba beads (a biodegradable natural wax) or fruit powders to gently remove dead cells without damaging the skin (or the environment!)
You can also turn to your kitchen cabinets: try a DIY oatmeal mask for exfoliating, anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties.
Ditch: Harsh alcohol toners
Alcohol isn’t great for the skin; even natural grain alcohol can irritate sensitive, dry skin and strip it of its natural protective oils.
Discover: Flower waters (hydrosols)
Flower water is the water left after the distillation of essential oils. These gentle and refreshing waters — such as lavender, neroli, chamomile or rose — are incredibly soothing and toning, even for highly sensitive skin. Flower waters also work wonders as a mood-calming mists.
Ditch: Synthetic moisturizer
Did you know the principle ingredient in most moisturizers is water? The problem with using water is that it needs preservatives and binding agents to be shelf-stable, so many conventional, synthetic moisturizers are full of parabens, benzalkonium chloride (a known skin irritant), BHA (an endocrine disruptor) or BHT (known allergen).
Many moisturizers also use mineral oil (a derivative of petroleum) that can aggravate acne, damage skin function and potentially cause premature aging.
Discover: Plant oils
Plant oils and serums are packed with nutrients, omegas and antioxidants that are amazing for the skin's health. They work brilliantly as moisturizers by hydrating, nourishing and even fighting free radicals. Some of my favorites include rosehip, jojoba, seabuckthorn, thistle, chia seed, borage, pumpkin and apricot oil.
Take my word for it: once you ditch the synthetics and make the switch to a clean beauty regime, you’ll never look back!