As mindbodygreen's beauty editor, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, "I want to go natural, but I'm overwhelmed. What should I switch first?" The good news is that green beauty has blossomed quite beautifully over the last couple of years. To go green used to require some kind of sacrifice in efficacy, but that is no longer the case.
"When it comes to skin care, there’s no reason anyone should be using anything but green beauty products. There is high-end technology for keeping skin healthy, amazing scents (if you like that sort of thing), and beautiful packaging so it looks good on the bathroom counter," said Katey Denno, a green beauty expert and celebrity makeup artist. It's true that skin care offerings in the naturals space have evolved beyond "use coconut oil for everything" and "there's an essential oil for that." Thank goodness.
A good thing to remember is that green is increasingly a spectrum—it's not as black and white as it used to be. Some of your favorite drugstore brands are working to create cleaner formulates free of parabens, phthalates, and other system-disrupting chemicals while naturals are continuing to evolve, utilizing safer preservative technology that allows products to be more shelf-stable. While we'll always love mom-and-pop natural brands, the fact is that ingredients like essential oils, plant extracts, and methods used to harvest these ingredients aren't always the most sustainable.
If you want to choose cleaner, greener products in 2018—take it one step at a time. Here are the three most important swaps to make: