If you’re reading this, you are already on the right track! Green beauty is definitely on the upswing, and has made its way from tiny dancer, to this years heavy hitter. If you are a newbie or just in need of a refresher, follow these tips to avoid the biggest mistakes people make when they switch to green beauty.
1. Don’t throw everything away
Five minutes on Google is enough to scare most people into a lifetime of kale shooters (been there, done that). Once you have been awakened to the many indecencies of the beauty industry, you may become enraged. It will be tempting to dump the lot and start over.
If you have a big budget at your disposal, then by all means, go to town! However, if you are like most, it’s best to replace your products item-by-item. Prioritise! Cleansing products are rinsed off, while serums, moisturisers, masks and deodorants are designed to be absorbed into your (bloodstream) skin. It’s OK to take your time. You will still have the satisfaction of knowing you are making healthy, informed choices, and you will enjoy the process much more.
2. Don’t assume
Green-washing is rampant in the beauty industry. As more and more people make the switch to green beauty, big name brands are cashing in. They can be very sneaky, often peppering a few organic ingredients throughout a mostly synthetic formula.
When you read labels, look at the first 3 ingredients and make sure they are natural and preferably organic. Ideally, the entire list should be made up of natural, recognisable ingredients. Scan the list for known offenders: parabens, fragrance/parfum, other poly-syllabic synthetics, etc. Read the full list here.
3. Don’t pay for glorified water
Most conventional creams are bulked out with thickeners and feel enhancers. Big brands try to bolster their watered-down formulas with a few natural actives because it’s much cheaper to formulate this way.
Look for waterless formulas. Check the ingredients. If the list contains water/aqua in the top three, the formula is water-based. A waterless formula will be far more concentrated and less likely to contain harmful chemicals.
If you prefer a water-based formula, look for products that contain 100% natural ingredients and use a naturally-derived preservation system (citric acid, potassium sorbate, benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, glycerine, sorbic acid, etc.). When in doubt check this list of ingredients to avoid.
4. Don’t skip the fine print
Watch out for misleading labels. Just because it says “Lavender” on the front of the bottle doesn’t necessarily mean the product contains any real plant material at all. Fragrances, both synthetic and naturally derived, are used all the time to achieve a natural-ish scent. It’s important to know the difference between real, and not real.
Check the ingredients. Look for products that are scented with pure essential oils. You will know, because essential oils all have long Latin names, ie. Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil. If the ingredients list (natural) fragrance/parfum rather than botanical names, then the product is synthetically scented.
5. Don’t rely solely on logos
Logos that certify products for organic content, being cruelty-free, free-from, etc., are important and they are a big step in the right direction. There really is no good reason for big brands not to have logos that back up their claims. However, many super clean indie and niche brands may not have the financial or administrative resources to join the club.
If you like the look of a product but it doesn’t have a logo, get to know the brand. Any good, green brand will have an ethos or mission statement available on their website. If you have questions, send them an email and ask away. Look for transparent, ethical brands that you believe in.
6. Don’t play dirty
It’s a waste of time and energy to (green) shame others, or yourself, over beauty products.
Support your transition to green beauty by making kind, careful, informed choices. Lead by example, don’t be hard on yourself, and skip the judgement.
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