Have you been thinking about transitioning to a natural beauty routine? Are you interested in the benefits of natural shampoos, conditioners, deodorants and more, but just don’t know where to start?
If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Many men and women want to use clean, safe and eco-friendly health and beauty remedies, but are either overwhelmed with the options available, think the products are too expensive, or just don’t have the first idea of where to find these products.
We can help! PurelyGreat offers a full line of deodorant for both men and women, sure. But we also practice what we preach – each of us here at PurelyGreat have a few favorites in beauty care that are natural, non-toxic and safe for the environment.
Ready to learn more about transitioning to a natural beauty routine? From our family to yours, here’s how you can begin to use healthier, safer products every day.
- Consider Why You Want to Switch to a Natural Beauty Routine
The first thing you’ll need to do before you make the switch to natural products is to ask yourself why. Are you trying to eliminate parabens from your products? SLS? Phthalates? All of the above? Or perhaps you’re looking for ingredients which are gentle on your children’s skin, or products that are vegan? There are hundreds of reasons why you may wish to use natural beauty products. Figuring out your personal motivation will allow you to choose the products that are best for you. For instance, maybe you’d like to switch to a skin care line that’s vegan. Obviously, even though the products are 99% natural, a company like Burt’s Bees may not work for you. Because, well, bees. That said, there are many companies (PurelyGreat included!) that feature vegan and cruelty-free ingredients. People make the transition to a natural beauty routine for many reasons, including:
- Eliminating harmful toxins from the environment
- Eliminating carcinogenic ingredients
- A desire to take advantage of the benefits of natural essential oils
- Reducing children’s exposure to toxic ingredients
- Supporting companies that give back to the global community
Think about, or even jot down, your reasons for making the switch before you go shopping for natural ingredients. Doing so will make the transition easier for you!
- Know the Dangers of Chemicals
If you’re thinking of transitioning to a natural beauty routine, it’s more than likely that you’ve heard that there are dangerous ingredients in drug store brands. But do you know what those ingredients are? What they do to your body and to the environment? It's not enough just to have a vague notion of what these ingredients will do to your body. When you shop for your beauty products, you’ll need to read the ingredients list and know what all those weird sounding chemicals are. Here are a few examples of harmful toxins typically found in drug store products.
Aluminum Most antiperspirants contain aluminum as an active ingredient. Sounds harmless, right? Well, aluminum isn’t so harmless. In fact, studies have shown that exposure to aluminum could be linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been linked to cancer. And aluminum clogs your sweat glands, disallowing your body to purge toxins from your system.
Phthalatesare used in hundreds of health and beauty products, and they serve a few purposes. Most commonly, though, they’re included as a way to help lotions, soaps and other products penetrate your skin (and hair). They’ll also help fragrances last longer. While you certainly want your lotion to soften your skin, and your fragrance to last all day, it’s important that you know the dangers of phthalates. Phthalates carry a number of dangers, the most notable of which are endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity. In other words, phthalates mess with your hormones in a serious way.
Parabensare chemical preservatives which are frequently added to cosmetics and beauty products. Unfortunately, they also have estrogen-like properties. When they’re absorbed through the skin or ingested, they have been linked to different types of cancer – breast cancer, in particular. Parabens are present in so many beauty products, but it’s so easy to find an alternative! Vitamin E and Vitamin C are just two examples of preservatives which are both effective and safe to use.
Sodium Laureth Sulfateor SLS, is an ingredient that’s included in many products as a surfactant. Put simply, it makes your soap and your shampoo lather up nicely. There are other reasons the ingredient is included in your beauty products as well; for example, it also increases the ability of products to penetrate your skin. Sodium Laureth Sulfate, however, is extremely harmful to the environment. It’s commonly used as both a pesticide and an herbicide, meaning it kills plants and animals. The chemical releases toxins into the air, particularly when heated. (As in the case of a nice, hot shower.) And SLS may be linked to endocrine disruption and cancer.
- Know the Alternatives
The chemicals listed above are just a handful of the harmful ingredients included in health and beauty products. If you want to know more, check out the post 10 Toxins in Your Drugstore Deodorant. There are obviously many chemicals added to your beauty products that are harmful to the environment and to your skin and body. But what about alternatives to those ingredients? Part of making the transition to a natural beauty routine is knowing which natural ingredients will keep you looking, feeling and smelling your best. Some ingredients you may never have heard of, while others are commonly used in everyday living. Let’s take a look at a few of the ingredients that are natural, safe alternatives to chemicals.
Tea Tree Oil Tea tree oil is an amazing natural ingredient with tons of benefits. It’s most well known for its ability to heal skin. Whether you suffer from acne, eczema or dry skin, tea tree oil is one of the best remedies out there! Tea tree oil also has antibacterial properties. As you may know, your sweat doesn’t stink – it’s when your sweat comes in contact with the bacteria on your skin that body odor becomes an issue. Using a tea tree oil deodorant wards off unpleasant smells, by helping to knock out the bacteria under your arms.
Lavender Oil There are few scents more recognizable than that of lavender. But did you know the essential oil of lavender is great for use in a natural beauty routine? Lavender is relaxing, for one. You’ve probably noticed that many night time lotions, particularly for infants, contain lavender. It’s also antibacterial which, again, is great for acne and for deodorant use. Lavender is healing to the skin. The essential oil helps to minimize the appearance of scars, and helps soothe burns. And, interestingly enough, lavender can help improve your brain function, according to studies.
Citrus Oils The category “citrus oils” encompasses a few different plant oils. Citron, orange, grapefruit and lime are just a few of them, and they do all have unique benefits to your skin and your health. However, citrus oils all have a few things in common, too. Citrus oils are high in Vitamin C, which rejuvenates your skin. There are also naturally occurring acids that help to rid your skin of dead cells. The result? Brighter, younger and fresher looking skin. Antioxidants in citrus oils help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And, as an added bonus, citrus is a mood lifter. You’ll feel that you have more energy, and are generally in a better mood when you use citrus oils as a part of your natural beauty routine.
Patchouli When you think of patchouli, you probably think of the heady, earthy scent the oil is known for. You may be pleased to learn that patchouli is also a great way to incorporate natural products into your beauty routine! Patchouli is a natural astringent, meaning fresher, cleaner skin. It’s an antidepressant which just may mean a better mood throughout the day. Patchouli is also an anti-inflammatory, which means fewer aches and pains. And it even has antifungal and antibacterial properties. These properties will help clear up infection, acne, blackheads and more.
Charcoal Yes, charcoal! We covered this natural ingredient quite a bit in our post, Detox Your Armpits. If you haven’t read it, the instructions are a great way to begin transitioning to a natural beauty routine! Charcoal in beauty products isn’t exactly what you might think. After all, the kind of charcoal we’re talking about is a little different from what you find in your fireplace. Activated charcoal has been treated to improve its absorption, making it very effective for detoxing your skin and cleansing your pores. There are other benefits to activated charcoal, too. It’s great for hair, adding volume and softness. Activated charcoal can help to clear up scalp issues and skin conditions. It’s a lifesaver if you have oily skin. And it’s actually great for skin irritations and small abrasions, too!
Other Ingredients It would be impossible to cover every natural ingredient in just one article. Depending on what type of products you’re looking for, you’ll see ingredients like corn starch, baking soda, Vitamin E, jojoba oil and more on the label.
- Look for Certifications
Again, everyone has their own unique reason for wanting to transition to a natural beauty routine. Once you’ve determined your reasons, there are a few easy to spot certifications you can look for to help you find the right product.
EWG Verified Products
EWG Verified products like PurelyGreat deodorant are absolutely free from “chemicals of concern.” These chemicals include those that are linked to cancer, asthma, reproductive problems, nervous system disruption and birth defects. EWG is short for Environmental Working Group, and the organization has been around since 1993. In that time, they’ve conducted research and worked with beauty care manufacturers to ensure that their label is only placed on products that are safe. USDA Organic If you’re in the United States, look for the green seal that indicates a product is USDA Certified Organic. These beauty products will contain no pesticides, herbicides or other chemical ingredients. Each ingredient in a 100% Certified Organic Product will be wholly derived from organic sources. Generally speaking, products which are certified organic will also be vegan. Do read the label, however, to be sure. Certified Vegan Depending upon where you’re from, there are different bodies that will certify a product vegan. That said, its not necessarily something that’s controlled, as organics are. So generally speaking, you’ll have to look at the label a little more closely. You may not see a seal denoting that a product is vegan. However, if there are no animal ingredients, the manufacturer will likely indicate this on the packaging. Note that there is a difference between “vegan” and “cruelty-free.” Cruelty free products are not tested on animals. However, they may contain ingredients like beeswax or gelatins which are derived from animal sources.
- Did We Mention… Read the Labels!
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s important to never assume that a product is natural or organic. This isn’t to say that manufacturers are out to trick you, but packaging can be very misleading. For instance, if you see a product that’s labelled “Natural Sea Salt Bath,” it’s still possible that the ingredients are inclusive of some that aren’t so natural at all! There are guidelines as to how a product should be packaged so as not to mislead the consumer (you). As an example of this, you may see a product that “contains organic ingredients.” That doesn’t mean it’s organic! It just means that some of the ingredients are organic – not necessarily all of them. Read, read, read! Don’t just make the assumption that a product is natural, safe or non-toxic because of the way it’s packaged. Check the ingredients, and carry your smartphone with you. If you see an ingredient you don’t recognize, look it up!
- Get Your Family Excited About Switching to a Natural Beauty Routine
There’s nothing more difficult than trying to transition to a natural beauty routine than having family members bring in drug store products. Instead of feeling like you’re waging a constant battle against other members of your household, why not convince them that natural beauty products are the way to go?! You don’t have to be pushy about it. There’s no need for a family meeting. Sometimes simply bringing up your choice at the supper table, or in the car on the way to an outing, is all you need to do. An easy way to get your kids excited is to take a look at all the great age appropriate products that are out there for them to use! That doesn’t just go for family members, either. If you have a roommate, you can work together to bring natural products into the household. Obviously, you won’t be sharing some of them. Your shampoo and body wash are your choice. But items like hand soap are shared, and transitioning to a product that’s natural and, say, triclosan-free, can be a decision you make together. It’s all about the baby steps. If you share expenses with someone in your household, you may face opposition. Sometimes (though this certainly isn’t always the case) natural and organic beauty products can cost a little more than their drug store counterpoints. If you do find yourself in this conversation, just remind your partner or the other person in your household that the health benefits are well worth a few extra cents each month.
- Don’t Become Overwhelmed by the Process of Switching to a Natural Beauty Routine
Its entirely possible for you to transition to a natural beauty routine today. Your face wash, cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, conditioner and even your kids’ bathing products and sunscreens all have natural alternatives. However, don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Decide the reason for your desire to transition, then take steps accordingly. There’s no need to go out and replace every item you own right this minute. Start with a few simple items – say, your deodorant and your toothpaste – then gradually make the switch to a natural beauty routine. Also, don’t worry! Natural and organic beauty products aren’t going anywhere! As you begin to replace your drug store brands with natural and organic products, you’ll find that you develop a preference for products and brands. Many manufacturers are getting on board, too. You may find that the brands you use now actually do make a natural alternative to the product you’re using. Making the transition to a natural beauty routine shouldn’t be daunting or overwhelming. It shouldn’t consume you with hours of research. Simply know your reasons, know what ingredients are harmful and which are helpful, then little by little make the switch. You’ll find that you love the way these products work, and you love what you’re doing for your body, your family and the planet!