Welcome back to Go Clean: The Step by Step Transition to Clean Beauty Series [Part 2]
In this article we’re going to go over some simple, super easy ways to get started on your journey to cleaner, less toxic beauty products. One of the most common issues I hear when it comes to the transition to Clean Beauty is that you are absolutely overwhelmed when it comes to where to begin.
There seem to be so many choices – from big beauty brands to small, direct to consumer brands, a slew of different products that need to be updated, and the big, looming question- will all of this even make a difference anyway?
Analysis paralysis can get the best of any of us, that’s why Part 2 of this series is dedicated to the do’s and don’ts of the switch to clean beauty process! We’ll get into the expectations vs reality of the entire journey, plus common mistakes that you can avoid.
The answer is yes, by the way, it will make a difference and with these 4 tips, you can make it simple and uncomplicated to make the switch for yourself.
1) Learn to Read Labels
It’s time to familiarize yourself with the way cosmetic and personal care product labels work. The ingredients are listed in order of highest concentration, so those first few things you see on the label are the ones that make up the majority of the product.
You are going to not only want to know exactly what those first few are but also start looking for products that don’t have hundreds of ingredients to begin with. Start to recognize some of those ingredients you’re looking to avoid (parabens, phthalates, sulfates, etc) as well as if the product is water-based or oil-based.
A water-based product, though not inherently bad, will need a preservative in order to extend its shelf life and avoid mold and bacteria growth.
What preservative is your product using in order to achieve this?
On the other hand, oil-based products are typically preservative-free.
And it’s not just the backside of the label that counts. It’s time to get to know the common certifications as well. From “FDA Organic”, “ECOCert Natural and Organic Cosmetics,” “BDIH Certified Natural Cosmetics,” “Fair Trade: Fair for Life,” “Leaping Bunny Cruelty-Free,” “Carbon-Free Certified,” and more- there are literally hundreds of different certification processes that brands and products can go through to verify the quality, integrity, sourcing and manufacturing of their ingredients.
Check out this resource from The EcoLabel Index on some of the most common cosmetics certifications.
2) Don’t be Fooled by Fancy Branding
Cruelty-free doesn’t automatically mean clean; Vegan doesn’t mean natural; and a top-dollar, luxury price tag doesn’t mean non-toxic. The third step in your transition to Clean Beauty products is to learn to be a better consumer. Just because a product comes in a gorgeous glass bottle, is found on a high-end department store shelf and costs an arm and a leg doesn’t mean it adheres to any clean beauty standards at all.
A simple way to shop for beauty products: the fewer ingredients overall, the better.
3) Don’t Assume Anything
I mentioned in Part 1 of this series that the most common Clean Beauty terms (organic, natural, clean, green, etc) don’t carry with them any legal definition. Take that into consideration when it’s time to go shopping for your new, Clean Beauty routine. There are many brands and products out there that are capitalizing on the clean beauty trend and many of them are very good at making their branding look natural and holistic.
My point is this: just because a brand has the word natural in it’s name or a certain product calls itself botanically-infused does not mean they have the clean, non-toxic ingredient list to back it up.
4) Pick 1-2 Brands You Love and Trust
Here is where the fun part starts! I know you’re getting sick of what to avoid, who to trust, don’t be fooled, etc.
Unfortunately, those are all important parts of being an informed consumer. But here is where things get interesting!
Perhaps my best tip when it comes to making the switch to clean beauty products and avoiding ingredient overwhelm is to pick 1-2 brands that completely align with your goals and values.
Do the research and find out what ingredients they as a brand have made the commitment to avoid in all of their products (so you don’t have to memorize them!), what certifications they have, their manufacturing, sourcing and packaging practices etc.
Then, you can start testing their products!
Once you have found a brand that you trust who also makes products that you truly love, become a loyal customer! If you pick a handful of clean beauty brands and stick to their products, you will have a much easier time switching to a clean beauty routine.
If you keep these four tips in mind not only as you get started but throughout your Clean Beauty journey, you’ll be well on your way to a cleaner, less toxic beauty routine in no time.
Just remember: this whole process doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing scenario. You can take this journey day by day, product by product, even ingredient by ingredient if you want to. It doesn’t need to be a complete bathroom shelf overhaul, it doesn’t need to be perfect and it doesn’t need to happen all at once.
Take the pressure off yourself when it comes to this transition. You are doing this for the right reasons and any way you choose to proceed makes it the right way for you. Stick around for Part 3 of our Go Clean: Clean Beauty Series where we’ll dive into the exact steps to make switching to a clean beauty routine as easy and simple as possible.
At the end of the day your body will thank you not only with clear, radiant skin but also simply better health overall.