I am the only one in my circle of friends who has been interested in greening my skincare and makeup. I recently had the opportunity to chat with a friend who asked me what I had learned/changed in terms of how I take care of my skin–after commenting on how good my skin looks. I know she has no interest in the green aspect of things, so I kept it general and didn’t mention product names so she could choose her own way. Here is what I shared as my top changes/recommendations:
Don’t be afraid of oil.
Oil-based cleansers remove makeup better than the foams and gel formulas I used to love. It breaks it all down in one shot—foundation, mascara, eyeliner. There are also amazing oils for treating and hydrating skin. And they don’t make oily skin oiler rather they balance skin. I wish I had embraced oils sooner!
No more foamy cleansers.
They strip and dry skin; they irritate. And the stuff that makes most of them lather, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), is not doing you any favors. It is one of the most irritating ingredients used in cleansing and other face and body products. Even if you don’t worry about going green, you should try to lose the foam. You will see a difference.
There’s nothing wrong with having a routine.
I used to look to cut steps our of skincare and makeup routines. I was all: no brushes for foundation so there is nothing extra to maintain/wash; tinted moisturizer with spf to get 3 steps in one; wash and moisturize and be done. Well now I have a multi-step routine that (at night) includes double cleansing, acid toning, spray toning, a treatment serum, moisturizer and lip balm. And I love it. First of all, it is me time. Second, my skin looks better because I am paying more attention to it. Third, multi-tasking products are not all that. For example, sunscreen needs to be its own separate step. You are never going to pile on base product to provide adequate sunscreen.
Go old school with washcloths.
I don’t like to exfoliate with scrubby masks or cleansers. My skin isn’t hyper sensitive, but I think they don’t feel very good and they make my face really red. I usually stick to Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask which is incredibly gentle. However this winter I went even more gentle: I exfoliated my face by really working in a cream cleanser and removing it with a washcloth. I do this about 3 times a week and it has made very noticeable difference in the glow and softness departments.
Related to this one: Do not go new school and use makeup wipes. You’re adding waste to our planet. And really, you need to wash with like water. Oh and don’t buy into the “you don’t need to wash your face in the morning” because you do, gently of course.
If you try one thing green make up-wise…
I have friends who are devoted to their luxe make up and that is okay by me. My approach is green-ish. While I have made a near complete transition to green products on the skincare side, I still have some non-greenie approved brands in my makeup drawer. However one thing that is completely clean is lipstick. When I talk to friends who don’t want to consider going green, I encourage them to at least consider it for their lip color products because there are great product lines and you aren’t giving up color or performance.
You can start small and cheap.
My first changes were in the body wash and deodorant categories. I bought them at the local health food store and it didn’t cost any more than the stuff I used to use. Also, many green brands offer sample sizes. This is a great way to test things out before committing more of your cash.
If you just change one thing skincare-wise…
Use mineral (non-chemical) sunblock. Learn what nanoparticles are and don’t lather yourself in them. Confused? This page on Badger’s site will help.
Get a natural spot treatment.
Zit zapping creams and spot treatments dry out pimples fast and leave you with a red, crusty scar. I have tried a couple of natural pimple treatments that reduced redness and swelling and hastened the pimple along without drying the skin out and leaving a lasting reminder.
I bet I could go on, but I am going to wrap up here. If you’ve got advice to add, please do so in the comments!