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What You Need to Know About Getting Started With Natural Beauty

What You Need to Know About Getting Started With Natural Beauty

When I first started out in the natural beauty biz over a decade ago, I wrote about greening your routine and how to get started with clean beauty a lot. Back then high quality natural brands and products were slimmer pickin’s, research and knowledge on ingredients and practices was skimpier, and there weren’t as many experts around to share their good stuff.

Even though there are loads of clean products today, and the market is continuing to grow at lightning speed, many are still wondering … how do I get started with natural beauty?

I love this question! It’s like a reality check. Whenever a reader posts this in a comment or email, it reminds me that people want to know more and they want to use healthier products.

It also reminds me of how difficult it was when I tried to clean up my own beauty cabinet. All of those ingredients to avoid, where to buy new products, how to buy new products.

So, I’ve compiled many of those posts I wrote on getting started into one handy guide. Whether you are looking to get started with natural beauty and personal care, want a refresher, or even if you would simply love a great list of places and products to shop, this guide has it.

Your Guide to Getting Started With Natural Beauty

What’s Your Type?

We All Have Issues

Choosing Skincare: A Worksheet

Choosing Skincare: Some Real Life Examples

How to Make the Switch to Natural Products

Dealing With Cheats

Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid

Ingredient Listings Decoded: A Handy Cheat Sheet

Ingredient Navigation: How to Tell If a Product Is Truly Safe

Favorite Places to Shop Natural Beauty

Now that you are armed with the tools to ID safe products, know what you and your skin want, and have a plan for getting started, it’s time for the fun stuff. Where to shop! My two favorite online shops are Beauteabar and The Detox Market. As for products and brands? There are so many, but here are some of my top picks.

A Handful of My Favorite Brands

The brands and products I love are too many to list in one blog post. But here are a sampling of some of my top picks, must-haves, and daily use items.

Lavera

La Bella Figura

Soapwalla

Kjaer Weis

RMS Beauty

In Fiore

May Lindstrom

One Love Organics

W3LL People

Vapour Organic Beauty

Kypris Beauty

Vintner’s Daughter

Rare El’Ements

Acure Organics

Benecos

Amala Beauty

Image: freestocks.org at Unsplash

 

The whole affiliate disclaimer thing: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I make a percentage of purchases from them. It’s one of the ways I support my business. The two things you need to know about that … I only recommend products I 100% believe in and only support shops I care about.

The 2 Chemicals in Cosmetics You Should Avoid First

The 2 Chemicals in Cosmetics You Should Avoid First

I was recently asked which ingredients are most important to avoid in cosmetics. Since there is a pretty extensive list of toxic ingredients that commonly make an appearance in beauty products, plus the many names they go by, this isn’t exactly a short question to answer.

My response was, while it’s best to learn to spot all nasty ingredients or look at a list of those to avoid while shopping, it may help to ease into this whole label reading thing. At first, anyway.

The ingredients I would recommend nixing from your beauty repertoire immediately are petroleum ingredients and synthetic fragrance ingredients. These are both very toxic and the use of them is widespread.

Petroleum Ingredients

Yes, these come from crude oil. Sounds icky, right? And they are! Petrolatum, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil are commonly found on ingredient listings. Of course, they are refined for use in cosmetics (versus what you put in your car), but petro-chems are usually contaminated with carcinogens. The European Union (who sets higher standards for cosmetic safety than we do in the US) deems petrolatum carcinogenic and restricts its use.

The cancer risk associated with these ingredients is enough to make you steer clear, but there’s more. Petroleum jelly is viewed as a winter skin fix all. It is supposed to moisturize, soothe, repair, and protect dry, chapped, irritated skin. The problem with this gloppy ingredient is that it sits on top of skin, forming a barrier so skin cannot properly release toxins or absorb moisture from the air. Your skin may feel better when you first start using it, but will most likely end up dry, irritated, and congested. No good.

There are several healthy products you can purchase as an alternative to petroleum jelly. Cocoa and shea butter are super rich and great for hydrating and healing skin. Try The Beauty Chef Beauty Fix Balm. One Love Organics Skin Savior is made with coconut and jojoba oils, plus other soothing ingredients. Both are healthy choices that get the job done.

Synthetic Fragrance Ingredients

When synthetic fragrance is used in a beauty product it is actually a combination of several ingredients. If you think that makes it more difficult to identify these nasties on a product label, wait until you find out about the trade secret loophole. While manufacturers are required to list all ingredients used to make a cosmetic product, the FDA says it’s ok to exclude fragrance ingredients from the ingredient listing to protect the brand’s secret fragrance recipe from competitors. Manufacturers can simply use the terms “fragrance” or “parfum” instead.

Making things even more difficult is that many nontoxic brands also use these two terms to protect their secret fragrance blends. Usually a reputable natural cosmetics creator will note on an ingredient listing if their fragrance issues came from natural sources, like essential oils.

What’s the big deal with synthetic fragrance? These ingredients are what cause that headache-y, nauseated feeling you get when a scent doesn’t agree with you. But it doesn’t stop there. Synthetic fragrance is also linked to skin irritation, rash, dizziness, and asthma. They’ve also been found to carry an accumulation risk, meaning they build up in the body, and are linked to hormonal disruption and cancer.

Bottom Line

While you get familiar with harmful ingredients you want to avoid in cosmetics, start by checking for these two. Look for petro-ingredients like petrolatum, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil. When you see the terms “fragrance” and “parfum” on an ingredient listing, see if there is a notation as to the source of these ingredients. A brand’s website may also have information on their ingredient commitments.

Image :: McKinley Law at Unsplash

Your Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid Page…Free

Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid Downloadable

Hey, it’s hump day. How about some free stuff for your site, blog, or online shop?

The most requested item I get when starting a copywriting project with a new client is a new or refreshed ingredients to avoid page. A comprehensive list of harmful cosmetic ingredients is not only a great source of info for your readers and customers, but totally spells out your commitment to safety.

Yes, I know. These lists can be tedious to come up with. That’s why I am giving you mine. Yep, grab it today and copy/paste that sucker into your site, blog, or online store. Easy and oh so worth it.

Get your free Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid downloadable

Want a customized page? I can get you one of those too. Contact me for deets on creating just-for-you copy.

Now that that sticky little item is checked off your list, go have yourself a great day!

Ingredient Listings Decoded (A Handy Cheat Sheet)

Ingredient Listings Decoded (A Handy Cheat Sheet)

A couple weeks ago in Shop Talk we covered why complete ingredient listings are the most important words on any decent organic beauty shop’s site. Finding out exactly what is in a product is the only way to truly know if it is safe before you buy.

You know how you’ll go to an online shop who is doing a great job of making themselves and the products they carry look green? No this, no that, all natural … Then you go to the page of an interesting looking product. Sounds good, looks good, let’s take a peek at what’s in this pretty little beauty.

And there it is. Or shall we say, there it isn’t. No ingredient listing to be found. Or maybe it has one of those key ingredient listings. You know, where they list all of the natural-ish ingredients in the product but don’t give up a full ingredient listing.

Guess why they may be doing this? It usually is not in the name of being more concise. Both of these scenarios are red flags. Even the one that lists those wholesome sounding key ingredients.

You’ve been around the block enough times now to know that just because a product contains a few natural ingredients, doesn’t mean it is free from toxic ingredients. And the good old none-of-this-or-that-disclosure you see on sites? Forget those and get straight to the nitty gritty, the ever important ingredient listing.

Ok, so you shop places that list everything in every product they carry. Yay! Dazed and confused once you are faced with deciphering this mess of words? Even some natural ingredients sound not so natural?

I’m going to arm you with a powerful tool. An ingredient decoding cheat sheet. This will help you to differentiate healthy ingredients from nasty ones on the fly.

Ingredient List Decoder

1 :: Check the first 5 ingredients. These ingredients make up the majority of the product. Like food, cosmetic product ingredients are listed in order of concentration, from greatest to least. So if a product is comprised mostly of water, it will be the first ingredient on the list, and so on. Synthetic emollients and harsh foaming agents hang out here. Use my Ingredients to Avoid list for help.

2 :: Check the last 5 ingredients. These may be used in lesser amounts but the end of an ingredient listing is where you will usually find fragrance and preservatives.

3 :: If you’ve made it this far, fairly safe to say you have a safe product. Now scan those ingredients in the middle of the listing, if there are any, to see if anything comes up dirty.

4 :: Not sure on an ingredient name? Many brands follow the European INCI ingredient listings, using Latin names for ingredients. Check the INCI listing here.

5 :: Wondering whether or not the ingredients are organic? Organic ingredients are often marked with an asterisk. “100% Organic” means a product contains only organically produced ingredients, “Certified Organic” means the product is made of at least 95% organically produced ingredients, “Made with Organic Ingredients” means the product contains at least 70% organically produced ingredients.

So there’s some help in decoding those pesky ingredient listings. Have more questions? Ask away!