7 Ways to Green Up Your Skincare Routine
So, you're nervous now after reading the label on your legacy-brand skin cream - there's a lot of ingredients on there that sound scary, and you're determined for a change. Or perhaps you've had a recent health scare and you realized that your current luxury skin care brand isn't as clean as you'd like and may have been actually contributing to your skin concerns all along. Either way, these products from the skincare industrial complex are doing your health and well-being no favors. Well, bravo to you for seeking out alternatives! It's never too late to detoxify your skin and green up your skin care rituals with truly handcrafted, luxurious products. Let me explain....
It can be a bit daunting to detoxify your life. One must be a veritable bio-chemist such as myself to wade through the mounds of information and research to determine what's safe and what's not, what's toxic and what's not, what's carcinogenic and what's not. We know you don't have time for that, and large skin care manufacturers also count on you not having time to do the research.
It's enough to drive you mad, and it makes for a skin care routine potentially fraught with fear. It strips the joy out of these small snippets of the day we take for our self-care, and we certainly don't want that to happen. Your daily skin care rituals are vitally important time you need to spend with yourself, so let me guide you away from fearmongering.
There are but a few simple tenets you need as a guide to navigate the purchase of natural luxury skin care products and restore the joy in your daily skin care rituals:
1. More is not more. Less is really more. Yes, this old adage still holds true. Does what you are using have 20 ingredients or less? Are each one of those ingredients there for a very specific purpose or are they there simply for marketing "puffery" or to fill up the bottle? You seriously need to question whether you need to be putting more than 20 different ingredients on your face and skin every time you use a skin cream.
2. Some common skincare ingredients have been shown to be potentially bad for your health. For example, parabens are an effective class of skin care preservatives, but there is evidence to suggest propylparaben and butylparaben particularly may have negative health effects. Phthalates, toluene, and formaldehyde are some other ingredients that are questionable for your health. Until fuller scientific studies are done, it is perhaps best to avoid these ingredients when possible. There are others to worry about, as well, but the above ingredients are found in many non-green skin care formulations. However, they are thankfully easier to avoid than ever nowadays with the plethora of new green skin care brands that formulate without these ingredients.
3. A preservative is essential for any skin care product containing water. Now, while some traditional preservatives are known to be potentially unhealthy for you (see parabens above), not all preservatives are bad, and there are quite a few that are actually Eco-Cert approved for natural skincare products. If the product contains water (including hydrosols, floral waters, aloe vera juice, witch hazel, etc.) it needs a preservative to keep it fresh and free from mold, bacteria and yeast. There is no debate on this. If your water-based product does not have a preservative or preservative system listed on the ingredients and/or the manufacturer cannot explain to you how the formula is effectively protected against microbial contamination, you should be concerned that you might be purchasing an unsafe product.
4. Some ingredients may not be bad for you necessarily, but they might be bad for the environment. This would include silicone-based ingredients such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which get rinsed off and end up getting washed into rivers, lakes and our groundwater. Petroleum-based products such as mineral oil and petroleum jelly are byproducts of the refining industry, and as such are not good for the environment. They are considered cheap fillers and should never appear in any luxury skin care formulation.
5. Avoid micas unless they are ethically produced. Yes, they are naturally-derived, but mica is mined by children in some of the poorest regions of the world, and no one knows what the long-term health effects of this mining has on those children, so it is best to avoid micas entirely unless you can be assured of their source. And since mica is heavily processed to get it into a state in which it can be used in skincare products, it really does not resemble the naturally-occurring mineral it once was by the time it gets into your makeup and skin care.
6. Avoid palm oil or palm kernel oil unless it is organic and responsibly sourced. The world's demand for palm oil has created an ecological disaster in places such as the islands of Indonesia. Yes, palm oil is a wonderful natural skin care ingredient, but the environmental costs of harvesting it are too great to bear. If a product contains palm oil, make sure it is sourced from West Africa, where it is sustainably grown.
7. And finally, purchase from a brand you trust. Eco-Cert and Leaping Bunny certificates are all well and good, but they are marketing tools nonetheless. Companies can buy them even when their company practices are less than perfectly green. So, don't just look at labels or beautiful magazine spreads. Dig a little deeper. Reading a company's "About us" page and blog posts and customer reviews will give you a far better idea of who you are buying from than a short snippet in a glossy magazine or a beautiful ad.
Now you're ready and armed with some knowledge! Go ahead and feel good about taking control of your skin health and banish the fear. Are you ready to take the next step and glide into the world of luxurious handcrafted green skincare? We here at Misty Blue Skincare would be pleased to assist you on your skin care journey and help you discover the benefits of our collection of American grown skin care. Please visit our "About Us" page to continue the conversation.
Previous: The Burden of Beauty Next: 3 Ways to Properly Clean Your Skin