After visiting the Weleda headquarters last month I came away feeling very inspired. The Managing Director of Weleda UK, Jayn Sterland, gave a talk about their Cleaner Beauty campaign and it really resonated with me. I’ve already been dabbling in cleaner beauty products over the last few months, but I wasn’t really committed to it. After hearing Jayn’s talk something clicked and I came home raring to look into my products and their ingredients. The first thing I did was follow all the green beauty bloggers I know of (and found some new ones) and green beauty brands too. I’ve then spent the last couple of weeks searching through their blogs (and google/ecosia) looking for any information about green products, ingredients to avoid, how the ingredients affect our skin and anything else related to green beauty. I also found out my The Nature of Beauty book and have been reading it cover to cover and taking notes – it’s my new holy grail.
Why Should We Make The Switch?
So the first thing I asked myself is ‘Why should we clean up our beauty products? ’ My basic answer to this is that I don’t really want to put chemically manufactured products on my skin. Did you know that we use on average 12 beauty products on our skin a day? Our skin is the largest organ of our body, so it makes sense that we should look at what we use on it. There have been figures discussed in the past that our skin absorbs 60% of what we put on it. It is true that our skin is semi-permeable and substances can travel down the hair follicles and into the deeper layers of our skin, but what that percentage is would probably depend on the individual – what type of skin they have, how old they are, the type of ingredient, etc. For me, knowing that my skin is absorbing any ingredient at all makes me want to clean up my skincare and really look at what my body is taking in from my beauty products.
You may be thinking that all products have been tested and are allowed to be sold to consumers, so why worry about it? Well, unfortunately cosmetics are not regulated in the same way as food and drugs are. A lot of products can claim to be natural, organic or have no parabens in them and it is perfectly legal for them to do this, even though the rest of the ingredients may be chemicals. Some products have 1% of organic ingredients and can still claim to be organic – so reading labels is a must for someone looking to clean up their beauty products. As we find out more and more about chemical ingredients there is more evidence emerging about just how harmful they are for us. Some ingredients cause skin irritations, allergic reactions, can disrupt hormones and can interfere with human development, along with other things. Some ingredients are actually known carcinogens, which can cause cancer (see these articles – here and here). All these products are allowed to be used as they are usually deemed safe in small doses, but do you really want to take the risk when you have the choice? It’s so easy to get hold of clean, natural products now that I’d rather not use a product that has the same ingredient as my Teflon frying pan (I kid you not!). I won’t go into too much more detail in this post but a quick 5 minute search of google will produce lots of articles about the danger of chemical ingredients in our beauty products. It’s very enlightening!
Bodhi & Birch Neroli Oil Ingredients
How To Make The Switch
So onto how you can make the change. Switching your routine doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. There are so many great brands that offer budget friendly or luxury products (depending on what you prefer) and are super easy to get hold of – thank you internet! Below is some information to get you started.
I’ve put together a little list of the main ingredients that a lot of people say to avoid. This can be a very personal thing, as some people have different skin issues to take into account but I believe these are the ones that are pretty universal. As you look into more products you can personalise the list some more.
- Sodium Laryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Mineral Oil & Petroleum
- MC/MI (Methylcloroisothiazlinone/Methylisothiazolinone)
- Parabens (look for ethyl, butyl, propyl, benzyl, isobutyl, methyl –paraben)
- Propylene Glycol (PG) & Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
- Formaldehyde (look for Sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate, DMDM hydantion, Quarternium-15, Imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl urea & Polyoxymethylene urea)
To make it even easier there are certification logos you can look for, meaning that the products have already been tested and approved for you. A few labels to look for are the Soil Association, Natrue, Eco-Cert and BDIH. They each have their own standards that they test to (which are different to each other) so it’s worth looking into them and looking for the logos on products. Weleda are certified by Natrue and are a great brand to start with – in fact they’re brand and products are what’s inspired me to switch to cleaner beauty products. Their products are so gentle and they have pretty simple ingredients lists, so they’re a great brand to start with. My favourite products of theirs so far are Skin Food, Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Body Lotion, Aknedoron Cleansing Lotion * and their Stretch Mark Massage Oil.
One website that is great for beginners is the EWG Skin Deep website. I know that some green beauty veterans don’t rate this site anymore, as they know a lot about ingredients already, but for beginners it’s a god send. Yes, it takes more time to go through the ingredients of a product and check each one on there but that’s what copy and paste is for! Also I find I’m seeing some of the same ingredients over and over again and then you start to know them off by heart and don’t have to look them up each time. To make it easier for me to begin with I’m trying to find products that have a simple ingredients list with easy to identify ingredients. Then I can start looking into the ingredients that have more obscure names at a later date. It’s definitely more work than just popping into Boots and picking up any old moisturiser but in my opinion an extra 5 minutes research is totally worth it for my health.
This isn’t going to be an overnight switch for me, or for many people. I know that some people prefer to get rid of all their old products and buy all new natural and/or organic products and although this is the way I would prefer to do it, I just don’t have the funds to do that (and it’s not very sustainable either). So instead I’ll be switching products out as I finish them. I’ve already purchased a couple of new bits to try and I’m writing a list of products that I feel would benefit my skin to invest in later – although it’s getting longer by the minute!
One thing that I’m finding so exciting about this whole experience is finding new brands and products to try. It’s so refreshing finding a new brand that aren’t mainstream (L’Oreal I’m fed up of seeing your adverts on TV!) and it kind of feels a little bit like being part of a secret society. Don’t get me wrong I’d love to see these brands grow and be stocked in places like Boots and Superdrug, so that everyone can access them easily, but it’s always nice finding smaller, independent brands and knowing you can make a difference to that company. That being said not all green brands I’ve found are small or independent and it’s great to find popular ones too.
So with all this in mind I am committing to going green with all of my beauty products and from here on out this blog will become a green beauty blog (whilst still being cruelty free, of course). After spending an inspiring day with Weleda last month I’ve been looking into what goes into our products and I’ve made a decision that I only want to put natural products on my skin. I’ll be sharing my journey here, in the hopes that I can share my findings with you guys and make it a little easier for you all. There is so much to cover with clean beauty that this is just an overview (and this is already the longest post I’ve ever done!), so if you have any blog posts you’d like to see – whether it be about certain ingredients, green product swaps, natural and organic wedding make up, etc – please get in touch and let me know. I hope you’ll support me and my little blog on this decision and hopefully it will inspire you guys to switch up your products and join me for the ride!