Go Natural: The 5 Green Beauty Products That Matter Most

You glug down a juice cleanse every six months, you eat lots of plant-based meals and you DIY your own cleaning products – but how’s your beauty regimen looking? We’re always sharing our best tips and favorite products to make detoxing that makeup bag as simple as possible, but, for some of us, parting ways with that luxe, yet possibly chemical-laden foundation is just too large a leap to make – yet.

If you’re still holding on to a few old-school products or are totally new to green beauty, take a look at these five essential beauty product categories and consider starting small! We asked associate beauty editor for Byrdie,Victoria Hoff to share some notes on what she considers to be the worst offenders. Here’s the low down…

One of the greatest things I’ve learned by experience is to treat the outside of my body with the same care as I do the inside. I love following a chemical-free, plant-based diet, so doesn’t my skin deserve similar TLC? So much is absorbed through our largest organ – the skin, including the many synthetic ingredients that appear in most cosmetics. Just like overhauling your diet can be the key to insure that things are running smoothly, detoxing your beauty regimen can make a world of difference for your skin and overall wellbeing.

Now, if switching cold turkey to an all-natural beauty regimen seems intimidating, consider this easier approach: start small and hone in one the beauty products that tend to contain more toxins than others. Fortunately, there are plenty of safer, all-natural alternatives – and in many cases, they do the job even better. Here, we lay out the five products that you may want to consider swapping out, as well as the all-star replacements we recommend.

5 Beauty Products You Should Swap Now

Make the Switch: Deodorant

Why Bother: Deodorant is one of the biggest culprits in the realm of unsafe beauty, thanks to a typically high content of aluminum and parabens, which mess with hormones, among other things. Sadly, it’s necessary, and there are only a select few natural alternatives that actually stamp out odor effectively.

Our Pick: Weleda Citrus Deodorant
This spray-on formula not only smells great, but it lasts – a rarity with natural deodorants.

Make the Switch: Shampoo

Why Bother: Can we at least convince you to wash your hair less often? Doing so will help restore your natural oil balance, correcting annoying side effects like an itchy scalp or greasy roots (yes, over-washing your hair can actually lead to greasy roots!). Chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and fragrance can also contribute to those annoyances listed above, as well as flakiness and dull strands (not to mention the link between parabens and cancer). Switching to a natural, plant-based formula will give you a safer shower – and silkier strands.

Our Pick: Purely Perfect Cleansing Creme
Remove a step in the shower by swapping in this cross between a shampoo and a conditioner, which blasts excess oil and build-up while deeply hydrating your locks.

Make the Switch: Face Wash

Why Bother: Uneven tone, dryness, tight skin, breakouts…There are a lot of things that can go wrong with our complexions, but it could be the ingredients in your daily cleanser that are throwing things out of whack. If your face wash foams, for example, chances are it contains sodium lauryl sulfate, which can really dry your skin out and strip it of its natural oils. For those who are acne-prone, this might seem like a good thing, but the reality is that disrupting your natural oil production then sends it into overdrive to compensate…which leads to more breakouts. (It’s a vicious cycle!) Additives like fragrance can also irritate your complexion.

Our Pick: Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser
It might sound counterintuitive, but this oil-based cleanser will actually keep your breakouts in check by normalizing your natural sebum production. 

Make the Switch: Nail Polish

Why Bother: The average manicure deserves some side-eye, since many nail polishes on the market contain a toxic trio of chemicals (formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate) – and worse, brands can usually get away with claiming to be free of any or all of these things, even though they’re often not.

Our Pick: JINsoon Blue Iris Nail Polish
JINsoon is one of a handful of brands that skips those three chemicals, and then some.

Make the Switch: Sunscreen

Why Bother: We don’t fool around with sun protection, but it’s important to be in the know about what you’re (hopefully) slathering on your face on a daily basis. The first thing to find out is what kind of formula your go-to product is: Is it a chemical SPF, or physical/mineral? While chemical sunscreens are especially effective at filtering out UV rays, some of the active ingredients – like oxybenzone and camphor -can mess with hormones.

Our Pick: Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30 Sun Defense
This mineral formula also offers great protection with the help of titanium dioxide, but nixes all the synthetic stuff that can be potentially harmful for your system. Plus, it’s super lightweight and hydrating, and layers well under makeup.

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