This post is long overdue.
Many of you may not know, but my first “taste” of the healthy living world was through eco personal care. It was nearly four years ago (my freshman year of college – holy crap), through my friend and roommate at time, Erin. The more I learned about harmful chemicals in my daily routine, the more I wanted to change my habits.
Now I’m not going to go in excruciating detail about how to make the change, what to look for in a product, which ingredients are worse than others, etc. That’s a post for another time, if demand is high enough.
For now, let’s just take a look at some of my healthy, chemical-free favorites: [[disclaimer – I was not compensated in ANY way for this post. all products were bought for myself, and all opinions are my own]]
This is by no means a comprehensive list of things that I use, as I don’t use all eco-friendly or organic products. There are a few products that I just can’t seem to find a good eco alternative for, and some that I just can’t justify paying for.
Yes, eco products are generally more expensive than, say, brands you’ll find at a drugstore. But all products on this list are ones that I think are worth spending the money on.
Jojoba Oil (Trader Joe’s, I believe $7): I use this for makeup remover. I have very sensitive skin, which gets irritated by most makeup removers. Jojoba oil is great, as it’s not really an oil but a liquid wax, and is naturally non-comedegenic. If you have access to Trader Joe’s, buy it there. It’s nearly half the price of what you can by anywhere else (most common brand is Desert Essence) – and I’m pretty sure it’s the exact same product, but rebranded. Also, this little bottle lasts for months since you only need a few drops. Totally worth it.
EO Organics Curl Gel (retail value $8.99): This is actually a new-to-me product, as I change up my hair products all the time. With crazy, curly hair like mine, I need to use a lot of crap. I usually leave in my conditioner, and use some type of defining cream. This one does make your hair a little crusty, but that goes away very quickly if you fluff your curls once they dry. It smells amazing, and a little bit goes a very long way to revive and define my curls. And I have a lot of hair.
Trader Joe’s Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil (around $6): I only use this once a week, as tea tree oil can be harsh on and irritate your skin if used too much. (The regular face wash I use is not particularly eco friendly, but I have been dealing with acne issues, so I make some compromises). My dermatologist recommended using a benzoyl peroxide wash once a week, and I really did not want to do that. Tea tree oil is a good alternative to benzoyl peroxide, without making your skin even more susceptible to cancer.
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Lotion – Lavender Coconut (retail value $9.99): If you like lavender, this stuff smells amazing (and did you know that it’s naturally antibacterial?!). It’s super light and thin, and absorbs really well. I have not had any issues with this irritating my sensitive skin, which is a huge plus. But, just note that I do not use this on my face.
Badger Sunscreen (retail value $15.99): Yes, it’s pricey. And goes on pretty thick, so it takes a little while to absorb. But to me, it’s worth it to use a sunscreen that doesn’t have all the scary chemical block ingredients – which means you have to use a physical block (zinc and titanium based) which doesn’t rub in as easily. If put on around 30 minutes before the beach or time outside, it’s relatively sweat-proof as well which is a HUGE plus.
Obagi Sunscreen (around $30): This is my face sunscreen and yes, it is $30 for a tiny little bottle. But, this tiny little bottle has lasted nearly a year already. I just mix a tiny bit into my face moisturizer and I’m set for the day (yes, you should wear sunscreen every day!). Again, worth the price for a 100% physical (read – no chemical) block.
Makeup. Once again, I don’t use all eco makeup, mostly because I didn’t want to throw away some of my perfectly good non-eco makeup and spend the money on new stuff before I use up the old stuff. When I run out of some of my other things like eye liner and eye shadow, then I’ll replace them with eco things.
Jane Iredale PurePressed Foundation ($52 including refillable compact): The the best skin-friendly makeup ever. It doesn’t irritate my skin or trigger my acne, and it blends amazingly. It is a mineral makeup, so I know that some people don’t like the way it sits on their skin (this only bothers me if I happen to be sweating when I try to put on the makeup). It also has some SPF, which is a great bonus! One compact lasts me about 6 months, and to buy a refill only costs $40. I keep 2 colors, one for winter, one for summer.
Jane Iredale Disappear Concealer (retail value $30): The best concealer ever. Lofty statement, I know, but really this stuff works wonders for my acne. I often have people tell me how great my skin looks – and I smile and say thank you, but really it’s only because of this stuff. I apply it with a little concealer brush to all my blemishes and let it dry. Sometimes I do 2 coats if I need more coverage. Then I finished with brushing on the pressed powder. It blends perfectly. One little tube of this lasts me about 6 months, so once again it’s totally worth the money.
Dr. Hauschka Mascara (retail value $25.95): I’m hooked on this mascara. Mostly because it doesn’t irritate my eyes, and I barely feel or notice it when wearing it all day. Because it is all natural, you do have to be careful about rubbing your eyes, and it is most definitely not waterproof. Actually, it usually washes off with water, which I like that I don’t have to rub to get it off. Hauschka is a great brand all around for skin care and cosmetics, but I can’t justify shelling out for most of their products. I am willing to spend on one mascara that I use every single day, and lasts me about 6 months.
Lips! Here are some of my every day favorites.
Pangea Organics Lip Balm (retail value $12): This will change your life. Seriously. It’s so silky smooth, and you only need a tiny bit. It’s made with all organic oils that do wonders for chapped lips. I love the lavender scent, but next time (if I ever run out of this one!) I want to try the fennel and orange scent. And once again, it’s worth the high price for a little balm that lasts for quite a while.
Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm (about $5): I don’t love lip gloss, but sometimes I want a little color in my lips. This is a tinted balm, so it doesn’t go on thick like a gloss or lipstick. I have the Honeysuckle color for summer and lighter occasions, and the Red Dahlia color for fancier occasions (or when I just feel like red lips). Not expensive, and you can find it at almost any drugstore.
Yes to Carrots Lip Butter with SPF (about $3.50): Sunscreen for your lips is just as important! Because this one has zinc in it (physical block, not chemical), it goes on a bit thicker and whiter than regular chapstick. But it definitely works to protect your lips, and smells quite lovely. Protect your skin, people. Worth it.
So that ended up being quite a bit longer than I expected. What can I say, I have a lot to say about products and other things that I am passionate about. I didn’t write this to convince you that you should overhaul your personal care routine right now. My only goal was to open your eyes to some great new products, in the hope that one day maybe someone out there will begin the transition to chemical-free personal care products. What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body!
I know that a bunch of the products I listed here can be a bit on the expensive side (Jane Iredale, Dr. Hauschka, other fancy skincare products), but the rest you can usually buy online for cheaper than the retail price.
Finally, I’m going to leave you with a list of awesome sites that can help you get started with your eco beauty routine:
EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database – look up your cosmetics, see what’s in them, and find greener alternatives! (everyone should check out this site. please)
Ecotools – the makeup brushes I use. Usually available at drugstores, Ulta, online, etc.
Erin’s website – be sure to check out the “Dirty Thirty” list at the bottom. And the list of greener alternatives
GoodGuide – another great product database
iHerb – most know this as a great site for obscure foodie products, but they also have a fantastic selection of personal care products for very good prices
SkinCareRx – great site to buy skin care and cosmetics, they have tons of email coupons!
Do you use eco/organic beauty products? What are your favorites? I love finding new ones to try!
Would you with to chemical-free personal care products in the future?
[[Also, please feel free to ask me any questions about this – email, comment, tweet, etc.]]