Moving towards a more Natural Beauty Regimen
Taking and more green approach to your beauty regimen can be very simple, and require very few changes in both time and expenses. Natural beauty products range in quality, as the term "natural" is not really defined by any means. For this reason, it is very important to understand what a natural beauty regimen includes, and educate yourself on product labels and ingredients used to create these natural beauty products.
Below are a few tips to help you choose more natural products, and what to look for when moving towards a greener beauty regimen.
Read Product Labels
This is a very important step when going green with your beauty products. How can you know which products are healthier if you don't know what is in them?
To do this, you will need to educate yourself a little bit. If you check the back of any product, or on any product packaging you should easily be able to identify the ingredients used. You will soon realize that ingredient listings aren't very easy to read and understand. This is ok, their are so many resources online, like this Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary, that outlines some of the most commonly used ingredients and what they are.
You will also soon start to realize that many products contain a lot of the same ingredients, and these ones you will be able to readily identify after you have been reading labels for just a short time.
Stay away from Commonly Known Harmful Ingredients
Their are some very commonly known ingredients that have bad reps, and have been notoriously known to cause harmful side effects. Below I have compiled a list of just a few of the most commonly known ingredients to have harmful or dangerous side effects.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – This ingredient is used widely for its ability to create foam or suds. It can create carcinogenic (cancer) compounds, that absorb into your skin, when mixed with certain other common beauty product ingredients. Due to this risk it is advised that you not use products that contain SLS.
Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA) - This products is used as an exfoliater for the skin, and its used commonly to remove dead skin cells. Although this product does do this, it also has the ability to remove protective layers from you skin. This can weaken your skin, leaving it more prone to other health problems such as cancer. In addition to this, it has also been known, like SLS's, to create carcinogenic compounds when mixed with certain ingredients.
Propylene Glycol: This common beauty ingredient is also used in anti-freeze. It has been known to have damaging effects on the brain, liver and kidney. In beauty products it is used in products such as hair care products, make-ups, bath products, including lotions and moisturizers.
Preservatives: These are a double edged sword. Preservatives are used to keep harmful bacteria out of products, but also have been known to have carcinogenic effects to the body. Their are some more natural preservatives you can find, and it is argued that it would be worse to not have a preservative in beauty products, due to the bacteria and germs that would grow should it be left out. Many people understand this, but also know that their are better preservatives that help keep out the bad without letting in different "bad" compounds into their products. To learn more about preservatives, check out this interesting article on Natural Preservatives.
This is by no means a complete list of harmful ingredients, but it does give you an idea of what you put on your body without realizing it. To learn more about harmful ingredients, you can always do simple search, their are thousands of resources online about this topic.
Try using homemade products
This is not as complicated as it sounds. Natural beauty products can be easily and readily made at home, with products you probably already have. Below are some simple concoctions you can make at home, and some common products that can have you heading in a more natural direction with your beauty routine. The best part of this approach is that you are in control of what you put on your body, and you know what is being used, and that it is fresh and safe!
Avocado's are great for your hair. You can mash up a fresh avocado and spread on your dry, or damaged hair to reap the benefits. Avocado's provide nutrients to the hair that help to repair and restore.
Lemon is a great skin care and hair care ingredient. It can easily fit into your daily routine to help clear up acne and pimples. At night, after washing your face thoroughly, take a q-tip dipped into fresh lemon juice and apply to individual pimples. This will help dry out and clear up acne and pimples. For a fun, slight hair care treat, apply lemon juice to hair and sit in the sun for an hour or so. This will give you natural, shiny highlights. :)
Olive Oil can be used for so many different things. You can apply straight to your nails, cuticles, skin and hair for some great moisture, and amazing benefits. Olive Oil will help to strengthen your nails, make your hair shine, clear up acne and pimples, and moisturize the body. It really is a nice treatment for your new natural beauty regimen.
Sugar and some Olive oil make a nice sugar scrub to help exfoliate your face and body. Take a few tbsps. of Olive Oil and apply to about a cup of sugar. Mix this until it makes all the sugar slightly damp. You can add more or less Oil to the sugar as you wish. When this is done, apply to face and skin, and rinse off. This will remove dead skin cells and make your skin feel silky soft.
Egg Whites can be applied to the face as a mask. Leave the egg whites on your face until it dries and then rinse off. This will tighten your skin and make your skin shine.
Try Products From Non-Main Stream Companies
Their are many companies out there that create their own products using only the most natural ingredients. Etsy shops, and specialty beauty stores are quite common, and some of these have some wonderful products.
Etsy.com: Etsy Stores are small online shops owned individually by hobbyist, and smaller companies who want to sell home made crafts and creations. On Etsy you can find tons of homemade soaps, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and other bath and beauty products that contain more natural ingredients, for decent prices. Since all products are home made, it is much easier to find out ingredient information about each product. I have found most products on Etsy are much more natural than manufactured products.
Ebay.com: On Ebay you can find similar products to the ones found on Etsy. You also can find some of the higher end specialty store beauty products for lower prices which is a plus when budgeting.
Specialty Beauty Stores: Google has made it very easy to find stores, shops and companies that specialize in natural beauty products. Also, since it is such a rapidly growing industry more and more of these specialty stores are popping up. Do a quick search for Natural Beauty Products, and the results are endless. Most companies even list their ingredients on their website so that you know what you are purchasing, and can research what you don't before you buy, This is very helpful, considering the confusing nature of the natural beauty industry.
Flea Markets: Flea Markets and Local Fairs and Carnivals always have booths with local vendors selling their homemade products. These companies are usually right around the corner, but are so small that you don't even know about them. Visit some local Flea Markets, Fairs, and Carnivals and see what you can find. You might be pleasantry surprised.
These are only a few things you can do to go green with your beauty routine. As you can see, it is not hard at all, but it will take a change in mindset. Educating yourself is the best way to protect yourself from the sometimes harmful ingredients lurking in our bathroom cabinets.
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