Beauty + Personal Care Naturally

Before I started my sustainable beauty routine, I piled on the chemicals! I was using harsh face wash, way too much makeup, and products that were not only bad for the environment, but bad for me. We so careful about what we put in our bodies (hello, fresh and organic veggies), but we don’t always think about what we are putting on our bodies.

This post goes hand in hand with my zero waste bathroom post, but more focused on my personal care and sustainable beauty routine. If you didn’t read my previous post, check it out here.

Companies make us feel like we have to have a different product for everything. You don’t need to wear a primer, tinted moisturizer, foundation, powder, concealer, and blush/bronzer everyday! Think about how tired your skin gets from everything we put it through.  A lot of the products our in the shop, too!

Things to Avoid:

Parabens: A lot of products contain toxic chemicals, such as propylparabens, methylparabens, ethylparabens, and any other unpronounceable paraben you can think of. These exist in beauty products to preserve their shelf life. They are found in shampoos, lotions, makeup, really anything you put on you body. Parabens are toxic, because they mimic estrogen and can cause hormonal imbalance. In fact, they can be linked to breast cancer and fertility issues. 

Phthalates: This chemical can be found in a lot of deodorants, lotions, and even household products. It basically is a bonding agent, and it makes plastic more flexible, so products are more likely to stick and stay on you. This chemical has been linked to cancer, asthma, and fertility issues.

Sodium + Sulfates: These are typically found in shampoo and body wash, but can cause skin irritation. A lot of shampoos say “no sulfates and sodium” now, but always double check the ingredient list.

Lead: You know, that heavy metal that has been removed from paint and pipes, well it can also be found in your lipsticks. It’s been linked to serious learning and behavioral issues, so always check and make sure your products are lead free.

Petroleum: It makes me so upset that people are using this well known product on not only themselves, but their children. You know which product I mean: Vaseline! Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of the oil industry. Really, it was originally found at the bottom of oil rigs in the 1800s, and is an unsustainable resource. Use Vitamin E oil or shea butter instead!

Aluminum: This is another common ingredient in antiperspirant. It clogs your skin, so you physically cannot sweat. Stay clear of aluminium and start using deodorant, which will help you smell better without clogging your sweat glands.

Fragrance + Dyes: These are tough to avoid! One would think fragrance would be acceptable, because you want your product to have a specific smell. However, the ingredient “fragrance” is an industry secret, because companies don’t have to legally disclose what the “fragrance” contains. This is why I can’t buy anything from Lush. Most of their products contain “fragrance”, which is a shame, because I love their cardboard packaging! Dyes, such as Drug and Cosmetic Red 27, are legal according to the FDA. However, these dyes can be made from coal and tar. In fact, many dyes have been banned in Europe, because of how unsustainable and dangerous they are.

Mineral Oil: Okay, this is my absolute favorite. Doesn’t mineral oil sound like you are using something from the Earth, something really natural? It’s actually distilled motor oil. It’s commonly found in moisturizers and baby products. Check out this link to Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Oil. Sounds nice, right? It contains aloe and vitamin E, what’s the harm? Check out the first ingredient!


Check out this book from S.W Basics–it’s great for anyone switching to a sustainable beauty routine.

Think Dirty App: If I’m buying a new product, I always scan it with this app. It has a 0-10 scale, and tells you how “dirty” a product is, and what’s inside of it. It’s free to download, and they have tons of products on there! This is my absolute favorite resource for my natural beauty routine.

Ingredient Conscious Lists: If you shop at Anthropologie or Birchbox, they offer ingredient conscious lists. This is nice if you are looking for something new, or need to check what’s in something.

My Favs:

Coconut Brush: I purchased this at Lucky’s Market, its completely plastic free, and exfoliates really nicely. It is a little rough feeling, so you have to use it gently!

Bar Soap: I love using bar soap! Level Naturals has some awesome scents, but you can also find some at your local market or in bulk at your co-op.

Shampoo + Conditioner: I use to work at a salon, and I still have liter size bottles that I bought…three years ago! If you want to stick with salon products, I recommend Pureology, they  score really well on the “dirty” scale, and buying the bigger sizes helps cut back on bottle production and waste. You can also fill up your own containers of bulk shampoo at your local co op! I also LOVE Plaine Products! I am switching to these as soon as my giant ones are gone. The bottles are stainless steel, and you can get a subscription to have them refilled.

Safety Razor: I wrote about the safety razor in my bathroom post, but I thought I’d share the link again.

Scrub: I make my own sugar scrub with coconut oil, and add a few drops of essential oil.

Towels: Fig + Yarrow is an awesome brand. Be sure to check out their apothecary products too!

Cleanser, Toner, Moisturizer: My absolute favorite skincare brand is S.W.Basics. All of their products have less than 5 ingredients, so you always know what’s inside. And all of their products come in glass containers. Yup, they are pretty amazing. I have combination and extremely sensitive skin. These products are gentle, but still get rid of acne.

Shea Butter: I use shea butter as an all over body lotion. I also use this for tattoo recovery. My tattoo artist recommends petroleum jelly, but I used shea butter on my last one, and it healed much faster.

Deodorant: Remember, say “no” to antiperspirants and “yes” to deodorants. I love Schmidt’s formula, and how it comes in jars.

Tea Tree Oil: I use this as a spot treatment. It’s very potent, so a little goes a long way.

Makeup Remover: I use this not only as a remover, but also as an extra moisturizer. I also buy almond oil or vitamin E oil from my co op, and those work as well.

Exfoliant: This is another S.W Basics favorite! I like to mix this with a little vitamin E oil, and it really gets my skin soft!

Well People Tinted Moisturizer: This tinted moisturizer is super smooth, and lasts forever! You only need a tiny bit, and it gets rid of any imperfections.

RMS Un Cover Up:  If you need an extra bit of cover, this concealer will do the trick. I only use it when I’m having a breakout, or trying to look extra nice.

RMS Un Powder: I use this on those hot summer days, when my skin gets oily. It’s so light and never makes your skin look dry or caked with makeup.

RMS Lip 2 Cheek: This is a staple in my makeup bag. A little goes a long way, and you can use it as a blush or light lip stick.

RMS Living Luminizer: To get that Spring glow, try out this highlighter! This is another product I only pull out for certain occasions.

Well People Expressionist Mascara: This product does have beeswax in it, so it’s not vegan, but it is hands down the best, and cleanest mascaras I’ve tried.

Feminine Care

I wanted to wrap up this post by talking about an extremely important personal care routine. Did you know that the FDA does not require companies to disclose what pads and tampons are made of? Plastic and bleach have been found in mainstream brands, such as Kotex and Always. Check our my two favorite companies, for a healthy and environmentally friendly period.

The Menstrual Cup: I’ve only been using this for a couple of months, but so far I really like it. You save around $60 per year, and prevent feminine products from going to the landfill. Plus, you get around paying the pink tax.

Sustain: Sustain allows you to design your own subscription, and has no hidden ingredients. Check them out!

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