(updated version, originally published on 29th of August 2015)
Do you want to live a greener life? Not sure how and where to start? Do you feel overwhelmed and confused about certifications and green washing? Maybe it's just me, but that's how I felt many times. You can do it, and baby steps are the answer! Be kind and patient with yourself, while doing your own research and learning more. I have listed some tips I found useful when I made the transition to green beauty, this will make it a breeze to change, trust me!
I feel living a green lifestyle is a journey. There are always ways to improve, learn more and change for the better. It's important not to judge people for their choices and to just try and your best with the knowledge you have. I think it can be daunting at first and many feel it's either all or nothing when it comes to sustainable lifestyles, personally, I feel the opposite is true. Every little step makes a difference and if you can't commit to changing everything up all at once and quitting everything cold turkey that's absolutely fine. I have been vegetarian all my life and have been experimenting with a vegan diet from my early twenties. I then went what is called Parisian Vegan. Sounds fancy, huh? It basically means to avoid animal products at home, yet when I am going out to a restaurant or with friends I do go for vegetarian options, which may contain dairy or eggs. Now my husband is Parisian Vegan but I am 100% vegan and have never felt better! When I was living in NYC I found it a lot easier to eat out and find delicious vegan options than in Sydney. In Sydney it can even be a challenge just being vegetarian, depending on where you go.
But now that I have lived here almost five years a lot has improved and the movement is growing and growing and growing! So yes, I am not perfect I have stumbled and gone back and forth in the beginning. But finally my professional makeup kit and personal beauty routine is: clean, luxurious, cruelty-free and organic! (and so is my diet!)
Today I wanted to share with you how to detox your beauty bag and find new holy grail products that are better for you and the environment.
Step By Step
Don't feel like you have to throw away everything you own, just because you have finally learned how to decode the ingredient list, of your favourite beauty products. Replace products as you use them up. Replace products that you use daily and on wide areas of your face/body (body lotion/moisturiser/foundation) first, while small products that you only use on special occasion (bright lip colour, eyeliner etc.) can wait a little longer. This way you won't break the bank either.
Samples are your best friend In all my years as a professional makeup artist I have learned one thing for sure: Everyone's skin is different. What works wonders for one, does not suit another. You will always have to try products for yourself. Especially when it comes to changing your skincare and foundation, it's a good idea to get samples before you buy. Most companies are happy to provide samples either free or for a small fee. You can save yourself a lot of $$$ and hassle by sampling.
Research Research Research It can still be helpful to read reviews online (but keep in mind everyone is different, so even raving reviews don't mean that you will love the product!) You can get a general idea of the strengths and weaknesses of a product and also read through the ingredients. Try to only research one product group at a time, to not get overwhelmed. It can also help to shop at stores that have already done a lot of the leg work for you. If you buy your cosmetics in a health food store instead of a supermarket, chances are you find toxin-free beauty more easily. There also many great online stores that have selected products that are safe and truly natural. Many cities have exclusive green beauty stores as well.
Don't give up Just because you have tried a natural product and it has not worked for you, or you even got an allergic reaction or had any other bad experience: DO NOT GIVE UP ON IT ALL TOGETHER. I am under no illusion that there are many natural beauty products out there, that are simply not great. This is the same for conventional products. It sometimes takes some time to find the perfect product that you love to the moon and back. I had to try several natural deodorants and had many bad experiences before I found "the one". The same goes for finding the right foundation. There are many incredible products out there and it's worth looking for them!
Watch my video on my favourite body products including deodorant here.
Beware of Greenwashing Last but not least: There is also a lot of "greenwashing" going on. This means that many companies try to market their products to be natural or organic and use misleading terms to make you think, their products are natural when really they are not at all. There is a great list of companies using this practice over here at the Green Beauty Team Blog.
Share & Treat Your Feet Besides all your effort you ended up with a new beautiful product that just isn't right for you? If you did buy a product that you did not like, do not throw it away! Unless you have an allergic reaction you can still use most products for a different purpose. I regularly use up face products on my body. If a face cream or oil is too rich for me, I use it on my hands/feet or hair. A real treat! A shampoo or body wash that you don't like might work well as hand wash or you could use it to clean your makeup brushes? Have a think: Is there anyone else that would like it? My man keeps using up products that don't work for me, as his skin is not as sensitive as mine. You might have a friend or relative that loves the product.