How I switched to natural, organic beauty

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with natural products. Once I started researching and writing about them, it was pretty much over for me. Then I discovered the Skin Deep Database, and was horrified to realize the products I had used every day, for years, had ingredients in them that were linked to cancer, hormonal changes, skin irritation and more.

But I was skeptical–was I willing to give up my favorite products to go natural? Wouldn’t that be expensive? Was it really worth it? And wouldn’t my new organic products fall short of my expectations?

I decided to make the switch gradually, so that I’d eventually only use organic products. That way I could still use the products I had grown to love, and I could use up the remaining amounts in my current makeup stash. The results were pretty amazing. I have high expectations of the products I use, and I definitely don’t have a perfect complexion. Dark circles, blemishes, greasy hair…I battle them all.

One of the biggest transformations was with my hair. I have long had a love/hate relationship with my tresses — they grow fast, never do what I want them to do and usually end up in a ponytail. But my hair was often greasy, even the same day it was washed, and I can’t stand that. I’ve tried (and raved) about dry shampoos that I could use at the end of the day before an event, or if I wanted to try going for a day without a shampoo. It worked, but I still hoped someday I’d be able to skip a shampoo without limp, greasy hair.

Turns out, I can: I just needed to switch shampoos. My synthetic shampoos were drying out my hair and scalp (you know the straw-like feeling your hair gets after being shampooed and before you put on conditioner?) — and causing my scalp to overproduce oil to compensate. Which made my hair greasy.

The transition to organic shampoo was not easy or pretty. For about a week, my hair looked and felt like absolute crap. It was limp, it was greasy, it was gross. But then the turning point came, my scalp finally stopped over-producing the greasiness, and my hair was awesome! I can now easily go a couple of days without a shampoo and not look like a homeless person.

A few other things I’ve noticed:

  • My skin is happier. I have occasional adult acne, and I have cystic acne (those awful underground blemishes that never quite go away). They’ve faded noticeably. I can credit my Clarisonic for helping, too.
  • I’ve developed quite a love affair with organic body lotions; they sink into skin quickly instead of sitting on top of the skin and feeling greasy.
  • I have a different approach to makeup/skincare now — it’s always been fun, but now it’s thoughtful and meaningful, too. I’m thinking about whether a product is fair trade or tested on animals, because most of my organic products have stricter requirements about more than just their ingredients.

And here’s a secret: I’m still making the switch. I have an old bottle of Aussie hairspray that I need to use up (I rarely use hairspray, which is why it’s still practically full), and I use a toothpaste that’s better than much of what’s on the shelf, but not really good enough. I’m still working on finding a deodorant that I like. It’s an ongoing process.

What would you like to change about your beauty routine? Share in the comments and let’s work out a plan together!

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20 Comments on How I switched to natural, organic beauty

  1. Katie said on

    I’ve made the switch, as well. I love all the makeup, shampoos, etc., but finding a great deodorant that works AND doesn’t leave yellow stains on light clothing is difficult. So, when you have an ideas about that, let us know.

    I also think that foundations can be tricky. I’ve got Vapour, Dr. Hauschka, W3ll People, but am still searching for the best one!

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      I’ve tried a few natural antiperspirants that I haven’t loved, but lately I’m using this cream deodorant by Florere, and I haven’t had any yellow stain issues–although that could be a different story come springtime. Over at Fig and Sage there was some raving happening recently about The Nature of Beauty’s new Pit Potion that has intrigued me, though.

      You’re right about foundations, especially if you’re looking for a creamy or liquid formula. It also depends a lot on your skin type, how much coverage you’re looking for, etc. —Aleigh

      >> Reply

  2. Katie said on

    Just ordered Pit Potion! I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m a big product junkie, so I love your blog…i own everything green makeup-wise, so its fun to read other’s thoughts.

    >> Reply

  3. katie steele said on

    i am in the process of switching over to cleaner, better personal care products. i’ve been using acure shampoo + conditioner (which i really like) but i have an illicit love for the two (synthetic) styling products i use. what do you do about styling products? have you given them up, or do you have any suggestions for clean styling?

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      Awesome, Katie! Are there any specific products you’re looking for? (Mousse, hairspray, etc.?) I am a minimalist when it comes to styling products, but I do have a few favorites, and Julie Ebner of Juju Organics did share a few of her favorite styling product with me a while back, too. Just let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll come up with some options!


      >> Reply

      • katie steele said on

        i’m looking for some sort of tonic, gel, etc. to put on before blow drying. my hair is baby fine (but there is a LOT of it), slightly wavy and i live in really warm and damp climate. if i don’t use something to smooth it and provide a bit of hold it turns into a weird mass of frizzy, limp, yet somehow frighteningly bushy, hair. i would really appreciate any suggestions!

        great site, by the way. i’m a new reader and really enjoying it!

        >> Reply

  4. The Green Product Junkie said on

    Hi. Had a few ideas:

    I think Intelligent Nutrients makes a GREAT Volumizer (their hair spray is good, too, but can be a bit too flakey).

    Rahua is great for shampooing and conditioning.

    Australian Scent makes a great pomade.

    >> Reply

  5. kate @ said on

    I’m in the process of switching to a clean shampoo. Right now I’m going through the “bad” phase of the switch. Any advice for making the transition easier, or do I just have to stick it out?

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      Unfortunately, in my experience, you just have to wait it out (and try to treat the crazy things your hair does as they come). I used a lot of dry shampoo to help with the greasiness, and wore my hair in braids. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise! —Aleigh

      >> Reply

  6. alyce @ aucocisco naturals said on

    Replacing commercial hair dye with henna applications is what really set me on my course. I had incorporated several natural body products into my routine over the years and replaced their synthetic counterparts, but was still putting dangerous dark dye on my head every few months. Henna was fun, didn’t smell like a chemical factory doused with perfume, and made my hair stronger, thicker, and healthier. That major switch made transitioning to an even more natural/clean product lifestyle seem much more in reach.

    >> Reply

  7. Jeanne said on

    Hello Aleigh!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have to agree with you that synthetic shampoos can really dry our hair and scalp and can cause our scalp as well to overproduce oil. I have also a problem with this before, that is why I also decided to switch to organic shampoo. I have been using Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Shampoo for almost a year now. This product is an organic shampoo.

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      Thanks, Jeanne! I love MGA. Really great company and products.

      >> Reply

  8. Alison Brown said on

    Thanks for sharing this post. I read your story and I also agree with your suggestions. I am even facing a hair falling issues and I was very confused to choose a shampoo for my hair but after your suggestion I will definably switch to the organic shampoo.

    >> Reply

  9. Jana C said on

    What a great article for inspiring people to go organic, I think often people believe that natural/organic products are going to be expensive but this isn’t always the case. There is plenty of products out there that don’t have an expensive price tag and have amazing benefits!

    >> Reply

  10. Lexie said on

    Wow just found your site and LOVE IIIITTTTT! It’s awesome to see so many other people interested in natural beauty products! So for my actual comment :), I’ve been using baking soda and diluted apple cider vinegar for my hair and I like how it is working but it leaves my ends dry? Is there any way to avoid this? or are their other options I should consider?

    >> Reply

  11. Kelly said on

    I know you get request like this all the time- but I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind taking a look at website. I would be happy to send you my products to try and review. I am just getting started and any help would be greatly appreciated.

    >> Reply

  12. Ellen said on

    I am so nervous to start making the switch to natural skincare! I have a beauty blog so the idea of switching up all my products is a bit daunting. I am super excited to have found your blog! Your reviews are awesome and they’re definitely going to help as I make the switch!

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      Yaaaaay! Come back and update me on how it’s going! –Aleigh

      >> Reply

  13. Rob Spangenberg said on

    Curious what Toothpaste you are using? We are totally on board with ditching additives and going natural! We invite you to check out TruthPaste. Its an all-natural, Ayurvedic Advanced Botanical Toothpaste!

    >> Reply

  14. Amanda said on

    I love going natural too! I’ve just started selling essential oils and I use them to make EVERYTHING natural! I’ve made laundry soap, bug spray, sun spray, cleaners for the house, and lots of great other things! I just started my natural shampoo that I made and I’m in the detox phase and I know exactly where you’re coming from! I’m going through it now!

    Next time I’m going to try and make this lovely home made natural deodorant recipe with my oils that I found on Pinterest HERE:

    Happy hippy-ing!

    >> Reply

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