When you’re making the switch from conventional products to natural beauty, body, and skincare, one of the most important transitions is the one from antiperspirant to a natural deodorant. (Sticking it out with natural shampoo is at the top of the list, too.) Changing these beauty habits — especially when your body has worked hard to “adapt” to all those chemicals — can be a challenging, sweaty, and even smelly process. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the work. And guess what? Fall is the best season to do it. Here’s why.Pin It
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I can’t help it. Every time I come across a story in the mainstream media about the need to better regulate the cosmetics industry in the United States, I get a little bit excited. At some point, this has got to mean change is on the way, right? The more people who care about what’s in the products they put on their skin, the more people start to actively avoid ingredients that are already banned in places like Japan, Canada, and Europe … the more likely we’ll all have even more great, safe, effective products to choose from. Right?
Well, I’ve basically been giddy for the past week or so.
Just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about protecting your skin from the sun. Sure, you might not have to lather it on before a day at the pool or the beach, but good skincare habits are just as important in January as they are in July!
I spoke with Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND at LuckyVitamin.com, and outlined the most important insights from the Environmental Working Group’s latest sunscreen report for a story about the hidden dangers of conventional sunscreen I wrote for the StyleSeat blog.
Stop by and take a peek, then come back here so we can chat about your favorite sunscreen! Have more questions about ingredients or skin protection tips? Leave them in the comments and I’ll ask Dr. Wolf to answer them for us!Pin It
I’m starting to peek at the results of the 2013 Indigo+Canary Reader Survey—thanks again to everyone who has already participated!—and I’m seriously grateful to all of you for your candid responses, kind words, requests, and feedback.
One topic that keeps coming up? The tendency to become overwhelmed by the transition to natural cosmetics. So here’s a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to evaluating a product I’m considering, either in-store or online. I hope you find it helpful.
Feel free to leave your own tips, techniques, challenges, etc. in the comments! I’d be happy to do a follow-up post if anyone has specific challenges for us to tackle together. —Aleigh
DON’T believe the hype. Many, many products contain natural and/or organic ingredients. That doesn’t mean they don’t also contain a bunch of junk ingredients. (Note: The practice of promoting a product as natural when it isn’t is called greenwashing. And it stinks.)
DO realize there’s a difference between natural and organic. There are many natural products out there that aren’t organic (and even many organic products that can’t claim to be 100% organic) that I think are safe and beneficial. I almost always use the term “natural” because I don’t focus exclusively on organic products—you’ll find both natural and organic products on this blog. Some people refer to them as “clean” products.
DO check for ingredients that are an immediate no-go. Fact: Ingredients lists are often overwhelmingly extensive. If you can remember 3-5 key ingredients* you know you want to stay away from at all costs, scan and look for those before you scrutinize the entire ingredients list. That way, if you spot something like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) anywhere on the list, you can rule out that product without having to study each and every ingredient.
DON’T forget to consider your specific needs. If you have sensitive skin or know that you’re sensitive to a certain ingredient, check for those first on an ingredients list. You may also want to be a little more picky about the purity of the ingredients list if you’re looking for a product to use on your little one as opposed to when you’re shopping for a shampoo you’re going to use yourself.
DO look up ingredients you don’t recognize. Especially the ones that are ridiculously long and hard to pronounce. This is the most laborious step, but an important one. In stores, it’s helpful to have a smartphone with some natural beauty apps or a list of your no-go ingredients in your wallet for reference. Online, I keep a link to the SkinDeep Database open so I can switch back and forth easily.
DON’T hesitate to ask for a full ingredients list if you can’t find one. Many not-natural products (and to be fair, some truly natural products) don’t include full ingredients lists online. If this is the case, I often email the company to ask for a complete ingredients list…but it makes me extremely suspicious that a product isn’t actually as natural as it claims.
DO make a judgment call. Transitioning to natural cosmetics is a personal journey. You might decide to go all-in and toss every single one of your not-natural products at once to replace them with purer ones. But you don’t have to. Instead, you may decide to replace them one by one, as you use up your conventional products. Or you may choose to ditch the ones that have the most questionable ingredients first. It’s entirely up to you, and there is no wrong approach. Want more? Here’s a link to my natural/organic beauty philosophy.
DON’T stress over the decision. Easier said than done, I know. But keep in mind that any effort you make is better than no effort. Really! And you have several factors to consider: convenience, price, availability, performance, and purity. So prioritize those factors in whatever order works best for you. (Example: I frequently buy a mostly-natural mascara in drugstores because I procrastinate on ordering a more natural version online…and mascara is the one beauty product I rarely leave the house without putting on. In that case, I typically prioritize convenience and price over performance and purity.)
*For me, these no-go ingredients are pthalates, any kind of parabens (there are six: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben and benzylparaben), sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, PEGs, and any artificial colors or fragrances. There are plenty other ingredients I avoid or do my best to avoid, of course, but these are the absolute, I-will-not-touch-them items. Bella Floria has a great explanation of these ingredients and a few others you may want to stay away from, here.
(Image via Christian Kadluba on flickr)Pin It
When Ian (my husband) and I were in the mountains a few weekends ago, we went to the awesome Nantahala Outdoor Center and spent a few hours on the new Zip Line Adventure Park, a 600-foot zip line and two-level ropes course.
This was a new experience for me—I haven’t been rock climbing in years, and somehow in the years since, I’ve turned into a fraidy-cat. Lately, when I consider activities that include ropes and harnesses, my mind starts on an endless loop: I’m going to break my leg, I’m going to break my leg, I’m going to break my leg…
You guys, I did it anyway. And it was a blast.
The whole experience made me realize all over again just how important it is to try new things.
Mood. There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush that comes with pushing yourself—whether it’s trying something completely new, pushing your body a bit harder than you normally do, or even just doing something out of the ordinary, like traveling to a new place. It’s a mood-booster.
Inspiration. As a writer/editor, one of the biggest parts of my job is coming up with new ideas day after day. It’s not always easy, and there’s something about stepping outside your comfort zone (literally and figuratively) that seems to turn on the creative part of my brain. The past few weeks have been pretty great for brainstorming, and I can trace the spark back to that ropes course.
Happiness. When I start to feel like my life is an endless loop of the same old routine, day after day, I am not a happy girl. I know that I need a change of scenery every so often—and now it’s crystal clear that if I want to maximize the benefits of that change of scenery, I need to branch out and try some new things. And maybe remind myself of some things I used to love, but haven’t done in a while.
I’m always trying to connect the dots between mood, my creativity, and how happy I am. And—in case you’re wondering what this post has to do with a blog about natural beauty—happiness is more powerful than any beauty product out there, in my opinion. (Plus, it helps you live longer!)
So, how long has it been since you tried something new? —Aleigh