A simple guide to help you choose natural skincare for your healthy lifestyle
If you've ever wondered how to choose natural skincare to build upon your healthy lifestyle, the most important things are: ingredients and packaging! Choosing natural ingredients for your skincare is just as important as choosing natural ingredients for your food; it all ends up inside your body, so you want to be careful and consider what you are comfortable with.
For us, the best tip for living a healthy lifestyle is a holistic approach. It includes the food we eat, how we tend to our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, the products we buy, and choosing natural ingredients wherever we can. Sometimes that can be tough when it comes to skincare or natural products.
The labelling regulations on skincare and beauty products and especially scents in North America is like the Wild Wild West; it's mostly self-regulated so it's up to you to inform yourself and choose what you want to use. It's easy to assume something is safe because it's being sold and readily available in a chain store, but you'd be surprised by how easy it is to create and sell a product with little to no regulation or standardization.
Natural skincare has become a total buzzword, which happened long after we started out in this game! But what does it really mean, and how do you tell the safe ones from the harmful ones? I've compiled this simple list for you to consider. I hope that this helps you along the way to building a more holistic, healthy lifestyle that is inclusive of the skincare and beauty products you use.
Natural Skincare Ingredients
What to look for on the ingredients list:
- When you're looking at the ingredients on a skincare or self-care product, you want to make sure that you can read and pronounce majority of them! A lot of times you'll see the Latin names for essential oils, but the English name should also be included. If you come across one or two ingredients you are unfamiliar with, google them! For example: polysorbate-20 is a coconut oil and sugar alcohol based emulsifier that we use in our Honey Tobacco Body Mist. Polysorbate-20 is the chemical name for the emulsifier, but it's made from plants! It's commonly used in skincare products where both water and oils exist. Not all chemicals are bad.
- Make sure the label clearly states that the product contains no phthalates, parabens, or synthetic musk’s.
- Take note of where the natural ingredients are listed on the label. Are they at the very bottom? If they are, chances are there are minimal amounts of them, and they are just added to be considered "natural". Which leads me to my next point:
Packaging: be wary of "greenwashing":
Greenwashing is a marketers attempt at making you think that the products are natural, clean, healthy, or organic based on the words and colors used on the packaging. They may also promote being a sustainable or eco-friendly product, so take a minute to investigate what makes them eco-friendly. Is it the packaging or membership with a credited organization like 1% For the Planet? A few things to look out for:
Read the ingredients and take note of the packaging.Things to consider:
- How does it impact you?: Look for phthalate-free, paraben-free, synthetic musk-free, BPA-free, etc. on the labels. Our Honey Tobacco fragrance is not 100% plant-based, but we choose synthetic ingredients that have been tested and proven safe for use.
- What is the environmental impact of this product? Is it wrapped in single use plastic? Is there any indicator of being BPA free plastic packaging? If the company is local to you, do they offer refills?
- Are they using greenwashing to market this? Are there more natural colors, including green, on the label, or images of plants, but minimal plants listed in the ingredients?
- If they are promoting cruelty free and using the bunny ears logo, you can fact check that on the website to make sure they are listed on there as a contributing partner.
- Side note/tangent here: many companies (ours included!) use certified cruelty-free ingredients but don't get the certification for the finished product because of the costs and process associated with the certification. You can state that you are cruelty-free but are not allowed to use to logo associated with certification.
Best tip for finding natural skincare products:
Shop at your local home goods and general stores!
They are likely sourcing local products made in small batches or at least seeking out companies that are going against the status-quo! It's likely that you're going to pay a little more for these products, but they are going to be safer for you in the long run. Small batch skincare is usually safer to buy because they don't need to add a lot (or any!) synthetic preservatives (aka phthalates and parabens).
These chemicals are helpful for companies that sell in bulk to larger chain stores and must maintain a longer shelf life. The problem with those ingredients is that they have been proven be endocrine disrupting to reproductive hormones, specifically when inhaled.
To sum up:
- be a little investigator for yourself here. The bottom line is self-care products shouldn't cause harm.
- Again, read the ingredients and look up their benefits yourself! Not all chemicals are bad, and it's worth it to take a few minutes to choose mostly or all plant-based ingredients that don't bioaccumulate toxicity in your body, or the environment.
- Avoid products with phthalates, parabens, and synthetic musk’s, and know that these can go by a myriad of different names. If a product doesn't advertise that it is free of those ingredients, steer clear.