How to Transition to Natural Beauty Products
Did you know that many conventional beauty products contain harmful chemicals that are readily absorbed by the skin? 😳 When we learned this fact, we were inspired to start the transition to natural skincare and makeup products, pronto.
We know that many of you are also in the process of making the switch, but it can be hard to know exactly what ingredients to avoid and why. Also, it helps to get some great product recommendations along the way!
Today, we’re excited to bring you an interview with natural beauty expert, healthy living educator and friend Hannah Smith of HealthfullyHannah.com. Hannah is a wealth of information when it comes to natural skincare, makeup and non-toxic living. Needless to say, we were keen to get her top tips on ingredients to avoid, transitioning to natural beauty products (even on a budget!) + take a peek into her skincare routine!
Read on for the full interview and Hannah’s natural beauty product recommendations:
What inspired you to transition to natural beauty products?
I was packing for vacation and looking for some good books to take with me for the trip. My mom was borrowing the book ‘Clean’ from a friend and the tagline caught my attention: ‘The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself’. At that point, I was struggling with several different health issues, none of which were improving after the countless conventional approaches I tried. I had already transitioned to eating healthfully and understood the importance of that. But it wasn’t until I picked up this book that I gave any thought to the idea that the products we apply to our bodies each day impact our health and can (easily) lead to disease. This was when I decided I wanted to transition to natural beauty products.
The funny thing is that the book isn’t really focused on this topic, but one short paragraph was all it took for me to decide that if I wanted to heal + reverse my health issues, I would need to switch to natural beauty products…
“The major sources of toxins entering through the skin are the cosmetics and toiletries we use. Think of everything you rub or spray onto your skin on purpose. Do you read the labels? You should think of cosmetics as food. Ideally, you should only use cosmetics that you feel safe eating, because, just like food, they will end up circulating in your blood.” –Dr. Alejandro Junger, Clean
For those who are just starting out, what ingredients do you think are the most important to avoid?
There are literally thousands of ingredients used in the cosmetic industry that simply shouldn’t be, but if you’re just starting out I’d say these are the top 5 ingredients to watch out for and avoid:
- Lead, Mercury, and Other Heavy Metals: Known neurotoxins, lead and other heavy metals are linked to learning problems. They are reproductive and developmental toxins that have been shown to reduce fertility and disrupt hormones. Possible carcinogens and known respiratory toxins.
- Parabens: Petroleum-based, parabens are known endocrine disruptors and are found in about 75-90% of all personal care products. They are contributors to skin cancer and linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity. Parabens are also linked to reducing sperm production and testosterone levels. Avoid any ingredient ending in –paraben.
- Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS): A strong skin irritant and possible hormone disruptor, often contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane and Nitrosamines, both potent carcinogens.
- Mineral Oils: While it sounds alright at first, mineral oil is another term for petroleum and it is a known carcinogen.
- Fragrance: When you see the term “fragrance/perfume/parfum” on an ingredient list, watch out! This term is virtually unregulated – thousands of ingredients can be used under the term ‘fragrance’. Many have been found to be carcinogenic, endocrine disruptors, and are toxic to the reproductive system, linked to allergies; often petroleum-based.
For a more complete list, you can download my Wallet Guide of Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid. If you’re just starting out and trying to navigate Ingredient Lists, it can be a bit overwhelming since most ingredient lists are quite lengthy, so this wallet guide will take a lot of the guesswork out for you.
How long did it take you to transition to natural beauty products?
It was definitely a process for me- and I think it’s best (in most cases) to accept that it will be a process! I took about one year to fully transition to natural beauty products. As much as I wanted to switch over all at once, it was just too overwhelming. So, I prioritized based on where I was in my health journey as well as the ingredient lists of the products I was using. I transitioned one or two products at a time, which saved me a lot of stress and money!
Staying organized throughout the process was absolutely essential! It’d be very easy to become frustrated with all of the details included in this transition, so I always suggest staying organized. When I was first starting, I created a chart and a checklist which I used to guide my entire transition. (I’ve recreated those for you to download for free, right here).
What tips would you have for someone who has already invested a lot in their current products?
If you’ve already invested a lot in your current products or just don’t want to throw products away, I’d recommend prioritizing which products you’re going to switch out first. Start with the products you will need to replace soon anyway. If you’re already going to be buying new mascara soon, it might as well be safe mascara that isn’t full of harmful chemicals. This approach will save you money (and your sanity!) because you can simply replace products as you need. I also suggest prioritizing based on the products themselves, which I explain in more detail in my post, How to Transition to Natural Beauty.
Depending on where you are in your own health journey, you may decide to speed up the process and that’s great too. Just accept the pace that your current situation allows. Remember, you’re becoming aware and starting to make changes for your health, and that’s the most important step!
Can we have a peek into your current skincare routine?
Absolutely! I always love sharing the products I’m currently using. For skincare, I’ve been loving Osea Malibu’s Ocean Cleansing Mudd and Blemish Balm (as a daytime moisturizer). I also use Pure + Radiant’s Skin Food Serum nightly as a hydration + restorative treatment. And of course, any natural skincare routine wouldn’t be complete without Leahlani’s Mermaid Mask, which I enjoy using once or twice per week.
My favorite makeup items right now are Dusty Girls (an Australian brand!) foundation and bronzer, Kjaer Weis cream foundation, RMS Tinted Unpowder, Root Pretty blush, Jane Iredale eyeshadow, and Hynt Beauty Mascara. My favorite lip products right now are LotusWei’s Tinted Lip Balm, 100% Pure’s Lipstick, and EcoLips lip balm.
Finally, what are your favourite natural beauty brands at the moment?
Well, in addition to the brands above (which are definitely favorites of mine!) I have a few more favorites that are overall just stellar brands!
For body products, my favorites are Flourish Body Care (for Shampoo, Conditioner, & Hair Styling products), Primally Pure & Green Tidings (for deodorant), CocoLavish (for shaving cream), Kosmatology (for body wash and hand soap), Live Inspired Organics (for body moisturizer and scrub), David’s Natural Toothpaste & WellScent (for oral health), and LOTUSWEI (for all natural, plant-based perfume).