Last week, I had a big moment. A moment that included me suddenly becoming so decisive about an issue I have cared little to nothing about that started with me downloading an app, involved me throwing out half of my medicine cabinet somewhere in the middle, and ended with my boyfriend asking was I “ok”.
Skincare and makeup have always been part of an important ritual of self-care for me, a way I could indulge my otherwise stressed out self in some nice smelling things that make me soft and pretty and remind me that I can indeed take care of myself. So while “natural” has always been nice when it is on the packaging of these products, it has never been a priority for me.
A few months ago, I read about makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift who created the truly organic and healthful line of RMS Beauty after her own experience of severe illness due to the metals in cosmetics. Her intention with RMS Beauty was “creating a product that’s not only non-toxic, but that actually heals and nourishes skin.” This idea of makeup being nourishing and restorative, way beyond just being “not toxic”, really struck me. My makeup could make my skin better, not just hide the bad? This felt radical.
But I did nothing, mostly because makeup is a little intimidating.
Last Friday at work, an email reminded me of the GoodGuide mobile app, which ranks products and the companies that make them on health, environmental and social factors. I gave it a quick download out of curiosity, and the first ratings I searched for was the makeup I use, and IT WAS BAD. It was really bad. Some of the ingredients were banned in other countries. One of the ingredients is suspected of causing developmental, reproductive, and/or skin or sense organ toxicity. The guide is not perfect (I’m still questioning the basis of brand’s social and environmental scores), but the health score and ingredient list is firmly based in facts.
As soon as work was over, I walked right out and bought my first RMS Beauty product. I even struck up a conversation with a fellow shopper who apparently makes her own skin cleansing oil at home (It’s cheaper than face wash and way more balancing even for oily skin. Learn more here.). I’m pretty sure we were supposed to be best friends, and I should have taken her out for a glass of red wine so she could teach me everything else she knows, but that’s beside the point.
On Saturday morning, I kept the process going. I threw out a ton of products in my medicine cabinet (recycling when possible of course), and I felt no regret. And then, I took the next leap: I bought a new natural deodorant that everyone has been raving about, but I was too scared to try because it comes in a jar and you have to use your finger to apply it. Yes, it sounds weird, but the Soapwalla organic deodorant cream is amazing. The natural formula doesn’t include those metals that make your deodorant into an antiperspirant (i.e. they interrupt your body’s natural sweating mechanism so that you can’t release moisture – yikes!). So while it won’t make you stop sweating, it will keep you dry and fresh.
My whole skincare and makeup routine is not totally natural yet. But I’ve already come to one big realization: I wasn’t using natural products before because they didn’t “feel” or look like what I was familiar with – deodorant is supposed to be in a stick, shave gel in a resource-intensive aerosol bottle, and microbeads make for a great scrub. But just because something is familiar doesn’t mean it is safe. The aerosol and the metals in my deodorant are pretty darn bad. And those microbeads are actually plastics that are polluting our oceans.
Natural products are going to be an experiment for me, and they are not always going to come in the familiar forms that I’m used to. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work as well. In many ways, they could work even better, like RMS’s promise to improve skin. I’ve also found that sometimes they take awhile to really prove that they are working, because our bodies have been compensating for those harsh chemicals for so long (think of your greasy hair – your body is producing extra oil because that harsh sudsy shampoo is stripping it of natural moisture!).
So what’s next in natural beauty? Besides updating my products, I’m also thinking of how else I can change my routines. I’m even thinking of trying dry shampoo, so I wash my hair less to shorten my showers and save water. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Find out the details of some of my favorite natural beauty products on my Pinterest board, Natural Beauty. And don’t forget to share your favorite natural products, whether bought or made at home.