CLEAN BEAUTY 101: HOW TO CREATE A MAKEUP BAG THAT'S AS CLEAN AS YOUR PANTRY
At Siren, we’re all about clean snacking. That’s why our bites are free of dairy, gluten, grain, soy, nuts, and GMOs, but full of ingredients you can actually pronounce like coconut oil, flaxseed, and dates. While putting wholesome ingredients in your body is key for optimal well-being, putting them on your body is important, too. But to be honest, it took awhile for our bathroom to catch up with our kitchen.
Nevertheless, we’re excited that our medicine cabinet and makeup bag (along with our refrigerator and pantry) is slowly becoming more full of clean, green, and natural products. Zit zappers powered by chemicals have been replaced by tea tree oil. Our armpits stay stink-free with a deodorant full of essential oils and baking soda, rather than aluminum and parabens.
Here’s what we’ve learned along the way about transitioning to clean beauty.
Go green or go...slow
It’s natural (pun intended) to want to toss every product in your bathroom that contains a chemical into the trash. While we admire the “go green or go home” philosophy, taking this extreme measure can leave you not only feeling overwhelmed, but also with an empty wallet. Instead of throwing out half-used bottles and tubes, the next time you run out of mascara or body wash, try buying a clean alternative to replace it. Over time, you’ll build up an arsenal of natural products without breaking the bank or shifting to a totally unfamiliar routine.
Think of it this way: Some nutrition experts recommend that those who want to transition to a vegetarian diet start out slow, perhaps with a meatless Monday. From there, maybe they’ll try it three days a week. The person slowly transitions to plant-based, rather than immediately going cold turkey (last pun, we promise) on meat.
We believe life’s about balance. Eating clean 100 percent of the time may work for some, but it’s unrealistic for many—us included! Sometimes we want that margarita or slice of wedding cake. So, we enjoy it and don’t beat ourselves up for doing so. In other words, there’s a time and a place for your favorite body wash that smells like Skittles, even though it’s not totally clean.
R&R (Research and read, that is)
As natural beauty becomes more popular, there are more resources available to help consumers make informed decisions about purchases. Unfortunately, there are brands claiming to be “green” but are actually more of a...well...murky green. For example, some products have the word “natural” on the label, when in fact they only contain a single natural ingredient.
When in doubt, check out the ingredient list, the same way you would for packaged food. If there’s something you don’t recognize, Google it to see if it contains phthalates, parabens, plastic microbeads, or other unclean ingredients you don’t feel great about using.
Siren Tip: The FDA requires brands to use standardized International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) language on their product labels. "Cocos Nucifera" is the INCI term for coconut oil, for example. If you plug the INCI term into Google, you’ll be able to figure out whether it’s a natural ingredient like coconut.
It’s also helpful to do your research on what terms like “organic” and “natural” really mean.
Websites like the USDA, Leaping Bunny, Safe Cosmetics, and EWG can help you learn terminology, recognize product labels and seals, and even look up products to figure out if they’re up to par with your standards.
You may be more prepared than you think
If you’re already on the clean eating bandwagon, you may have already done some prep work to start successfully transitioning to clean beauty. The bag of oatmeal you have sitting in the pantry, for example, can be a fantastic addition to a bath because it helps relieve dry and itchy skin. Did you know the jar of organic, virgin coconut oil from Trader Joe’s that you currently use to saute veggies and make bulletproof coffee can double as a makeup remover?
Now, before you move your entire kitchen into your bathroom, don’t forget: Go slow and do your research, both on the ingredients listed on labels and those you find in the kitchen. And, most importantly, try to have fun. That’s what beauty’s all about. After all, what’s better than good, clean fun?