A few years ago I really got into natural skincare and products – I mean I really got into them.  I was constantly on the Environmental Working Group’s website looking up my favourite products, read every ingredient list on every product I owned, and was continually educating myself on chemicals in the beauty industry.

After a few years of only using 100% natural beauty products, here’s what I discovered:

– There are a lot of harsh and potentially harmful ingredients that don’t need to be in your beauty products (fragrances, sulfates, BPAs, and parabens, to name a few).
– Switching to a 100% natural beauty routine can get very expensive very quickly.
– Natural beauty products are marketed to be more gentle on your skin, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes natural beauty products can cause more reactions on sensitive skin because they contain additional or alternative ingredients (this happened to me twice).
– Although it’s not exactly a beauty product, candles are a potentially toxic household item that are often overlooked.  They can be full of fragrances and synthetic ingredients that are released into the air of your home.
– There are some fantastic natural/more natural beauty brands out there (there are also some not so fantastic ones). A few of my favourites are Dr. Roebuck’s, Suki Skincare, Badger Sunscreen, Saje, Dr. Bronners, SpaRitual, and Korres.

Thinking of Going Green?
If you want to add some green to your beauty routine, the first step is to look at the back of your products. Read the ingredient lists on your moisturizer, mascara, shampoo, and toothpaste; if you don’t understand something, look it up online.  Search the Skin Deep Database to find out where a product rates on a toxicity scale of 1-10 (hint: you don’t want a 10 out of 10 here).

It’s also important to read before you buy; many products and brands are marketed as natural, but may not be much different than the items you’re already using.

A Balanced Beauty Bag
Fast forward a few years, and my makeup bag looks a little different. I’ve come to the conclusion that like most things in life, the optimal solution is all about balance. I am still committed to using natural skincare products, but I’ve switched back to traditional eyeshadow, mascara, and blush because many of the natural makeup products that I tried were lacking longevity, pigment, or texture.

As it turns out, Kermit was right all along: it’s not easy being (100%) green. I will still continue to try new brands and products, but for now I’m green-ish.