7 Ways to Green Your Skincare Routine
We all have our reasons for switching to a natural skincare routine. Perhaps you’re concerned about chemicals and what you put on your body or maybe you’re passionate about the environment and sustainability. Whatever your reasons may be, the transition can be a bit intimidating, not to mention overwhelming. These eco-friendly tips will help you look and feel great—and lessen your impact.
• Minimize Wasteful Packaging
Buying products that cut down on wasteful packaging and contain recyclable materials is a first easy step to going green. Try replacing your body wash for a cleansing bar (it tends to come in less packaging) or switching out your aerosol products for a more eco-friendly one. Remember this: “Companies that really care about the well-being of their customers and the environment will make a big deal about what’s on the outside just as much as what’s on the inside,” says Miami dermatologist Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy. Case in point: eos Shave Cream. This immensely rich, non-foaming cream comes in a recyclable plastic bottle—not an aerosol can—plus an easy-to-use, propellant-free pump
• Spot False Advertising
Did you know that terms like “natural” and “non-toxic” aren’t regulated by the FDA? Just because a brand markets itself as being green might not mean it actually is, so get into the habit of reading labels when you shop. Examine the ingredient list from top to bottom and scan for labels vetted by a reliable third party, like the USDA Organic seal, so that you know the product has passed regulated standards. Most certified organic products such as eos Organic Smooth Spheres Lip Balm (it’s 95% organic and rich with organic ingredients including jojoba oil and shea butter!) have the seal upfront where you can spot it clearly for bragging rights.
• Get Informed
It’s hard to know what you’re really buying without understanding the mumble jumble on the ingredient list. To get started, read up on controversial ingredients on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetics-safety database; or scan a barcode with the ThinkDirty app to learn about potentially toxic ingredients in a beauty product and get suggestions for a cleaner alternative. General rule of thumb: When avoiding chemicals, stick to words you can pronounce. (Say ‘Isobutylparaben’ fast three times!) However, Latin is good. Botanicals go by their Latin names, and don’t worry, they’re easy to decode since they’re followed by their English name in parenthesis. For example, “Avena Sativa Kernel Extract” is “Oat” in Latin, and it’s a key ingredient in eos Hand Lotion.
• Check the Order
It’s not just about what ingredients are in (and not in!) your products; the quantity matters just as much. Ingredients are listed in descending order, starting with the highest concentration at the top. Let’s say shea butter is doing amazing things for your dry, rough skin. Scanning for this ingredient on other product labels is a great way to discover new favorites, but be sure to check where it ranks on the ingredient list, says Dr. Jegasothy. If it’s in the top half, great. But if it’s towards the bottom, it means that the formula doesn’t contain much of it.
• Start Slowly
When you discover a new line, you might want to dive right in and test everything in one go, but pace yourself and introduce products into your regimen one at a time. First of all, your skin may react in an unexpected way, leaving you to wonder what the culprit is, says NY dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. Plus, it takes trial and error—about a month—to replace a part of your routine with something that truly meets your needs, adds Dr. Jegasothy. Like with any new skincare item—natural or not, start by using it twice a week before gradually working your way up to daily use.
• Make It Count OR Choose Wisely
So now the question is, what should you replace first? For an easy transition, start with your staples like moisturizers or cleansers before moving onto specialized treatments, like anti-aging serums and creams, say Dr. Zeichner. A body lotion is a good place to start since it’s something you use and reapply regularly, plus it covers a larger area of skin. Try eos Body Lotion; the paraben-free formula is rich in natural shea butter, vitamin E and avocado oil to deeply moisturize and keep your skin soft and supple all day long.
• Recycle Responsibly
The fact that you’re reading this article and have made your way to this last tip means that you care (very much!) about the environment. Wondering how you could help after finishing your new green beauty favorites? Look for those little numbers inside the triangular symbols at the bottom of plastic containers. Each number indicates how the container can be recycled. Plastic marked 1 and 2 can be recycled with other household goods while 3 and 7 are rarely accepted. 4-6 are accepted sometimes, so before you toss it into the green bin, check with your local recycling program first. For harder-to-recycle products, check out the iRecycle app. It gives you access to 1,600,000+ ways to recycle over 350 materials, plus it uses your location to find a convenient recycling solution nearby.