While I’ve used almost exclusively natural skincare products for the past few years since I began the pregnancy and nursing journey, I switched over to 100% clean products this year. Between learning more about the parabens and chemicals in regular products and finding out about my own autoimmune disease, the switch was a no brainer. A necessity. That being said, it wasn’t easy. I’ve amassed quite the skincare collection over the years and letting go of my ride or die products felt like a loss of much more than moisturizer and eye cream. It felt like losing a little bit of my freedom-of myself. I’m here to report it’s not as dramatic as it seems and I truly look forward to my skincare routine every morning and evening.
I’ve always been drawn to skincare. I begged my mom for Proactiv in middle school, determined to be like the girls in the commercials boasting “transformed” skin. I struggled with rosacea and unpredictable breakouts pretty badly for those nasty tween years, but high school proved to be much smoother. I was the girl who grabbed every magazine and book on the shelf in hopes of coming across a celebrity sharing their skincare routine. Without taking into account their skin types, diet and exercise habits, dermatologist expenses and frequency of facials, I’d save up my money to buy the one thing that seemed the most magical. My collection of products and potions grew-my skin didn’t change too much.
By my mid-twenties, I’d finally settled on a set routine. I wasn’t accepting any applications for new products. The lineup was full. No vacancies. If a breakout showed up, I laughed in it’s face. I had a cream for that. If my rosacea roared, I knew just what to do-I had a lotion for that. Undereye bags? A patch. Clogged pores? A mask. You name a problem, I had a remedy.
My switch to natural skincare just wasn’t that simple.
Hashimoto’s caused a hormonal wave so severe my skin began breaking out in places I didn’t even know it could. A pregnancy caused greasiness and clogged pores, a miscarriage caused a hormonal chin-strap of breakouts. My ever predictable, calm and agreeable skin turned on me. It gnashed and roared and my natural skincare sat silent. There was no epic smashdown. No, my natural skincare waited for the tantrum to end and then it went to work. It doesn’t fight with immediacy or magic, but with gentleness and true healing.
Why to switch to clean skincare:
First of all, what is clean skincare? For something to fall into the “clean” category for me, it must be completely free of PEGs, chemical sunscreens, synthetic fragrance, phthalates, parebens, BHA, BHT and ethanolamines. There is virtually NO regulation whatsoever in the skincare industry.The same goes for the beauty and personal care industry as a whole. It’s a free for all. Since most ingredients don’t stand out as toxic, they can hide in plain sight on labels or they don’t make it on the label at all. With so many illnesses on the rise, it’s shocking to see the FDA allow ingredients known to cause everything from excema and psoriasis to infertility and cancer and use them so freely. When I decided to switch to clean beauty, nothing was unaffected. I had to throw away everything from mascara and blush to bath bombs and hand lotion. My chapstick was toxic. My deodorant was the worst offender of all.
How to make the switch:
I found doing my research made the process a less brutal one. Instead of begrudgingly throwing out my favorite products, I was thankful for the chance to make a better choice for my body. If you want to do some research of your own, start here and then keep the Beauty Counter ‘Never List‘ on hand.
There are two ways to go about it: slow and steady or clean-turkey and ruthless. I went the second route. In the book Hashimoto’s Protocol, Dr. Izabella Wentz recommends going at least one to two weeks without makeup to let your skin breathe and detox before introducing clean makeup. I followed that guideline and haven’t turned back since.
Where to Shop for Guaranteed Clean Skincare/Beauty:
All it takes is a stroll through Sephora, Target or CVS to be bombarded with products claiming to be “eco,” “green” and “natural.” It only takes one glance at the box to see that’s simply untrue. My favorite places to assure without any doubt that the product is in fact non-toxic (and the only places I purchase makeup and skincare) are Credo Beauty, Goop and Beauty Counter. I was discouraged by the prices of natural skincare at first. They seem obnoxiously expensive! But after nearly a year of using them exclusively, I’m shocked at how long each product lasts. Repurchases are much less frequent and I need fewer products than I used to. Start where you can, shift slow.
Click the image above to shop my favorites. I recommend each and every product (or else I wouldn’t use them and share about them!) But if I had to choose 3 superstars, here they are:
The Serum: Tata Harper products are painfully pricey. Let’s just get that out of the way. I will say though after a year of using the products, though, that they last an actual lifetime. O and I share all the Tata Harper goodies (he’s so fancy) and they still last shockingly long. This serum makes me look forward to my routine for the smell alone, but the way my skin feels after drinking up this step in my routine is unparalleled. If you purchased one Tata Harper item, let this be it. (Okay, and this resurfacing mask. That is MAGICAL.)
The Makeup Remover: I exclusively use coconut oil to take off my eye makeup, but switching to natural skincare proved difficult for this step of my skincare routine. This is so luxurious and following it up with a warm washcloth makes me feel like I get a facial every day.
The Instant Facial Mask: I saw this mask hyped so hard, friends. It’s created by Gwenyth Paltrow and the Goop ‘Juice Beauty’ team and I can now confirm that this deserves every single accolade. I put it on my skin dry and rub it in like an exfoliator, leave it on for 2-3 minutes after cleansing (it’s potent and powerful so don’t leave it on longer than that!) and finish the rest of my routine. It does leave your face a little red so definitely do it at night instead of the morning! This mask lives up to it’s name and truly acts as an instant facial.
Lastly, this duo is absolutely foolproof. I waited a long time before taking the plunge on this steamer but the difference it’s made in my pores is worth it’s weight in gold. I use this once a week and follow up with a charcoal mask to make the most of my open pores. Follow up with the moisturizers above and you have a winning combination, friends!