Your Ultimate Guide to Going Green - Part 1: Where to Start

Posted by Blair de Jong on

Making the switch to green beauty can be overwhelming - we get it! As women, our beauty collection can contain 100's of products ranging from makeup and skincare to hair care and body potions.

This is why you'll love our Ultimate Guide to Going Green! In this 4 part series, we'll guide you through:

  • Part 1: Why to Go Green & Where to start 
  • Part 2: Green Beauty claims 101: 'natural' vs 'organic' vs 'vegan' vs 'non-toxic'
  • Part 3: Where to find information and inspiration + Tools
  • Part 4: Where to buy natural products & Our Favourites
Before we get into 'where to start', let's chat about the 'why' to go green: 

Why make the switch?

We've come so far when it comes to choosing healthier, natural food options. This choice became obvious for many of us once we realized how pesticides, artificial preservatives, and chemical fillers can affect our health. 

What many people don't know: our beauty products can be just as impactful to our health as what we eat. 70% of what we put on our skin is absorbed and transported directly to our bloodstream. Common ingredients in conventional beauty products have been linked to cancer, reproductive disorders, neurotoxicity, birth defects, and immune disorders. 

A common natural product myth: they don't work as well as chemical products. People assume that the chemicals are the real 'power' ingredients in a formulation. This couldn't be further from the truth, however. Most chemicals only provide the most superficial effects in a product. They are the foaming agents & emulsifiers (sulfates), fragrances (artificial), and artificial preservatives (parabens).

The natural ingredients do the real work inside a product - they are why your skin cream moisturizes, why your hair masks heals your strands, why your acne is being treated, and why your primer is removing dark spots.

avocado  aloe vera  lavender

This is why you will see conventional brands highlighting the natural ingredients in their products, they are the active ingredients. Some examples:

      • Shea Butter: an amazing moisturizer, helps boosts collagen.
      • Aloe Vera: moisturizer, reduces skin inflammation, stimulates growth of new cells. Can improve scalp health and boost hair growth. 
      • Coconut oil: strengthens underlying epidermal tissue, removes dead skin cells, protects us from sunburns, and contains antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant properties. 
      • Lavender and Aloe: hair loss treatment.
      • Honey: reduces breakouts, moisturizes, has antiseptic qualities, encourages wound healing, fights allergies or rashes, and helps to reduce scars.
      • Avocado: An ultra-moisturizing fatty fruit, avocaodos contain vitamins A, D and E and are able to penetrate the skin. It helps soothe sunburned skin, can boost collagen production and treat age spots. 
Why do conventional brands still use chemicals then?

For 2 main reasons: preservation and absorption. Conventional brands will use the cheapest and simplest options like:  

1. Chemical preservatives - this is where parabens come in. They are the cheapest and most readily available/widely used preservatives. The second most common toxic preservative is phenoxyethanol. Both have been linked to hormone disruption and cancer. 

2.  Absorption Enhancers - the most common example is propylene glycol. It helps increase the absorption of other ingredients. The caveat: if there are other toxic ingredients in the formula, their absorption will be increased also.

This does not mean that chemicals are the only way. 1000's of natural beauty brands have proven this over and over - everything that can be achieved with chemicals, can 100% be achieved with natural, healthy ingredients. And the bonus: these formulas are actually healing you while you use them! 

Why aren't more people using natural beauty then? Many consumers haven't learned about the effects, or have accepted the "no pain, no gain" philosophy. It has been generally accepted that there is no other way. This is where natural beauty comes in. Customers are realizing the absolute needlessness of using chemicals to achieve the results they are looking for. 

Where to Start:

Now don't panic! This is a process and you can't expect yourself to just throw your whole makeup bag away and transition to green immediately. That is just not feasible and way too stressful! Start with a few products that have obvious alternatives, and then as you run out of a product or you find a fabulous alternative, you can replace more and more. Eventually, you'll wind up with a gorgeous array of products that you love and that are completely safe and good for you. 

STEP 1: Evaluate your current products 

We recommend Think Dirty or EWG's Skin Deep apps to evaluate your current products.

THINK DIRTY APP Plume-think-dirty-app EWG App

To use: you can either scan in your product or search for it in their database. Both apps will rate the ingredients for you and even recommend alternatives to toxic products. 

Once you have ratings, sort your products into groups: 

      • The Keeper Pile - products that you love and are safe 
      • The Stop Using Immediately Pile - products that are easily replaceable and are incredibly toxic (think deodorant with aluminum + chemical-based eye products)
      • The Use For Now Pile - products you will replace eventually when you can
STEP 2: Find replacements for a few easy items: 

We recommend starting with the products that you use the most, that have the most direct contact with your skin (or eyes). A few suggestions:

      • Deodorant - most conventional deodorants contain aluminum which has been powerfully linked to breast cancer. This is one we recommend to just throw out today! There are so many great natural alternatives so it's an easy one to switch out. Check out the best clean deodorants at Credo Beauty and Detox Market
      • Lash & Brow serum - of course, we can't skip over our own product! We are the only Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum on the market that is both 100% natural AND incredibly effective. If you are using a chemical-based version of this - love, come over to the clean side! These are your eyes we're talking about <3
      • Hand soap & body wash - since you wash your hands so often, and your body wash goes all over your body, this is definitely a good place to start for the most impact. And finding replacements is incredibly easy! Most drugstores even sell 100% natural soaps now, or you can find some beautiful locally made ones at a farmer's market near you. 
      • Makeup! Many people still don't think that natural cosmetics measure up to the chemical-based ones. This couldn't be farther from the truth! We challenge you to just replace ONE of your fave beauty products and see what you think. If you are a brow girl, try out our Brow Pomade as your experimental item! It not only fills your brows with gorgeous color, it actually helps GROW your brows! 

holistic habits green beauty collection    ann marie skincare collection

Photo credits: @holistichabits & @benaturallyglamorous

STEP 3: Have fun trying out new products to find your holy grail items 

You can either purchase products one-by-one (most green brands have a great product guarantee policy), or some retailers like The Detox Market offer sample programs where you can try small amounts of each product for a small shipping fee! 

At Plume: we 100% guarantee all of our products, so if you are not happy for absolutely any reason, just send us a message and we will provide a replacement product or, where appropriate, a full refund for the product. 

Thanks for reading lovelies! Stay tuned for Part 2 of our 'Ultimate Guide to Going Green' series: Green Beauty claims 101: 'natural' vs 'organic' vs 'vegan' vs 'non-toxic'. 

Wishing you love, laughter, and lots o' lashes! 

-The Plume Team  

 

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