Feeling overwhelmed by all the natural skincare and cosmetic brands on the market today? Take heart, even beauty experts have trouble navigating the many choices that are out there.
Personal care products, like everything we buy, are a reflection of what we value. Maintaining these principles while evoking a unique sense of beauty is a challenge for all of us, to say the least.
The choices we make in cosmetics and skincare cast a vote for what we believe in. They also reflect a sense of awareness about environment, health and ethics.
Who Are You?
Are you a vegan or a meat lover? Do you love animals or could care less? Do you exercise and eat mindfully or have never set foot in a gym? Does the thought of a green smoothie bring you joy or would you rather guzzle a soda? Answer these honestly. The answers will help hone your choices.
What's Your Skin Type?
The chances are excellent that you’re busy and don’t have the time to think about your skin type. We are natural organisms and with every move, season, new job, and birthday our skin changes. For help with defining your skin type, read this article.
A beautiful makeup application starts with great skin, that’s why I always suggest that we get to know what your skin is craving before we ever even talk makeup.
Define What Your Skin May Be Lacking And How To Best Nourish It
Take a moment. Grab a mirror and look at your bare face closely. Also include the skin on your neck and chest, as they are just as important. Is your skin irritated, red, dry, dehydrated and lacking radiance?
Tell yourself the truth about what you see.
You may need nothing. So much depends on lifestyle, environment and genetics. Perhaps you’ll simply benefit from products that nourish your skin and maintain what you have.
On the other hand you may need a serious beauty overhaul. Everyone is different. What works for your mom, sister, co-worker or best friend may not work at all for you.
Be open minded to learn about new products. Stay objective about what your needs may or may not be.
Where To Begin When You Shop For Makeup
Start by assessing what you already own. What’s working for you? What’s not? Take notes and decide where you need to tweak your products to get the best results.
Think about how much time you have to devote to a daily beauty routine. Most of us crave an everyday makeup application that is painless. Taking that one element into to consideration will help give you clarity so you don’t get suckered into a beauty routine that has 25 steps and adds to your morning stress.
Next, stay mindful of the values we discussed before and shop where your heart takes you. Get in the habit of reading cosmetic product labels, exactly like you do with your food sources. Many traditional beauty products have toxins and synthetic ingredients that are unhealthy. For example, parabens are widely used. They will disrupt your estrogen pathway and that is an awful thing.
No matter how much thinking you have or haven’t done about it, you can still make healthier choices for yourself whenever you can. You never know, picking out a new lipstick with nontoxic ingredients may set you on a course to better self-care.
Do The Product Names, Descriptions And Definitions Make Any Sense To You?
If you pick up a product and cannot make sense of what the label is saying, put it down and move on.
I’ve been in the beauty biz for nearly 25 years and more often than not, I’ve read labels that sound like pure gibberish. Just because a product design team spent a fortune creating a pretty bottle doesn’t mean the product inside is going to do anything substantial for you.
Beauty counters tend to be populated with salespeople who spend countless hours extolling the virtues of products and ingredients in order to make sales goals. They may or may not necessarily have your best interests at heart. Take it from me, I was once one of them.
Should I Buy Anti-Aging Products?
First, a little dose of earthly reality. After over two decades in the beauty business I can tell you that there is virtually nothing sold at any beauty counter that can offer you an anti-aging miracle. We live on planet Earth and we are all subject to the laws of gravity.
Environmental stress takes its toll over time and in addition to gravity is one of the main reasons why skin sags. There are things you can do to manage this, but nothing you can do to reverse it. Therefore the term “anti-aging” in itself is misleading.
The good news is that slowing the aging process is entirely possible. Being the best version of yourself at every stage of life means incorporating good lifestyle habits like sleep, green tea, stress management, exercise and sunscreen for starters.
If your joints ache, perhaps think about dropping gluten from your diet. Take food sourced vitamins that nourish you and give you what your body is asking for. Plant based remedies are also worth considering.
Use makeup and skin care that are nontoxic and will nourish your skin with antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients. These are proven to boost radiance and give the skin an overall vibrant and healthy appearance.
Looking good is wonderful, but being healthy from the inside out is where the true beauty miracle lies.
Where To Go For Answers On Toxins Or Animal Cruelty?
If you decided that you don’t care about animal cruelty or the potential harmful toxins in your beauty products, you can skip this part.
Visit leapingbunny.org for a list of beauty brands that are cruelty free. Most people think of animal testing and they think of lab rats and mice, but animal testing takes place on bunnies and doggies, too. Many animal tests involve beagles because they are the dog breed that trust humans the most. Yes, this is real and it happens every day. Perfectly healthy animals are sacrificed and tortured for your beauty products. I don’t want to say it any more than you want to hear it, but the truth needs to be said. Make a list of the brands that interest you and then PLEASE research them. Even if they don’t test on animals, often their parent company DOES. Most beauty brands are owned by L’Oreal, Estee Lauder or Shiseido. They rule the beauty planet. They all do big business in China and that means animal testing. Plain and simple.
You certainly don’t have to be a vegan to love animals. But if animals mean anything to you, then it’s critical to stay away from any brand that does not have a crystal clear “no animal testing” policy. Join me in taking the brutality out of the beauty business, but the only way we can do that is to stop buying products that test on animals. Period.
EWG is an excellent website for information on ingredients. There are lots of ingredients that can sound scary, but they’re really not. This is a great resource so you know exactly what you are putting on your skin.
Not all chemicals are bad. Just because an ingredient sounds really complicated doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. I’ve researched countless ingredients and there are many you should definitely run from and others that sound hideous, but have zero toxicity. This is important. You want your makeup to be free of bacteria and have some necessary preservatives, so you can enjoy your investment and commitment to healthier choices.
Show Your Love!
If you love a brand’s skin care, chances are you will also love their makeup. And vice versa. Give it a try. No badges of honor are being given out for having 75 different beauty brands in your makeup routine. Find a brand that speaks to you and show your love by staying true to them.
Do you! Look at the awareness Alicia Keyes has created because of her “no makeup” makeup routine. Yes, she is a natural beauty with glowing skin. Sure, it may be easier for her than it would be for most of us to leave the house with a naked face. As a judge on “The Voice” she sits right next to makeup diva Gwen Stefani and both of them look equally amazing because they are projecting an image that has meaning to each of them as individuals. Think before you slather. Most importantly, stay true to you.