HOW TO MAKE THE SWAP TO CLEAN BEAUTY
We now have the science to back it: what you put on your skin goes in. All those seemingly innocuous conventional beauty products we’ve been using for decades; we now know to contain a cocktail of parabens, synthetic preservatives, chemicals, neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors...ingredients you don’t want anywhere near your skin! But just as there is no one-size-fits-all skincare routine, our reasons for ‘making the swap’ to clean beauty are always varied and personal. You might have decided to make the swap to natural products for health reasons, or even environmental concerns. Whichever unique circumstances have brought you to the precipice, we all have the same desire to make better, healthier choices for ourselves, our kin and mother earth.
So there you are, standing in front of your medicine cabinet and a decade’s worth of beauty purchases, wondering where to begin! Naturally you’ll have some questions; should you swap it all it once? How will natural compare to mainstream products? Will it be expensive?
There is no magic formula and fortunately, no hard and fast rules when it comes to the ‘how’. But know this: choosing natural doesn’t have to cost the earth (literally), you don’t have to overhaul your entire kit at once and there’s no need to be militant about it. We see you there clutching your Bobbi Brown eye pencil; we’re not here to prise it from you hands and hurl into the trash. We are however, going to bust the five most common myths about making the swap, so you can make it work for you.
M Y T H #1 | YOU MUST SWAP EVERYTHING AT ONCE
This is one of the biggest Make The Swap misconceptions! For most of us, swapping out your entire beauty kit in one go is not realistic. Instead we suggest swapping out one item or section at a time. A gradual overhaul of your beauty kit has lots of benefits. Firstly, it’s easier on the purse strings, it also allows you time to go and ‘test’ out new products, read reviews and get recommendations. By the time you run out of old foundation and are ready to replace it with a natural alternative, you can make an informed, conscious purchase. Some people can experience an adjustment period with their skin and the change-up in routine. Overhauling it slowly gives your skin time to get used to new products. If any reaction does occur, you can pinpoint where it came from.
1 | Products that cover the largest areas of skin - OR - Some prefer to swap out ‘leave-ons’, items that stay in contact with our skin for long periods of time, like moisturisers and makeup, before ‘rinse-offs’; items that come into contact with skin and get washed off quickly like cleanser, shampoo and conditioner. OR You can start by swapping out the products that you use on a daily basis, the ones that make contact with your skin most regularly. For some this will just be skincare, for others makeup, skincare and perfume*. For all: deodorant and toothpaste.
2 | Products that are used on highly absorbent areas of the body, like eyes (mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow) and lips (lip balm and lipsticks). This includes serums and oils; products that are designed to penetrate skin deeply and that you might leave on overnight.
3 | Products you use semi-regularly. These may include suncreen (unless it falls into the ‘daily’ category), face masks, exfoliator, hair treatments, nail polish and remover, fake tan, body scrubs and dry shampoo.
*A little word on perfume ~ finding a natural perfume that you love can take some time! But definitely worth it; commercial perfume companies are not required to disclose the ingredients in the ‘fragrance’, so as not to give away the secret formula. Some 'fragrances' have been tested to contain up to 35 untested and potentially harmful ingredients, with known toxins, hormone and thyroid disruptors among them. Try our favourite natural perfumes from Ime, One Seed and Van Der Faun and Vapour.
M Y T H #2 | IT'S GOING TO BE EXPENSIVE
Many natural products are comparable in price to their high-end commercial counterparts, but in the case where they are more expensive, rest assured you are paying for pure, optimal natural ingredients, sourced in ethical and sustainable ways, often made in small batches and with higher concentrations of the ‘good stuff’ in them. Organic certification is also a costly and laborious process. Throwing all your current beauty products out and trying to replace them in one go would be expensive, and for most of us it’s just not practical. The solution: swap out the old and swap in natural, one product or section of your beauty kit at a time. The risk with going on autopilot and overhauling in one go is you could end up buying products that don’t work for you, and need to replace them again. Instead, research research research and ask for samples to try before you buy where possible.
M Y T H #3 | NATURAL WON'T PERFORM LIKE CONVENTIONAL
Thankfully, ‘making the swap’ is a lot easier now than it was ten or even five years ago when the clean beauty movement was in its infancy. Natural has lost its, with all due respect, hippy woo-woo connotations and technology has caught up. We are now spoiled for choice when it comes to the mecca of amazing local and international natural cosmetic and skincare labels producing safe, effective and downright incredible products. Celebrities and celebrity makeup artists alike are opting to use natural brands like Kjaer Weis and Inika Organic for runway shows and red carpet events. There’s enough momentum behind the movement and the market so competitive now that low-performing products just don’t survive. Compromise doesn’t come into it at all!
As for how the natural version performs next to your favourite regular cosmetics? They will differ slightly in texture, consistency and scent from their non-natural counterparts, but only in the same way that products differ between mainstream beauty brands.
M Y T H # 4 | YOU HAVE TO GO 100% NATURAL OR ITS NOT WORTH IT
We try our best to educate our kin about the benefits of swapping to natural, and the potentially harmful effects of using mainstream cosmetics. But we’re also human, and we recognise that getting caught up in a space of fear, while initially motivating, is not helpful when it comes to making long term lifestyle change. Instead we believe in making a better choice, not a perfect choice. Starting where you are, working with what you have and swapping over to natural products as time and budget allows. Even then, you might swap out your entire skincare regimen, but decide to keep using your favourite commercial brow pencil because you like the colour. If in doubt, refer back to the reasons why you decided to make the swap and it will be easier to decide what stays and what goes.
M Y T H # 5 | IT'S GOING TO BE HARD WORK
If you thought making the swap to natural meant giving up the fun and hype of buying product and the cosmetic industry, we’re here to tell you otherwise. The clean beauty movement has given rise to the Clean Beauty Blogger, influencers like Depths Of Beauty, The Beauty Journal, The Spot Beauty, Liberty Green and The Green Hub, to name a few. We give you full permission to go down the green-beauty-blogger rabbit hole, and suggest that you do. It’s a great way to discover the best natural products and brands, get tips and tricks and inspiration from someone who has already done the hard work researching (aka, using) the products for you. Making a list of the products you need to buy and checking them off is good for morale, and will make you feel like you are making progress towards building your natural beauty tool kit.
YOU'VE MADE THE SWAP. WHAT NOW?
You’re a clean-beauty-convert. Congratulations! We often hear back from customers who say once they've cleaned up their beauty kit, all the other areas of their life that aren’t aligned with their new value system, suddenly show up! And it can't be unseen. If you do find yourself ready for a major lifestyle overhaul, some other areas you might consider swapping to natural include sanitary items, sexual health products, household cleaning products, kitchen utensils, clothing and furnishings.
words | Sophie Parslow