I don’t think I’m a “girly girl” but… I was recently told that I was girly, and it was truly meant as a compliment. This came at the end of a conversation when I was asked what I use for my dry shampoo, how I transitioned to a safety razor and what I else I use in my “routine.”
It inspired me to share some of my favorite green beauty essentials that I have either used for years, recently started using and LOVE or that I make myself. Not all of these are perfect nor is my “routine” as eco-friendly as it could be and that’s OK. It’s evolving and improving over time.
The main criteria for me are to avoid as many synthetic chemicals as possible, that the products are cruelty free- no animal products or testing, generally fragrance free (depending on the source of the fragrance) and of course – that they work!
My favorite green beauty essentials
1.-3. I made the switch to a safety razor in early 2018. Once I watched enough YouTube videos to convince me that I wouldn’t destroy my legs and underarms with this type of razor, I made the switch. Safety razors are better for the environment due to the elimination of the use of plastic cartridges. This one is from Wowe who states that it is estimated that about 2 BILLION razors are thrown into landfills every year. Wowe is partnered with OneTreePlanted.org to donate 1% of their sales to plant trees around the world!
After using the safety razor, I found that the shaving cream I was using was not compatible. It kind of gunked it up for lack of a better term. I did some research and landed on Dr. Bronner’s shaving soap. It’s just the right consistency for a nice lather that still protects your skin for the razor to glide. Even though the main ingredients are oil – so far so good. I also like it’s organic and uses certified fair trade ingredients. I am a big fan of exfoliating and while I make my own facial exfoliator (more on that below), I haven’t gotten into making my own body scrub. I like Nature’s Gate so I gave this one a try and I love it so far. Nature’s gate is vegan, cruelty free and this product is made without Sodium Lauryl/Lauretha/Coco Sulfates, Phthalates, Butylene Glycol, or Artificial Colors.
4. I have been on the journey of not washing my hair every day for about four years now. If you have ever heard that you need to “train” your hair, it’s true. The first few weeks to months of washing your hair every other day are hard because for me at least, my hair looked like a big greaseball on day two. That is why dry shampoo is so helpful, it can get you through those days so you can still be presentable.
The BIG thing for me was to find a non-aerosol dry shampoo. The reason is because of the propellants used in the aerosols. They’re frequently flammable petroleum based (aka hydrocarbons) and while approved by the EPA, I don’t like spraying flammable substances on me or getting anymore hydrocarbon exposure beyond what I already do. The first brand I tried and still use in my travel bag is Klorane. I love this dry shampoo too. I also love Aveda’s. They are the only two I have used in the non-aerosol version. If you have brown hair, try adding cocoa powder to darken the powder. You can also make your own with cornstarch and cocoa powder.
5 -7. In a perfect world, I would be able to use olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil on my skin and avoid anything that is manufactured and I could just open up a jar of oil. However, I have found (and I’m not alone in this) that pure oils are not great for my skin- in particular my hands. At most I can use Argan oil on my cuticles. But I have one oil that does work for me and it’s been a game changer. I use DHC virgin oil to spot treat my acne. Yes, you read that right – this oil works on acne. I think it goes back to that chemistry principle – like dissolves like. I have suffered from acne up to my early 30s. Once I tried this oil on my skin (face only) I noticed a big improvement. Also, I could finally give up my prescription medicine for acne.
Another game changer due to my sensitive skin was the discovery of REN Global Protection Day Cream. It’s made for very sensitive skin, and I have been using it for years. It is made without parabens, sulfates, petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly), synthetic fragrance and much more.
Lastly, and among the newest items in my repertoire is Drunk Elephant tinted skin block. I love this brand, and this product is so great to for your neck everyday (or face if you need to). The main thing I love about this stuff is that it uses a physical sunblock (zinc oxide) and the tint does not come off on my clothes. I had a huge problem with that with another tinted sunblock I was using on my neck and face. I also really love the lightweight consistency of this product. There are no chemical sunscreens and it’s cruelty free.
8. Oh how I love baking soda. I could go on and on here. The two main things I make with baking soda (and vinegar) – Shampoo and facial scrub. This really reduces how much single use plastic I go through because I am not buying new bottles with every purchase – I just reuse my containers for my scrub and shampoo. It also saves me a lot of money. How much does a small box of baking soda go for these days- $0.99? Baking soda works for my skin, it saves me money, reduces single use plastic (because I am not buying all these new products in plastic)– it’s a win, win win!
For a baking soda scrub/exfoliator – mix 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. If you can tolerate oils – you can scent the scrub with essential oils.
For shampoo – Mix 1 part baking soda to 3-4 parts water. I use approximately 2 tablespoons to a half cup of water. For the vinegar rinse, mix 1 part white vinegar with 4 parts water. To minimize the vinegar smell, you can add essential oils to the vinegar mixture. When I apply the shampoo, I massage it in my scalp and let it sit for a few minutes. I then rinse with warm or cold water (depends on the season!). For the vinegar rinse, tilt your head back, close your eyes (to avoid getting this in your eyes), and distribute through your hair. Follow the vinegar rinse with your normal shower water. **Special note, for the shampoo, mix the baking soda and water together the day you plan on using it. I add the baking soda to my bottle and then add the water to it the morning of. The reason is that the baking soda loses it potency if it’s dissolving in the water for hours (or days).
9. -11. I am lucky to live in Phoenix where we have a locally owned, women owned natural skincare store. Citrine natural beauty made it so easy for me to start to switch to ethical, organic, vegan, gluten free beauty products with limited ingredients some of which are in glass bottles (yes!). My favorite (and it’s a store bestseller) is Jane Iredale Mineral BB Cream. This BB cream is just amazing and a little bit (and I mean a little) goes a longgggg way. I struggled with the brush I used for a while but did some research and got the Eco-Tools Wonder Cover brush and I love it. Eco-Tools is certified cruelty free by PETA. I wanted a better primer that was good for me and not tested on animals so I landed on Tarte’s poreless primer. It works well for my oily skin and big pores. This is not available at Citrine but can be found at Ulta or Sephora.
Don’t think for a minute that I came up with everything I just discussed in a day. This has been an evolving, ongoing process over the course of years. It’s not perfect nor do I strive for that. I just gradually make changes until I find what works for me and I encourage you to do the same.
Note: Please know that I was not asked to endorse or mention any of the products, stores or brands in this post. All opinions here are my own.