Image: Louis Alexander and Alexandria Ward
Toxins are everywhere, from the food we eat to the very air we breathe. It is almost impossible to completely avoid them, but we can reduce them. By taking a more natural approach to our beauty regime, we can improve our health and wellbeing as well as lessening our impact on the environment.
People change their beauty habits for many different reasons. You might find that your normal shampoo and conditioner is making your hair dry, and so might be curious to try a more natural alternative. Or, you might be trying to save money and want to overhaul your beauty regime to find a way to look and feel good that doesn’t break the bank. Whatever your reasons, if you are flexible to your own needs, you are far more likely to stick with your good intentions and create new beauty habits that last.
Need a little motivation to give your bathroom cabinet an overhaul? Here are justa few good reasons to switch to a more natural regime.
1. Better for our environment
It is easy to think that once a product has been washed down the sink it is gone forever, but every nasty chemical that goes through that plughole ends up as a contaminant in our rivers, seas, and soils. In large quantities these can adversely affect wildlife, even entering the food chain and having a negative impact on our health. Plastic micro beads in many household brand face and body scrubs are particularly challenging for the environment, as most water treatment centres are unable to filter them out.
It takes a little more time and creativity, but a coconut oil and a homemade honey and sugar face-scrub is much gentler on our eco-system than a concoction of parabens, salicylates, and ethanols.
2. Reducing clutter and saving money
It’s not just the environment that benefits from a more natural beauty regime; your bank balance and your bathroom cabinet can too! Once you start to try natural products it’s amazing how often the same wonder ingredients pop up time and again in different applications. Coconut oil is so nourishing it can moisturise the face, body, and be used as a hair treatment. There, you’ve already replaced three separate bottles and tubs with one! And let’s face it – do we really need a different bottle of liquid for each inch of the body? This approach to beauty de-clutters your bathroom and means that on holidays and weekends away, you’re travelling so light you are almost a cloud.
3. Natural works better
High-tech and highly processed items don’t always achieve better results. Some ingredients in budget and high end high street beauty products can be of dubious benefit. Alcohol is a common ingredient in high street beauty products but it can be drying, leaving the surface of the skin looking dull and feeling irritated. And paraffin oil is also a primary ingredient in many moisturising creams, despite being a by-product of petroleum. These creams will make the skin feel moisturised by coating it in a film of greasy paraffin oil. But this is not necessarily a good for the skin. In fact, it can cause redness and itchiness when used on very dry and cracked areas.
Although we may be sold a ‘dud’ product that doesn’t do what it says on the tin, here in the UK we are well protected by EU legislation that regulates what chemicals can be used in our beauty products and prevents the use of harmful ingredients. Unfortunately our friends in the US don’t have this protection. The FDA does not regulate the beauty industry . This means the ingredients in products sold in the US are much less tightly controlled and companies are often free to create beauty product recipes with less regard to our health.
4. Safer for all the family
With the skin being the largest organ of the body, and with its propensity to absorb whatever is put onto it, it seems nonsensical to be slap-happy with products that could be having a negative effect on our moods, wellbeing, and even health. Several off-the-shelf products contain alcohol. Now many of us try to cut down and reduce the amount of alcohol we drink over the course of a regular week – we’d certainly never give it to our children. But many of us slather on cleansers, toners, hand sanitisers, or rinse with mouthwash containing alcohol, every single day.
A simple rule of thumb is that if it can go ‘in’ you, it can go ‘on’ you. This also reduces risk for the people around you – did your child eat the whole pot of your banana and avocado face-mask? Never mind, it’s just fruit.
By taking a natural approach to beauty it is possible to avoid useless or harmful ingredients and choose products that really work and are great for our bodies, inside and out.
Whatever your reasons for deciding to choose a more natural beauty regime, remember that it will take time and a bit of trial and error to find products and routines that work best for you. Start small; be mindful that you don’t have to aim for perfection right away, but learn as you go, and don’t forget to have fun with it.
Author: Jessica Cropper