So I started small… with my face wash!
Truthfully, my mission to convert some of my beauty products to more natural options is an ongoing process mainly because it’s admittedly challenging and constantly evolving. There is SO much information out there and it can almost make me feel frozen. Taking small steps to improve my beauty products over time is the best way for me to approach this goal.
There are some products I may never completely convert (mascara comes to mind because I am SO picky) but others, like facial cleansers and moisturizers are a bit easier. Unless you moisturize solely with coconut oil and cleanse your face with tea tree oil, the ingredient lists on products – even green ones – can seem scary. Many safe ingredients look like chemicals (like many essential oils) but I am starting slow and focusing on purchasing products free of parabens, sulfates, BHT and BHA, phthalates, oxybenzone and triclosan.
Why these ingredients? Here’s a brief rundown of the harm they can do:
- Parabens: Serve as a preservative and have the ability to mimic estrogen, lead to hormone imbalance and interfere with the function of your endocrine system
- Sulfates: A cleansing and foaming agent found to break down proteins which can lead to a degenerative effect on cell membranes
- BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene): Used to lighten skin, BHA and BHT are considered by the National Toxicology Program as a likely carcinogen and both are banned in Europe
- Phthalates: Plasticizing chemicals that are probable disruptors to the reproductive system (particularly in males); two phthalates (dibutyl and diethylhexyl) have been banned in Europe
- Oxybenzone: Common in sunscreen to absorb UV light, can cause skin irritation and endocrine disruption
- Triclosan: Often used in antibacterial hand soaps, deodorants and toothpaste; a possible endocrine disruptor that can harm your thyroid and reproductive hormones
Of course there are many, many other potentially harmful ingredients out there, but this is just a starting point for me and these are some of the ingredients that appear to be most common and the most harmful.
The following four facial cleansers are cleansers I’ve been using for quite a while now. I rotate through them (though I use the Amara Organics one in the shower every day) and love them all for different reasons which I have detailed below.
Natural Facial Cleansers I Love
I purchased Amara Organics Vitamin C Facial Cleanser on Amazon Prime after I received my first facial in years in the spring of this year. My aesthetician gave me a vitamin C facial and spoke at length about the benefits of vitamin C for your skin. (The brief summary: Vitamin C helps fight free-radicals and prevent sun damage to our skin. It’s necessary for collagen production and can help reduce signs of aging.) As I began to hunt for a natural cleanser with vitamin C that was made with no sulfates, parabens or dyes, I quickly stumbled upon Amara Organics and with 600+ almost 5-star reviews on Amazon, I figured I would give it a shot.
My love for this cleanser was instant. So many natural face washes I’ve tried seem to leave a film behind on my skin but this one washed clean and left my skin feeling fresh but not dry or tight. It’s my favorite cleanser of the bunch and one I’ve ordered over and over again since I first discovered it. (FYI, I also LOVE the same brand’s anti-aging moisturizer.) The only con I have for this cleanser is that it can sting a bit if I get it in my eyes, but I learned that quickly and just take extra care to avoid contact with my eyes when washing my face with this cleanser.
Beautycounter’s Nourishing Cream Cleanser is the best moisturizing cleanser I’ve found to date. Truth be told most other cleansers that claim to be deeply moisturizing do not leave my face feeling clean at all and this one is definitely an exception. The cleanser is incredibly gentle but still effective at removing makeup and dirt. It’s a wonderful cleanser to use during the colder months of the year when my skin can often feel overly dry and in desperate need of nourishment.
I completely trust the ingredients in all of Beautycounter’s products (their Tint Skin Foundation is my go-to when I need more coverage on my face), so this cleanser was actually my first foray into cleaner and safer facial cleansers. I’ve tried a pretty decent handful of Beautycounter products and loved some more than others and this product is one of my favorites. (If anyone is interested in a post highlighting the Beautycounter products I’ve loved and those I’ve found not so great, let me know. I’m not a consultant and don’t sell Beautycounter but I am happy to give an honest rundown of my thoughts if it’s of interest since I feel like so many of the Beautycounter reviews out there seem to – understandably – come from consultants.)
My Botanics Invigorating Face Scrub was an impulse buy at Target and is the most affordable of all the cleansers I’ve tried. I treat this scrub as a once-or-twice-a-week exfoliator since the scrub is a little more rough and contains contains willow bark extract to help slough away dirt and makeup to unclog pores and combat uneven skin tones. It makes my skin feel smooth and gives me a deep clean feeling I find myself craving when I wear more makeup than usual after a dinner with girlfriends or a date night out with Ryan.
This cleanser is one of the more affordable natural cleansers I’ve tried (it’s $10) and also seems to be the most gentle. It leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated and the gel formula is different than most other cleansers on the market. Perhaps my favorite part of this cleanser is the bright, slightly fruity sweet scent. It smells the most pleasant and the least earthy of the bunch.
Question of the Day
Do you use natural beauty products? If so, are there any you absolutely love and swear by?
I’d love to hear your recommendations, especially when it comes to concealer because I have yet to find a high-quality, effective natural concealer.