“Green” skincare is just amazing in 2017 – but it hasn’t always been like that. Learn how to overcome frustration and overwhelm for the best clean beauty experience for you.
While I’ve been ingredient-savvy almost from the get-go due to my holistic “health first” approach to things in life, I first started seeing green beauty as a serious alternative to my “conventional” luxury favourites some ten years ago. It may have started even earlier, but ten years happen to mark my first lifestyle magazine article dedicated exclusively to green beauty – my professional green path, so to speak.
Seeing clean’n’green beauty go mainstream in the recent years made me realise how lucky those people are who start their green journey today! Long gone are underwhelming colours, runny or oily textures and super weird smells.
While my process was gradual due to a slightly different market situation, yours doesn’t have to be. Green skincare is simply amazing in 2017, and its performance and quality – constantly rising. There is clean skincare for everyone.
Here are some of the basic lessons learned and tips and advice for those of you who might be just starting out, or questioning your choices, or being stuck. We’ll un-stuck you in no time!
10 Years of Green Beauty:
10 Lessons Learned
1. Don’t be scared
Be aware that scaremongering can be a very clever marketing technique, followed by some equally clever greenwashing, and always do your research before running scared.
Nobody wants toxins on their skin, but fear is a bad advisor.
2. Do your research
Let’s be candid. Only uneducated people can buy the outrageous “No chemicals” claim.
Please notice it’s not about being “stupid” – nobody can know everything. But at some point, consumers need to stop listening and start thinking and researching.
Products to make your hips melt, and your boobs grow, and to shrink your pores, and to “repair” your hair? Science fiction. Instant lip plumpers work because they irritate your skin. Pores are less visible because they are spackled with something, probably silicones.
Understand what you need from a product and whether or not you can get it from skincare.
3. There are no magic pills/ blueprints
In line with the above lesson. Green beauty is not magic. But then again, neither is conventional beauty industry. I’ll anonymously quote a beauty industry veteran who, in their her no-BS way, whispered to me during an industry event: “Darling, if any of the things that pay our bills turned back time, this place would be filled with gorgeous elves and I wouldn’t have fillers.”
There is not a one-fits-all skincare routine nor “blacklist”. Allergens can be completely natural (and organic), while synthetics can be safe to use and bio-degradable and so on.
Also, nobody can know what’s right for your body. You together with your doctors maybe can. A “beauty expert” or a “testimonial” is here to sell, not to help you, even though the “we help you to” claim is widely used in marketing (sometimes legitimately). A product reviewer may be 100% honest, but they are not you. Many dermatologists argue that even moisturisers are a completely optional product – unless for patients with very dry and damaged skin.
There are green products for almost everyone on the market today. It’s no rocket science to figure out what you need and what’s right for you.
4. Naïveté is precious… for corporations
Question people’s motives and try to figure out what’s in their best interest (hint: sometimes it’s not your best interest).
Example: if a multinational corporation declares to “go green” in foreseeable future, ask yourself: will they be green by accepting the standards of organic skincare – or will they use their influence to push their own industry standard?
And you surely have come across gummy bears marketed as “fat-free”, or maybe you’ve seen an occasional “vegan” nut mix? Sometimes such claims can be legit (vegan orange juice is a thing because juices can be filtered with animal by-product), sometimes they are just exaggerating a product’s benefits in order to push the price.
To avoid overwhelm, figure out what’s true and what’s greenwashed for the criteria that matter to you.
5. Don’t have an idée fixe
Don’t chase “labels”, don’t follow trends, find what suits you and your lifestyle.
Not all brands certified organic may have truly all-clean product formulations and not all brands with no organic labels deploy questionable ingredients. Products marketed solely as vegan are not automatically organic, natural, or free from toxins. Products marketed as natural – can be anything. Products sold as “cruelty free” might not be completely free from animal testing. (Tip: ask brands directly whether or not they sell in China. Don’t ask if they test their products for it’s a pointless question, at least in the EU where the practice is banned, better ask if any of their ingredients are tested at any stage.)
Understand your position and stay reasonably flexible with anything else.
6. Get the best for your money
Here’s where it gets exciting. Organic beauty products with 100% actives in the formula – De Mamiel, Dr. Alkaitis, Mukti, Telluride Glow, Lovely Day, Double Happiness, Abel Odor and many, many others you have seen on beautycalypse.com – are the best thing that has ever happened to the green beauty industry: you pay for the high quality ingredient, not for the testimonial, not for the ad or the marketing campaign. And while some of those brands have positioned themselves as luxury, many others offer genuine clean beauty at affordable prices.
100% active and synergetic formulas truly are green beauty’s best of.
7. Don’t give up
Wisely chosen clean products will hydrate and nourish your skin without any questionable side effects, tox-free fragrances will turn heads, gorgeous organic make-up will make you look great, but at some point disappointment will strike. It’s only a matter of time.
Maybe you’ll be frustrated to find out that your favourite brand sells in China/ uses conflict palm oil/ has changed their formula. Maybe you’ll hate an expensive product everyone else were raving about. One day you’ll beat yourself up for falling for a “conventional” drugstore product filled with microplastics because you were in such a hurry and it was such a steal and just looked soooo goooood.
Whatever it is that made you mad, don’t stay in this place. Life is not a string of perfect white pearls, it’s more like a bunch of scattered beads! Learn what made you take this “wrong turn” and don’t ever be discouraged.
I’m a fan of – polite – communications. Voice your accolades and your concerns and see what happens. Sometimes just the reaction of a brand will show you how transparent they truly are, how much they value their customer, how genuinely they care. There’s always opportunity for positive change in communicating.
Found a truly amazing product that delivers? Tell them. Smaller brands will be absolutely excited. Unhappy with something fundamental like a company’s animal testing policy, conflict palm oil use, excessive amount of packaging? Tell them.
Sometimes you’ll highlight a problem and they will be happy to adjust, sometimes they’ll ignore you, sometimes they’ll be rude – but it’s important that you’ve graciously showed up as an informed consumer. It really is.
9. Don’t annoy people – and don’t let them annoy you
There is that tendency often seen in rookies: as humans, we like to repeat new things we consider important, and some of us will be excited enough to go out and preach. Don’t do that. There is considered opinion and standing by it, which is good. But don’t let your lifestyle choices be your only topic. People love people who are passionate, not maniacs who shove their own beliefs down everybody’s throat.
Also do know that at some point in time naysayers will cross your path; people who love their “conventional” products and seem to have no interest in green or clean beauty. They can be mildly or highly toxic, but really, that’s their problem. Tell them that you’re not forcing them to ditch their beloved petrochemicals – and in return, they should let you enjoy whatever happy hippie, plastic-free, green and mean stuff you choose to spend your money on.
It feels good to make ethical decisions. So stick with it 😉
10. Harness the power of consequence
Consequence is a concept that I feel has grown quite overlooked recently. But there is so much power in it. A consequence of my personal ethical standards is that high street windows, convenience foods and basically most malls are invisible to me. It’s incredibly freeing.
When you know why you choose certain things and why you dismiss other things, you find that it’s easier to navigate your everyday life. You don’t eat sugar, don’t wear leather? This automates so many decisions. You will be less prone to distractions, frustrations, impulse buying. You’ll feel more empowered, too. It might look overwhelming and complex when you start out, but you’ll gain more and more clarity as you go.
Stay curious and don’t give up your personal quest!