Green living and green beauty go hand in hand. However, there's something about greener personal care that feels a little more intimidating than buying a bunch of organic kale or walking instead of driving. Still, making the switch is worth it because most conventional beauty products contain artificial preservatives and fragrances. They also tend to be made with questionable ingredients like phthalates or parabens, which could be linked to potential health effects, according to the The Washington Post. The good news is that you don't have to clear out everything in your medicine cabinet or makeup bag at once. Instead, start small by giving the following green beauty trends a try.
Say Yes to Superfoods
Green beauty starts on the inside, so before you start seeking out cleaner, greener products to put on your face or in your hair, start supporting your body's natural radiance by making whole, unprocessed foods the mainstays of your diet. Try to include plenty of the following items:
Fresh fruits and vegetables:
Fresh produce is a top source of antioxidants, which can help fight skin damage caused by free radicals and aid in the production of collagen, a skin-firming protein.
Fatty fish, nuts, and seeds:
Fish, such as salmon and tuna, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds deliver omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your skin hydrated. Adding these foods to your diet may give you smoother, healthier skin with fewer fine lines and dry patches.
Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can lead to dark spots and wrinkles and even raise your risk for skin cancer. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can protect against and even help reverse damage caused by sun exposure.
Eggs are one of the best sources of biotin, a B vitamin that helps strengthen your hair and nails.
Be Open to Oils
From coconut to argan to jojoba, it's no secret that oils are having a major moment. However, if you're still skeptical about slathering it on your skin or hair, that's understandable. It's a common misconception that oils will only make you more greasy and prone to breakouts.
But consider this: The harsh detergents in many conventional cleansers and shampoos can actually strip your skin and scalp of its natural oils, called sebum. And when that happens, your body can go into overdrive by producing even more sebum. Since natural oils don't strip away sebum, they can actually help your skin and scalp produce less oil over time.
Still, some oils are heavier than others, so it's a good idea to pick one that's right for your skin type. For instance, thick, buttery coconut oil or avocado oil can work as a night cream if you have dry skin. For oily or combination skin, a lighter oil that's easier to absorb, such as jojoba oil, is a better choice.
Deep Clean with Charcoal
Nope, we're not talking about the stuff you stick in your grill. Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been heated to high temperatures and treated with steam to make a highly porous powder. (Most activated charcoals are derived from natural materials like coconut husks, peat, or wood, but always check product labels because some are petroleum-based.) And that intense absorbing power means activated charcoal is really good at soaking up any dirt or oil on your skin.
Best of all, green beauty goods that are made with activated charcoal are extremely easy to find. Try experimenting with a charcoal face wash, lather up with a charcoal body wash, or even brighten your teeth with a charcoal-based tooth powder.
Find a Clean Signature Scent
Many of the fragrances found in conventional personal care products and perfumes are concocted in labs and are entirely artificial. Natural and organic fragrances rely on scents that are derived from—yup, you guessed it—natural sources, such as real roses, vanilla, or citrus. Try to find fragrances with ingredients that are farmed or sourced sustainably, so they're easier on the environment.
Don't worry, you don't need to toss that half-used bottle of your favorite perfume. However, it's worth finding ways to add botanical-based fragrances to your green beauty routine and replacing conventional options as you use them up. You could also try mixing essential oils to create your own plant-based scents. This is an inexpensive way to explore the world of natural fragrances—and your personalized combo will be completely unique.
Chances are that you've tried to make your own bread, pickles, or jam instead of buying it at the store, so why not give homemade beauty products a shot? Whether you're looking for a deep conditioner, face mask, lip balm, or exfoliating foot scrub, there's a recipe out there for making one with ingredients you already have in your pantry or fridge—think olive oil, yogurt, oats, avocado, green tea, or fresh fruit. This technique is inexpensive, free of wasteful packaging, and you can customize it to your personal preferences.
Dipping your toes into the world of green beauty is easier than you think. The only question left is which trend you'll try first!