4 Quick Ways to ‘Green’ Your Beauty Routine

This is a bit off-topic, but for the last two months, I have been ‘poo free. (As in shampoo free, you sickie.)

Back in August, I’d started thinking about the number of chemicals I use in my daily routine, and how many of them were unnecessary and potentially toxic. So, here are four quick things I did to green my beauty routine:

1.) Switch your shampoo for baking soda.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But I took a handful of baking soda, added a bit of water and rubbed it in, and when I got out of the shower my hair was literally squeaky clean, and had more volume.

My hair did take a few days to adjust, and in the beginning I would have an oily day or two. But I’m two months in and I’m sticking to it. You can also just do baking soda once a week to help reduce build up from your regular shampoo.

As a natural alternative to conditioner, you can dilute apple cider vinegar in water, pour over your hair and rinse. I also picked up some essential oils to dilute the smell of the apple cider vinegar. (My hair doesn’t smell though. Really. It doesn’t. … Why are you backing away? Come back! I’m not done!)

Why did I switch?
I’m trying to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which is the chemical that creates lather in shampoos and soaps. I’m also trying to avoid parabens and any of the PEG’s.

I’m not going to go into the research here, because I’m not a scientist and I think it’s best to read through the material and decide for yourself. One site to start with though, is the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database. Another thing to know: Cosmetics are not tested or approved by the FDA. The FDA is concerned that they are packaged and labeled correctly (ingredient list, etc.) but the onus is on the cosmetic company to ensure that the products and materials are safe for use.

2.) Ditch body wash, look for a natural soap.
Our local farmers’ market sells goats’ milk soap, and it is fabulous. My skin is ridiculously soft, and they make all different scents using essential oils. The bar I picked is basically lye, goat’s milk and olive oil. It’s more expensive than a traditional bar of soap, but I don’t have to moisturize as often. And, it supports local farmers – Huzzah!

Why did I switch?
Here too I’m trying to avoid SLS, parabens, and PEGs. Also, antibacterial bodywash tends to contain triclosan, which is in antibacterial soaps, sanitizers, face washes and toothpaste.

3.) What’s good for your hair, is good for your teeth!
My dentist sandblasts my teeth with baking soda every six months during my regular cleaning. But I’ve taken to using baking soda every day instead of toothpaste. Wet your toothbrush, stick it in the baking soda, and brush. You won’t see lather (but you will see purple if you just had a glass of wine…), but my teeth look and feel just as clean.

Why did I switch?
Again, when I counted the number of times I exposed myself to triclosan, it was something like 10 times a day (my face wash, my toothpaste, liquid hand soap, etc.) The FDA is reviewing the safety of triclosan, but in the meantime, if I can use a natural product in its place, that’s what I’m going to do.

4.) Natural anti-aging products exist!
I switched my face wash for SukiFace’s Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser and it’s been great. I’m all the way through one jar, and I’m duly impressed. Softer skin and less break-outs, and the ingredients are all natural. (I found it through Saffron Rouge, which is a great starting point for finding beauty products with fewer chemicals.)

Why did I switch?
Same as with shampoo and body wash, I’m trying to avoid triclosan, PEGs, parabens and SLS, which were in my former face wash.

What’s next for me?
As much as I would love to toss everything with a sulfate, paraben or petroleum-base, I frankly can’t replace all my make-up and such all at once. But as I work through the stuff I have, I’ll do the research and find a better alternative. Eventually, I’ll have a completely paraben-free beauty routine!

In the meantime, have any green beauty tricks for me?