We’re rounding out this month’s Detox Your Skincare series by spotlighting the beauty cabinet. This may be a soft spot for many of us who have become dependent on the promises made by beauty brands. Our overall approach, however, is to simplify and return to the natural beauty that we were created with.
Step #11: Say Goodbye to Commercial Shampoo & Conditioner
Some of the biggest culprits for toxic additives can be found in shampoos and conditioners. Companies know that people will pay big time for a magic product that can make their hair more manageable, so they load them with a variety of chemicals to strip oils, add shine, detangle, etc. Not to mention the perfumes, artificial colors, thickeners, lathering agents and more. How many of you walk around days later still smelling like your hair products?
I’ll admit, this is a hard step for most of us. I’ve saved it for the last week because we know it may take some time. While there are plenty of recommendations to choose from out there - shampoo bars, no-poo method, baking soda & vinegar, bananas & avocados, you name it - changing up your haircare takes some time, adjustment and commitment.
My personal regimen involves only washing my hair every 3 or so days, and alternating between a natural shampoo and conditioner (I still haven’t found one I truly love that doesn’t have essential oils) and a simple tallow soap bar. I find when I travel I really love the way my hair feels after using my travel tallow soap, but after the second day of washing it feels oily to me, so that’s why I alternate. I also tried making my own castile soap-based foaming shampoo, followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse, and I loved the lather but it still felt oily after (keep in mind I have SUPER thick, curly hair). If you’ve found a regimen that’s working for you, do share it below in the comments so we can help each other out.
Step # 12 : Simplify Your Haircare
We’re not going to stop at shampoo and conditioner when it comes to haircare. I remember when I first started researching what was in my everyday products, one of the first things I looked up was my hair gel. It was in the red on my clean ingredients app for all kinds of irritants and I reluctantly gave it up. This includes the whole suite of haircare products - gels, serums, pomades, hair dyes and hairsprays!
Why do we consider this as part of our skincare? For a long time I would have consistent breakouts on my back and around my hairline. When I changed haircare products they cleared up! We don’t realize just how much our skin is affected by everything we come in contact with until we become mindful of what we allow it to be exposed to.
At first I tried making my own hair gel, and it was a sticky mess. I eventually gave it up altogether and, after a period of adjustment, found that my hair looked better and curled more naturally without any product at all. A dab of tallow or coconut oil can be added to wet hair to tame the frizz.
Step #13 : Clean Out Your Makeup
This is a tricky one for most of us as well. When I started detoxing my skincare, I had just joined the Sephora Insider loyalty program and was stocking up on all kinds of makeup that I, painfully, ended up throwing away. Though it hurt, any time I used it the chemical-laden makeup I could feel the difference and I knew there was no point in keeping it lying around.
Natural makeups are tricky in themselves. Many brands that tout themselves as natural, upon further inspection, weren’t much better than their mainstream alternatives. Even the shelves at “natural” stores like Whole Foods have some hidden culprits. Most of the companies I ended up taking a liking to were much smaller companies that I could only buy online (which makes testing colors a little tricky, that’s how I ended up with 20+ shades of mineral eyeshadow).
The other problem I encountered is the mica debate. Almost every natural makeup brand you find contains some sort of mica, pigment or oxide (including lip balms, eyeshadows, soaps, foundations, etc). While these are natural minerals, most of them are synthetic (created in a lab). It’s incredibly hard to determine where they were mined, if they have added dyes, if they’re naturally occurring or if they’re synthetic when sourcing them, in my experience. Also, although they’re natural, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe. I’ve read some concerns on inhaling them (which happens a lot if using powdered makeup) and harm they can cause over time. So I’m still undecided on them (even though I still use them currently).
That being said, there are still some even more natural alternatives to micas, such as activated charcoal (for mascaras), arrowroot powder mixed with beet root powder for blush or cinnamon and cocoa for foundation. You’ll likely have to make your own makeup if you want these, however, because it’s incredibly hard to find companies that exclusively use these ingredients.
Step #14 : Nix the Nail Polish
Unfortunately, nail polish is a big no-no. The standard nail polish contains dozens of toxic chemicals. Several brands have started claiming they are “3-free, 5-free and even 12-free” meaning they don’t contain that amount of commonly used chemicals. However, they are frequently substituting one harmful chemical for another. The fact that they can come up with 12 of the worst chemicals to “leave out” should tell you all you need to know about the standard nail polish on the market. Additionally, many people leave nail polish on for extended periods of time, allowing the chemicals more time to leach through their nails into their bodies.
This doesn’t end with DIY manicures either. Salons are chalk-full of chemicals via lotions, washes, cuticle creams, nail polish removers, etc. That’s why you may frequently come out of a “relaxing” salon day with a headache. I’m not saying you’ll never enter a nail salon again, however. In fact, there are now some natural nail salons popping up that try to lighten the chemical load. They don’t offer acrylic or nail dip services because they’re too toxic, and instead use only safer products and 12-free nail polishes.
Best alternative: go natural and polish-free. Give your nails some time to recover from constant polish (they may be thin, brittle, yellowed, etc. from always having polish on them) but they’ll be beautiful once they have time to heal.
Step #15 : Nurture Your Face
Our last tip is to take a look at any additional product you may be using on your face. Whether it’s a face soap or cleanser, makeup remover or wipes, masks, exfoliators, serums, toners, acne creams, eye creams, night creams, pimple reducers, etc. The market is saturated with these kinds of beauty products because they know how desperate we are to have our faces look good.
Rather than offering a variety of options to replace these items, my biggest recommendation would be to simplify your facial care routine. I truly believe the fewer things you use on your face, the better your skin will look and feel. If we overdo it with cleansers, plumpers, moisturizers, etc our skin gets confused about how to act.
A super simple skincare regimen can look like this:
- Use a simple tallow soap or jojoba oil to cleanse your face once a day.
- If you’re a toner person, an elderflower and rose hydrosol could be a super refreshing follow-up to cleansing.
- After cleansing, apply a touch of moisturizer. If you’re using tallow, take a small dab, rub it between your hands and then massage into your face well until completely absorbed (you should only need to do this once a day, twice if you suffer from incredibly dry skin or during dry months).
- Every 3-5 days exfoliate your face with a natural loofah sponge or a homemade salt or sugar scrub.
And, as with everything in detoxing, give your skin some time to adjust, lash out, etc. as you’re allowing it to clear out all the toxins stored up in your body.
That concludes this month’s Detox Your Skincare series. We hope you’ve benefitted from following along on this journey. Leave any questions, comments, requests and tips of your own in the comments! We’d love to know if you try any of the suggestions or if you’d like us to make a blog post/video explaining any of the homemade items we’ve recommended.
Stay posted for some of our upcoming blog posts including:
- How to make your own hydrosols at home (to use as a facial toner, household cleaner, air freshener, etc.).
- Our daily routine with tallow butter.
- How to lather your tallow shave soap.