I’ve always loved makeup. At age four, I constantly begged my grandmother to try on her Clinique lipstick. I was obsessed with LipSmackers in elementary school, and in high school, I was the official makeup guru. But as I got older, I realized the makeup products I used to make myself gorgeous actually did me more harm than good. Many big-name beauty brands fill their products with cancer-causing chemicals, and many more test on animals. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to give up my makeup, but I struggled to use products I knew were harmful. But then my mom, a licensed massage therapist, introduced me to the world of natural beauty.
If you want to go natural, you have tons of options. Organic, holistic, cruelty-free beauty products are a booming industry-just take a stroll down the makeup aisle at Whole Foods. You can find everything from foundation to conditioner formulated with natural ingredients-and without chemicals or parabens. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even make your own. If you’re hesitant about making the leap-no worries! Here are five ways you can pump up your beauty routine-naturally.
- Try natural brands. This one seems obvious, but it’s a great way to get started. Buying organic products is a big step in a healthier direction. If you’re like me, it might be an adjustment. I’m the quintessential advertising target; I like brand recognition and I felt lost at first in a sea of logos I didn’t recognize. But a little Google-fu will give you background on each line and help you figure out which one is best for you. Staples like Burt’s Bees and Whole Foods’ 365 label are great for newbies.
- DIY skincare. Unless you’re blessed with flawless skin, chances are you spend a lot of time (and money) taking care of your face. A lot of mainstream brands use harsh chemicals, which can exacerbate acne and dryness. Luckily, Mother Nature has plenty of solutions. Coconut oil is a natural makeup remover and moisturizer. Have acne? A dab of tea tree oil is a great way to shrink blemishes and reduce inflammation. A drop of lavender mixed with plain water is a great way to wake up your skin in the morning (and as a bonus, it smells great). Whether you’re looking for major fixes or you just want to add a little green to your routine, DIY skincare can help.
- Go bold with essential oils. Coco Chanel once said that a woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future. Harsh, but as a perfume lover, I took those words to heart. Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with scents ranging from Bath and Body Works’ Japanese Cherry Blossom to Chanel’s own Coco Mademoiselle. But when my mom was in massage school, she started bringing home tiny bottles of amazing-smelling essential oils, and I got hooked. Jasmine is one of my favorites, and an awesome scent for spring and summer. Lavender and rose are great choices as well, and popular notes in many commercial perfumes. Peppermint is a fun and versatile smell, and ylang ylang, a white floral similar to jasmine, can be gorgeous with the right body chemistry. For the mixologists out there, don’t settle for just one-blend oils together to create a unique perfume. Crafting your own scent allows you to be creative and make something that’s entirely your own without the added worry of harsh chemicals. If you want to try it yourself, check out a natural beauty blog for recipes and instructions.
- Make your own bath and body products. If you want to try something new (or you’re just bored on a Sunday afternoon), do a quick Google search. You can find tons of recipes, and most only require a few ingredients. I made an awesome body butter from shea butter and coconut oil as my mom’s Mother’s Day gift, which I definitely steal when she’s not looking. And here at our office, we have a great recipe for honey lavender hand scrub. All-natural bath an body products are fun to make, and totally useful. Plus, you can add a splash of essential oil to whatever you make for a quick burst of scent. A quick warning: the recipe doesn’t always come out exactly how you expect the first time, but don’t worry-time and experience will only make it better.
- Create your own makeup. This is hard, and admittedly something I haven’t tried since I was ten. But I’m hoping to venture into homemade blush and lip gloss this summer. Natural beauty bloggers are a huge help if you’re starting out; they have recipes, tricks and tips for perfecting your craft. Creating your own makeup is a fun hobby and a great way to spread the love-a homemade highlighter or lip tint makes a great gift.
If you love beauty but don’t love what goes into mainstream products, try going green. You’ll still smell great, look gorgeous and have beautiful skin. And the best part is, you’ll be doing it all naturally.