With the beginning of a new year comes renewed hope and enthusiasm, a chance to press the reset button, make some changes, start some new habits and create some new routines… to start afresh, if you like.
Don’t worry, we’re not talking new year’s resolutions here! Instead we’re suggesting a few small changes and a few simple ideas, keeping things manageable and achievable.
Of course, you can do this any time but for some reason, the new year brings with it that energy of renewal and today we’re going to help you with some easy and healthy natural beauty habits.
1) Detox your skincare products
This is a great place to start and it’s really easy to do!
But why should you detox your skincare?
1. There are a lot of undesirable and potentially harmful ingredients in beauty products.
These ingredients are usually synthetic and they are harsh for the skin and can be damaging to our health due to their toxicity. Often, they are not biodegradable so they burden the environment as they are washed off of our skin.
2. Even if you use products labelled natural or organic, they can still contain undesirable ingredients.
‘Natural’ is not a regulated term and the label ‘organic’ can often be used in misleading ways, too.
“I was shocked to find ingredients which could contain human carcinogens in products with labels which could misleadingly suggest that they might be organic,” said Professor Vyvyan Howard of the Centre for Molecular Bioscience at Ulster University as part of the Soil Association’s Come Clean About Beauty Campaign.
3. Products sometimes go out of date much more quickly than we realize.
Many products sit around for a long time not being used and then they go out of date… but they look ok and smell ok, so we still use them. Unfortunately, products that are out of date might be causing you a lot more harm than you realize.
4. Some brands still test on animals.
You may not know about this because it’s obviously not something companies publicize! In the European Union for example, testing on animals is prohibited, but that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t test their products available in other markets in the world as in some countries animal testing is a requirement. If you are someone who wants to use ethical and cruelty free products, for example from brands who don’t test on animals, then you may want to double check the practices of the brands you are using
5. Be aware of marketing claims that can be misleading.
Leading high street brands are becoming wise to the growth of the natural and organic market, and are increasingly using marketing to highlight the natural ingredients they use in their products. This can give the impression that the products are kind, nourishing and good for the skin, or that they are actually natural or organic (without claiming to be). Unfortunately, when you look a little further, you see the real picture and often the product contains things you don’t want to be using!
2) Get rid of out-of-date products
Most products have a ‘period after opening’ (PAO) or expiry/best before (BBE) date. In many countries, PAO is marked with a symbol of an open jar with number of months inside it.
This means that after opening the product, it should be used within specified time (eg 36 months), and discarded after this period.
Other products might have a specific expiration date, regardless of when you open them. This is represented by the hourglass symbol or wording such as ‘BBE, or ‘expiration date’.
Whenever you see this on your product, make sure you do not use it after the specified date.
The shelf life of cosmetic products is determined with laboratory tests and it is important to respect it. But what if the product is past its expiration date and it looks OK? Can you still use it? Sadly, no. You are risking microbial contamination (you don’t want to put dangerous germs on your skin, do you?), oxidized ingredients (rancid oils contain irritating peroxides) and significantly reduced effectiveness of active ingredients (your anti-age serum might not be so anti-age any more).
3) Make the switch to natural/organic the easy way
If you’ve been thinking of going natural or organic but either aren’t sure where to start or haven’t got round to it yet, the new year is a good time to make the change. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming and you also don’t need change everything all at once. Here are a few ideas to begin with
- Choose a product you use a lot and start looking for a natural or organic alternative.
- In your detox, if you throw products away because they are out of date, replace them with natural/organic alternatives.
- When some of your current products are finished, look to replace them with natural/organic alternatives.
By making a small change now, you’ll start the process to make lots more small changes over time. That makes it more manageable and achievable and when you look back in, let’s say, 12 months’ time, you’ll probably have come a long way!
Make sure the products you choose really are natural by learning to read a cosmetic label. We’ll be helping you do that as part of our Skincare Detox challenge. You can sign up here.
4) Learn to use your products properly
To really get the most out of your products, you need to use them properly.
Are you following usage instructions correctly? For example an oil serum might be most effective when applied to damp skin, to help lock the moisture into it. Night time repair cream needs to be applied every night, and only at night – daylight might cause it to lose effectiveness. Using scrubs too often can be irritating for the skin. Using them not often enough will result in less efficient skin cell removal.
What about storage instructions? Do you read and respect them? Storing your products in optimal environment will make sure the products stay safe and effective. Usually, keeping skin care products in a cool and dark space is ideal.
So, definitely make sure to read the instructions on your product and follow them – this will guarantee you get the greatest benefits out of what you are using. Besides proper storage and usage, some products will achieve best results when used in combination with one another – see our next point.
5) Follow a simple regime/routine
Some products are designed to be used together. Making sure you follow a specific routine can be a small change that makes a big difference on your skin. Typical example of a skin care regime would be cleanse, tone and moisturise, repeated every day. Cleansing removes impurities from the skin, toning balances the pH of the skin after cleansing and hydrates it, moisturizer will nourish and soften the skin along with locking the moisture into it.
If a daily routine seems like too much to start with, you can begin with something a little more simple eg a weekly or bi-weekly routine. A simple once or twice a week routine could be using an energizing exfoliant to remove dead skin cells followed by a rich cream to intensively nurture the skin. This will work wonders for your skin while still being simple enough to do it regularly.
6) Decide what’s important to you
Finally, in your research for some new brands and products that are natural or organic, you can begin to decide what’s important to you.
Do you want to use products that are natural, organic, vegan, halal, kosher, cruelty free, fair trade, ethical or sustainable? Or would you like to use products that contain ingredients from cooperatives or that are fair trade, rainforest alliance or locally sourced?
There are so many options out there now because consumers are increasingly seeking products and experiences that conform to their own personal values, beliefs and aspirations, so that we can live more in tune with our deepest desires. Products and services don’t just need to solve a problem anymore, they also need be able to be the representation of the consumers’ lifestyle, values and belief systems.
So, find a brand that resonates with you or learn to make your own products which encompass your personal values. Get started by downloading our Free Recipe Book below!