WHY WE’RE GOING NATURAL

No, it’s not just for tie-dye-wearing hippies. Using natural beauty products is actually cool, not to mention sane.

By: Dani

Let’s get real for a second. Rubbing chemicals all over your face and body is not right. Point blank. Even though in our society it is completely *normal* (almost everyone does it), it’s not. Think about it. Actually think about what you are putting on your skin every single day for once. How can spreading things like lead and aluminum directly onto your skin (your body’s biggest organ) be normal? We’re sorry, but the last time we checked, that’s not normal. It’s actually insane, right? Right.

If that doesn’t make sense to you then maybe this will: HARSH CHEMICALS ARE NOT MEANT FOR DAILY HUMAN CONSUMPTION. At least not those of us who want to be healthy. It’s time to make the connection between food and beauty. What you put on your skin does actually end up in your body (well, kind of). Our pores absorb lots of the chemicals that we spread all over our faces and bodies over time, so yes, if you wouldn’t eat it, you probably shouldn’t being putting it directly on your skin every single day. You only wear makeup once or twice a month, fine. No biggie. But what about your skincare routine?

How many products do you use in a day? Before you leave your house? We use 12-15. Those are pretty big numbers. And this is on no makeup days. Then when we get home we use about 10-15 more products. So if you still think you don’t need to reconsider the products you use on your skin everyday, keep reading.

The grand (marketing!) scheme

Most products aren’t the healthy, beneficial miracle-makers they present themselves to be (in the long run, anyway), but with the millions of dollars they have, these brands convince you with BRILLIANT marketing that they’re actually helping you. Most times, they fix one problem, but create another. Yes, it’s a total scheme. Sure, all these products look beautiful, smell beautiful, make you feel beautiful, but this is all marketing, guys. Marketing at its finest. If all brands took a vow of honesty to market their products exactly for what they were (which will never happen), do you think you’d be as tempted to buy them? There’s this great quote, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Same here. If all brands were forced to list the dangerous/fatal risks of all ingredients included in their products on the front label of their products, most would go out of business.

This is how we see it: if all these companies (who will remain nameless here) put half, no make that a quarter of the amount of effort, time and money into the actual creation of their products as they do the multi-million dollar campaigns to promote said products, the beauty world would be a much better place. (For the record, we have nothing personal against these brands, just stating the facts.)

Do your own research

Like it or not, you’ve been duped. We’ve all been duped to some degree. And yet, deep down, we’ve known these things all along. We’ve just chosen to ignore it because it’s easier. And it is easier. Don’t mean to get preachy on you, but as an adult, it is your responsibility to do your own research. Companies lie. Their main goal is to make money, not to create smart, aware, healthy consumers. Come on, that’s bad for business. No one is going to do the work for you (well, technically in this case we have, but you get our point). Take the time to consider what you’re actually putting on your skin before you slather it all over your skin. Read the ingredients. That’s all we’re saying. We know, seems like a lot of extra work, but would you rather be ridden with chronic acne or cancer? We think not. Do your own research.

Ingredients matter

Cosmetics are just about the least regulated industry in the world. Can you believe that? Companies can pretty much use ANY ingredient they want in their products without any safety precautions taken before it hits the market. Brilliant. Really, fucking genius. If that’s not enough to rub you the wrong way, here’s another fact for you: almost 80% of the chemicals (toxic shit you put on your skin, in your hair, even in your mouth everyday) used in products out in the market have never been tested for safety or lack thereof. Not once. Which means the beauty industry is practically self-regulated. Which means companies and brands can say whatever the hell they want (and often do) to get you to buy what they’re selling.

On the bright side, just because they’ve never been tested doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily harmful to us. But on the other side, the absence of data doesn’t mean they’re good for us either. That’s why the safest bet is to try to not use products with chemicals, or find products with the least amount of chemicals. Okay, but what about the FDA? Please, don’t get us started. The FDA doesn’t even require that all ingredients be listed on a label, let alone the really horrible ones. Pathetic. Why is this allowed? Who knows? Maybe because they’re too busy sleeping with the enemy, you know, political ties, payouts, that kind of thing. Or maybe there are just not enough people in power who care enough to take action.

But fine, if you insist…

Secrets and lies

There are plenty of studies out there that you can easily find which results show that lead is commonly found in a lot of popular lipsticks out on the market. How is this possible? The FDA doesn’t have any limit for the amount of lead that can be in lipstick (but they do for other things like candy). You’re like, but I never see lead as an ingredient listed on lipsticks. Yeah, that’s because there are so many freaking loopholes in the regulations set by the FDA, which haven’t been touched since 1938 (!), allowing companies to get away with grouping tons and tons (literally hundreds) of different chemicals under the term “fragrance”. It can get really tricky and annoying, especially when you’re consciously trying to avoid known allergens or toxins. For instance, say you’re trying to avoid parabens, and you read through the ingredients of your moisturizer, and you think you’re good because you don’t see any parabens listed on the label. But here’s the catch. There is a “fragrance” ingredient low on the list, which very well means there could be parabens in that product. So unfortunately, most of the time, fragrance doesn’t actually refer to an assortment of essential oils, which is what we naively used to think. It often times is a cover-up for crap like lead.

How about this? Why don’t you do a quick test: go inside your bathroom and count how many products have “added fragrance or parfum” listed as one of the ingredients. You’ll be surprised, and possibly a little grossed out.

Beware of gimmicks and false advertising

So while we keep drilling into your heads, read the ingredients, some are admittedly misleading and it can be really frustrating. In the same vain as above, try to go for products without added fragrance. Anything with parfum or cologne in it means there is added chemical fragrance. Of course, as women we want to smell pretty. So if you must, limit all fragrance that you add to your body to an actual perfume. That way your body lotion, deodorant, conditioner and face wash don’t have to had added fragrance, too. Either that or buy “fragrance-free” or “unscented” products (still, double-check the ingredients). And if you really do some serious shopping around you may find a few products that only have scents from natural oil-blends. Even actual perfumes, like this one. Or try one from our girl Bee Shapiro’s line, Ellis Brooklyn, which are phthalates-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and seriously some of the most intoxicating, luxurious scents we’ve ever smelled (not sponsored). Highly recommended Myth, or Rives if you’re into unisex fragrances.

A quick warning before we go on: just because a product says “natural” doesn’t mean it is. Surprise, surprise. There are no regulations or standards for what’s labeled “natural” in the beauty industry. So what if it says so on the front of the bottle? Do you really think it’s a good idea to trust the word of someone whose main goal is to get your money in their pockets? Best thing is to just do your research. We can’t say that to you enough. Read the ingredients. Use your judgement. Chances are, unless you can pronounce or recognize every ingredient on the label, it’s not natural; it’s clever advertising.

We feel ripped off, don’t you?

Don’t be so quick to flock to products labeled “Paraben-free”, “sulfate-free” or “phthalate-free” either. While your chances are better, you can’t trust everything printed on a label. Marketing, remember? Clean beauty has become such a trend now that brands will use any loophole they can find in order to cash in on your ignorance as a consumer. And words like “herbal”, “botanical”, “pure”, and even “organic” have no legal definition, which means, you guessed it, anyone can say anything. Once again, say it all together, read the ingredients. What do they say? Would you eat it?

One product at a time

Now, at this point you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed with all this information we just shoved down your throat. (To your credit, remember, you’re the one who decided to read this so there’s a part of you – big or small – that wants to go natural. Admit it.) But relax; we’re not telling you to go one-hundred percent natural with every single product you use (but if you want to shoot for the stars, we’re cool with that). We’re simply telling you to be more conscious about what you’re rubbing into your skin, especially the things you use, once and multiple times a day.

Is every beauty and cosmetic product we use completely natural/nontoxic? No. But we are on our way. This is a process and we’re going to be honest with you about this every step of the way. Progress, not perfection. BTW, if you’re not subscribed already, go ahead and do that right now so you don’t miss any of our future posts where we test new natural/CF products out for you.

Sort it out like this in your head: if you can find an all-natural alternative, go with it. If you can’t, no worries. Just use what you can until find a substitute. Baby steps, people. One product at a time. Still having doubts? Let’s go through a list of understandable excuses, shall we?

…but I’m not sick and have good skin

We know what you’re saying to yourself right now (because we’re totally psychic): I’ve been using toxic products all my life and nothing bad has happened to me, so what’s the point of going natural? Ignorance is truly bliss, because this is exactly what we used to tell ourselves. Until we became brave enough to do the research (because we knew that once we went to the other side and actually learned the truth about the harm we we’re actually doing to ourselves we couldn’t continue on. That would be like self-mutilation in a way) we choose to stay in denial. Just like you.

But back to your point: Yes, a lot of mainstream products make big promises and some of them actually deliver on their word, but at what cost to you? And we don’t mean money. The problem is that some products do have lots of good ingredients, but they also have tons of harmful, toxic shit which totally negate the goodness in them. But they don’t tell you about those, do they? They don’t mention those ingredients in their ads or product description in their website. No, you’ll have to dig for those. Or just be smart and ALWAYS READ THE INGREDIENTS LIST, just like you should be doing with everything you put in your mouth. (You do do that, right?) So why not find other products that do the same beautifying magic, but don’t have all the added chemicals and toxic shit? Makes sense to us. Buy clean.

…but natural products are expensive

Yes, in general, they can be on the pricier side, but before you click out of this post, have you ever asked yourself why? Why are organic products so expensive? Why are non-organic products so much more affordable? Well, that’s where a little common sense comes in. Think about it in a practical way: using naturally-derived ingredients that don’t contain man-made chemicals take much more effort and time to develop. This costs money. So if you’re a new brand, trying to stand for what you believe in, chances are you don’t have a ba-gillion dollars to invest in research and labor only to not gain back any of it back in profit dollars.

To further break this down for you, we all know that mainstream brands have lots of money. They save even more money because the toxic chemicals they add to their products as preservatives and artificial coloring, are very easily accessible. Which means less money they have to shell out. Ever think about that? What do they do with this extra money? They spend it on gorgeous packaging to suck you in, and ridiculously huge advertising campaigns to convenience you that you *need* yet another bright red lipstick in your life, a separate budget set aside for the IT celebrity of the moment to be featured in their magazine ads and TV/YT commercials. Think about it. Have you ever seen any natural or plant-based cosmetic brands on TV? Well, there’s a reason.

So splurge a little in the name of better skin and no questionable ingredients! But also realize that not all natural products are created equal. There are actually some affordable natural and organic products out there. Be sure to subscribe to GOCO so you won’t miss part two where we share some of our favorite natural brands and give you tips to save money on natural/organic products. FYI: there’s a sneak peak in the “SHOP THE STORY” section below.

…but natural products don’t prevent my acne

Okay, you have a point there. The truth is, for some people, going natural cold-turkey will not be the best move, especially people who have blemish-prone skin. Most people who go natural experience a 2-3 week purging period after they switch over due to. If this is you, don’t freak out. This is normal and will pass. Remember, your skin has to adjust and you can always progressively trade out products over time (maybe a couple months) rather than quitting all your normal products all at once.

However, if after you go all-natural/non-toxic and you notice that your skin is breaking out consistently, more and more clogged pores are popping up that you’ve never had before, or any other major issues, then you may need to adjust your regimen accordingly. From our personal experiences, if you have severe acne-prone skin (we do), it will mostly be better if you find a balance between commercial and natural skincare products. Why? Because quite frankly, we’d rather use a commercial product that prevents our acne than a clean product that doesn’t. So if this is you, please don’t feel bad. You are not a horrible, filthy person! (FYI: right now, every product we use is clean except for our BP face wash and day moisturizer with SPF. If this changes in the future we’ll let you know, promise.)

And please note, acne-prone skin is not to be confused with a person who gets breakouts here and there. We all get breakouts; that’s just life. But acne-prone skin is an actual skin-type, like oily and dry and combination skin types. So if you get pimples infrequently or simply have sensitive skin, going natural might be the best thing for your skin purely because of the fresher, cleaner ingredients.

One more thing…

We should also point out that just because it’s natural doesn’t necessarily mean you should be using it. Okay, we know this sounds a bit backwards given all the things we’ve just said to you, but quite a few natural ingredients are animal-derived ingredients. If you’ve been reading here on GOCO long enough, then you already know everything you buy should be cruelty-free, but just in case you’re new here, we’re going to reiterate the importance of not abusing animals for your beauty routine. Enough of this already. Just be sure that any new natural products that you buy are also cruelty-free, which is not too hard since most brands that are concerned for the welfare and health of humans also don’t believe in torturing animals. Funny, huh?

It’s also extremely important that you listen to your skin and give it what is needs. Not all natural ingredients are good for all skin types. Do your…yes, research.

Okay, all jokes aside, what we said in the beginning was true: it’s your responsibility to become conscious of what your putting on your skin (and in your body, because as you know, we have open pores all over our bodies). Now it’s up to you. You know the facts. You know the truth. Decide for yourself and make the best informed decision you can make. Just remember: every time you use your dollar, you are literally voting for the kind of future you want with your beauty products.

That’s the bad news. But there is good news.

The good news is that there are so many – seriously so many – great natural brands and products out there that are just as beautifully packaged (although much safer for the environment) and work even better than the things you’re probably using now. If you want to see some natural products we’re loving go here, here, and here.

Your health is in your hands. Remember that.

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