I was tagged by the lovely Kasey from Plein Vanity and sister duo Jennifer and Kathryne from Unsullied to do the Going Green Tag. As Kasey says, this tag was started by Rachel from All Natural Aspirations in her attempt to learn more about other bloggers’ experiences of “going green”. I never made an introductory post when I started blogging on how my green journey began, so thanks for tagging, ladies!
Pictured: Some cute succulents I picked up at Union Market, DC.
What started it all off for you?
It was a mixture of my on-and-off trench warfare with acne and a growing interest in makeup. In my acne-ful middle school and high school years, my makeup was eyeliner, mascara, eye concealer, done. Sometimes I would use concealer on my face, but a lot of the times I would forgo it (common conversation with myself: “Nah, you don’t need concealer today, that acne scar totally gives your face character”).
In the spring of my freshman year of college, I discovered the wonders of shopping online at Sephora and Asian BB cream. I started experimenting around and started breaking out more. I read that mineral foundation was acne-friendly, so I tried some BareMinerals, kept on breaking out, read that bismuth oxychloride was a skin irritant, aaand returned that in a blink of an eye.
In a flurry of fate, one of the order-with-samples was Josie Maran’s Argan Oil, the Birchbox of that month was the Earth Day Box, and I stumbled upon No More Dirty Looks. I played with the argan oil, checked out the mostly green products from the Birchbox (Juice Beauty, Egyptian Magic, not bad), read No More Dirty Looks, checked the back of my Philosophy Purity cleanser, and dropped it in horror after reading so many ingredient offenders that were poisoning me.
Pictured: No More Dirty Looks, Kindle edition. This book changed everything.
What was the first thing to go? (Ingredient or product)
Face cleanser/moisturizer. My first #greenbeauty products were One Love Organics Skin Savior and coconut oil, and I was so intrigued by products that could be a cleanser and a moisturizer at the same time. To be honest, I broke out even worse for a couple months after switching over, and it wasn’t until I changed to a simpler double-cleansing (jojoba, then honey), ACV-toning, and argan-moisturizing that my skin started to respond positively. Then I discovered Dr. Alkaitis, Vered Botanicals, yoga, eating green, and the rest is history. I’m not sure exactly what freaked my skin out at that time, but I’m attributing it to not double cleansing (*cringe), possibly not pure enough coconut oil (*double cringe), or possibly a sensitivity to coconut oil (*sad).
What are you/did you struggle to let go of?
Luckily, I wasn’t so attached to my skincare and makeup at the time, so I plunged into the world of #greenbeauty with absolute glee. I kind of did what NMDL advised not to do: freak out and throw everything away. Just knowing that there were inefficient or even harmful chemicals in my skincare and makeup repulsed me. I couldn’t put the products on my face after knowing what was inside them.
What has been your best find or change? (i.e. a green product or a tip that you’re really glad you’ve found/learnt)
Face oils!!! After years of oil-free brainwashing, I am now such a lover of face oils. The good ones give an instant glow, moisturize effectively, signal overreactive sebaceous glands to calm down, will often have great ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, omega fatty acids, and/or antioxidants. Also, their ingredients include some of my favorite foods: broccoli (similar feel as silicone), blueberry (antioxidants), raspberry (more antioxidants), and more.
Pictured from left to right: A couple of good face oils, including de Mamiel’s Spring Facial Oil (flower essences and moisturizing oils, smells just like Spring), YÜLI M.E. Skin Fuel (truly anti-inflammatory fuel for the skin, recently reviewed here), ED4OLO Active Moisture Vitamin C Serum (super moisturizing, reviewed here), MUN No. 1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum (have yet to open this, but enjoyed the sample of it I ordered from Spirit Beauty Lounge)
What has been the worst thing about going green? What has been the hardest to transition or find an adequate green replacement of?
A lot of people say mascara, and this is where I have to thank my silly straight Asian lashes–even conventional mascaras never really worked for me. People also say deodorant, and this is where I have to thank my sweat glands–even that “prescriptive-strength anti-perspirant” deodorant didn’t work on me (can’t stop the sweat–stay tuned for a deo post). I think out of all of my products, it’s taken the longest time to find a mascara that works for me, period. The best part is that so many green beauty brands have been coming out with great mascaras made of natural ingredients and free of nasty preservatives, like rms beauty (defining is goooood stuff), W3ll People (@chinoisechic has good things to say about this one), and Alima Pure (tried it on my sis and looks good on her).
The worst thing about going green is watching other people continuing to use non-green products in ignorance. I think the absolute worst thing is when I’m watching a YouTube beauty favorites video, and the YouTuber says, “I don’t know what is in this product, but I love it so much!” (Though it was really funny when one YouTuber was commenting how Philosophy’s Purity cleanser wasn’t very pure, which I agreed with, but not because of the parabens or such, but because of various plant oils that I thought were actually decent. Awkward.) Of course, it is a completely personal choice to go green or not go green at all, and I just have to learn to accept that everyone has different opinions, tastes, and comfort levels. Or I can just slyly give green beauty gifts out for special occasions (and guess what. 100% satisfaction rate so far–booyah).
Pictured from left to right: Kjaer Weis Mascara (lovely rosey scent and nicely defines lashes for a natural look), rms beauty Defining Mascara (really packs on the definition and makes it look like I have eyelashes), Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara (also nicely defines and is layerable for a natural look, recently reviewed here)
Anything else to add? Any tips or tricks to pass on?
Be informed. You don’t have to go green, but as the consumer, you should at least know what is being absorbed into your bloodstream. There are so many great resources (No More Dirty Looks), lots of #greenbbloggers, lots of passionate green beauty store owners (Spirit Beauty Lounge, Follain, Clementine Fields, Eco Diva Beauty, Content Beauty, just to name a few), and lots of fabulous green beauty brands with inspiring stories who are committed to bringing healthy beauty to the world.
Being informed will also help you if you are an acne-sufferer like me. I think the knowledge is so empowering–instead of resorting to super full-coverage makeup or using drying and potentially harmful acne treatments, you yourself can try to pinpoint what is causing the acne–is it diet, stress, a product, hormones? You’re not helpless! Of course, if it gets really bad, see a derm, but you have the power to not only heal your skin but also make it as healthy and happy as possible.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how I went green! Now, I would love to hear Marcella’s (Naturally Marcy), Asti’s (Skjonnhet), Kathy’s (Beauty Palette), and your story of how you went green.