It's never been easier to green your routine.
Your body tackles a lot, day in and day out. Between stress and pollutants and pesticides, external aggressors are often inevitable. But detoxing what you put on your skin is totally doable (if not downright easy). In the past few years, natural beauty products have gotten smarter, chicer, and more effective than ever. We asked Katey Denno, a makeup artist and green beauty expert, to take us through her top natural beauty product swaps, from lipstick to perfume.
Foundation is a makeup MVP, helping you to get smooth and glowing skin. So a natural formula should be a must-have because it's used on your entire face—a large surface area. "This also makes it important to find the right shade," says Denno. Burt's Bees'® radiance-enhancing foundation is formulated without parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or synthetic fragrances, and it comes in 12 shades.
"Because a large part of what we put on our skin winds up [absorbed into our skin], choosing body oils and lotions that are made with organic ingredients is so important," says Denno. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the amount of chemical absorbed depends on how strong your stratum corneum, or outer layer of the skin, is at the time of application. Natural formulas like this one, which blends rich butters and fragrant oils, are super luxurious—plus, the infused oil helps the scent linger longer on your skin.
When it comes to facial moisturizers Denno suggests packing a powerful punch with one product. "This face oil keep breakouts at bay while providing deep hydration and aroma-therapeutic benefits," she says. For example, its leleshwa oil has what Denno calls the four A's: antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. "This in combination with its natural preservative properties makes it the ideal ingredient to help treat acne-prone skin," she says.
"The overwhelming smell you get each time you open a bottle of nail polish or enter a nail salon is a pretty obvious indication of toxicity," says Denno. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), just a few chemicals you may be inhaling include formaldehyde (nail polish, nail hardener), acetone (nail polish remover), dibutyl phthalate (nail polish), and methacrylic acid (nail primer). Yum! Denno is a fan of 5-free formulas, which exclude five of the most harmful ingredients (formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor) from their polishes. Early natural nail polish formulas didn't have the staying power of traditional versions, but that's no longer the case. "This line has done a great job creating finishes and color options that are quick to dry and rival mainstream brands—without the exposure to so many potentially toxic chemicals," she says.
Synthetic scents are—wait for it—artificial, which means they may contain all kinds of questionable ingredients. "One of our biggest concerns is phthalate exposure," explains Denno. "This compound disrupts endocrine function, the bodily system that regulates hormones, and is present in synthetic fragrance." Your best bet is to find a fragrance made with 100% plant-based essential oils. Denno wears this warm, intoxicating scent all winter; it's a base of coconut oil infused with yuzu, ginger, and sandalwood.
Denno always suggests searching for natural options when it comes to lip products. "This fantastic line complements every skin tone, from the most nude to surprisingly bold, pigment-packed colors."
A hot bath is the perfect excuse to stop scrolling through your phone. "Completely submerging yourself in a bathtub filled with rich algae, detoxifying clay, and exfoliating salt is as easy as tearing open this pouch," says Denno. Plus, it's free of artificial fragrances—meaning it's as au naturel as you'll get.
"Nearly every day, we scrub our scalps with shampoo, allow the lather to run down our bodies while we shower, and deeply inhale steamed essences," says Denno. "During a hot shower with steam, the pores expand on the skin and the lungs work hard to separate the oxygen from the water," she explains. Translation: Your skin is more susceptible to absorbing the products you put onto your body, and you're breathing more deeply than you normally would in a confined space surrounded by the steam that encompasses the products you're using in your shower. This shampoo and conditioner don't sacrifice lather or creaminess for their natural formulations.