Comb through any drugstore aisle or Sephora shelf, and you’ll see a healthy assortment of products touting some kind of “natural” or “non-toxic” aspect, a big trend in the skincare world right now—and of paramount importance to beauty consumers. (Aka: You guys.) And that’s not surprising since, on average, we’re slathering, lathering, and massaging our bodies with up to 15 products a day, and we sure as glow want them to deliver results without doing us any harm.
But with more options, comes confusion and intimidation. If you’re ready to make the move towards a less toxic beauty routine, but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out how small clean-beauty tweaks can pay off big:
Q: I want to cut back on chemicals. Which ones though?
A: Beauty products feature all kinds of different lingo on their respective packaging, including buzzwords, claims to fame, and more, which can be downright confusing to decode. Which is why, here at Glow Recipe, we adhere to a strict list of no-no’s when it comes to curating our K-beauty selections.
All of our products our formulated without five known bad-for-your-skin-and-body ingredients: parabens, mineral oil, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, talc, and phthalates, which are all potentially toxic, though there isn’t enough research for the FDA to regulate since studies have only shown them to be dangerous for animals. (As far as we’re concerned, if it’s not good enough for Buddy, it’s not good enough for us!)
Q: OK, then. What should I look for in an ingredient label?
A: The most head-scratching read on the entire bottle/tub/jar is undoubtedly the ingredient label. Here’s what you need to know: Everything is listed in descending order, which means that the first six ingredients or so are usually the most important and the most concentrated. For clean ingredients that work, look for active naturals like rose water, aloe vera, and camellia oil for hydration; blueberry and green tea for repair; parsley and witch hazel for purifying; propolis and watermelon for calming; and hydrolyzed wheat, barley, and oat proteins for hydrating, firming and boosting collagen in the top spots on the list.
Ingredients near the bottom of the list are usually not as potent and most likely help scent, preserve, and lengthen the life of the product. One caveat: Because different ingredients work best at different concentrations, certain clinical ingredients like vitamin C and AHAs may be towards the bottom of the list, but still very much deliver results.
Q: Speaking of active naturals—can they be as effective as conventional ingredients?
A: For the love of non-toxic serum, yes! No more crunchy tubs filled with hand-crafted brews that don’t work. It’s 2018, science is real, and a girl’s got options—really effective, innovative, beautifully-packaged options that are created with pure ingredients and without the above-mentioned chemicals.
One of the top K-beauty players in the natural skincare game, Whamisa, serves up truly revolutionary formulas that are made via a special fermentation process to maximize a smattering of food-grade ingredients, including certified organic rosemary, green tea, and olive oil. Then there’s Make P:rem’s safe line, which is formulated with less than 20 ingredients—all low hazard and irritant-free—that gently soothes and hydrates dry, sensitive, and compromised skin.
Finally, our very own Glow Recipe skincare range blends the power of antioxidant-rich fruits like watermelon and blueberry and natural botanicals with cutting-edge K-beauty formulation techniques that makes it easy for everyone to target specific concerns and get glowing without worrying about safety. If you’ve tried the Sleep Mask before and woken up with baby-face, you know what we’re talking about!
Q: Sold! How do I get started?
A: The first step to cleaning up your routine is Mari Kondo-ing your current lineup of products and getting rid of anything that is formulated with the above mentioned scaries or anything that has expired. Not sure if they have? Look for the symbol of an open jar with a number and an ‘M’ on it—usually located on the back or bottom of the bottle— which refers to how long the product is good after opening. If there’s a “12M” on it (see image, below), that means it will expire 12 months after breaking the seal. For new products going forward, follow this DIY trick from co-founder Christine: Write the open date right on the bottle, so you can easily keep track of when to toss it.
Step two? Swapping in cleaner formulas for a few high-risk products that are designed to sink straight into skin like toner, serum, and lip balm. Our natural picks: Whamisa by Glow Recipe Green Tea Serum Toner ($22), Earth’s Recipe Dual Hydrating Liposome Essence ($48), and Whamisa Organic Fruits Lip Moisture ($12).
One last thing to consider: While using natural, from-the-earth ingredients is seriously beneficial for both skin and body (case in point: watermelon juice), there are some effective, non-irritating, non-toxic synthetic ingredients (we’re looking at you hyaluronic acid) that may enhance a product, particularly in terms of boosting your glow.
Bottom line? Use caution and your best judgement when beauty shopping. Because at the end of the day, whatever makes your skin happiest is the product that’s best for you.
Into naturals? Which ones are your favorite skincare ingredients?