Drumroll please….for my first ever attempt at taking part in a Tag. In this case, it’s the Going Green Tag from Rachel at All Natural Aspirations and I was tagged by Ana at Ana Goes Green. Do go and check them both out. I’ve been following Ana for ages now and love the fantastic range of products she features as well as her open, enthusiastic style of writing. I hadn’t discovered Rachel’s blog before but I started writing this post over half an hour ago and I’m still on the first paragraph. Ah how we all love a trip down the beauty blogging rabbit hole. It’s research, ok?? And Rachel’s blog is a good read…
1. What started it all off for you?
In my experience, I’m like most green beauty bloggers and brand innovators out there. Having struggled for years with problematic skin and a range of quite varied diagnoses, I did the classic sidestep and started scrutinising my bathroom cabinets and trying to figure out for myself what worked and what didn’t. I started training to be a clinical aromatherapist and masseuse and I started blogging. In the process, I found this wonderful community of people who were well-informed and passionate about the very things I was trying to learn. It was the community that kept me writing, studying and engaged with developments in the natural/organic beauty sphere and it’s been incredible to discover just what a huge range of options there are for us greenies, compared to just a few years ago.
2. What was the first thing to go? (Ingredient or product)
I don’t honestly remember making a conscious decision to cut a particular ingredient first. But I suspect the choices I started making meant SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) was the first to go. At the time, it was getting the most write up and I found out pretty quickly that it was a potential skin irritant and could be very drying. Given that I needed no help with irritating or drying out my skin, I started switching up my shower products first.
3. What are you/did you struggle to let go of?
I still haven’t found the perfect natural make-up in all categories, although I’m getting there. Plus I’ve never investigated natural toothpastes because I’m far too wedded to my Sensodyne. Struggling is perhaps the wrong word though. For a few years now, I’ve focused on being a lot more forgiving, of myself and other people. Once you open the green door, it’s easy to start beating yourself up for every ‘banned’ ingredient that sneaks through and it’s not worth it. By reminding myself that what I do is good enough, I get to enjoy the search for lovely new products without worrying too much if I haven’t found them yet.
4. 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)
I’m with Rachel on this one. Oils all the way. It helps that my aromatherapy training has given me much greater insight into just how perfect plant, vegetable and essential oils are for the body but my beauty blogging has been the perfect complement. There is literally nothing you can’t do with the right oil. Whether you’re caring for your skin, your hair, your nails, your health or your mood/well-being, there’ll be a perfect oil to choose. I eat them, wear them, write endlessly about them, dream about them and will probably name my children after them.
5. What has been the worst thing about going green? What has been the hardest to transition or find an adequate green replacement of?
For me, there hasn’t really been a downside* but that’s got a lot to do with intention. I didn’t set out to adopt the perfect green lifestyle and I haven’t ‘switched’ in every aspect of my life. I’m probably 90% of the way there but I’ve concentrated more on enjoying the process rather than ticking the boxes. Going green was about changing my perspectives as much as it was about changing my products – in the 4+ years I’ve been focusing on more natural options, I’ve taken better care of myself, learned how to prioritise my health and wellbeing and achieved things I hadn’t imagined I could. I am healthier, happier and just a bit better.
*Maaaaaybe if I had to pick a downside it would be that my toiletries budget is quite a bit (a lot) higher than it used to be. But this says more about my magpie-like tendencies and lack of self-restraint than it does about the fact that you can’t get genuinely wonderful natural products on a budget.
6. Anything else to add? Any tips or tricks to pass on?
Try, try and try again. It’s easy to think that because something is natural or organic, it’s going to work for us. But that’s just not true. Our skins are as unique as we are; if one product or ingredient doesn’t get the results you’re looking for, try something else. And if you have sensitive skin, patch test, patch test and patch test again (as Ana said in her tag, more and more companies are waking up to the demand for samples, particularly since most of us have to buy online and don’t have the option to smell or slather before committing to a full size bottle). I’ve always been a bit careful about the whole natural vs chemical divide in green skincare. The fact is, natural ingredients are also chemicals, they’re just naturally occurring chemicals rather than man-made ones. Being ‘natural’ doesn’t mean an ingredient couldn’t also be an irritant for you – one of the first things we learned about essential oils in my course was the need to be aware of allergic reactions or sensitivities. So don’t be put off or disheartened if the first ‘natural’ product you try doesn’t transform your skin overnight. Keep trying, keep experimenting and enjoy the process.
And now for the ‘pass it on bit’. I’d like to nominate Gemma at Buff Beauty whose stylish, informative and varied blog I just love and Megan at Seed to Serum because her blog regularly introduces me to brands I don’t know and she describes herself as “face oil obsessed”. I think we’d get on…!