Recently, one of the most discussed topics around me is how to buy beauty products. Maybe it’s because I am really interested in the ingredients of products and think about them often. From my point of view, it feels best to eliminate as many beauty products in the house as possible and choose products you keep based on the ingredients and packaging. It is better to have a few great products than many of poor quality. But what are my criteria for choosing the right cosmetics?
Here are the rules I abide by when shopping for products:
Rule 1. Eliminate.
Most of the products we have, or think we need, are a result of someone telling us we need them and media reinforcing that idea. In an ideal world, we would all have one product with many uses. Our drawers and shelves would not collapse under the weight of different products, and we could choose our own cosmetics without the aggressive persuasion of a pretty face on a billboard. Of course you should not waste the products you have. Use them up, and for your next purchase consider a multipurpose product.
One example of a multi-use product is the one I use for shampoo, shaving cream, shower gel, and hand soap. One good foaming bar of soap. A good quality bar of soap is not that different from a shampoo bar soap, and if you want to give your hair some special care, you can use avocado, olive oil, honey, coconut oil, or some special herbs. All of these can usually be found in your kitchen! I use a shampoo bar soap and then rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:5.
Another good multi-use example is what I use for hand cream, lip balm, body lotion, foot cream, and aftershave lotion. Bamboo butter. You can keep a small container of it for your lips, and keep it handy in your purse. Coconut oil is similarly multi-use, but it will melt in the summer when it’s hot outside, so be careful. Use local oils if you are aiming for a low-waste alternative. Local sunflower oil or hazelnut oil are low-waste and have amazing benefits for the skin.
Rule 2. Pay attention to packaging.
I recommend avoiding products in plastic packaging, or eliminating your need for these products altogether. Products with plastic packaging are hardly ever recycled, so look around for products in glass or stainless steel containers. You will soon realize that companies who use glass packaging, especially purple glass or dark glass in general, are better quality. Typically, part of their company’s philosophy is sustaining the product quality as long as possible for you as a customer, alongside their awareness of the ecological impacts of the product.
Rule 3. Check ingredients.
Don’t waste your money on products that list water as the first ingredient. If it’s the first ingredient, it means the largest volume of all the represented ingredients is water. You’re paying for a product that’s mostly water! The next red flag I look for is “perfume”. This usually means some kind of chemical essence, and it’s not really clear what kind. This kind of vague information about our cosmetics is irresponsible at best, and can be dangerous at worst.
There are tons of ingredients in our products that should be considered red flags when shopping. Among them are SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), paraffin liquid, petrolatum, PEG, propylene glycol, triclosan, silicon, phthalate, and even more. If you want to investigate further, I recommend reading this.
Rule 4. Look for specific labels and logos.
Many products say something like bio, natural, or some other ambiguous word. Some of them you can trust, some of them you cannot.
I personally recommend the products that have at least a little bunny, which means that they are not tested on animals. I also advise you to look for products with the vegan logo.
Even if you are not vegan, it probably sounds more pleasant to have beauty products without bones, fat, grease, or other animal parts. If you don’t mind these ingredients, you can skip this rule and focus on the first 3.
And that’s it. If you are a beginner to multi-use, low-waste products, I really think these 4 rules will safely guide you. My complete list of beauty products is here.
Enjoy your beautiful day,
Translation with the help of Ellie Farrier