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I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about recipes for homemade versions of beauty and household products. I try to keep these recipes as easy and affordable as possible so they don't seem overly ambitious to the person who just wants to spend a few bucks and a few minutes whipping up her own soap.
Even at its easiest and cheapest, though, I recognize that there can be DIY obstacles. For one, a person may just not have the interest to make her own products. I get that. I'm a person who has no interest in sewing or fixing things around the house or trying to build something. Nine times out of ten, if there's something I need, I will buy it. Beauty and household products (and food) are my only exceptions. But DIY beauty and household products might not be your thing. You may have no desire to gather the ingredients together, find a container, and clean up afterward. I hear you.
Another obstacle: necessity. I recognize that for most people, that moment when they need something RIGHT NOW is not necessarily the moment they want to spend putting it together themselves. If you run out of makeup and have a party to go to in a few hours, you're not necessarily going to want to take the time to blend arrowroot and cocoa powder, adding a teaspoon at the time until you get the perfect shade. I hear you again.
Also, there are some things that I wouldn't even know how to go about making on my own. How does one make sunscreen? Is there really a DIY way to make nail polish? With all this in mind, I wanted to make a list of resources I've used to help me make choices about the products I buy. Making my own products is great, but sometimes it's nice to know there are natural, safe store-bought options, too.
By the way, I just purchased the sunscreen in the photo above. I haven't tried it yet, so it's too early for me to give a review. All I know for now is that the ingredient list is minimal: zinc oxide, shea butter, coconut oil, sesame oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, beeswax and vitamin E. None of this matters, of course, if it doesn't protect me from getting burned. I'll keep you updated after I try it out.
Without further ado, here are resources I recommend using when you're looking for products with fewer unpronounceable ingredients and more skin-friendly, earth-friendly appeal.
THE BEST ALL-NATURAL (AND AFFORDABLE!) BEAUTY PRODUCT SWAPS TO HELP YOU QUIT YOUR DRUGSTORE HABIT
What It Is: This super-helpful article takes commonly loved beauty products (think Cetaphil face wash or Jergens body lotion) and suggests safe, effective, cheap products to try instead. We all want clean skin, right? But wouldn't it be nice to get that clean skin without a side of chemicals? If you agree, you'll love this list.
7 SAFE + AFFORDABLE SKIN & HAIRCARE BRANDS
What It Is: Kris Carr is a natural living goddess who came back from cancer and now devotes herself to clean living. From green smoothie recipes to safer nail polish ideas, she's the go-to girl for knowing what's healthy and safe for the body. This list shows seven skincare and haircare lines committed to safer products.
ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP'S 2015 GUIDE TO SUNSCREENS
What It Is: The 2016 list is coming out soon, but for now the 2015 list is a good reference point. This site includes a list of the best sunscreens, the worst sunscreens, and lots of tips for staying safer in the sun.
THE BEST NON-TOXIC NAIL POLISHES
What It Is: I love Kris Carr so much, I'm citing her twice. This time she went to work testing less toxic nail polishes and gave them a score based on their animal testing standards and hazard rankings.
KIND CLASSICS: NATURAL MAKEUP
What It Is: Actress Alicia Silverstone has made another name for herself as an outspoken vegan activist who advocates for healthier living through nutrition and external products. This list is a few years old but is still relevant today and includes her recommendations for effective makeup with minimal ingredients.
THE 75 BEST NATURAL & NONTOXIC MAKEUP PRODUCTS
What It Is: With prices ranging from $5 to $85, this is a no-fuss list of safer makeup products with links to everything. This blog does not fail in its promise to be all about "finding exceptional non-toxic makeup and skincare products."
My biggest advice when it comes to both beauty and household products is this: Stop, drop, and look. Look at the ingredient list. If you don't recognize something, look it up. If you look up an ingredient and feel disturbed about it going onto your skin and into your bloodstream, ditch it. There are always safer alternatives. I understand there are so many causes bigger than makeup to fight for, but choosing more natural skincare products is something I know I can do. I can choose safer products for myself. People around me may be inspired to choose safer products for themselves, too. If enough people went this route, we could send a message to big makeup and beauty companies that we're tired of all the chemicals they're casually loading into their products. We're tired and we're ready for an alternative.