How to Green Your Beauty Routine
by Sarah Ban
While we’re not here to tell you to throw out all your drugstore skincare (if that’s not your jam quite yet), what we will say is we believe in the beauty of green! Not only because earth-derived skin care is wonderfully compatible with our own bodies (after all, from the beginning we existed on this planet side by side with plants), but also because with new knowledge and scientific advancements, natural skin care doesn’t mean you compromise on performance—not one bit!
If you’re looking to switch your skincare regimen to the natural side, do so one step at a time to ensure your skin is meshing well with the new product and seeing visible changes. (If you start with ten new things all at once, how will you know what’s helping and what’s not?) Start by going green in phases so you—nor your skin—don't feel overwhelmed and reap maximum benefits.
1. Green Your Face
By going green on your face, you can then take full advantage of nature’s most nourishing skin-compatible ingredients that will improve the quality, texture and overall look of your complexion—without any of the side effects that come from artificial and synthetic ingredients. Start greening your face with a gentle yet potent serum—which contains higher concentrations of actives and delivers quicker results—to get the most bang for your buck.
This remarkable elixir is chock-full of powerful plant actives that deliver a brighter and smoother complexion. In addition to vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside), which brightens dark spots and evens skin tone, this serum also contains niacin (or vitamin B3) and sodium hyaluronate. Niacin can boost cell turnover, essentially helping to slough off dead skin cells to improve skin texture and diminish fine lines and wrinkles over time. Sodium hyaluronate is derived from hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, and this is very good at keeping skin hydrated and plump. Together, these three ingredients revitalize skin, even skin tone, soften wrinkles and moisturize.
Vitamin C Peptide Renewal is free of parabens (a group of compounds used as preservatives in many beauty items), synthetic colors and fragrances, sulfates (harsh additives that cause foaming action in cleansers) and mineral oil (made from petroleum), all of which can potentially have deleterious effects.
2. Green Your Body
Sure, your body isn’t as front-and-center as your face, but since your skin is your largest organ it’ll serve you well to pay attention to what you put on it. Keep in mind: the FDA doesn't regulate the ingredients in cosmetics and skincare products. For example, despite being linked to illnesses, parabens are fair game in the U.S. (but banned in the European Union). Synthetic fragrances are also prevalent in conventional skincare, but it can be a major source of irritation for some people. In fact, LATHER’s founder Emilie created this brand when she realized fragrances were partly responsible for her migraine headaches.
LATHER’s Bamboo Lemongrass Moisturizer features essential oils of lemongrass, vetiver, geranium and jasmine which provide hydration and infuse the silky lotion with an invigorating scent not reliant on artificial fragrances. And don’t be scared of the lab-like names!
Decyl oleate is derived from the naturally occurring (in both animals and vegetables) fatty acid oleic acid, which has moisturizing and anti-aging benefits. Decyl oleate produces a thin, hydrating layer on the skin that is never greasy or sticky. Ethylhexyl palmitate is also a moisturizing agent derived from palm oil that has skin smoothing properties. Finally, the Bamboo Lemongrass Moisturizer contains bamboo extract, which prevents moisture loss, soothes and hydrates and contains antioxidants that protect skin from free radicals (unstable atoms that play a role in aging).
3. Green Your Hair
Most hair care products available to us contain sulfates (e.g. sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate), which provide the foaming action that has become the hallmark characteristic of shampoos. Most shampoos with sulfates usually contain a concentration of around 15%.
Considered to be safe in small doses by the FDA, sulfates have nevertheless been linked to organ toxicity, harm to the environment, eye irritation and skin irritation and allergies. Sulfates are also quite harsh, as they completely remove natural surface oils. This can be great when you're using dishwashing liquid to de-grease a pan, but not so great when it comes in contact with your skin and strips it of all naturally moisturizing oils!
Green shampoos and cleansers typically do not contain aggressive sulfates. LATHER's Bamboo Creme Hair Wash is sulfate-free and instead relies on ingredients like decyl glucoside and lauryl glucoside to provide a milder, more natural foaming action that cleans without removing the oils crucial to your skin. Decyl glucoside is biodegradable and derived from plant-based fatty alcohols, while lauryl glucoside is produced from glucose and lauryl alcohol and is also biodegradable and gentle on the skin. Other ingredients in this hair wash, like jojoba oil, infuse the hair with moisture, making it shinier and easier to style, while panthenol and oat amino acids help hair retain moisture, reducing frizz.
Once you take these three steps, you’ll attain a clear picture of how your face and body will change for the better. Mother Nature intended for us to have lush, glossy locks and radiant skin, so take advantage!