I Swapped Out My Beauty Products for Their All-Natural Alternatives
It’s no secret that I’m somewhat of a beauty product virtuoso. Yes, I know the exact elixir that will erase signs of a hangover and what to use when my hair keeps falling flat. I apply eye cream all day and wake up overnight guests with a spritz of rose water. I have a lavender-scented eye pillow. I take collagen pills with breakfast. Does this make me sound like a freak? Perhaps. But I know what I like—and what I like is beauty.
That being said, I’ve also made strides in my life to weed out the clutter—physically and mentally. I donated a portion of my wardrobe to Good Will, relinquished my product freebies to the appreciative women at work, and practice yoga to relax my chronically buzzing mind. But what I haven’t been able to give up, of course, are my beloved unnatural and certainly not organic products. That is, until now.
Fellow Byrdie editor Victoria Hoff mused, “It started with my plant-based diet, and then I realised it was hypocritical for me to be conscious about the environment without treating my skin, face, and hair the same way. The problem was that even just a few years ago, all-natural products were not nearly as widely available—much crunchier and definitely not always as effective. It’s been really awesome to suddenly have all these options that not only do as well as the synthetic-laden stuff, but outperform them, too—with awesome packaging and branding to boot. There's really just no excuse at this point.”
To be fair, it’s a convincing argument. But was I willing to abandon my cherished synthetic ingredient–laden products for a more holistic lifestyle? I decided to give it shot—for one week—to find out.
First things first: I had to come up with a plan. I resolved to swap out two products from each of the usual categories (hair, skin, makeup) for organic alternatives. Again, I looked to Victoria for help. She recommended her favourites and I got started.
Keep scrolling to find out what happened next.
My first attempt was a bit ambitious. I substituted my usual shampoo for Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar ($8) and Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda—a DIY trend that, to my dismay, has become quite prevalent—and conditioned with Spectrum Naturals Organic Coconut Oil ($14). I'm no stranger to these ingredients—I use coconut oil in lieu of body lotion (because seriously, that scent) and drink shots of apple cider vinegar in the morning for the bloat-busting benefits. But to mix them together and run the concoction through my hair? I was skeptical. Turns out, after two greasy-haired days, I decided to take it down a notch and revise the rules of this experiment. Rather than mix up my own cleanser, I would use one that had already been mixed and bottled by actual experts.
The Rahua Shampoo ($43) and Conditioner ($44) are great for those transitioning out of the “no poo” situation (my first half of the week) and they smell like an absolute dream. Rahua oil strengthens damaged ends while nourishing the scalp and hair follicle, which allows your hair to grow longer and stay healthy. The shampoo has a light foam and was especially delicate on my colour-treated hair. The conditioner can even be used as a styling cream in a pinch.
La Tierra Sagrada's Treatment, dubbed hair medicine, is formulated with palo santo (which is a natural wood aromatic incense that I use to scent my apartment) and ayahuasca (which is a psychedelic herbal drink). So officially, I was down to try it. And guess what? It delivered. Formulated with coconut oil, vitamin E, and rosemary, this concoction was healing to my split ends and left me with serious shine.
May Lindstrom The Problem Solver ($114) is pricy (and a bit messy) but worth it. I opened up the jet-black fusion of raw cacao, bamboo, charcoal, and warming spices and placed it with water in a bowl. Once blended together, it forms a soft mousse that I massaged into my face and left for 45 minutes. (Luckily my favourite thing is to sit on the couch and do nothing.) The mask is intense, as it purifies and tightens pores, soothes inflammation, heals blemishes, and increases circulation in the skin. It really does solve all your problems.
One Love Organics Waterless Beauty Balm is the ultimate multitasker. It removes dirt and makeup without stripping the skin, moisturises, and illuminates. That, and it’s completely natural. The balm combines coconut oil, mango butter, jojoba, and chia for a citrusy vanilla treat for your face. It’s so gentle and somehow still wildly effective.
Victoria discussed how Odacité Serum Concentrates ($50) were created by a Parisian who moved to L.A. and became an all-natural aesthetician. She hand-formulated the entire line of concentrated serums. So naturally, I had to try them. You can mix and match each formula according to your skin issue that day. Genius. I mixed it up with my foundation and added the Apricot-Palmarosa variety to sooth my irritated skin. It was calming, helped reduce the appearance of broken capillaries, and moisturised really well.
RMS Beauty Un Cover Up ($55) truly melts into the skin (but never gets cakey). It works both to cover, highlight, and even moisturise the skin all at the same time. I’m a concealer snob, and this one passes the test on all counts.
Ilia Polka Dots and Moonbeams Illuminator ($49) is a subtle highlighter that added a really nice dimension and dewiness to my skin. I applied it to my cheekbones, brow bones, inner corner of my eyes, and along the bridge of my nose. Most notably, the illuminator kept me delightfully reflecting light all day, and I never once noticed a difference because it was organic.
Ilia’s Tinted Lip Conditioner in Arabian Knights ($38) looks dark, but it’s really just a sheer stain that thoroughly conditions your lips. You can layer it on for a moodier look or sheer it out with balm. Either way, this pick is divine.
All in all, I found a tonne of incredible organic products—most of which I’ll certainly be integrating into my usual routine. I feel much farther along on my path to righteousness, save for the few not-so-natural favourites I may or may not be bringing along with me.
Do you have a favourite all-natural product? Let us know in the comments below.