Grading your skincare regime

Photo cred: misuma Getty Images/iStock photo

I don’t know about you all, but I get very complacent with my beauty routine, rarely switching up products and doing my research. In the past, my “research” has consisted of what is available at Target, whether I deem it affordable, and if it simply works for my skin. Unfortunately, this isn’t the extent one needs to go when truly looking into products that are put on our bodies.


Wendy Polisi

Written in her blog post 24 Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid on

1371 ingredients are banned elsewhere in the world, and yet here in the US only 11 have made that list. As a consumer who trusts the brand, that’s alarming. It was because of this knowledge that I decided to make an effort to do better for my body. Last year, I challenged myself to begin the slow process of converting my products to “healthier” choices. While it isn’t quite feasible to make this change over night and in a complete overhaul fashion, baby steps and some help from a few apps makes the transition easier.

Photo cred: Geo-grafika Getty Images/iStockphoto

The first thing I did was decide to start small. Beginning my conversion with my skincare products only. At this point in my “healthier” journey, I opted to not switch my makeup yet. I like the products I have right now, and am not ready to give them up. So instead I decided to start with my first line of defense – skincare.

To begin, I downloaded two apps to help guide my journey: Think Dirty and Healthy Living. These apps are free to download and are user friendly. To use, simply allow the app to access your camera, and when you are perusing the beauty aisle scan the barcode in the app. If the product has already been vetted by the developers, it will quickly “grade” the product in terms of overall quality as well as by specific area. These areas range in scent, carcinogens, sulfates – you get the idea. The app will even go on to explain the rating in each category. For me, this is where it initially got frustrating. Not all organic/natural/free products are created equal, or truly live up to their of-now claims. The first time I scanned products, I felt as though there was NOTHING “healthy” to buy. I then abandoned ship, only to try it again a few weeks later. This time I adopted a new mindset. I told myself to pick a few items to try, and determine which rated factors were important to me, and which I didn’t worry as much about. For instance, scent/perfumes in products I found to be nearly impossible to avoid. I decided I frankly like my lemon sugar or lavender scented soaps and washes, and wasn’t going to let that deter my whole new mindset.

To me, the idea is great. Who wouldn’t want to live ultra clean from the inside out? However it really isn’t feasible, whether financially or for accessibility’s sake. So while I am not expert on the matter, I think baby steps and evaluating what is important is the best way to go. Another way to dabble in this process is to try samples. For example, Follain sells a “Clean Essentials Kit” that covers your whole skin care regime. It includes a toner, wash, soap, and moisturizer, as well as come in a perfect travel pouch. The sample sizes allow you try a few of the different full sized products they sell at a fraction of the cost – $25. Native also markets a sample travel pack that comes with five of their various blends of deodorants. I have tried this myself, as I had never used their products before OR could determine a scent that I wanted to purchase the full sized version of. Regularly priced sticks of deodorant are $12 on their site, however you can purchase the travel sample pack for $24, or even get a customized 3 pack of full sized sticks for $30., another clean product merchant, also sells “discovery” packages of some of their products. While their products tend to be on the higher end, it makes sense to try a sample version before completely splurging on all new products.

If you are interested in learning more about specific ingredients to avoid in your beauty and skin products, check out the articles below. Additionally, if this post has inspired you in the slightest to make miminal or complete changes in your choices when it comes to skin care, do some research, determine what will work best for you, and start small. Challenge yourself to convert one product at a time over, and by the end of the year you may find yourself with a whole new perspective on skin care ingredients.

If you are interested in reading more on the topic, check out some of the articles below:

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