If you already follow me on Instagram, you won’t be surprised by the fact that I am extremely into skincare. You’ve seen me trying out different facemasks on the regular and you know I love my Sephora samples of new trending items before I commit to purchasing. But one thing has changed in the past few years for me pretty significantly, and that’s this: I now care about the ingredients in the skincare I use.
Before I ever got pregnant, the word “natural” on a skincare product was actually a deterrent to me. In my mind, natural meant ineffective. “Nope,” I thought, “give me all the chemicals and science-developed products, the stuff that really works”. Anything that came from the earth had to be second-rate in terms of its efficacy. It wasn’t until I became pregnant for the first time that I started being more mindful of the products I put on my skin.
Even then, I wasn’t half as aware as I am now of the dangers of some of those products. But I educated myself and became aware of the things that I was putting on my skin and how products can permeate our skin and be absorbed by the bloodstream. I remember reading that they had tested newborn babies’ umbilical cord blood and discovered toxic chemicals in it, many of which are found in common skincare products such as face wash and lotion. It scared me enough to follow a more basic routine and cut out the products that I considered to be“super-chemically” but I didn’t go all-natural either.
Ever since September 2014, I’ve been either pregnant or breast-feeding (or both), so I’ve resolved to maintain a more natural skin care regimen until that time ends. But to be totally honest, I’ve made a lot of jokes about how I can’t wait to use chemicals again, especially on things like my melasma that don’t respond great to natural products. Let’s face it- those labs have created some amazing products with proven results. And I find it challenging to do the research even if I wanted to be totally clean because there are so many words that companies get away with using to mask the dangerous ingredients. It’s like you’d need a degree in skincare just to decipher what’s what and be able to discern what’s safe to use for your own skin type and to alleviate your skincare concerns. I was trying to avoid mineral oil, and then I read somewhere that brands can cleverly rename mineral oil about twenty different ways like “base oil” or even, somehow, as “carnation” and I just sort of threw my hands up in the air and gave up. I (and I assume, you) just don’t have the time or the desire to get that serious about it.
Still, about a year ago, I started following a few Instagram accounts that focus on natural skin care, and I ended up making some changes- not just because they contain more natural products but because in some cases, those products actually work better and make your skin look healthier. It’s a news flash, I know. But I’m totally serious. Often times, they’re a lot cheaper as well. Nowadays I keep a mix of my go-to products that are totally clean, and some that are tried and true, in every way, better than the ones I’d been using that were chock full of icky stuff. With skin, a lot of times, less is more- and in my experience, the stuff that’s paraben free and doesn’t contain fragrances (which are usually unnecessary) often leads to less congestion and irritation.
My daily skincare routine consists of the following paraben-free products:
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin: It’s as clean as a cleanser can get, and as effective if not more at quickly removing my makeup. Seriously, if I listed all the junk that this product manages to do without, I’d probably lose your attention as it’s such a big bundle. I’ve noticed a major difference in the softness and hydration of my skin while using this product in conjunction with the next one.
Cerave Facial Moisturizing PM Lotion: Super lightweight, non-greasy, and totally clean. It says PM but I use it morning and night. It’s very hydrating while still being light enough to put on, like, ten seconds before you put on your makeup.
Three Sisters Magic Salve: My daily go-to for makeup remover, extra undereye moisture, eyebrow taming, lip hydration…you name it. It just so happens to be all natural, and it’s better than anything I’ve ever tried in terms of super-duper-moisturizing skin that’s in need of TLC (I posted about all the other incredible uses for this product here).
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil: Drunk Elephant is actually one of a few brands that are high-end, high-quality while going the extra mile to avoid unsafe products. This facial oil is lovely. Being someone who is slightly obsessed with facial oils, I assure you it’s worth the pricetag (though of course, I recommend getting a sample if you want to try it for yourself). I can’t imagine how much I’m going to love this product in the winter when my skin is in even more need of a moisture boost.
Just this summer, Sephora started labeling their products carefully with a “Clean at Sephora” seal that takes the research part out of the shopping equation- every item in the store that doesn’t contain a bunch of icky stuff (click the link for a detailed list of the criteria they need to adhere to) is clearly labeled with a green seal. You can see all the products here. So the great news is that it appears that companies are really starting to take the “clean” thing into account based on a movement of people who are demanding better, and remove the junk from their products in order to keep our business. Look for the seal when you’re shopping!
For my local upstate New York friends: I was offered an hour-long facial at Skin Serendipity Day Spa, an at-home day spa in Wappingers- all of the products she uses are paraben-free, plant-based, and effective. I had a blissful experience. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed, and I left there glowing. My facial used a coconut papaya enzyme with a vanilla clove mask, and yes, it smelled as good as it sounds like it would. What I liked best is that the lovely Elizabeth, who owns the spa and performed my facial, takes the hour not just to “do her thing”, but also to educate you on the products that she’s using and why. I’m a big fan of the why. She made it clear to me why she was selecting certain products based on my skin type, and I left feeling like I’d learned about my own skin and armed with some new tricks.
Skin Serendipity is offering you guys a $10 discount on an hour-long Introductory Facial as a Togetherish Mom back to school special! Book yours by 9/29 using the code TOGETHERISH to receive the discount.
PS- there’s a totally kid-safe room right to the treatment room, which those of you with bigger kiddos should take advantage of. Obviously I left mine with their babysitter, as I wasn’t interested in destroying this lovely woman’s home or having a facial while listening to MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA the entire time. 😂
PPS- an Introductory Facial is only $60 at regular price, so for you, that’s a $50 hour-long facial with good products by a skilled aesthetician, which is something you need to jump on.