Making the Switch – A Buyer's Guide to Navigating the Natural Market
After reading all those horrible cosmetic ingredients that were in everything I was using, I had to make the switch. It was a little difficult in the beginning, and I must admit; I kept all my previous products in a paper bag in case I couldn't find anything to replace them with. Through trial and error, I eventually found an alternative for everything. And here's what I've learned along the way...
Don't trust all brands that claim they're natural.
Certain mainstream brands are able to market themselves as natural because there is no authority over marketing. I've seen brands designed to look fresh, bright, and covered in leaves and flowers to fool people into thinking they're natural. Most likely they only sprinkled a little Aloe extract or some other ingredient reminiscent of a garden or the produce section and changed nothing else. When it comes to brands that hone in on the natural market to trick us, they'll use the most publicized, condemned ingredients to catch our attention. Parabens are usually the one ingredient I see taken advantage of. They'll put "No Parabens" on their labels, and watch the masses buy their products because "Parabens must be bad if they're excluded from this product, so this one must be better than those other ones. I better buy it!" The best advice here, become educated and don't be fooled by marketing.
Do read all labels...no matter what.
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the previous statement. Read everything. There have been several instances where I came to trust all these natural brands, only to realize after I bought something that there was a variation in its formula that used a chemical, where others were chemical free. I wanted to try a different a shampoo/conditioner formulation from a brand I've used before, only to flip it over and see a chemical that was in no other formulation. Or even changing the shade of my compact foundation powder, to see that one shade had no Parabens, and the other did. It all boils down to reading everything in order to avoid buying something unintentionally.
Don't blindly trust alternative/farmer's markets.
I've come to frequent these places and am still shocked as to what I find in them. They cater to the health-conscious crowd and pack their aisles with organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, etc. products. This doesn't necessarily mean that everything on their shelves is good for you. Several times I've walked away disappointed, hoping to find a replacement for a household cleaning item and found nothing. And other times walking away pleasantly surprised and happy to have found exactly what I was looking for. Again, read all labels and remember, not everything marketed as natural actually is.
Do buy what is convenient for you.
Never go out of your price range or buy something that is going to inconvenience you. There are plenty of brands out there that are good for you and affordable. Take the time to look at all the options and buy exactly what you want and what you can afford. Also, if there is a product that differs from what you're used to, find another product! Plenty of brands mimic the textures and the functions of everyday products. If something doesn't lather/cleanse/moisturize the way you want it to, there is an alternative out there. Never sacrifice ease of use.
Do maintain your health.
If you have sensitive skin, stick to products labeled as such. Essential oils and other organic extracts can be irritating and can cause allergic reactions too. If you know of any pre-existing allergies, or develop a skin reaction, stop using the product and find something else that doesn't use the ingredient you're reacting to.
Lastly, have fun and experiment! There are so many choices out there to explore.
Published 8/06/2014 by Victoria