Ever since the co-founders of all-natural brand W3LL PEOPLE stopped by Birchbox HQ a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking non-stop about “going green”—a.k.a. incorporating more natural, chemical-free products to my routine. Lucky for me, there’s a host of eco-chic brands—many of them found right here in the Birchbox Shop. But where should I start? While I’m not a total newbie—I try to avoid parabens and sulfates whenever possible—I reached out to W3LL PEOPLE’s co-founder (and self-proclaimed tree-hugger) James Walker to expand my natural know-how. Here’s what I learned:
1. There are Serious Healthy Benefits
Since much of what we apply to our skin is absorbed into our bodies, choosing natural products can prevent us from internalizing hazardous chemicals. “Thanks to high quality ingredients that inherently contain more vitamins and antioxidants, your skin will become healthier, happier, and more radiant over time,” says Walker. W3LL PEOPLE skips over harmful preservatives in favor of green ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile. Plant-derived products are also a great source of antioxidants, which help protect against free radicals.
2. Less Toxic Means Less Irritating
Since natural products contain fewer mystery ingredients, they are a safer bet for sensitive skin—amen to that. Walker notes that once you switch over, you’ll notice less frequent breakouts and the overall quality of skin dramatically improves. French brand Caudalie harnesses plant-powered ingredients like grapeseed oil and sweet almond oil to create mild yet effective skincare products like its Gentle Cleansing Milk, which washes away dirt without stripping skin of moisture.
3. You’re Contributing to a Good Cause
Many natural beauty brands give back to the environment and their communities. Need proof? Davines hosts an annual Sustainable Beauty Day where participating salons offer services in exchange for donations to socio-environmental projects like forest preservation. Organic line Juice Beauty uses eco-friendly recycled packaging and solar power manufacturing to minimize its carbon footprint. And Yes To™ oversees its own Yes to Seed Fund, which helps children eat healthier meals.
4. Start With the What You Use Most
Once you’ve found the brands you trust (this is a great guide to decoding product labels), greening your beauty routine is easy as starting with the basics: “Switch the product that you use most everyday, whether it be your foundation, your tinted moisturizer, your mascara, or your body lotion,” Walker advises.
5. Natural Doesn’t Mean Ineffective—a.k.a. You Can Still Have Fun!
“The biggest misconception [about natural products] lies in performance,” says Walker. “The truth is, in many cases there is no difference.” In fact, products made with ingredients like aloe vera often blend easier onto skin and hydrate better. They also last just as long as conventional products, with a shelf life of six months to one year. Need more proof? Check out our staffer Amary’s glow-y makeover courtesy of W3LL PEOPLE’s Hedonist Mineral Bronzer.