My Journey to Clean Living – Phase Two

Continue to follow my journey to clean living as I replace more of my not-so-clean beauty, skin care, hair care, and cleaning products.

I honestly had two preconceived notions before starting this journey – one, I was going to have to sacrifice health for performance and two, this was going to be extremely expensive “but worth it.” Luckily I was wrong on both counts.

Why Am I Doing This?

If you missed my why, be sure to check out my previous post My Journey to Clean Living – Phase One. Long story short, I began thinking about the discrepancy of what I was putting in my body vs. what I was putting on my body. I started figuring that if I care so much about what goes inside of my body, then I should probably also start caring more about what goes on the largest organ of my body – my skin.

How Did I Select Cleaner Products?

I chose items based on their scores on the Environmental Working Group – EWG. This company gives products a score based on their ingredients – looking at how those ingredients affect your body and the environment. Everything has a rating for its level of concern for causing: cancer, asthma and respiratory issues, skin allergies and irritation, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and negative environmental effects. I tried to choose all products that are EWG certified first or with a 1 or 2, or an A or B rating. I have found that this is a very helpful website for you to check current products you are using or products that you are interested in. If something is not in the database, you can also add the ingredients and it will give you a rating for the product. There is one database for cleaners and another database for skin care and makeup products.

What Did I Try and What Did I Think?

In my previous post, I chose a brand and product for facial care, body wash, hair care, laundry detergent, stain remover, dishwasher detergent, rinse aid, toothpaste, deodorant, and feminine care products. All but one of these picks have remained the same and I am still loving and using all of these products. To read more about those top picks, click here. In my last post, I laid out my plan of how I was going to introduce different products in three phases, however, due to quarantine I had to make a few changes based off of availability of products. I also moved a few products up to phase two, because I decided they were more important to me to have as clean products than they originally were.

Sunscreen – Beautycounter Countersun Sun Protection:

So I used to be a die hard Australian Gold girl and typically ranged from putting SPF 4-SPF 15 on because all I cared about was a good tan. However, in recent years, I have decided that I should probably be using closer to SPF 30 consistently to prevent aging and skin cancer. This was also an area I didn’t want to spend money on, because I felt like I went through sunscreen so quickly and it seemed like a waste. However, this year I decided to educate myself a little more on sunscreen and unfortunately, I was faced with some hard facts that I could not ignore. I will go into more detail in another post on the harmful effects chemical sunscreen can have on your body, but for now, just know it is not good. I can’t help but wonder if we are actually doing more harm than good by using these types of sunscreen.

After much research, I decided it would be best if I made the official switch to mineral sunscreen. I have used mineral sunscreen on my face for the past 4 years, but not consistently on my body because everything I tried seemed to leave a white cast on my skin and I was not a fan. I finally decided to try Beautycounter’s Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Spray, and Daily Sheer Defense for Face after reading several recommendations on various sites. I LOVE THEM ALL! Beautycounter’s sunscreen goes on very easily and smooth unlike other mineral sunscreens. It also is sheer once you rub it in and does not leave a white residue like most zinc oxide based sunscreens do. In addition to this, it is water-resistant and sweat-resistant. As an additional bonus, the tinted sunscreen in medium/dark provides beautiful tinted coverage that smoothes out any flaws and gives an instant glow! I HIGHLY recommend Beautycounter’s Countersun line – it is by far the best mineral sunscreen I have ever used. It comes in lotion (2 sizes), stick, spray (2 sizes), face, and tinted spray.

Foundation – Beautycounter Twin Skin Featherweight Foundation:

I have tried several clean foundations and to be quite honest, they were awful and didn’t work at all. Prior to Beautycounter, I was using bareMinerals powder foundation. I liked that foundation, but powders don’t work for my skin year-round, and though it is rated better than other products, I still wanted something cleaner. At first I tried Beautycounter’s Tint Skin foundation and honestly, it was only okay. It is fine for a day at home or when I am running errands, but it only provides light coverage and definitely does not last all day. Thanks to Corona and our ‘new normal’ of mask-wearing, I learned very quickly that it comes off when something rubs against it or you begin sweating. I still have some left, so I am wearing that around the house for quick coverage and am using it more like a tinted moisturizer than a foundation. Two weeks after purchasing Tint Skin, Beautycounter came out with Twin Skin. I waited to purchase this foundation due my prior experience, but the reviews started rolling in and everyone was loving it! Unlike their previous foundation, this one has buildable coverage and lasts all day! Even more amazing is that it combines the benefits of skin care and foundation into one with hyralaunic acid to hydrate your skin. AND it comes in 18 different shades so every person can be covered no matter their skin color! I have been using Twin Skin foundation in medium 310 for about two weeks now and I am in love. It goes on smoothly and flawlessly, keeps my skin hydrated all day, and doesn’t settle into fine lines. I was also able to build my coverage to medium/full coverage and it lasted all day, even through mask-wearing and workouts!

Wearing only Skin Twin Medium 340, tiny bit of Brilliant Brow Gel in light, and mascara in black
Still covered at the end of the day, even after sweating through my workout!

Concealer – Beautycounter Touch Up Concealer Pen:

I was using bareMinerals concealer prior to trying Beautycounter and I will say I did love that product, however, I was still searching for cleaner products and bareMinerals is not quite up to the standard I want. I purchased Beautycounter’s Touch Up Concealer Pen in light. I really like this concealer for a clean alternative to other products. I love that I feel good about putting it on my skin and that it provides lasting coverage. This concealer pen also comes in 6 shades so it can match a variety of skin tones! If you are looking for a concealer to cover up blemishes, highlight areas, or cover dark circles/brighten your eye area, this concealer pen is great. While I love this concealer, the applicator is a brush, which makes covering large areas challenging. If you are looking to cover larger areas like your entire cheek (which is what I used to do), then the applicator is going to make this a little difficult. If you are only covering the under eye area or blemishes (which is all I need now, thanks Beautycounter), this brush works totally fine. When I first started using this product, my skin was still a mess and I was having a hard time getting the coverage I felt I needed, however, now that my skin is 85% better than it was, I am only needing to use it for its intended purpose and it is working great! So I would suggest evaluating what kind of coverage you are looking for – if you want coverage for smaller areas, I definitely recommend Beautycounter’s Touch Up Concealer Pen. If you need coverage for a larger area, I do like bareMinerals Complete Coverage Concealer. Please note: bareMinerals still has a few concerns listed on the EWG and is definitely not best, but it is significantly better than Tarte’s Shape Tape concealer that many people use.

Brow Gel – Beautycounter Brilliant Brow Gel:

I purchased Beautycounter’s Brilliant Brow Gel and am absolutely loving it! It is so easy to apply, lasts all day, and is actually the right shade for my brows! As a blonde, it is REALLY hard to find the correct shade for your brows – many are too light, too red, or too dark. This one really hits the mark and gives me the exact color I need. This brow gel comes in 5 shades ranging from clear to soft black (I use light), which is great because it meets the needs of everyone! I really love how quick and easy it is to apply this gel. I also love that it doesn’t feel thick and heavy like other brow products can. The pores under my brows always used to get clogged and my skin would get itchy from heavy brow products, however, since swithing to this brow gel I have had no issues! I recently used a waterproof (not-so-good for you) brow pencil when I went to the lake and my pores got really clogged after just one use, but as soon as I switched back to the gel it cleared right up, which tells me that my skin is loving the switch. This is a great product for everyday color and controlling those stray hairs!

Shave Cream and Razor – Billie Shave Cream and Razor Kit:

Billie, like Beautycounter, is another EWG approved brand. They do not have a lot of products, but the ones they do have are great. I purchased a shave cream and a $9 razor starter kit from Billie and love them both! The shave cream has aloe, shea butter, olive oil, and sage in it to hydrate your skin and give you a smooth shave. While I still occasionally have issues with razor burn, as I have very sensitive skin, it is MUCH less than it was before. The razor itself is great, very similar to Venus with 5 sharp blades, but is a million times more affordable. You even get a little magnetic holder for the shower that is super cute and convenient. They also do auto-ship on razors, so you don’t have to think about reordering and it is only $9 for 4 additional razor blades! This is a great brand for all of your shaving needs. They also have a clean dry shampoo that looks awesome and I plan on trying it in my next phase.

Body Lotion – Beautycounter Countermatch Adaptive Body Lotion:

So like the sunscreen, this was another product I was planning on holding off on. However, my arms and legs started breaking out and I thought perhaps it is not just my body wash affecting my skin, but maybe my skin is too dry and that is causing it to breakout. Spoiler alert: my face was breaking out because my skin was too dry and began overproducing oil. Since the Countermatch line worked so well on my face, I decided to give the Countermatch body lotion a try even though I am not a body lotion type of girl. Honestly, I want to like body lotion, but I strongly dislike putting it on – always such an ordeal – you are greasy and everything feels sticky afterwards, just yuck. However, this lotion isn’t like that at all! It is a really lightweight lotion and it completely dries within one minute! I love that I can slather this on quickly and then get dressed immediately without worrying about things sticking to my body. You also only need about half of the lotion you would use with other products and it leaves my skin so incredibly soft and supple all day! This is the first lotion ever that I have actually WANTED to put on every day. I definitely recommend this body lotion for incredible hydration without feeling heavy or sticky.

Update: Body Wash – Beautycounter Charcoal Cleansing Bar:

In my last post, my choice was Puracy’s body wash in citrus mint. While I still like that and my boyfriend uses it and enjoys it, unfortunately, I was still having some breakouts as mentioned above and recently they became more frequent (probably due to my diet). Because I was not loving my skin, I decided to give something else a shot. I am currently trying Beautycounter’s Charcoal Cleansing Bar. It seems to be helping, as I definitely see a difference from before I was using it. My arms and legs still have some clogged pores, but they are not breaking out like they were in the weeks prior. People love it for helping control acne on both face and body and many people swear by it. This charcoal bar leaves your skin feeling detoxified and squeaky clean after using it. I am only two weeks into using this product, so it is hard to say the long-term effectiveness even though I do currently like it best from what I have tried. Though I like the cleansing bar, I personally enjoy using a body wash more than a bar of soap. I am going to try the Counterman Charcoal Body Wash because it has similar ingredients, but in body wash form or the Citrus Mimosa Body Wash, which I have also heard great things about. I will give an update in phase three about which body wash I like best.

What is next?

I didn’t get to try all of the new clean products I wanted to thanks to Corona creating a shortage in the cleaning products I wanted to try. So, while I did actually end up replacing my cleaning products with cleaner products because I ran out – we’re still talking Food Lion and Harris Teeter “cleaner” products, NOT ones I would actually go as far as to recommend. Also, I am not even sure if I remember half of what I bought since everything was purchased in such a necessity mode. That being said, now that things are restocked and semi-normal again, I will be purchasing those products once we run out of what we currently have.

I am also about to make a large Beautycounter purchase and replace the remaining makeup products that I have. I was waiting until I ran out, but then quarantine happened and makeup has not really been used in this household much since then. I have also recently had this fear that every chemical-filled product I put on my skin is going to mess up the improvements I have already made. Might be silly, but maybe not – to me it is not worth chancing messing up my progress. So that being said, I am going to be tossing my old items and purchasing eyeliner, mascara, a nude eye shadow palate, brow pencil, highlighter, bronzer, and lipstick. So my next update will include the rest of my makeup products and reviews on those.

Bottom Line:

Replacing your products doesn’t have to happen overnight – every little bit helps you take a step towards a cleaner future. The differences I have noticed since beginning this journey have been huge and I have already learned so much along the way. Unfortunately, there are not many regulations in the US about the products we use on our body and more companies are geared towards marketing to clean, rather than actually being cleaner. Be very wary of the word natural or even worse, naturally-derived, because it doesn’t mean much. Your product can say that and still be full of chemicals and ingredients that are harmful to your body. Instead look for clean products that are EWG certified and companies that are transparent on their ingredients and if you are not sure, do some research yourself! The EWG is a great resource to help you determine which ingredients in your products could be harmful to you, especially when you are just getting started. I am very happy with almost all of the cleaner products I have tried so far on this journey. I continue to be amazed with how much more effective these products have been and how long these products last. I am so much happier with my skin and I feel even better knowing I am using products that are safe for me and my family. Look for my next update on phase three of my journey to cleaner living!

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Published by partnersincooking

Healthy living for a long life together <3 Blog focused on healthy recipes, cleaner beauty, and all things wellness.

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