Curating Safer Beauty: 3 Simple & Affordable Safer Product Swaps

Intrigued by the concept of ‘safer beauty,’ but unsure of where to begin? You’re not alone.

We spend many years, and no small sum of money, curating our personalized beauty regimens. So it’s only natural that we grow an attachment to these trusty, comforting products. Then, one day, seemingly without warning, this concept of ‘safer beauty’ confronts us, and we are asked to begin anew?

It’s certainly a daunting challenge! What is safe, and what isn’t? Can we afford it? Will any of it even work? Questions abound!

In my own journey with safer beauty, I’ve encountered twists, turns, and an exceedingly large amount of trial and error. Some eight years ago, I began my foray into natural beauty through premium companies, like 100% Pure. I fell in love with their products: the nourishing, yummy ingredients (think sea kelp and coconut), the pretty packaging, their dreamy website (I could almost feel my skin being nourished via osmosis while ogling their product line). It was all so heavenly! Heavenly, and well…kind of expensive.

Fast-forward to a few years later, and I was grappling with the opportunity to create precious memories (full-time at home) with my then eight month-old son. It was a decision ripe with sacrifice, but for us, it felt like a wonderful investment in our family. In one of a thousand moments of worry, I recall wondering if leaving my job would mean abandoning my pursuit of safer products.

And it was at that moment, that I determined to begin anew (yet again), this time on a quest to discover products that were not only safer, but affordable as well.

Through my journey, I’ve grown passionate about helping others implement healthier beauty regimens. The transition to safer beauty can be hard. So whether you seek premium or affordable options, I hope to help ease your way.

Where to Begin?

I recommend starting small. Focus on swapping out one product at a time. Additionally, it’s helpful to remember that some items are more easily replaced than others. So it’s best to begin with something simple.

Below, I’ve curated a collection of three easy-to-implement, safer beauty swaps, each of which I personally use and recommend.

Products that are safe, affordable, and actually work…what could be lovelier?

Some of the links found below are ‘affiliate links,’ which will connect you to an outside vendor, such as Amazon. Should you opt to purchase through my link, I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

1. Mascara

Why Mascara? The makeup category can be…well…tricky! Our skin tones and complexions are unique, making it hard to predict which brands, styles, and shades will meet our needs.

The exception to this rule? Mascara.

Yes, there are a few different colors and wand designs, but it’s hardly as complicated as trying to find that just right shade of foundation.

The Cost: Equivalent

You don’t have to spring for premium brands, like Juice Beauty’s PHYTO-PIGMENTS Ultra-Natural Mascara (Currently $24.99 at Ulta), or Honest Company’s Honest Beauty Mascara ($16.99 at Target). Drugstore brand, Physicians Formula, offers two mascaras that currently garner an EWG score of 1, at half the price.

1. Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara: This first product is the more affordable and basic, and sold at most major retailers, like Target. In a pinch, I’ve purchased it for slightly more through Amazon.

EWG score Physicians Formula Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara (source: EWG Skin Deep database as of 6/27/20)

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara, available for $7.99 at Target (as of 6/27/20)

2. Organic Wear Lash Boosting Mascara: This second option is a bit more expensive (about $2-3 more depending on the vendor). In my opinion, this wand provides a superior curl and body to the lashes, so if a more dramatic look is important to you, it may be well worth the few additional dollars. Both products are comparable in price to mascaras from brands such as L’Oreal, Revlon, and Neutrogena.

EWG score Physicians Formula Lash Boosting Mascara (source: EWG Skin Deep database as of 6/28/20)

Physicians Formula Lash Boosting Mascara available for $10.49 through Amazon (as of 6/28/20)

What Makes These Products Lovely:

  • EWG (Environmental Working Group) Score of 1
  • Vibrant Color
  • Smooth Texture (No Clumps)
  • Doesn’t Run
  • Solid Option for an Everyday Look

Potential Cons:

  • May be too subtle for some
  • Slightly more expensive than a handful of the most affordable mascaras
  • Not waterproof

*Please note that not all Physicians Formula mascaras are created equal, so be careful to ensure you are buying the exact formulations described. There can be great variance in safety scores within brands. For example, Physician’s Formula Va Va Voom Mascara, scores a 6 in the EWG’s database.

2. Lip Balm

Why Lip Care? It’s the perfect simple swap to kick-start your safer beauty journey! It just needs to moisturize, right? There’s no need for that perfect shade, no yearning for a product that lasts all day. And because lip balm is applied frequently, this small change could have a big impact on your health.

The Cost: Safer options available at all price points

While there are a plethora of nourishing and safe lip balms on the market, including some that are EWG verified, I’ve chosen to feature the eos products below. In addition to being safe, these two products are affordable, easy to purchase, and…my current personal favorites!

  1. eos Organic Lip Balm Sphere (Vanilla, Honey, or Mint): Fans of eos lip balm sticks and spheres, may be excited to check-out the eos organic line. Like the Physicians Formula Mascaras, these products can be found at most major retailers, and Amazon currently offers a single-pack of the organic sphere.
EWG score for eos Organic Lip Balm Sphere in Honey (source: EWG Skin Deep database as of 6/27/20)

eos Organic Lip Balm Sphere in Mint, available for $2.84 through Amazon (as of 6/27/20)

*Only those ingredients specific to the vanilla, honey, and mint flavors have been reviewed and scored by the EWG. But, as shown in the Amazon link above, the organic sphere line actually boasts 8 flavors.

2. eos Organic Lip Balm Stick (Vanilla):

EWG score eos Organic Lip Stick in Vanilla (source: EWG Skin Deep database as of 6/27/20)

Eos Organic Lip Balm Stick in Vanilla (2-Pack), available for $4.49 at Target (as of 6/27/20)

Because if their popularity, I took a gander at eos’ non-organic formulations. Their EWG scores fall in the range of 2-4. Not too bad, especially considering some lip balm products score as poorly as a 6 or 7. Target currently offers the eos (non-organic) lip balm pack, Beach Coconut & Eucalyptus, and it’s priced identically to the Organic Vanilla 2-pack, at $4.49. So if you’ve already been buying eos, you should be able to go organic at no additional cost!

What Makes These Products Lovely:

  • EWG Score of 1
  • Organic
  • Non Petroleum-Based
  • Smooth, Soft, Nourishing Feel
  • Pleasant, Subtle Smell
  • Calming/No Irritation
  • Good Variety of Flavors Available

Potential Cons:

  • Cost: Admittedly, the cost for these eos products is greater than some. Currently at Target, a 3-pack of ChapStick is priced at $2.99. That breaks down to a cost of $.99 each. At $4.49 for 2, the eos Vanilla Stick breaks down to a cost of $2.24 each. That’s a notable disparity of $1.25 each, and it may be a deal-breaker for some.

Because of this significant price disparity, I thought it best to seek out another option at a lower price point.

In doing so, I found three formulations of ChapStick balm that garner an EWG score of 2. They are as follows: ChapStick Moisturizer Lip Balm SPF 15, Cool Mint & Black Cherry, ChapStick Total Hydration Lip Scrub, Fresh Peppermint, and ChapStick Lip Balm, Mystery Flavor #3.

These products aren’t certified organic, and you’ll notice quite a difference when comparing the lists of ingredients between the eos organics and ChapStick balms. Still, these products exemplify the availability of safer options at almost any price point!

EWG Score for ChapStick Moisturizer Lip Balm, Cool Mint (source: EWG Skin Deep database as of 6/29/20)

ChapStick Moisturizer Lip Balm, available for $2.99 at Target (as of 6/29/20)

*Again, ensure you are purchasing the desired formulations, as ChapStick lip balm products range in score from 2-5.

3. Makeup Remover

Why Makeup Remover? Another simple swap, makeup remover creates an opportunity for simplification. Rather than purchasing something designated to remove makeup, consider using an organic oil instead.

No website required for this swap! That’s why single-ingredient products are my favorites! Organic oils leave no place for sneaky ingredients to hide. Additionally, they can serve multiple functions for multiple family members: moisturizing dry skin, removing makeup, soothing baby’s eczema, even keeping pregnancy stretch marks at bay.

The Cost: Potentially cost-saving

Purchasing one product for multiple uses can save time and money, while reducing mental and physical clutter.

Which oils are best for skincare? While I love many oils, here are my top two favorites for the face:

1.) Rosehip Seed Oil: I first discovered rosehip seed oil during my second pregnancy. I was looking for something ultra-safe to prevent stretch marks. The natural product I’d purchased had an outrageously overwhelming smell that I just couldn’t tolerate (just one example of the aforementioned “trial and error,”) so I decided to stick with something less processed going forward.

And after wrapping-up its role in pre-natal care, my rosehip oil evolved into a makeup remover. I love this oil for the face because it’s light and doesn’t feel overly greasy the way a heavier oil, like coconut, can.

2.) Argan Oil: Scored as a 0 on the non-comedogenic scale, Argan is another light, but nourishing oil, excellent at serving multiple functions, from makeup remover and hair mask to nighttime serum or moisturizer. This is another oil I personally enjoy and recommend.

What Makes These Oils Lovely:

  • Single-Ingredient
  • Organic
  • Naturally Safe
  • Nourishing
  • Multi-Purpose
  • Strong Ratings for Non-Comedogenic Properties (Rosehip: 1; Argan: 0)

What to Look for When Shopping: Make sure to verify the ingredients; only one should be listed! Look for certified organic, and for an added wellness factor, I prefer a tinted glass bottle to avoid the possibility of plastic chemicals leaching into the oil.

I hope you enjoy these easy-to-implement, safer beauty product swaps. Be sure to subscribe for more “lovely” coming soon, and happy curating!

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