Also check out more natural beauty tips from Jessica Rubino on Good Day Colorado.
Look for plants and minerals. Choose products—from skin care to oral hygiene—that contain plant-derived oils or butters, enzymes, and extracts. Safe and effective, these plant ingredients act as natural emollients, exfoliants, antibacterial agents, preservatives, and more. When choosing makeup or sunscreen, look for nontoxic minerals titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. And remember: As with food labels, the higher an ingredient appears in the list, the more of it is in the product.
Question unfamiliar ingredients. Long ingredient names tend to be red flags, particularly when not followed by a common name in parentheses (natural plant and vitamin names often appear both ways). Avoid these worst-offending toxins: oxybenzone, triclosan, phthalates, and parabens. [For more details, search cosmeticsdatabase.com.]
Pinpoint efficacy. To find the research-backed ingredients best suited to your goal, research options before heading to the store; then check labels—and be sure those ingredients are high on the list. Some terms to look for: hyaluronic acid, coenzyme Q10, pine bark extract, resveratrol, and collagen (for anti-aging); omega-3s, ceramides, jojoba, and shea (for moisturizing); and probiotics, tea tree oil, and vitamin A (for acne). If the product label displays a smartphone-activated QR code, do some research in the aisle.
Be certification savvy. If organic ingredients are a priority, opt for USDA Organic, USDA Made with Organic Ingredients, or NSF/ANSI 305 labels. For natural, look for NPA or NSF/Natrue’s natural certification is in progress; check for updates at deliciousliving.com. Other certifications to consider: Fair Trade, Cruelty-Free, Vegan, or Cradle to Cradle for sustainability.