Know Your Skin: A comparison between drug-store and all-natural beauty products.

What is most important to you when picking soap? Is it the scent? Could it be the packaging (or lack thereof)? For me, it is the ingredients. Reading the back of soap bottles might be time-consuming but it keeps me sane. The ingredients in my cosmetics can keep my skin from getting inflamed, congested, and flaky; most synthetic cosmetics give my skin some kind of negative reaction.

Recently, natural skincare and haircare products have been all the rage. Long gone are the days of scouring for companies that are 100 percent natural; companies like Burt’s Bees, Milk Makeup, and Fresh are staples at the drug store and high-end retailers.

In December 2018, I was hired by Lush, a beauty company that is famous for its fresh, natural, and cruelty-free products. Working at Lush gave me the
education and experience that kickstarted my journey with natural skin and hair products.

But do these natural products work better than the synthetics? Honestly, I do not think there is a correct answer. Just like we all have different skin tones and hair colors, we all have different skin types. While a natural skincare routine cleared up my acne scars and evened my skin tone, I have friends who prefer synthetics because they better suit their concerns.

My esthetician, Angelina Sosi, who is certified in five different skincare companies, said that incorporating synthetics into natural skincare products can aid those who need more invasive skincare methods. While I am an avid fan of natural beauty products, I see Sosi every few months to clear the cystic acne I get in extremely stressful times or when the seasons change.

Being trained about different ingredients gave me the tools to understand not only what works, but what works for me. For example, lavender and lavender oil are used to calm both the mind and skin, so lavender is an ingredient that I search for in my skincare products, as I deal with redness and sensitive skin.

If you have oily skin, oatmeal is surprisingly a wonderful exfoliator and it is naturally anti-inflammatory.

The most cost-efficient way to go natural with your skincare and haircare is to make your own products at home or in your dorm room. A favorite of mine is my homemade charcoal face mask. It is a 2:2:1 ratio of bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and activated charcoal. I use this as a spot treatment for cystic acne or a deep detox when I’m stressed. All of these items can be easily found on Amazon for under $20 total and will last for months.

If you are unsure about what natural skincare products would work for you, Sephora has a free skincare quiz on their website. All of the natural products have a green “clean” sticker on them, so it is easy to find synthetic-free products. Wherever your skincare journey takes you, there is one thing you need to remember: check the ingredients.

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