A Tried and Tested Guide To Embracing Conscious Beauty

"Conscious beauty is about being in control of the things we are able to control, it is about the awareness of our impact on the environment surrounding us."

With Fall season now upon us, it is an excellent time to reevaluate your relationship with others, yourself, and consumable goods. A conscious lifestyle takes all of that into consideration.To be actively aware of the impact your life has on the world around you sounds daunting, but I’m here to hold your virtual hand and reassure you it’s actually quite simple.

Conscious beauty is just one part of the big picture. It is a journey of choosing beauty products that reduce harm by valuing companies that are more transparent in their practices: no testing on animals, eco-friendly packaging and production, and ethical worker treatment (fair trade and responsibly sourced). Conscious beauty is about finding beauty products that align with your personal ethos.

One of the biggest obstacles I faced with this lifestyle change was the dire need to perfect it on my first try. I adopted restrictive terminology ("clean beauty”) and aspired to be entirely cruelty-free, finding myself heartbroken when I more and more of my beauty and wellness products were not as ethical as I thought (especially when it comes to colorism–I recommend reading The Encoded Racist Messages of Skin Care Marketing, to learn more about the hegemonic beliefs dominating beauty advertisements!)

For years, I grew an increasing amount of waste, tossing away brand-new vials of hydrating serums and tubes of lipstick. It was a damaging process for both the Earth and me. It was upsetting seeing money go down the drain alongside long-time faved products.

In March, I was in a rut like many others. When the you-know-what hit, I found myself unemployed and living in a dirty shared apartment. Laying in my new found proverbial rock bottom, I realized this was exactly the grounding I needed. I realized just how precious and accommodating my surroundings are to me and life.

Human beings have a natural relationship to the Earth, not only as inhabitants but as voyagers and spiritual beings. These last six months have pushed me beyond the need for perfection, and instead taught me to value feeling good intuitively, that is: mentally, physically, and spiritually. The first place I applied this newfound inspiration to was my daily essentials.

Tip: Don’t stress perfection.

Not all popularized, high-end beauty products are better than what is available at local department stores, and most times it’s comforting to shop a familiar label. Brands such as Burt’s Bees, Raw Sugar, EcoTools, Renpure, Kiwi Botanicals and Bliss are cruelty-free brands that can be found at a local Target and Walmart.

Allure and Petit Vour offer beauty boxes with high ethics. Allure prioritizes cruelty free items and is mostly plastic-free in packing, except for a thin layer of plastic wrap sealing the cardboard box that the products arrive in. They use a sheet of tissue paper lining the inside of the box to decorate–there will be no cushy-but-polluting bubble wrap here! Allure sends 5+ beauty products monthly at the cost of $15/month–two of which are guaranteed to be full-size, however, I find that it’s usually more.

The Petit Vour beauty box contains only verified cruelty-free products and their packaging is entirely sustainable Petit Vour sends 4 products, non-toxic and plant-based, for $15/month, and has a generous rewards program offering $4 back each in exchange for box review, and 20 points for every dollar spent on purchases.

I am a huge fan of both boxes and received both monthly for roughly five months now. Both boxes are a fantastic way to test out new cruelty-free products that aren’t typically found in department stores, and to rescue you from having to furiously Google every brand while standing in the beauty aisle–been there, done that; it’s not fun.

For those looking to dip their hand into conscious beauty via a few essentials, here’s a list of tried and tested products:

Five Must-Have Conscious Beauty Products

1. Osea Cleanser

The Osea Cleaner is a gentle cleanser made out of algae, a variety of natural oils, and vegan lactic acid derived from beets. It smells amazing (like fresh lime!) and always leaves my skin healthy and glowing. This cleanser is perfect for day and night, and helps to hydrate and balance normal or combination skin. It had quickly become my favorite skin product!

It is $48 for a 5 oz glass bottle, shipping with eco-friendly packaging.

2. Speak Cream Deodorant + Bamboo Applicator

The Speak Collective’s cream deodorant is a total game-changer. It is free of aluminum and baking soda making it a perfect match for those with sensitive skin. It is 100% vegan and derived from all-natural ingredients. I was very skeptical on my first try, having tested out tons of natural deodorants and dreaded the smelly transitioning phase, but luckily my nose was spared this time around. The Speak Collective Deodorant is $10

Tip: Weekly exfoliation and quick reapplication when participating in heavy physical activity helps take away that stubborn stink. (I recommend purchasing a bamboo application with it, as it can get under nails during application. I got mine for $3 from The Good Fill)

3. Akar Balancing Toner

As wild as it sounds, this toner is sweet! I am seriously addicted to licking my lips after spraying it all over my face–which you can do, since the toner is made up of saffron, rose, neroli, and white willow bark. It has gloriously shrunk my pores and it provides for a quick refresh throughout the day. I find it to be a perfect mist to set my nightly skincare routine.

The Akar Balancing Toner is $55 for a 2.4 oz glass bottle. Petit Vour offers the product for the travel size (.05 oz) for $15. The travel size bottle lasted me about 3 weeks.

4. Oyin Handmade

BIPOC owned, Oyin Handmade, prides themselves on offering “gentle, cruelty-free, and moisture focused” hair care, with collections for damaged curls and textured hair types. The key ingredient to these all-natural products is honey. (Oyin means honey in the Yoruba language).

Gentle products to hydrate and transform your hair: “The Juices” Herbal Leave-in comes in 3 different scents at $13.99 for an 8 oz. bottle, and the Plant-based Honey Wash Hydrating Shampoo made of quinoa protein and honey for an 8 oz. $12.99 bottle.

5. Vitamin C Serum from Beauty Strike

You can’t go wrong with getting anything from this Black owned skin-care and spa. The Vogue featured brand comes highly recommended by Our House Editor, Kelly. This product boosts radiance and confidence–a true shot Vitamin C straight to the skin.

This absolutely luminous blend is $25 for a 1.0 oz jar. Have further skin concerns? Beauty Strike also gives free skin consultations over the phone!

It is important for me to stress that blaming consumers for environmental harm and unethical business practices isn’t the route to go. It has been repeatedly reported that 100 companies make up for 71% of global emissions. But, we’ve seen and are seeing the effects of a blasé attitude towards our consumption habits, so it’s important to do the best we can.

This list of 5 beauty products will transform your everyday routine into one that feels good physically and spiritually. Remember, conscious beauty is about being in control of the things we are able to control, it is about the awareness of our impact on the environment surrounding us.

It’s not about being perfect, it’s about doing our best!