When I was a teenager, I was content with using the Costco shampoo and Ivory soap provided by my parents. My sister, on the other hand, was blowing her allowance on $20 bottles of conditioner. I think she bought her first Dr. Hauschka product at the tender age of 14. She’s always been on a quest for the best beauty products.
For more recent readers, my sister was also the original “Bee” of Crab & Bee – we started this blog together in 2011 before realizing that our interests (sewing for me, and clean beauty and living for her) easily deserved their own sites. She’s been been immersing herself in the health and safety issues in the beauty industry, as well as learning how to make what she wants with clean ingredients. She started her company, Pollen & Wax, last year and has been busily adding to her line ever since.
(Also, her product design and photography is insane!)
I’m so excited that the Bee is back for an interview and a giveaway!
What has been the biggest change you’ve noticed since changing to a clean beauty routine?
Bee: Consistently good skin without unhealthy dependencies – before, if I didn’t wash my face for a day, it became a Serious Problem. That’s what I love most about clean products – they don’t throw your system into imbalance by their absence, since the best ones work with and support your body’s natural processes.
How did you educate yourself on making products that were both safe and effective?
Bee: Gosh. It all started so gradually, it’s hard to pin down! One moment you’re a tween buying bargain makeup at the drugstore, and the next you’ve got your face buried in an organic chemistry text book and PubMed research articles. Mentors, teachers and a support network is a must, and if you have an experimental spirit and love reading, there’s very little in the way of instructional knowledge that’s out of reach! Dreaming big is just as important – you’re bound to fail at a few things, but it’s the “why not?” that really creates change.
Do you have any suggestions for people who are interested in removing toxins from their beauty routine but don’t know where to start?
Bee: I’m a huge fan of No More Dirty Looks – their book and blog changed my life by educating me on the perils of a cheap, industrially-produced beauty fix and helped me look for (and then make) clean products that worked (naturally, I gravitated toward the Good Stuff!). It can feel a little scary walking away from a trusted panel of products you’ve spent years cultivating for particular or fussy skin, and I totally understand!
Luckily, there are more green beauty bloggers happily digging in to every shade of product than you can imagine – and truthfully, I owe much of my present success to their kind words and enthusiasm for green products, so it’s really wonderful to experience how green entrepreneurs can support each other. After you dig into to some inspiring blogs and books, take a page from the NMDL ladies and go at a pace you find comfortable. If you want to throw everything out and start over, or if you’d rather replace things as they run out, do that. (And give some consideration to first swapping out the products that cover the largest surface area – body oils, lotions, washes.)
One easy green fix is to avoid anything with “fragrance” listed as an ingredient – usually that means a chemical cocktail protected by proprietary license notoriously riddled with hormone disruptors and other toxins.
What are some easy or free things people can do to improve their skin without using a new product?
Bee: Oh, I love this question! The most important free thing you can do for your health and skin is educate yourself on the products you use and understand how they influence your health.
Everyone knows the usual mantra for good skin (sleep, hydration, stress management and diet) but there are tons of very affordable remedies very accessible to just about everyone. Grapeseed oil is a fantastically light oil just packed with antioxidants – it’s shelf stable and very affordable for its virtues, and I would venture to say suitable for just about any skin type that needed some light moisture. Shea butter is terrific for more intensive moisturizer and is great for hands, feet and night treatments.
Lavender essential oil is, in my mind, the most important essential oil I would single out for a beginner. It’s very safe and gentle – lavender is remarkable on burns, zits and other skin maladies. It tones and heals with remarkable strength and support a healthy cellular structure. There really is such a remarkable wealth of knowledge on the net, I encourage anyone interested in natural healing to dive right in!
Also, I have to say – though I make a very fine deodorant myself, I feel so strongly that people need to walk away from the drugstore stuff that I’d like to share a DIY recipe with you. Three ingredients from the cupboard, plus any essential oils you like will make a killer deodorant, and very effective. (P.S. I did not care for the grapefruit essential oil she suggested in that recipe – I smelled like a pina colada – so my personal taste would be a pleasant combo of lavender and tea tree, or whatever floats your boat!)
I love a good disaster story. My biggest beauty foible was trimming the baby hairs around my forehead and having them grow back in a thick line. That, or my penchant for poorly-applied Wet-n-Wild brick-red lipstick – I think I wore that stuff to bed. What’s yours?
Bee: It’s hard to pick just one…was it the time I tried to recreate an editorially glossy aqua eye and nearly blinded myself? Or greasy middle-school bangs? Or obliterating my eyebrows into two almost non-existent yet perpetually surprised commas? No…I think it was the time that I decided a heavy, oily pomade was an appropriate choice for my hair. My long hair. My long, very fine hair. Needless to say, I looked like something that had been fished out of the drain.
I was actually jealous of those eyebrows… Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on clean beauty, sister!
Bee: Thanks for having me!