Coming Clean is a monthly series where we interview people about their relationship with clean beauty—the good, bad, and ugly. We hope these interviews will serve as a platform for raw and vulnerable discussion, but if you only take away one thing, it should be this: There is no right or wrong way. There is only your way.
Maria is a makeup artist and green beauty expert. Check out our interview with her as part of CLOVE + HALLOW's monthly Coming Clean series.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO MAKE THE SWITCH TO USING CLEANER BEAUTY PRODUCTS?
As a makeup artist, I started my beauty business using conventional products that are coveted in the beauty industry. They were on trend, performed well and I had experience using them. And then, my second son was born. His skin was sensitive and dry and a few months after being born, I was told he had eczema. At the time, I had no idea what that was as nobody else in our family has it. I started reading and researching how to take care of his skin and learning what types of ingredients went into his prescription creams. I didn’t like what I saw in terms of ingredients or when the dermatologist told me to cover his skin in Vaseline. But being his skin advocate opened up my eyes to start looking at what went into the stuff I was using as well. I wanted to have skin-to-skin with my baby, and I didn’t want what I had on my skin to irritate his. He was my light bulb and prompted my switch to cleaner personal and beauty products.
"I WANTED TO HAVE SKIN-TO-SKIN WITH MY BABY, AND I DIDN'T WANT WHAT I HAD ON MY SKIN TO IRRITATE HIS."
WHICH BEAUTY PRODUCT DID YOU SWAP FIRST?
It wasn't so much of a swap of one product but a complete boycott of synthetic fragrance! I stopped wearing perfume completely but for products like body lotion and deodorant, I switched to ones scented with essential oils. I figured body lotion went on larger areas of my body and my kids would pick up its scent, so it was a good decision for them and for me. I had the most difficult time with hair products such as hair gel because I have naturally curly hair and most big brands contain synthetic fragrance, but in time I found cleaner options as well.
WAS BEAUTY THE FIRST THING YOU SWITCHED WHEN MOVING TO A CLEANER LIFESTYLE?
No, it wasn't! Surprisingly, beauty didn't come first for me because I started moving towards a cleaner lifestyle when I was home with my second baby, so house cleaners were first. I know this isn't the sexiest answer, but with little ones running around licking everything and opening cabinets, I decided to give up my bright yellow all-purpose cleaner and replaced it with DIY cleaners made with castile soap, vinegar, and baking soda. I really wanted to create a healthy home for my family and I knew the switches I made at home would encourage me to clean up other areas of my life (like my makeup kit!).
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CLEAN BEAUTY STAPLES?
Mascara is my desert island product so finding a clean formulation that stayed put—with the type of brush I like—was extremely important. I always wear mascara even if the rest of my face is bare because I have light eyelashes. A good application of mascara can do wonders on a woman's face. My second staple is a carrier oil, whether it’s rosehip, argan or a blend, because of the versatility this type of product offers. It can be a cleanser, moisturizer, cuticle oil, or hair oil! I am obsessed with their texture, look and feel on my skin!
WHAT DOES YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE LOOK LIKE?
Skincare in the PM is my bedtime ritual, so I never skip it no matter how tired I am. I like to cleanse with an oil, mist generously with a facial mist, apply a water serum and then massage my skin with a moisturizer. Some times I use a facial roller or gua sha tool and an oil serum as well. I also don't sleep on a cotton pillow case—I sleep on a satin pillow case for its benefits to my hair and skin—and I feel that this too is part of my skincare! In the AM, I move through my skincare a bit quicker. I mist with a facial mist and use a cotton pad to do a quick cleanse. I use a serum and moisturizer with SPF before moving into my makeup routine.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE IN THE FUTURE FROM CLEAN BEAUTY?
I truly believe we can do better with packaging. We have made huge strides in this department in recent years; however, packaging in the beauty industry continues to remain a challenge. Beauty and personal care products are still placed in single-use containers, which sadly end up in the landfill. I am very hopeful about having more and more brands offer refill options and giving consumers an alternative to single-use and disposing of their beauty containers.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WANTING TO TRANSITION TO CLEANER BEAUTY PRODUCTS?
I would encourage them to switch out an everyday product in their household first and if they like it, go from there! Start with something simple like hand soap or body lotion before switching out everything else. I would also advise them to finish the products they have on hand—do a bit of an inventory and make a shopping list—and replace what has expired or run out. We have to be careful that we don't over-consume. Clean beauty products are still products which require manufacturing, packaging, and in the end, disposal. We still need to be mindful of that and exercise conscious consumerism.
"CLEAN BEAUTY PRODUCTS ARE STILL PRODUCTS WHICH REQUIRED MANUFACTURING, PACKAGING, AND IN THE END, DISPOSAL."