Beginners guide to making the switch to natural & organic products

By Noleen Sliney

The use of natural and organic products is a hot topic these days.

As people become more and more aware of what they’re putting into their body, they’re also becoming aware of what they’re putting ON their body. What you put ON your body gets absorbed INTO your body. So it makes sense to be mindful of the skincare and makeup products you’re using on your body and face, as well as household products that you use that come in contact with your skin.

So why does it matter? Why should I care about using natural or organic products?

The main reason is that many of the ingredients that are used by a lot of mainstream brands can be harmful to your skin, your health and the environment.

Something I notice with a lot of my clients is that they’re already using natural and organic products on their children’s skin. Which is really great. However, they’re using makeup and skincare products on themselves that contain nasty ingredients. Remember Mums, it’s just as important that you take care of your skin as much as your children’s skin.

This is particularly applicable to people with sensitive skin or who have skin conditions such as eczema or allergies. If you do have sensitive skin, you really need to be extra careful about what products you use on your skin. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen clients with sensitive skin using products that contain ingredients that irritate their skin even further. Men also fall into this category and often just buy the first thing they find in the supermarket without considering what ingredients are in that product and if it’s going to irritate their skin.

Start with the ingredients

One of the biggest problems people have when they begin to ‘go green’, is overwhelm. Where do you even begin with this process? What ingredients should you avoid? There are so many different ingredients that go into cosmetic and household products. The best way to begin with this process is to keep it simple.

I’ve listed below 3 of the most common ingredients that are found in mainstream products and the effect they can have on your skin. There are of course many, many more ingredients that you could avoid. But eliminating 1 or all 3 of these from your beauty routine are a great starting point.

1. SLS
This stand for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. It also has a twin called Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Both of these are often found in many skin care products such as soaps, shower gels and shampoos to name but a few. SLS’s are also found in household cleaning products such as washing up liquid, washing powder and carpet cleaner. SLS is a synthetic detergent and surfactant, which basically means it’s a foaming agent. So that’s what creates a lather when you use these products.

One of the biggest issues with SLS is that it’s a known skin irritant. So if you have sensitive skin or a skin condition like dermatitis, for example, a product that contains SLS’s could inflame your skin even further.

Even if you don’t have any skin issues, it can still cause very dry skin or hair. For example, think about how dry your hands feel after using a particular soap. This can be as a result of using a soap that contains SLS’s. Or if your hair is always dry, even if you’re using what’s considered to be a good quality conditioner. Again, it most likely contains SLS’s and with a lot of use, this can cause a loss of moisture in your hair. So try to avoid products that contain this ingredient if you can.

2. Parabens
These are preservatives used in a lot of skincare and makeup products. Their main purpose is to stop bacteria and fungus from growing in the products and to extend their shelf life. This is particularly important for cream or liquid products such as mascara, shower gels and moisturisers. Cosmetics companies generally use parabens as a preservative because they are cheap to use.

The use of parabens in cosmetic products has come into question a lot over the past decade and there have been many studies done on their effects on our bodies. Whilst there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence as yet that parabens cause cancer, they have been found in cancerous cells. As the results so far have been inconclusive, some people believe that using products that contain parabens are safe to use.

Whilst I understand this logic, I personally prefer to use products that don’t contain parabens. In my humble opinion, If there’s a risk at all, why take the chance. There are plenty of really great products on the market that don’t contain parabens and I’ve had great results from using them, much better results than the mainstream products I used to use that do contain parabens. So I’m more than happy to omit them from my makeup bag.

3. Formaldehyde
This is used as a preservative in beauty products, most commonly in nail polishes. You may also have heard about its use in the chemical hair straightening treatment The Brazilian Blowout. The main concern with formaldehyde is that it can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Some people even suffer allergic reactions to it. For these reasons, some nail salons have chosen to stop using nail products that contain formaldehyde, as it was causing some health issues for their nail technicians who were using these products on a daily basis.

The good news is that there are plenty of really great nail products available that don’t contain formaldehyde. You may have already seen some nail products on the market that are 3-Free, 5-Free, 7-Free, etc. These products don’t contain formaldehyde, as well as some other ingredients that can be harmful.

So what now?

You’ve made the decision that you’d like to start using more natural and organic products. Great. But how do you even begin to do this? Well, I don’t suggest that you throw out all of your current makeup and beauty products all at once. Here are some tips that will make the transition a little easier for you.

1. The best way to make the change is to introduce one new product into your routine at a time. For one thing, this is going to be so much easier on your bank balance! It’s very expensive trying to replace all of your products in one go. So doing it one by one is a great way to make it a bit more budget friendly.

2. If you have sensitive skin, you need to be even more mindful of what you put on your skin. Something to keep in mind is that, just because a product contains natural and organic ingredients, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your skin won’t react to the ingredients in it either. This is another reason why I say take it slow and introduce one new product into your routine at a time.

Your skin is used to a particular routine and particular products, even if they don’t contain the most beneficial ingredients. So if you go and change everything all at once, this could cause breakouts and skin irritations. Plus, if you start to use too many new products all at once, you won’t know which product or ingredient your skin has reacted to. And you won’t know which product or ingredient to avoid next time.

So take it slow and introduce one new product at a time. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, your skin may still react to something new. So don’t overwhelm it with too many new things all at once.

3. Another reason is that it can take a lot of time to find your perfect-for-you products. Remember how long it took you to find the products that you currently love? Well, it’s the exact same in this instance. I suggest doing some research online first to see what people are saying about a particular product that you’re interested in buying. Also, take a look at the ingredients list before you buy. And if you really can’t bare to part from a product that you’ve used and loved for years and that works well for you, that’s okay. You can still continue to use it until you find a suitable replacement for it.

Some great products to start with are lip products and body products. As I already mentioned, what we put on our skin is absorbed into our skin. And that’s most applicable to lip products, which we’re actually ‘eating’, as they’re on our lips and get absorbed most quickly into our bodies. Shower gels and body lotions are also great products to try first.

Whilst it’s hard for me to know the exact products that are going to be perfect-for-you without first meeting you in person, I can share with you some of my favourite natural and organic beauty brands that have worked very well for me and my clients. These will be a great place to get started.


Here are some of my favourite natural and organic skincare brands. All of the products from these brands are paraben-free, SLS-free and formaldehyde-free and have not been tested on animals. Many of their products are vegan-friendly too. You’ll find more information about the exact products that are vegan-friendly on their websites.

*Alverde – the natural beauty brand by the drugstore DM here in Germany. Their body products, in particular, are really great.
*Lavera – again, their body products are excellent quality, especially considering how budget friendly they are.
*Pai Skincare – a bit more expensive, but totally worth the price. They also have a range of skincare products for children too.
*Potentia – handmade products that use 100% natural ingredients.

And here are some of my favourite natural and organic makeup brands. All of the products from these brands are paraben-free, SLS-free and formaldehyde-free and have not been tested on animals. Many of their products are vegan-friendly too. You’ll find more information about the exact products that are vegan-friendly on their websites.

*Benecos – very budget friendly and available to buy in drugstores like Müller here in Germany.
*Lavera – they’re eye pencils and mascaras are really great.
*Younique – a bit more expensive than the aforementioned brands, but definitely worth it as the products are highly pigmented and last a long time. Their lipsticks are particularly great.
*W3ll People – again a bit more expensive than the first two, but again, very high-quality products that are definitely worth it as they last so long.

And here are some of my favourite natural and organic brands for nail polishes. All of the products from these brands are paraben-free, SLS-free and formaldehyde-free and have not been tested on animals. Many of their products are vegan-friendly too. You’ll find more information about the exact products that are vegan-friendly on their websites.

*London Town

When making the change to natural and organic products, don’t worry about looking at every single ingredient. Begin with the 3 ingredients I mentioned above and exclude 1 ingredient at a time. It can be very overwhelming when you begin this process. And once you begin to learn more about this topic, it can be very tempting to want to go from mainstream products to 100% organic products overnight. But as I’ve already mentioned, it really does take a while to do this. So go easy on your skin (and your bank balance) and enjoy the process of going green.

Noleen Sliney is a Makeup Artist & Green Beauty Blogger who’s passionate about showing women how to enhance their natural beauty so that they’ll not only look fabulous but so they’ll also FEEL fabulous and full of self-confidence every single day. And how to easily make the switch to natural and organic beauty products. She doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to beauty. And in her virtual Personalised 1 to 1 Makeup Lessons, she helps her clients to find the exact products and techniques that are perfect for their face shape and skin type so that they never again have to waste money on products that aren’t suitable for them. You can find out more about Noleen and her work at

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