Clean Beauty is an Inside Job
Through my own health journey, I came to an important conclusion: clean beauty is an inside job. When my health was at its worst, I had acne, rashes, bloating, weight gain, and inflammation. The glow was gone.
Getting my health back was a long process that involved healing my gut with dietary changes, sleep, exercise, stress management, supplements, medications and focused elimination of environmental toxins. I truly believe that any beauty routine starts with good nutrition and lifestyle practices, and addressing underlying health issues. When I got my health back, I got my glow back. And in doing so, I revamped my beauty routine and ditched the toxic chemicals I used on my skin and hair.
We Have To Advocate For Ourselves
Did you know that many personal care products expose you and your family to toxic chemicals? While the European Union has banned approximately 1,400 harmful chemicals1 and ingredients from personal care products, the United States has only banned about 30. An analysis by the Environmental Working Group2 found that
“more than 1 in 5 of all products contain chemicals linked to cancer, 80% contain ingredients that commonly contain hazardous impurities, and 56% contain penetration enhancers that help deliver ingredients deeper into the skin. Cosmetic ingredients penetrate the skin and may pose health risks, particularly for children. Personal care products may be the primary exposure route for many chemicals that raise significant health concerns. Consumers can be exposed through skin absorption, inhalation, and ingestion.”
If you’re not convinced that the products we slather on our skin are actually absorbed, think about the topical medications we prescribe, like hormone creams. It is well known that topical estrogen raises systemic estrogen levels.
And to make matters worse, the average woman uses 12 personal care products a day, exposing her to over 168 unique chemicals3…. before she even walks out the door.
You Don’t Have To Compromise Health In The Name Of Beauty
Skin care and beauty products can be both safe and effective. That is why I counsel my patients to utilize resources like the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and Think Dirty to evaluate the safety of their personal care products. You can also look for the EWG VERIFIED mark on products that meet EWG’s strict criteria based on a variety of health standards.
It’s also why I endorse companies like Beautycounter. Their mission is one I can stand behind. They started by eliminating over 1,400 chemicals restricted in personal care products by the European Union, and then eliminated chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern. This means approximately 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals on their “Never List” are already off the table before they even begin to formulate a product. In fact, Beautycounter is a founding member of EWG VERIFIED. Plus, these are hands-down my favorite beauty products on the market. And I’ve tried a lot!
My Safe and Effective Clean Beauty Routine
Below, I share my favorite products and resources for my own clean beauty routine. Many, but not all, of the products I use are from Beautycounter. You might be thinking the same thing as me… that’s a lot more than 12! I don’t use all of these everyday, but this is honestly what you’ll find in my bathroom. And maybe I’m a little excessive. Details below (with a * next to my top essentials).
Charcoal Cleansing Bar – This is my daily face wash for removing makeup at the end of the day. Charcoal detoxifies and absorbs impurities without drying out my skin. A Beautycounter fan favorite. I also love the Counterstart Cococream Cleanser which is more hydrating.
Counter+ All Bright C Serum* – I layer this serum under my moisturizer and foundation in the morning. Vitamin C and turmeric brighten skin and help reduce and prevent dark spots.
Overnight Resurfacing Peel* – this is a new favorite that everyone (including me) loves. Botanically-derived acids improve skin texture and minimize pores, fine lines, and dark spots without irritation or over-drying. Gentle enough to use every night, though I like to alternate with a facial oil.
No. 3 Balancing Facial Oil – I love all of the facial oils, but this one is my favorite. I layer this under my serum and moisturizer several nights a week.
Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream* – I use this every night, and swear that I wake up to smoother, firmer, more hydrated skin.
Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream – I use this day and night for the sensitive and delicate skin around eyes. Plant-derived Retinatural Complex and Persian silk tree extract reduce the appearance of under-eye shadows and crow’s feet.
Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer * – This tinted moisturizer provides SPF 20 and sheer coverage, which makes it ideal for days without makeup and also gives me extra coverage when I do wear foundation. I use Medium.
Skin Twin Hydrating Foundation (formerly Tint Skin)* – This lightweight, creamy foundation is a game changer, and a Beautycounter best seller. It’s easy to use and looks natural. I layer it over the Dew Skin tinted moisturizer for extra coverage. I use Honey.
Touchup Skin Concealer Pen – I use a little bit of this concealer under my Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation to hide dark circles and other imperfections. I use Medium 1.
Illuminating Cream Highlighter – I use these sheer blendable highlighters to create contour and add a subtle glow. I apply Bronze Glow below cheekbones for contour, and sometimes use the Pearl Glow above cheekbones as a highlighter.
Satin Powder Blush – Delivers buildable color without questionable ingredients. I use Date.
Velvette Eyeshadow Palette – gorgeous neutral shades make this palette great for everyday wear and date night. This replaced my Chanel eyeshadows and I’ve been super satisfied with this product. I use Classic.
Precision Liquid Eyeliner – love this one for a rich matte-black eyeliner.
Brilliant Brow Gel* – Flake-proof, foolproof, and easy to use.
Daily Shampoo + Conditioner* – A tiny bit goes a long way and leaves hair shiny and silky. I use these several times a week and they don’t dry out my hair.
Acure Dry Shampoo – avoid the talc. This one is Paraben free, Sulfate free, Mineral oil free, Petrolatum free and Formaldehyde free.
Kenna Nicole DUSK Essential Oil Blend – I am obsessed with this warm and sultry blend of 8 essential oils, and I use this instead of perfume. Plus, Kenna Nicole is a local Michigan company that is generous enough to offer my tribe 15% off! (use the coupon code MAREN, and buy their candle while you are there).
NATIVE Deodorant – This is my favorite natural deodorant by far! Look for the sensitive version if you’ve developed a rash from other natural deodorants.
The Honest Company Organic Body Oil Moisturizer – I use this instead of shaving cream.
Cream Blends Body Butter – This small, local Michigan company makes the best body butter ever for dry winter skin (it is especially good for pregnant bellies!). Made with shea butter, coconut oil, almond oil, grapeseed and Vitamin E.
Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30 – This is a Beautycounter best seller and summertime essential that my whole family uses. I love all of their sunscreens and chase the kids around with the Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist.
Dry Brush – I use a this brush on dry skin before my shower to stimulate circulation, lymphatic flow, and detoxification. Just brush from the extremities in toward the heart.
RiseWell Toothpaste – I look for toothpaste that is gluten-free, fluoride-free, and also free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. I also avoid anything too abrasive, like many whitening products and tooth powders can be. But the reality is, we still need a safe and effective alternative to fluoride. Enter hydroxyapatite. There’s aren’t that many products on the market with this ingredient, which has been used in Japan for decades. Use code MAREN10 for 10% off!
Dr. Tung’s Smart Floss – you should know that dental floss is often coated with PFCs — Teflon, and PTFE. Yuck! This one is lightly waxed with a vegetable/beeswax blend, and is free of BPA, PTFE, PFAS chemicals and petrochemical wax.
Philips Sonicare rechargeable electric toothbrush – An electric toothbrush is also essential for good oral hygiene.
Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser – I also love a good waterpik!
For the Family
My husband uses the Counterman Smoothing Shave Cream, the No. 3 Balancing Face Oil and the Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream.
My kids use the Kids Bath Collection. They also sometimes use Vanicream lotion, which helps a lot with eczema (I’ve checked this out on EWG’s Skin Deep Database, and it’s not perfect but it’s acceptable IMO given the superb results and the importance of good skin barrier function).
Interested in trying Beautycounter?
We’ll be happy to send you some deluxe samples if you message us at firstname.lastname@example.org (continental U.S. only, please)!
—–> SHOP BEAUTYCOUNTER HERE <—–
If you make an order through Beautycounter you’ll always get free returns, and if you become a Band of Beauty member you’ll get free shipping, a 15% product credit, and a sweet welcome gift when you spend $50+. Just be sure that Dr. Christine Maren is listed as your consultant at checkout.
If you’re interested in learning more about a functional medicine approach to improving your health, please read the other articles on my website. Also, follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I share some of my favorite articles, emerging research, healthy recipes and trusted wellness products.
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