My journey to “clean beauty” was not a drastic moment of change — I didn’t dump out my makeup bag one day and replace every single item at once. It looked more like a long and winding road, because to start, I never really considered myself much of a beauty person at all. Up until recently I’d had nearly the exact same makeup routine since high school, and my skincare routine was almost non-existent (more on that later). I’ve also never been into the clean-eating trends (oh boy, you can keep your kale, I looove myself a bag of Cheetos every once in a while). But here I am, sharing how I started to educate myself about what was in the beauty products I was using, began to make small changes and swaps in my makeup and skincare, and ultimately got on board with a brand I have been using since — Beautycounter.I am hoping to write more about this topic on the site moving forward, but wanted to start at the beginning and explain how I got interested and invested in the clean beauty movement. Over a year ago, right after my birthday and at the start of a new year, I came to the realization that I needed to “mature” my makeup bag and reassess my beauty routine. My skin was looking tired (a toddler was partially to blame) and I was just starting to notice my first signs of aging (ugh).

I had my friend Amanda who is a talented makeup artist and esthetician come over and we did a fun beauty post where she recommended new products and gave me and readers lots of tips and tricks. She answered lots of my questions, including one I always wondered about: why is there such a huge price discrepancy in makeup? I could buy a $4 mascara or a $64 mascara, so what was really the difference? She told me to simply take a look at the ingredients and you can understand what you’re paying for.

It sparked a bit of curiosity in me – not dump-my-whole-makeup-bag-in-the-trash curiosity, but enough to make me start doing some research. I downloaded an app called Think Dirty that helps educate consumers about the ingredients in beauty and household products, and rates them to help you find options that cleaner, safer alternatives.  Tons of the products in my makeup routine that I had been using for years had ingredients listed that can be linked to endocrine disruptions. I happen to have endocrine issues, so this new information hit home with me.

I didn’t make any massive changes right away though, because it’s so easy to just stick to your regular routine. I had a few go-to products that were working for me and I didn’t want to spend a ton of trial and error to research and find new ones. I mentioned earlier that I also had almost zero skincare routine because for years anytime I tried a new makeup or cleanser or beauty product, my face would completely break out. New products stressed me out, and I got to the point where I would just get overwhelmed and not use anything at all.Fast forward to last summer, I took a press trip to Nantucket for the day and we visited Beautycounter’s summer pop-up shop where we got an intro about the brand. I knew a little bit about Beautycounter before this visit but it was the first time I’d heard in depth about the brand’s commitment to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States. We learned about the brand’s The Never List, which is made up of more than 1,800 questionable or harmful chemicals that are never used as ingredients in the products. My clean beauty curiosity continued, enough to actually try some of the products.

I came home with samples of their sunscreen, lipstick and blush that I had tried in the store, and bath products from their kids line. The sunscreen was a game changer, it was one of the few brands I’ve tried that hasn’t caused my skin to break out. The makeup proved to me that “clean” beauty products could actually work – I loved how the blush tones blended and the lipstick hydrated and tinted. The kids shampoo was the product that gave me a lightbulb moment though. Jane’s skin was irritated by every kids brand shampoo I tried, even ones that were marketed as “green” or organic options. I will admit I purchased the beautycounter kids shampoo for the packaging – I can’t resist those nautical blue stripes – but it ended up being the solution that worked and didn’t irritate her skin.I felt like I had some proof that I could make clean beauty swaps that worked — I wasn’t sacrificing effectiveness at the cost of cleaner ingredients. As I ran out of items in my makeup bag, I started to trade in cleaner replacements. I tried mascaras, I swapped my bronzer and concealer, and I got hooked on those beautycounter lipsticks and ordered new shades for the changing seasons. Over time I moved beyond my makeup bag and started to make some skincare swaps too. I found an exfoliating face cleanser I love, and after many years of swearing I wasn’t a beauty product person have brought eye rescue creams and brightening serums into my daily routine (who am I!?).  And as I got more into the clean beauty products, I started paying more attention to people talking about the topic online. My friend Sarah is a fellow food writer, cookbook author, and coastal New England gal, and she shared tons of education around clean product swaps on her Instagram stories. I have learned so much from her over the past few months, and when she asked if I might be interested in joining beautycounter as a consultant I initially dismissed the idea. I told her I wasn’t really a makeup/beauty person, but then I laughed because the reason I love following her and learning from her is because I don’t think of her as a makeup/beauty person either. She was just excited to share solutions with cleaner ingredients and educate people about the topic of making beauty products safer, and I feel the same way.

So here I am, a non-beauty gal deciding to talk a bit more about beauty products and how we can make healthier, educated choices. If it’s something you’re interested in learning more about, send me a note or leave me a comment, ask me questions (or request free samples!) and except a little bit more on this topic from me soon!