Preservatives, parabens, phthalates—oh my! The weeds of skin care can become tangled with harmful chemicals and ingredients that can damage, rather than renew, your sensitive skin.
If you’re looking to find the all-natural Emerald City of skin care products to curate a nourishing skin care routine, it’s essential to find products that are free from preservatives, sustainably made, and plant-based. And just think of all the fun possibilities ahead—hydrating masks, skin-evening serums, and soothing exfoliants that infuse your healthy skin with nothing but health.
In this clean beauty guide, we’ll wind you down the path toward a clean beauty routine, taking into account your skin type, your skin care needs, and the selection of products at your fingertips.
Step 1: Analyze Your Skin Type and Needs
The first step to creating the best natural skin care routine for yourself is to know what your skin cells needs. Is it dry and irritated, longing to be quenched with a nourishing moisturizer? Or is it blemish-prone and oily, searching for a light-weight serum that clears away impurities?
Estheticians typically categorize skin into four types:
If you’re not sure where your sensitive skin fits, here are two easy at-home tests you can try:
- The Naked Skin Test – This is a good test if you have plenty of time. Start by cleaning your face with water and a gentle cleanser. Pat dry and don’t apply anything to your skin. After 30 to 40 minutes, check to see how your skin feels: Is it oily or dry? Tight or greasy? Flaky or slick? And where do you notice a difference? Cheeks versus forehead? Chin versus nose? If your skin feels dry, rough, or uncomfortable, it's likely dry skin. If it feels slick and looks shiny, it's oily skin. If you have both oily and dry areas, you have combination skin, and having none of these in excess means, you have normal skin.
- The Blotting Paper Test – If you don’t have time for the naked skin test, you can simply press a clean, thin piece of blotting paper or a very thin tissue on your skin. Hold the paper up to the light. Is it greasy? Still dry? This should give you a pretty good idea of your skin type.
Beyond oily and dry dehydrated skin, your skin might also be:
- Sensitive to skin care products
- Sun sensitive
Since there are many types of skin types and variations, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all natural skin care routine. However, knowing your skin care type can help inspire your to think carefully about what your skin cells needs to curate a perfect skin care routine for you.
Step 2: Consider the Possibilities
After identifying your skin type, it’s time to think about what you want to achieve with your skin care routine. Ask yourself:
- Do I need to add moisture or reduce facial oil?
- Do I use a daily sunscreen lotion? If so, what level?
- Am I bothered by fine lines or dark spots on my skin?
- Are blemishes a concern?
- Do I want to reduce the appearance of pores or blackheads?
- How much pollution do I encounter daily?
- What kind of makeup do I wear? How and when do I remove it?
Once you’re given some thought to what you want out of a skin care routine, it’s time to start matching products to wishes.
Natural Skin Care Products
Clean, natural, green, eco-friendly, vegan—the different ways to categorize skin care products have increased tremendously in the past decade. Because there is no FDA guideline defining exactly what natural means, it has been up to manufacturers to determine what is and what is not natural.
In general, however, when we talk about natural skin care products we mean products that are manufactured with naturally sourced and/or botanical ingredients and are free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, phthalates, parabens, and sulfates.
Some natural skin care product options that you can incorporate into a natural skin care routine are:
- Exfoliator – Sloughing away dead skin to reveal the glow beneath is simple with natural gritty products like sugar, salt, coffee grounds, oatmeal, and finely ground almonds. These natural ingredients are all physical exfoliants. You can also find natural chemical exfoliants on the market which contain AHAs and retinol, but you need to read the skincare product ingredient list carefully to avoid harsh preservatives, essential oils, and other unnatural additives.
- Cleanser – Cleaning your skin to remove excess oil, grime, and pollutants is a daily must-do. Unfortunately, some traditional cleansers rely on toxic ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), phthalates, propylene glycol, paraffin, butylene glycol, and isopropyl alcohol. Luckily, the market for natural cleansers has grown exponentially, and you can find natural facial cleaners made with good-for-you natural ingredients like chickpea powder, turmeric, buttermilk, cucumber, and honey. If you choose to purchase a natural facial cleanser, just remember to be diligent about researching every active ingredient on the list.
- Toner – Toning your skin helps deepen your clean but also may help reduce the appearance of pores, tighten skin, and brighten your skin tone. And, best of all, you don’t need to sacrifice your commitment to a natural skin care routine to get these benefits. By toning with a natural product like rose water or witch hazel, you get all the goodness with none of the preservatives, essential oils, and synthetic ickiness.
- Masks – Both DIY and commercial masks can nourish and hydrate your face without harsh or toxic ingredients. While the internet is chock full of fun and fragrant face mask options you can make at home, some top face mask ingredients to include are salt, olive oil, honey, and lemon. Basically, it’s salad dressing.
- Moisturizers and oils – Although many shelf-stable lotions are packed with preservatives, there are plenty of ways to get natural moisture onto your dry skin. Oils like coconut, avocado, marula, jojoba, sunflower seed, rose seed, and olive are economical, healthy, and easy to find. Other moisturizer options include shea butter, cocoa butter, and colloidal oats. Because their densities and properties vary widely, it’s important that you approach finding the right natural facial oil with an adventurous and inquisitive spirit.
- SPF protection – Natural sun protection means choosing a skincare product that creates a protective layer over your skin rather than soaking into your skin layers. The most effective and natural way to protect your skin is to cover up with clothing, but if you’re going to apply an SPF-rated skin care product, choosing one that contains a mineral sunscreen is a far better option than choosing one that contains harmful ingredients like oxybenzone. Two excellent natural SPF products are zinc oxide and titanium oxide.
Step 3: Build Your Routine
Choosing the best skin care products for your skin and your goals is only half the battle. Learning to use them in the correct order is equally important. Luckily, this is a relatively easy process to master.
In the evening, follow these steps:
- Step 1 – Start with your cleanser
- Step 2 – Pat dry
- Step 3 – Follow with your toner
- Step 4 – Allow your toner to air dry
- Step 5 – Spot treat for blemishes, fine lines, and eye bags using your deep oils
- Step 6 – Apply your all-over oils, serums, or moisturizers from least to most heavy
In the morning, wind down with the following:
- Step 1 – Exfoliate (in the shower if possible)
- Step 2 – Pat your face dry (never, ever rub)
- Step 3 – Follow with toner, if needed
- Step 4 – Apply your oils, serums, or moisturizers
- Step 5 – Follow with your daily SPF treatment
- Step 6 – Apply makeup as usual
If you want to use a mask, the best method is to apply it after cleansing in the evening. While the exact method of application depends on your mask, it's a good idea to leave your skin a bit damp before application as this helps your skin absorb nutrients.
Following the removal of your mask, utilize your spot treatments and all-over moisturizers as usual.
Curate Your Natural Skin Care Routine with HPPY
We see you building your natural skin care routine, and we salute you. Learning how to read skin care ingredients, understanding side effects, letting go of old products—this isn’t an easy path, but it’s an important one, both for your health and for the environment.
At HPPY, our products are preservative-free to provide your skin with the most benefits. Our cold-water High-Pressure Process (HPP) technology helps to reliably deliver ingredients and nutrients with no need whatsoever for natural or synthetic preservatives. And our collection of masks makes a perfect match to your all-new natural skin care routine.
Our Calming Mask is 100% natural, totally preservative-free, and infused with real gluten-free oats, lavender, bananas, and CBD to renew your skin and achieve a natural, nourished glow. And our Hydrating Mask is the perfect way to quench your skin with effective ingredients like cucumber, coffeeberry, manuka honey, and spirulina.
All-natural is in—make it a routine with HPPY.
Salon Success Academy. The Guide to Knowing Your Skin Type. https://www.salonsuccessacademy.com/blog/guide-knowing-skin-type/
Dermatology Times. The State of Natural skin care. https://www.dermatologytimes.com/view/the-state-of-natural-skin care
Environmental Working Group. The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreen. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/