This is a guest article by professional make-up artist, organic beauty specialist, and mindful beauty coach Bibi Rhomberg. She lives and works in Bregenz, Austria. Over the past 10 years as a makeup artist, she got to know many beauty brands and learned a lot about their ingredients. It slowly dawned on her how much individual choices affect the health of our planet. She decided a few years ago to start to work with “clean beauty” & natural cosmetic products and to create a more environmentally friendly beauty routine for herself. In this article she shares some of her ideas and learnings, to help this burgeoning movement make even bigger waves.
Humans have always had an admiration for beauty, and each epoch and culture has had its self-care rituals to embellish the human body in various ways.
In the present day, the cosmetics industry is hugely profitable but the raw materials are more than questionable, with many unnecessary ingredients that harm both our planet and our bodies. Thankfully, more and more people are aware of this and there’s a huge sustainable and clean beauty movement taking place.
The term “clean beauty” itself is often misappropriated for marketing reasons, meaning it’s worth taking a closer look at the products you buy. Essentially, clean beauty means products you can use without harming yourself or the planet. In my Clean Beauty Coachings I further define these criteria and how one can cultivate sustainable self-care rituals.
I have distilled this down to a few helpful steps here, which I outline below:
1. What do you really need? How to start the journey towards a clean, minimalistic beauty bag?
Start the process of cleaning your beauty bag by thinking about what is really important to you and which products you really want to keep on a daily basis.
During my sessions, clients bring all the beauty products they own so that we can mindfully sort them out together. In this process, they often realize that most of the things they own have never been used or that they actually don’t really like them and just bought them on a whim. Maybe it’s the same for you – take a good look and see what you can let go of. Be ruthless. Your journey towards a clean beauty bag has begun.
2. Take a closer look at the products you want to keep using – how “green” are they really?
Once you’ve sorted out the things you want to keep, it’s time to take a critical look at the ingredients and the packaging. At this stage, you may well be surprised just how many products are still not quite clean, despite what the marketing and packaging say. As the cosmetics industry is waking up to this new clean trend, “greenwashing” is becoming more and more common. Fortunately, there are more and more apps that can help you in this filtering process and find your way through this jungle of beauty products. Some of my favorites are ToxFox or CodeCheck – simply scan the product code and you get a detailed description about how environmentally friendly the product really is.
When you’ve learned more about what you are really using on your skin you can better decide for yourself which products can be substituted for something better.
3. Simplify the products you use: Welcome to the world of oils and hydrolates.
Reflect on the benefit of each product. Is it necessary or is there maybe a simpler version with fewer ingredients or even something you can easily create yourself?
A good example of this for me has been the process of substituting creams for oils and hydrolates, such as rosewater or other herbal distillates. You can mix these ingredients in the palm of your hand – with 2 or 3 drops of high-quality oil and a few pumps of the hydrolate you basically create your own instant cream without the need for preservatives, emulsifiers, or fillers. Here you can cover all kinds of different skin needs by using different oils or even mixing them (Tip: if you’re not sure which oils or waters to use you can start by using argan or almond oil in combination with rosewater.)
4. Back to basics: substitute products for techniques.
A huge change for me these last years has been the realization that there are quite a few beauty techniques that can actually substitute real products.
Maybe you’ve heard of cupping from TCM, but it can also be applied to the face using a little oil as a base. It helps tighten the facial skin and promote lymph drainage, and I find it an incredibly effective technique – one that also really relaxes me after a long day. I use and recommend this brand.
Ayurvedic body brush:
This is one of my favorite recent discoveries, and has been a real game-changer. I use it to dry-brush my body (almost every day before showering, depending on your skin type) it perfectly replaces body peelings, tightens the skin, promotes blood circulation, and boosts metabolism.
33I use a warm washcloth to clean my face after removing my make-up in the evening. It’s a very tender way to remove dead skin cells and additionally opens the pores to get rid of all the dirt particles.
This is a very powerful well-aging tool. It’s about realizing how you move your facial muscles and how to consciously train them to keep your facial features fresh and young. You can build little exercises into your daily life by doing just a few little movements while the kettle boils or when stuck in traffic. Personally, I think it is better than any cream that promises to reduces wrinkles, etc. For German readers: Check out and try for yourself Hanna Sacher’s profile on youtube.
5. Zero waste: search out refillable brands.
There are a few pioneer make-up brands that already offer refills for all their items or try to make their packaging 100% recyclable. Here are just a few brands and start-ups that I work with and love:
Kjaer Weis: If I could use just one brand to work with, Kjaer Weis would definitely be it. The product quality itself, the founder, and the refillable chic design – 10 out of 10!
Aether Beauty: Their eyeshadow palette is made entirely of paper and the packaging is almost entirely recyclable, plus the ingredients themselves are super clean.
Zao: Their refillable packaging, as well as some of their ingredients, are made from controlled harvested bamboo. They’re Ecocert approved, with ingredients from organic farms. Everything is toxic-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free and vegan.
6. DIY self-care rituals
You might well be surprised what beauty products you can create at home without much effort.
Ice cubes: Always keep some in the freezer – they work like magic on puffiness, redness, rashes, dark circles, and other skin woes. From stimulating blood circulation to reducing oiliness, soothing sunburns, and laying a refreshing groundwork for makeup. A very easy and simple way is to prepare them with green tea or just water and rose water, 1:1.
Healing clay or healing earth: Keep a ready supply at home; depending on how you mix it (either with oil or water) you can create a perfect mask or cleaning pastefor all kinds of skincare.
Soft brown sugar + any oil: You can apply this mixture on your damp skin and massage it in until the sugar melts; your skin will feel like a baby’s afterward.
This was a short introduction, but I hope you could get some new ideas and inspiration to join the clean beauty movement in your own way. To find out more, feel free to get in touch or visit my website (www.bbrhomberg.com)