How I Transitioned to a Natural Beauty Routine

Editor's note, June 2, 2017: In light of yesterday's shocking and incredibly disheartening news regarding the United States' withdrawal from the landmark Paris climate agreement, Team Byrdie wants to reemphasize its own commitment to protecting the planet as best we can. That's why today, we're highlighting our eco-friendly beauty content in an effort to illustrate that even seemingly small (and easy!) decisions can add up to a huge impact on our environment.

It all started with no-poo.

When I decided to give up shampoo a few years back, it wasn’t exactly based on the need to be all-natural. In hindsight, however, it marks the beginning of my journey toward a now plant-centric beauty routine. I had already adopted a vegan diet at this point, but aside from trying to choose products that were certified cruelty-free, this Earth-friendly philosophy hadn’t exactly expanded from the kitchen to my vanity. I wasn’t really reading labels, and I was still overloading my hair and face with synthetic ingredients without a second thought. But then I read something about going no-poo, took stock of my own straw-like and heat-damaged strands, and I decided it could be an interesting project. Interesting it was—but even with a few bumps along the way, I was amazed when it transformed my mane for the better.

In retrospect, it’s kind of sad (and superficial) that I needed to see results before really committing to a natural regimen. But that’s basically how it went down: It wasn’t until I saw how great and healthy my hair looked that I realized it was a bit hypocritical to be so discerning about what I put in my body while paying no mind to what I was using on it. Then again, we forget that just a few years ago, it didn’t seem so obvious—many of the incredible plant-based products and brands we now take for granted (and can find just about anywhere) were either fledgling or still very under-the-radar. A natural beauty regimen was still considered crunchier than it was chic, and it was easy to assume that if I wanted to go that route, I would probably be exclusively spending my time mixing up essential oils and assembling DIY masks using items in my pantry.

And that’s actually what I did (and I still do!)—all the while holding on to most of my existing products, only rotating them out when I got my hands on something plant-based that was a worthy replacement. I followed this slow and steady strategy while continuing to educate myself on ingredients and label-reading, and over the course of several months, I managed to completely overhaul my beauty cabinet.

My current beauty regimen is by no means perfect, but it’s the eco-friendliest it’s ever been—and honestly, my skin and hair have never looked better. I’m still perpetually on the hunt for new and improved products (if anyone knows of a way I can do that for a living, let me know), but treating this whole process as a continual work-in-progress has made it manageable and even fun. I’m not sure I would feel the same way if I had taken an all-or-nothing approach.

Still, I understand that overwhelming feeling of Where do I even begin? So let’s fix that, shall we?

Do you incorporate any natural products into your routine? Tell us your story (or even just your go-to brands!) in the comments below.

This story was originally published on March 11, 2016.