There are myriad products and tonics that promise everything from younger skin and shinier hair to stronger nails – the list goes on.
However, many of these products contain synthetics and chemicals, including plastic microbeads, which can be toxic to fish, according to Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority. But blogger and Eco Warrior Princess founder Jennifer Nini says more people are becoming aware of the way their lifestyles are harming the environment.
“People are becoming more conscious about what they’re putting in their bodies, what they’re putting on their bodies and what they’re wearing – it’s amazing that we’re becoming more enlightened,” she says.
Jennifer has lived a sustainable lifestyle since 2008. She eventually packed up her corporate life in Melbourne and moved to rural Queensland, where she runs a certified organic farm with her partner and his parents.
Jennifer has some great ideas for maintaining an environmentally friendly beauty and wellness routine. We asked for some of her top tips.
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1. Keep it simple
Jennifer says rule No.1 is to keep your cosmetic use to a minimum.
“I generally don’t wear a lot of makeup,” she says. “I just wash my face with water in the mornings.”
If she feels her skin is getting dry, she uses a natural moisturiser by Hempme or Miód Skincare. If she does ever feel the need to get dolled up, a natural blush by Byron Bay’s Eco Minerals and vegan mascara by Sugar Venom are her go-tos.
“I don’t use a lot of nail polish, but if I do, it’s vegan again, by Sienna Byron Bay.”
Jennifer says once she got used to going without, it really wasn’t a big deal.
“For me, natural is better,” she says. “The less product you’re using, the less you buy; the more eco-friendly that is.”
2. Choose natural ingredients
Research is important, according to Jennifer, and labels are a good place to start.
“You’re looking for natural essential oils, organics – ingredients you can recognise,” she says.
Jennifer recommends avoiding such things as perfumes, parabens and anything that’s unfamiliar to you. If you’re unsure about something, look it up at Environmental Working Group, which rates products on their eco-friendliness.
“I know it’s hard, especially when you’re in shopping mode and you see things and smell things,” she says. “But ask people you trust and, if in doubt, ask the company via email or on social media.”
There are plenty of natural remedies that can be found in your garden or pantry. Jennifer says everything from hair to teeth can be looked after using simple ingredients.
“You can use apple cider vinegar and water as a toner for your skin, which is great for blemishes, and you can drink it as a tonic. I did it and it cleared up my skin in three weeks,” she says.
“I also use coconut oil for a hair conditioner, moisturiser and makeup remover.”
Jennifer is also a fan of going “no poo” – shampoo free. The idea is your hair eventually uses its own natural oils to stay healthy. You can use a natural rinse such as vinegar and water to freshen your scalp every couple of days or so.
“I tried to do it when I had long hair, but only lasted 10 days,” she says. “I decided to cut my hair boy-short.”
She says if you can’t bring yourself to go completely without shampoo, try to use an eco-friendly product and then only sparingly – every three days or so.
“If you’re starting to feel really grubby, just use the most eco-friendly brand you can find,” she says. “Sukin is great – it’s very affordable, vegan and carbon neutral and it’s Australian-made and owned.”
4. Eat well
Jennifer is vegan. After making the change to meat-free, she noticed a difference in her energy levels, her overall wellness and in her skin and nails.
“I have so much more energy and I rarely get sick,” she says.
Veganism isn’t for everyone, however. If you still eat animal products, make sure you balance it out with heaps of vegies.
“I would go plant-based – greens, fruit, veg, nuts, seeds – and if you can do raw at least one meal a day, that’s great for curbing the ageing process,” Jennifer says.
5. Remedies and supplements
More serious conditions do require a visit to your GP, but some minor ailments can be treated naturally.
“I eat raw turmeric, which is a natural vitamin C supplement,” Jennifer says.
Plants can also be used to treat minor skin irritations.
“Neem tree oil is great for mozzy bites – it’s a natural insect repellant,” she says. “Then I use aloe vera, which I grow on the farm, for a face mask or for blemishes. You take one of the tentacles off the plant, cut it and then scrape out the gel.”