Spring clean your skincare routine

Hello from Portland! How’s the morning going? I’m in town for a quick brand meeting and then headed back to Tucson later today. Even though it’s been a quick trip, I’ve still managed to have some fun and I’ll share a recap soon.

The weather has been nice and rainy here, but spring is in full bloom in Tucson, which means lots of spring cleaning. And by “spring cleaning” I mean the never-ending quest of unpacking the Valdosta stuff. We think we’ll probably be in this house for a few years (so weird to be in the same spot for a bit!) so we’re trying to be strategic about what we keep. I was excited to ditch the unpacking and escape for a night. 😉 I intended for this post to go live early last week, but it ended up taking way longer than I anticipated. I hope you enjoy this one and can use an idea or two!

Spring is such a great time to turn over a new leaf and use this seasonal burst of motivation to make some healthy changes. I think it’s a bit easier to want to make new fitness and nutrition changes during the spring. The weather is warming up, which makes outdoor runs and al fresco yoga sessions so much more enticing, and all of the spring produce makes smoothies and salads much easier to include. I enjoy a smoothie so much more when I’m not bundled up in a fleece jacket and beanie. 🙂

When we think of healthy changes, I feel like skincare and personal products are usually forgotten. I focused on eating clean and working out for years before I decided to investigate the ingredients in the skincare I was using. When I finally did decide to figure out what was in my favorite products, I was shocked. Many of them were filled with harmful ingredients, and I felt overwhelmed with all of the “clean” options. Also, sometimes because a company uses good ingredients doesn’t mean the products work! Some of the worst beauty products have come from my favorite health food stores (like the “all-natural” conditioner that literally turned my hair into a mound of straw.)

Makeup drawer

For today’s post, I thought I’d share some of the things to keep in mind if you’re looking to spring clean your skincare routine:

(Please keep in mind that I’m not an esthetician. If you’re looking for personalized skincare help, seek out a nearby spa that you trust that uses organic products. In a spa setting, I highly recommend the Eminence Organics line. They’re vegan, cruelty free, use organic ingredients, and plant-derived. While I’m not an esthetician, I am a research machine mama. In this post, I’m sharing some of the things I consider and have found to help when I’m researching products for my own family.)

Spring Clean Your Skincare Routine

Here are a few ingredients to keep an eye out for when reading ingredient labels on your skincare products.

1 — Parabens. On ingredient lists, these look like methylparaben, propylparaben and ethylparaben. They are anti-fungal and preservative chemicals, commonly used in cosmetics to prevent bacteria growth. They have been shown to mimic estrogen and act as hormone disruptors, and have even been linked to breast cancer. Most conventional skincare products contain parabens, so switch to a brand (or even make your own) that uses safer ingredients.

2 — Alcohols. Not all alcohols are bad, but you do want to avoid ingredients like ethanol, denatured, isopropyl, methanol or ethyl alcohol. So many skincare products use alcohol, that one would think it’s a healthy, rejuvenating ingredient for your skin. Actually, alcohol is most commonly included to add a weightless quality to otherwise thick lotions and creams, making the product feel more luxurious than it really is. Additionally, alcohol helps the products to better penetrate the skin… by destroying your skin’s barrier. You don’t need that! When you’re reading ingredient labels, look for GOOD alcohols (otherwise known as “fatty” alcohols) that are healthy for your skin and used by more responsible skincare companies. These include cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl.

3 — Oils. There is a common misconception that putting oil on your skin leads to acne. However, just like with the food you eat, there are good oils and not so good oils. You just need to make sure you’re using the right kind! Our skin requires oil, and creates its own –called sebum— which waterproofs, hydrates and protects our skin from harmful microorganisms. Unfortunately, so many products are designed to rid your skin of oil, which can dry it out. Your skin will then react by overcompensating with too much sebum, and this is what leads to breakouts.

4 — Fragrance. “Fragrance” is an umbrella term that companies can use to hide hundreds of chemicals. Companies are not required to disclose what is labeled as “fragrance.” Exposure could lead to asthma, and fragrance lingers on the skin for hours. You’ll find it in everything: shampoo, sunscreen, baby lotion, diapers, soap, etc. If there’s one tip to take away from this post, I’d say stay away from fragrance. 

Use the EWG Healthy Living App. This is one of my all-time favorite resources for choosing products. You can scan the product directly on your phone and it will rate it based on the ingredients. When I first found this app, I went through our bathroom cabinets and it really helped me to scale down the brands we use and purchase. Keep in mind that not all products are listed in the app because companies are not required to disclose their ingredients.

Look out for kids’ products. This one is disheartening to me because you would think that kids’ products would have the safest ingredients and it’s not the case at all. It’s not uncommon to see parabens listed in the ingredients.

More ingredients to avoid in kids’ products:

– Talc. It’s a drying agent that is a lung irritant and could be carcinogenic. 

– Propelene Glycol. Despite the fact that it is “generally recognized as safe,” it’s lacking in extensive human-based studies on the effects of this substance. 

– Mineral oil. Opt for a gentle plant-based oil, like coconut, jojoba, or sweet almond. 

If all of this feels overwhelming – I feel ya! – find a few brands that you know, love, and trust, and stick with those. That’s absolutely what we do and whenever I’m trying something new, I’ll scan it in EWG or do a quick Google search.


(Holding my fave sunless tanner and Eminence strawberry exfoliator)

All in all, I think it’s just a matter of picking your battles and finding out what changes make sense for you. A whole lifestyle change is overwhelming and not attainable in the short term. Make little changes here and there and then build. For example, switch out your facial cleanser to something safer, and then maybe a month later, try a new night cream. Gradually replace makeup or body products. Try a natural deodorant. If you only change one thing, try a safer body lotion. Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs everything we put onto it. Any change you can make is a positive one and know what products are “worth it” for you. (For example, you can pry Moroccan Oil from my cold, dead hands. It’s loaded with fragrance and weird ingredients but it’s the only thing that controls this mane so far.) It doesn’t have to be black and white, just like fitness or nutrition. Aim for a grand scheme of things approach and you’ll be good to go. 😉

Some of my go-to brands:

Primally Pure. (<— referral link) The best natural mosquito repellent!

Schmidt’s deodorant. I LOVE the rose scent and it actually works. I don’t smell stinky, even after tough workouts. All products are free of aluminum, propylene glycol, SLS, PEG, parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrance, artificial flavor, artificial colorants, and artificial sweeteners. They’re also vegan and cruelty-free.


SheaMoisture. You can find their products at Target. I always use their body wash and love their hair mask. They’re organic, sustainably-produced, and free of many of the harmful ingredients listed above. They use coconut oil in many of their products, which smell beautiful and feel thick and luxurious, even though they’re extremely inexpensive.

Beautycounter:  (<— my site link) free of 1500 toxic ingredients that are banned in the UK but commonly used in the US. I’m happy to work with a company who is fighting for reform in a severely unregulated industry. All products are tested three times for heavy metals and work beautifully. If you need help with suggestions, please let me know! My faves: the Dew Skin, Overnight Peel, Color Intense lipstick, any lipgloss, and the face oil.

Phlur! (<— referral link) This is the best natural perfume I’ve found that doesn’t use artificial fragrance. They’re transparent with their ingredients and the Améline scent is gorgeous. I also highly recommend their candles!

Phlur review

So tell me, friends: is there anything you actively look for in your health and beauty products? Any new brands you’ve tried and loved??



* If you’d like to join my clean beauty email list, kindly add in your info below! This is where I send special offers, giveaways, and gift with purchases. 🙂

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  1. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on April 3, 2019 at 11:31 am

    OMG I just wrote a blog post about spring cleaning your skincare. HAHA oh well! It’s so important to do and we often don’t think about tidying up this area of our life regularly.

  2. Diana on April 3, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Sunscreen is my big one. Having worked in melanoma research for years I’m fully aware it is super important, but I don’t exactly want to cover my body (let alone my 14month old’s) in endocrine disruptors. Finding a usable and effective mineral sunscreen that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg used to be impossible, but it’s getting better! I’ve heard the beauty counter one is great, but on the budget side the Bare Republic is pretty great too!

    • Fitnessista on April 3, 2019 at 4:50 pm

      i’ll check that one out! thank you <3

  3. Karen on April 3, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Great post! For deodorant, I personally like Primal Pit Paste. I also want to chime in to say that just because something is marketed as “natural”, “sensitive”, or “plant based” doesn’t mean it will work with your skin. I found out the hard way (red swollen eye lids!) that my skin doesn’t like lavender oil. It was a well known botanical brand that I paid a lot of money for at a spa, to boot. So do your research, but also trial and error.

    • Fitnessista on April 3, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      i totally agree! also, some plants are toxic 😉 so plant-based is not always good haha. that’s a bummer about the lavender oil!

  4. Liz on April 3, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    This was such an incredibly helpful post, thank you. I’ve already downloaded the EWG app and am looking forward to checking out some of the items you suggested 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 3, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      yay, so happy you enjoyed it!

  5. Dominique on April 3, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    I fell in love with that eminence strawberry exfoliant when I worked in a spa <3 One of the estheticians suggested adding just a little water to make a thick paste and then using it as a mask…talk about a game changer!!

    • Fitnessista on April 3, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      ohhhh i’ll try that!!

  6. Meagan on April 3, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I just sent you an email about Beauty Counter’s overnight peel. I’ll also check out your BC website. Thanks! I love these types of posts- so much good information.

  7. Victoria on April 3, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I love how you say to make little changes, that always seems to work and is not overwhelming :). What body lotion do you use/suggest?

  8. Victoria on April 3, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Great tips, thank you! What body lotion do you use/suggest?

    • Fitnessista on April 3, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      I love the Beautycounter lotion and the Shea moisture one from target

  9. Colleen on April 3, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Do you have a hair product line you like? (shampoo, conditioner) I’ve been really struggling to find a line I like.

    • Fitnessista on April 3, 2019 at 3:12 pm

      I use and love the pureology line. They’re vegan and sulfate free but don’t have super clean ingredients. I’m still looking for something that doesn’t dry out my hair that has good ingredients

      • anne on April 3, 2019 at 4:16 pm

        I really love the Briogeo line – they really work (honestly work better than anything else I have tried!) Worth looking into/getting a sample from Sephora. The ingredients are not 100% perfect – but they are so much better than what I was using!

        • Fitnessista on April 3, 2019 at 4:47 pm

          ok i’ll look into that- thank you!

      • Juliana on April 4, 2019 at 12:05 pm

        Have you tried La Tierra Sagrada? I really want to but it’s more $$ than I want to spend at the moment. I think the price point is about the same as pureology though?

        • Fitnessista on April 4, 2019 at 1:54 pm

          no, i haven’t! i’ll look into it now

  10. Juliana on April 3, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Omg, I LOVE the scent of the rose deodorant but I had to stop using it because it was irritating 🙁 I switched to the Primally pure charcoal deodorant and love it! It doesn’t smell like roses though. Sigh.

    • Fitnessista on April 3, 2019 at 4:47 pm

      yes, it smells amazing! primally pure is good too, though!

  11. Rachel on April 4, 2019 at 12:51 am

    You look so much like P in the main photo for this post!

  12. Katie on April 4, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Think Dirty is another great app!! I have a few brands that I know and trust now, but I use that and EWG whenever I get something new. Also, I hear you on the conditioner. There is no way some of those natural conditioners get through my hair!

    • Jessie on April 4, 2019 at 10:23 am

      I think this post is so helpful! Thank you! I changed most of my products about 5 yrs ago and believe it has made such a difference.

  13. Sharon T on April 4, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Hi! If I’m prone to acne, and need an evening face wash, and night cream, would you have any BeautyCounter recommendations? Thank you!

  14. Molly on April 4, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    You mentioned body lotion, which kind do you recommend?

    • Fitnessista on April 4, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      i love the beautycounter lotion and the sheamoisture one from target

  15. Kristin Vincenzo on April 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks for the great post! You are right, skincare is something we should refresh from time to time. I am a kitesurfer and I spend a lot of time in the sun and saltwater. It can trash your skin if you don’t take care of it. I have to be extra careful of what I use on my skin now because I’m constantly in “recovery and repair” mode. If you have any suggestions for good sun damage repair moisturizer, I would love to hear it!

  16. Reshmi on June 27, 2019 at 5:57 am

    Thank you for this awesome article!! Shea Moisture is an awesome product to nourish dry hair as well as skin.

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