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Cleaning your beauty routine: A guide to alternative beauty choices



Julia EdgelyLocal Irish homoeopath, Julia Edgely, is an expert in all-natural beauty products. Whether concocting beauty treatments from fresh foods or testing the latest natural makeup product, she is a wealth of information on how to keep chemicals off our skin and out of our bloodstream. Here she shares some top local spots for finding 'alternative beauty products' and gives some DIY tips for making your own beauty treatments. She even reveals the recipe for her popular cacao face mask.

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Clean Beauty

The landscape of the beauty industry is changing and the new pastures are most definitely green. Soon to be estimated at $16 billion by next year, the ‘green beauty’ industry, as many call it, seems to have exploded onto the cosmetic scene. From my eight years of working with patients improving their health by making “the swap”, green beauty has actually been around for a long time but is only now coming into its own.

‘Clean,’ ‘green,’ ‘safe,’ ‘non-toxic’ are all synonyms for the same concept: cosmetic and personal care products that are based on natural, ethical ingredients with limited chemical additives that have been linked to health issues. Pathologies such as infertility, premature puberty, eczema, allergies and migraines have all been linked to ingredients we put on our skin. This has led to more frequent recommendations from governments and health agencies to limit exposure to certain cosmetic ingredients. 

By law, all products are required to display the composition on the packaging (aside from fragrance or perfume -  but don’t get me started on cosmetic politics!), so we really can see exactly what we put on our skin every day. To avoid the 'bad guys' I have put together an extensive list of potentially harmful additives, including humectants, preservatives and surfactants that are identifiable on an ingredients list and easy to memorize. You can find this list on Many of these ingredients are commonly used in our everyday cosmetics, regardless if it's a drugstore item or a designer one.

The easiest way to avoid these chemicals is to buy natural cosmetics, referred to as Alternative Beauty Choices (ABC). Here on the Côte d’Azur, we are lucky to have access to fantastic choices. Here is a guide to finding ABCs on the Cote D’Azur:

Local Bio Stores

An advantage of living in France is the availability of good health stores with great foods, natural household items and now personal care products as well. But careful attention is still needed as some items in bio stores contain the ingredients on my avoid list. This is an example of how a label can be misleading. Just because an item notes organic on the packaging, it does not necessarily mean it is 100% organic. Always read the composition on the packaging.

Bazar Bio

Want to completely revamp your beauty routine? Check out the Bazar Bio, an online store with a concept office in Nice centre (4, Place Wilson). On site you can sample fantastic brands of strictly natural skincare, body care, hair care and make-up. Helena and her staff are wonderfully informed to help you choose what items are best for you. They speak English so it will be easy to get the help you need. Tell them Julia sent you!

Staying ‘Eco friendly’

When looking into new natural products, it quickly becomes apparent that many brand offerings are foreign and developed overseas. Make sure to not only think of your skin but also the planet by keeping a mind-set of the carbon footprint. Absolution, which is based in Paris, is an amazing French brand that ticks all the boxes: recycled packaging, effective products with amazing ingredients – an ideal ABC brand, in my opinion.

DIY and Kitchen Cosmetics

Some people prefer to go back to basics, only putting on our skin what we find in our kitchen. In fact, our kitchen has so much to offer our skin. My facial cleansing routine falls into this category. Just remember – when trying new products, always perform a patch test 24 hours before use, to test for any allergic reaction.

In Southern France, pure olive oil is abundant. This highly emollient olive nectar is perfect as a facial cleanser, makeup remover and hair mask. The omega 6 fatty acids found in olive oil deeply nourish and protect your skin.

Rose has long been cherished for its soothing and beautifying properties and it is rooted deep in the traditions of Grasse. A bottle of rose water works amazingly well as a dry skin toner, a scalp refresher in between washes and as a perfume. Add a dash of apple cider vinegar to your bottle to add a fermented element, which has been shown to increase its effectiveness.

Honey not only tastes amazing, but it is also full of nutrients and antibacterial properties. It is perfect as a hydrating face mask, a facial wash especially for acne sufferers, as a softening hair mask and in a foot soak to help cracked heels.

I leave you with my hugely popular DIY Chocolate Face Mask. This easy recipe effectively increases circulation to your face, improves hydration, elasticity and smells divine. Make it this evening and pamper yourself knowing what you are enjoying is not only better for your skin but also your health and the planet.

Cacao Facemask
1 teaspoon Chickpea flour
1 teaspoon raw Cacao powder (not cocoa powder)
1 tablespoon rose water (or enough to make a sticky paste)

Spread on clean skin and leave to work for 30-40 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Your skin may seem extremely red for up to 1 hour after removing the mask. This is a normal response to increased circulation.


- Julia Edgely

You can see Julia's reviews of natural makeup products on her Instagram page, JuliaHomeopath.