How to Make the Transition to a Clean Beauty Routine

Ditch the nasty chemicals with these tips from Freedom Apothecary’s Bonkosi Horn.

Freedom Apothecary carries toxin-free skincare and beauty products from brands that are female-owned. / Photograph by Laura Brzyski

Step away from the chemical-laden drugstore face wash you’ve been using since middle school. Clean beauty shop Freedom Apothecary co-owner Bonkosi Horn shares how.

Start with skepticism.

The European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals from use in beauty products. The U.S. has banned 11. It’s time to give those ingredient lists a closer look. And remember: Just because it says “clean” or “natural” on the packaging doesn’t mean it’s free of harmful chemicals.

clean beauty

Bonkosi Horn. Photograph courtesy Freedom Apothecary

Get an app for that.

Don’t know your parabens from your phthalates? Horn recommends the Think Dirty app, which scans product bar codes, then gives you the scoop on each ingredient’s toxicity.

Dump your daily essentials.

Completely clearing out your medicine cabinet and starting over would be expensive. Horn suggests you start by swapping the products you use every morning and night — cleanser, moisturizer, body lotion, etc. — for clean versions.

Flee fragrance.

When you see the word “fragrance” on a label, know that it’s code for a whole lot of other (potentially harmful) ingredients not listed there. Stick to products that are scented with essential oils, says Horn.

Shop small.

Buying from local brands or small-batch beauty companies is a good way to ensure that the person selling you product knows what went into it — no mystery ingredients included.

Published as a part of the “Jump-Start Your New Year” article in the January 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.