Resolved: Detox your medicine cabinet and create better beauty habits

beauty_product_clean_up We’re suckers for the optimistic, self-improving nature of New Year’s Resolutions—that, come the Times Square ball drop, we can work toward living happier, fitter, healthier lives in the coming year. So we devoted this week to making one resolution each day—including the resolution that we probably won’t have it all figured out by January 1.

Just like the promise to clean out your fridge and clean up your eating habits (more green juice, fewer frites in 2011!), the New Year provides a natural impetus to clean up your beauty regimen and really rethink what you’re putting on your face and body.

This week: Resolve to detox your medicine cabinet and create better, cleaner beauty habits. Five tips to help make it happen—

1. Weed out the worst offenders
As a first step, you can download this handy dirty dozen shoppers guide—a list of the most toxic cosmetic ingredients to avoid from the David Suzuki Foundation. Then read your labels, and meticulously award a sink-side spot to the products that pass muster.

2. Consider going all-natural

Or, dig deeper and toss out anything that’s 95 percent chemically based. (That would be pretty much anything made by L’Oreal, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Neutrogena, Estee Lauder, with the exception of Aveda, and dozens more.)

3. What to toss first?

Some experts, like Siobhan O’Connor, author of No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetic, recommend cleaning up your shampoos, body washes, and body lotions first, since you’re slathering potentially toxic chemicals over a larger surface area. But if you use six or more skin-care products on your face each day, twice a day, then start taking out those out first.

4. Pick your poison

Absolutism and perfectionism isn’t necessary, says Deborah Burnes, author of Look Great, Live Green: Choosing Beauty Solutions That Are Planet Safe and Budget-Smart and the creator Sumbody skin care. “It’s about being aware of what you’re using, or choosing your toxins—instead of them unknowingly choosing you,” she says. My vice? Regular highlights for my hair and waterproof mascara—both of which don’t have great natural substitutes yet.

5. Restock your cabinets

ABC Home stocks only high-end natural brands, and both Spirit Beauty Lounge and Saffron Rouge are online beauty stores headed up by fastidiously careful curators of clean beauty brands. We’ve also recommended a lot of great natural and organic beauty products here on Well+Good (and have discouraged the use of others). Got a question about how to clean up your act, let us know in the Comments, below? —Melisse Gelula

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