Written by contributor Emily Clements of Live Renewed.

As we”ve been talking about green goal setting for the upcoming year, one big area that gives us lots of opportunities for change is our personal care routines.  I have been making changes to my personal care products little by little, over time, sometimes having to try a few different options before I”ve found what works best for me and for my routine.

Making changes to your personal care products may seem overwhelming when you think about all of the different products that you use throughout the day, especially when you have favorite products that you”ve been using for a long time.  What”s more overwhelming, at least to me, is thinking about the thousands of chemicals that we are exposed to each day from our personal care products, most of which have not even been tested for their safety.

You can revamp your personal care routine by choosing safer and more natural products, and by taking baby steps – changing one product at a time until it becomes a normal part of your routine. Here are some changes you can make to green your personal care throughout your day, from your morning routine, “til you”re ready to hit the sack at night.

10 Healthy Changes to Make to Your Personal Care Routine This Year

1. Switch to the no “poo method.

You can wash your hair without using conventional shampoos and conditioners, and your hair might actually look better in the long run!  I shared a pretty in depth post about the no “poo method on my blog if you need a place to start.  There are also great posts at Simple Mom, Keeper of the Home, and Kitchen Stewardship for more information and motivation to give it a try.

2. Start making your own deodorant.

Katie gave us the deodorant challenge last summer and found that for her, homemade deodorant worked just as well as the store-bought stuff.  It”s easy to make, and a batch will last you a really long time.  I”ve been using homemade deodorant myself for over a year and would never go back to antiperspirant.

Photo by kkinjo

3.  Switch to a natural toothpaste and floss daily.

Did you know that many brands of toothpaste contain triclosan, the antibacterial agent found in hand soaps and cleaners?  Seek out a natural toothpaste that does not contain triclosan and in order to fight further against cavities, make sure to floss every day, choosing a eco-friendly dental floss.

I”ve heard of dentists saying that flossing does more to prevent cavities than actually brushing your teeth does, and I believe it.  My dad has been flossing every day and brushing his teeth with just water, no toothpaste at all, and hasn”t had a cavity in years, and it also helped with bad breath he was struggling with. So I guess you could stop using toothpaste all together if you wanted to (but you might want to check with http://www.phpaide.com/demos/PowerPetition/ your spouse before you make that decision.)

4. Use safe and more natural makeup.

Whether switching to mineral makeup, or just finding a safe brand of makeup that you like, this can be a tricky change to make because there are not a lot of options at your local drugstore.  One of my own personal green goals this year is to find natural and safe makeup to use.  Changing your foundation and lipstick is a good place to start, and then you can switch the rest of your products as you are able.

5. Drink more water.

Water helps to hydrate our skin and flush our bodies of toxins.  It”s important to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.  If you add lemon to your water, it has even more health benefits.

Photo by the Italian voice

6. Change your hand soap.

We”ve talked about triclosan and the harmful effects of this antibacterial agent on the environment before, and this is an important change to make for our health, and the health of our families, and our earth.  Make the switch to regular hand soap without triclosan, or try making your own foaming hand soap.

7. Use shea butter on your hands.

After washing your hands over and over, especially in the winter, they can easily become dry and cracked.  Pure shea butter is a great moisturizer and helps to keep hands soft and smooth. I make sure to put some on my hands every night before bed (it”s great for feet too!), and definitely notice a different if I forget to put it on even for one night.

8. Wash Your Face Naturally with the Oil Cleansing Method.

It my seem counter intuitive to some to wash their face with oil, but I”ve been using the oil cleansing method for over a month now and it really does work great.  I also love how inexpensive it is, and that it has replaced my need for lots of different face products.

9.  Use Jojoba Oil for Your Eye Makeup Remover.

Natural oils, such as jojoba or even olive oil, work great for removing mascara and other eye makeup before bed. Used together with the oil cleansing method, my makeup comes off easily at night without scrubbing, and my skin is left feeling soft and smooth.

10.  Use Pure Lanolin for Your Lips Before Bed.

I actually got this tip from Tsh at Simple Mom over a year ago.  I used to use petroleum jelly on my lips before bed every night to keep them soft and from getting chapped. Nothing like putting a little byproduct of oil drilling onto your mouth every night.  I have since changed my ways, and now use pure lanolin to help protect and heal my lips, especially in the dry winter months.

Although some of these changes are as easy as switching out one product for a safer and more natural alternative, others may require a little more adjustment to your routine, but I”m willing to bet that within a month or so, you won”t even notice the difference, and you”ll wonder what took you so long to make the change in the first place.

What are your goals for greening your personal care routine this year?