In Your Element with Bianca Nieves

In Your Element is a photo series and open dialogue with experts, community and thought leaders that truly practice what they preach.

This month we sat down with beauty gurus to talk about clean beauty and get tips on how to transition to a toxic-free regiment. Bianca Nieves, an NYC-based writer, believes clean beauty is all about being in tune with your body.

How did you become more mindful about incorporating clean beauty into your daily routine?

Every day I really try to listen to my skin’s needs and proceed from there. I’ve had eczema all my life and using products high on steroids wasn’t ideal, especially since my flare-ups weren’t really decreasing just being subdued. It wasn’t until I went to a naturopath during my senior year of high school that I delved into a cleaner and more mindful lifestyle, overall. As soon as I followed the dietary recommendations (no dairy, no wheat etc.) my naturopath gave me, my flare-ups occurred less and less, and I stopped using as frequently my steroid creams as I leaned towards natural oils and clean products.

How do you navigate the ever-growing world of clean beauty?

‘Natural’ /=/ isn’t the same as ‘clean’. The word natural has become a gray area for companies to greenwash their products since it has become such a trend. That’s where the app Think Dirty comes in handy. Ever since I found out about it and I’m not 100% [sure] of a product, I look it up there. I value companies and brands that are transparent about what goes into their product whether clean or not. Just because you can’t pronounce a word doesn’t mean you have to ban it from your regimen. Alas, knowledge is power, whether you use one of the many apps that help you navigate the beauty world or just google.

Who has impacted your interpretation of Clean Beauty?

My mom, hands down. She would always have me test out natural remedies for my eczema growing up. She grew up in the countryside of Puerto Rico and her knowledge of which fruits and veggies combos make great beauty products for your skin or hair is amazing!

I remember being frustrated with my skin and all the products my dermatologist prescribed, so [my mom] always made sure to look up or ask which natural remedies would help. From rosehip oil and avocado oil to oatmeal baths, thanks to my mom I pretty much tried it all and learned that when it comes to beauty, less is more.

What has been the most valuable reward of sustaining clean beauty practices?

I’m more in tune with myself and where I come from. All these natural remedies were key to my ancestors who lived off the lands before colonization and after. Being able to reconnect with them and those teachings that have been overpowered with mass consumerism is in its own way an act of resistance.

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