Today’s true skincare addicts can enjoy a bevy of fun new products, from fizzy face masks to exotic serums. But not everything behind these fancy labels is as it seems. That’s what founder of Caribbean skincare brand Wise Roots Living, Zaliris Pasztor, discovered when she tried to clean up her beauty routine.
Discovering the harmful ingredients behind too many mainstream skincare products, she instead turned to her Dominican roots to find more natural alternatives. This led to her launching her own brand free of harmful chemicals and rooted in traditional Caribbean remedies.
Inspired to clean up our own beauty routines, we spoke more with Pasztor about Wise Roots Living, and asked her advice on how to incorporate all-natural ingredients into our everyday skincare.
What inspired you to launch Wise Roots Living?
Wise Roots Living was born in my kitchen. I was looking for a natural approach to heal PMS, menstrual cramps and Polycystic ovary syndrome. Unfortunately we can absorb so many harmful chemicals in our bloodstream through personal care products. Many common ingredients have been connected to cancer, infertility, reproductive system diseases and other illnesses.
So I decide to create my own products. They made my skin look and feel amazing. But most importantly I loved the connection I created with my Goddess self while doing my skincare rituals.
My mother-in-law was actually the person who awoke this curiosity in me. And I also became inspired by my connection with natural healing that I have inherited from both my Dominican grandmothers. I started to create products for my family, friends, and friends of friends. For four years I was selling only to people who reached out to me, but a year ago my childhood friend Rebeca Lopez joined me in this journey and helped me to share our product’s magic with the world.
Why adopt a clean beauty routine?
Unfortunately, many brands can call their products “natural,” even if only a small percentage of their ingredients qualify. The regulations in the United States aren’t as strict as we think. So a clean and natural routine should include products that contain no preservative, emulsifiers, and fragrance. Nature heals from within, from the root. So we believe that Mother Earth has the power to heal and prevent diseases.
How can we clean up our beauty routine?
Throw out everything you have in your bathroom, and get yourself a detox with herbs, teas and green juices. Then start replacing your staples with all-natural products. If you do not find something that works for you right away, just look for brands that have the least less chemicals in their ingredients. And you can also try some DIY recipes. Wash your face with honey, and tone with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. You can also try moisturizing with avocado oil.
What ingredient red flags should we look out for?
At Wise Roots, we believe in if you can’t pronounce it, don’t use it. Try to avoid ingredients that have weird names (and I am not referring to the botanical (INCI) name of natural ingredients). You can use apps and websites to check the toxicity of individual ingredients. I absolutely recommend to have one in your phone, so you can get familiarized with the ingredients to avoid.
What top 5 worst chemicals should we avoid?
You should avoid:
- Parabens: a common preservatives. Everything that contains water needs preservative, or it has to be stored in the fridge. Usage should be longer that 1 week, unless it’s a products that is not in contact with touch (your fingers) and has natural preservatives to help it last for over a month.
- Fragrance: We are so used to this that we have forgotten the amazing aromatherapy benefits of essential oils.
Phthalates: Often hidden in fragrances, so we cannot see it listed in the ingredients
- Any word ending with “oxynol”
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES): Especially in your toothpaste!
- Sunscreen chemicals: I personally don’t use sunblock or sunscreen. But I’m not saying you shouldn’t. However, sunblock and sunscreens are full of terrible chemicals, so try to use the more “natural ones”. Some bad guys are benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate.
What clean products or ingredients are best on a budget?
Your kitchen is full of foods that can help, like the ones I previously mentioned.
Also, many brands aren’t expensive, like Wise Roots Living. When using all natural products like ours, you have to keep in mind that we do not add water as an ingredient, so you literally need less amount of product. This obviously makes it last longer. Bruja Blessings face serum is our most expensive product at $47.00. But it actually last two-three months if used twice a day in your face.
But you can become addicted! This serum is a real blessing, so you can use it as beard oil, for cuts and scratches, in your hair, diaper rash. Even if you get stung by a bee. Is pure magic! And an aloe vera mask is always a lifesaver. Baking soda, honey and lemon make a great gentle exfoliant! Just google some DIY recipes, and I am sure you will find what is perfect for you!