Green Beauty Love’s Amanda Lopez on products with purpose, go-to beauty DIYs, and more.
– KEYS SOULCARE
From honoring our communities and planet to protecting our skin, it’s clear that the notion of “going green” is a worthy, lifelong pursuit. But — as with any journey that involves going against the status quo and reversing course on conditioned habits — it can be super daunting, too.
That’s exactly why well-versed, curious, and thoughtful people like Amanda Lopez continue to inspire us. In 2017, the Los Angeles-based photographer channeled her personal curiosity into Green Beauty Love, a blog brimming with new-to-her product finds, ingredient explorations, and reviews of what worked for her skin.
We were thrilled to tap Lopez for ideas that anyone can use when pursuing more mindful skincare routines.
Some might look at your blog and call it ahead of its time. What inspired you to start Green Beauty Love in the first place?
I’m a portrait and editorial photographer, but I’m also a passionate beauty lover. Particularly the vein that I’m most curious about and interested in is what people call “green” and “clean” beauty. I’m also really passionate about discovering brands that are made by women and BIPOC.
We’re seeing a shift where people are starting to recognize the lack of products made specifically for people of color — especially in the beauty world. For example, Sharon Chuter’s Pull-up [or Shut Up] initiative asks for transparency [with regards to] representation within big beauty companies. You started seeing people really analyzing that and recognizing that there’s room to grow.
Within the clean beauty space, I’ve always been interested in highlighting those voices. I’m now also writing monthly for the website A Beautiful Mess.
What keeps you inspired?
Discovering new brands keeps me so inspired, [as well as] the definition of “green” itself. For me, it’s about education around naturally derived ingredients, but it doesn’t have to be only naturally derived ingredients. Many times, I’m inspired by how excited founders are to share the stories of their products — including family, cultural, and historical origins. New voices, new ideas, new enthusiasm that shakes things up? That inspires me.
How does beauty help us express ourselves and connect to a deeper sense of self?
Morning rituals, evening rituals, applying makeup, and everything in between are ways to make ourselves feel lovely. We can use them to highlight parts of ourselves, or just care for those parts. If you’re taking care of your skin, then maybe you’re feeling better about yourself. And, if you’re feeling better about yourself, then maybe your day and that energy radiates out, and touches people that come into your orbit.
Again, so ahead of the curve! Have you always felt that way?
I didn’t start thinking about beauty this way until the last couple of years. I’m a part of this group called the Sacred Beauty Collective, run by a makeup artist named Rebecca Casiano. [It’s] about just empowering women to feel their best selves and analyze the ways in which [the] outside influences how we feel. Ultimately, what matters is how you feel [about] yourself.
What are some of the things that you focus on in your own beauty rituals?
I have oily, acne prone skin. So I’m always looking for products that target those issues. I must say that I love the [Skin Transformation Cream] moisturizer… bakuchiol is so tricky to say, but so powerful, right?!
When I see ingredients like that, I’m really attracted to them. I’ve used it before in a serum, but hadn’t used it before in a face moisturizer. I went to bed with it on, and when I woke up in the morning, I was like, Whoa. My face felt… it just felt smoother in a way that it hadn’t before. And I was like, What did I use last night? Oh…the moisturizer! My medicine cabinet is full of products, but the older I get, the more I’m really into simplifying. I really liked that Keys Soulcare is everything that you need, [but] just a few products.
How do you approach ingredient lists for products you’re not familiar with?
I look at ingredient lists, but I’m also always really interested in founders, their missions, and their stories. Who are they? What were they interested in [when] creating these products? Again, with Keys [Soulcare], I noticed that Alicia shared that she’d had acne and breakout-prone skin. A little lightbulb went off for me, like, I feel a little more confident that she and I have similar things going on. If this is something she stands by for her, then it’s worth considering.
Do you have any go-to, super simple products or ingredients?
I always remind myself that nothing clean needs to be expensive. Instead of a hundred dollar toner, you can use witch hazel or jojoba oil. (Sidebar, I love jojoba oil for taking off my makeup and moisturizing my body.) I love a honey mask! When I saw that The Golden Cleanser incorporates Manuka honey, I thought, They’re so on top of it!
I also find that masks can be drying to our skin, and that honey-based masks just stay nice and goopy. A friend of mine makes DIY scrubs for friends with coffee grounds, olive oil, and sugar, and I also love ones by Nopalera with tangerine and prickly pear oil. So good.
For someone who was just starting to get curious about what’s in their cabinet and feeling a little overwhelmed, what advice would you give to them?
Start [with] one product at a time. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed. When you run out of something ask yourself, Okay, what can I replace this with? Another piece of advice someone’s given me is to start with the product that you use the most. If you wash your hair a ton, maybe it’s shampoo. Or, for many of us, it could be body lotion. It’s a way to make an impact for yourself, as you educate yourself along that process. Along the way of educating yourself about who’s behind products, you’re also hopefully learning about the causes that they support, how they define “sustainable.” It’s all connected and worth learning.