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Act natural: Actress Brighton Sharbino shares why she goes geek over makeup

Actress Brighton Sharbino, 14, is no stranger to the makeup chair—she's appeared in shows like Hannah Montana, True Detective and The Walking Dead. But IRL, she thinks less is more. Here, Brighton spills on why it's a good thing to geek out over ingredients.

When I was 12, many of my friends started wearing a lot of makeup. I wanted to look pretty, too, but I didn't want to pile on the products. Why? When I picked up a tube of mascara or a bottle of foundation and looked at the label, I saw an endless list of harsh ingredients. Nothing I'd ever feel comfortable putting on my face and body. 

You'd never expect beauty companies to use harmful ingredients in makeup, but it happens way more often than you'd think. I began reading the labels on everything—deodorant, dry shampoo, you name it—and discovered things like salicylic acid, which I recognized as an ingredient in a lot of acne-fighting products. 

When I saw it in my conditioner, I thought it was really odd—but suddenly I had an explanation for why my hair had been feeling so incredibly dry. 

Turns out, salicylic acid is used in some hair care products to unclog the pores in your scalp. But it also was majorly frying my hair. I switched to an all-natural, organic shampoo and conditioner called Calia—and my mane immediately started to get healthy again. I realized how important it is to not just read a label, but understand it—and make my own decision about whether or not a product is safe enough for my skin. 

I also started looking into natural beauty hacks (like using a bit of coconut oil on my lashes to make them shiny instead of mascara) and discovered that makeup brands that make fun, pretty products without all the chemicals.

Want to get started? Check out the Cosmetics Database from the Environmental Working Group, where you can type in a product name to get a rundown of ingredients, along with an explanation on whether they're safe or harmful. You can also look up "lip balms" or "nail polish" or "sunscreen" and it'll show you a huge list of the best brands to buy. 

The most important thing to remember is that it's all about balance—you don't have to ditch all your favorite products if they have questionable ingredients. Maybe you absolutely love a lip gloss that isn't natural, but wear it anyway. That's fine! But then for things you're putting all over your body, like moisturizer or shampoo, you can use something that's organic and chemical-free. Whatever you wear, choose what you think is best - not because everyone's wearing it, but because it's the right thing for you.

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of Girls' Life.

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by Brighton Sharbino | 4/21/2017
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