As a green living blogger on BostonGreenBlog and a beauty and wellness columnist at JUGs, I get a lot of questions about cosmetics. People understand the importance of eating right and clearly see food’s connection with the environment. But oftentimes, the link for other consumable products isn’t so clear. Its tricky to know what cosmetics are good and bad for you and the earth, and even harder to find the right products in stores without going broke. The best thing to do, is ease into eco-beauty with these starter tips!
- Take Care of Yourself
First and foremost, remember that your skin is an organ. Its wellness not only depends what you put on it, but also what you eat, if you sleep well, and how much you exercise. Your skin serves a lot of major functions and interacts with the rest of your body. So, the first thing to do in a journey to eco beauty is to be conscious of how you treat yourself.
- Be Wary of Labels
The beauty industry makes billions of dollars. Marketers and designers put a lot of work into conveying a message about their product through the packaging in order to sell as many units as possible. Green and beige packaging and the word “natural” do not a safe product make. Instead, look third party certifications like USDA certified organic, Eco cert, Fair Trade, etc. However, keep in mind that these third party certifications are expensive to get, so many small companies don’t have the resources to get them. But for eco-beauty newbies, certified products are the way to go until you become more familiar with natural safe ingredients.
- Ban the Bead
Microbeads - or tiny pieces of plastic in scrubs and exfoliants - are reeking havoc on the environment. These beads are so small that they aren’t removed during the wastewater treatment process and end up in our waterways. Fish and birds are eating them and they are also contributing to the great pacific garbage patch. The worst thing about this environmental catastrophe is that these beads are totally unnecessary! There are plenty of biodegradable, safe materials that provide the same function. Try a sugar scrub instead!
- Embrace Oils
We all grew up being told to purchase “oil free” skin products. But it turns out that the right kinds of oils are really great moisturizes and help balance out our skin. Olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, avocado oil, and many others are super effective moisturizers that don’t make you break out and can also be used in hair, on cuticles, and as makeup removers.
- Ditch Deodorant
Traditional deodorants are full of chemicals like aluminum and parabens which have been loosely linked to some scary health problems like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. Plus, those pit stains in your favorite blouse are from deodorant - not sweat! Switching to a natural deodorant takes a little getting used to, but is one of the best eco-beauty switches you can make.
- Forget Fake Fragrances
Fragrances are made up of any number of chemicals, which due to an FDA loophole, do not need to be put on a product’s ingredient list. Perfumes are considered proprietary so companies do not need to disclose their chemical recipes to the public. Fragrances often contain allergens and sometimes small amounts of carcinogens as well. Going fragrance free, or only purchasing products scented with essential oils, is a great way to decrease your exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Get Resourceful