As a culture we are so obsessed with beauty that we lather, rub, spray and massage twenty different products into our skin. We cleanse, moisturize, exfoliate, scrub, shrink pores and fade spots and wrinkles all in the name of beauty and youth. But did you know that every single item contained in those products is getting absorbed into your skin?
I know what you’re thinking, “But the FDA (or other regulating body) says my skin care products are safe!” And they are. In small doses. But when you factor in all the makeup, cleansers you use, perfumes and lotions you use on a daily basis we’re talking about a lot more than that safe amount you find so reassuring.
Given everything we know about the dangers associated with some chemical and the harm it can do to the environment, what’s a woman to do to take her beauty routine green?
With a little bit of research and careful shopping you can go green and still look beautiful.
Just because the label says your product is natural, doesn’t make it so. In the United States those terms are not regulated which means they can make the claim without it being true. Before you buy check an online cosmetic database to see which products actually make all natural products.
Companies, whether makeup or cleaning products, are not required to declare any of the chemicals that add fragrance to it. That means the rose or lavender scent you love in your toner or night cream, gives every product—and your skin—even more chemical absorption. If you want to give your skin some love, choose fragrance and perfume-free products.
As much as we would all love to believe that our cosmetic products can do exactly what they promise, most of them can’t. I don’t say that to discourage you or convince you not to buy what you love and feel like you need. I say it to help you weed through the beauty aisle and get only the products you need. Find a good skin moisturizer that does what you need it to and maybe—just maybe—you can bypass the eye cream.
One of my favorite beauty packaging is pure glass. Not only is it pretty and easy to store, but glass is recyclable and has practically NO danger of leaking manufacturing toxins into the product contained within. But not all products and probably not your favorite ones, come in glass bottles and jars.
So what should you do?
Plastic is always an option but not all plastic is created equally. A good rule of thumb is this; if your curbside recycling allows that particular type of plastic in the bin, it is generally considered safe to use. PET and HDPE, which can be found on the container, are allowed.
Some stuff you just can do yourself but some products are pretty easy to make at home in your kitchen. And making your own skin care products is a great way to know exactly what you are putting in your skin and more importantly, you’ll know what is not.
Sometimes the tried and true method is the best, and when it comes to skincare that is especially true. A whole food diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, plenty of water and exercise are the best cure for your skin problems. Keep your body healthy head to toe, inside and out and all you’ll need is a good moisturizer and a proper cleanser.
When it comes to our beauty routine and going green we often forget that it isn’t just our face, neck and hands. There are miles of skin below your neck that need a good, green treatment. Go natural and perfume free when it comes to deodorant (say no to aluminum cholorhydrate!) and look for an ammonia free hair dye.
Sometimes you don’t even have to hit the beauty aisle for find natural products that work for skincare. One of the products du jour is coconut oil and for good reason. It is a great natural moisturizer that works from head to toe and for a few bucks more you can get it totally free of any perfume or other chemicals. Honey and lemon are other handy products that you can use to help your skin.
If you’re like me then you are constantly on the prowl for a magical skin care product that will make your skin glow like a twenty year old, diminish all dark circles and wrinkles and won’t cost me and arm and a leg. Wishful thinking, right?
Believe me, I know.
But because of this never ending search I know how easy it can be to succumb to the latest trend. Remember the fish pedicure? It was costly and its effectiveness was dubious at best. This year look out for stem cell facials and triple acid peels. They may or may not work, they will be costly and chances are good they won’t help you maintain a green lifestyle.
If you’re partial to a certain company for your needs, hop online and figure out if they make honest to goodness all natural product. Check for organic products as well as those marked (and proven) environmentally safe products. Many companies are starting to see the purchasing power of those interested in a chemical free, natural and environmentally sound life. The products are out there if you’re willing to look.
If your favorite skincare maker doesn’t, find a company dedicated to help you look good and go green.
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