Let’s say you’re new to the whole eco-friendlier beauty thing. You finished reading Not Just A Pretty Face, and are motivated to chuck your leaded lipstick, plasticized foundation and petroleum-packed moisture cream with plans to replace them all with gorgeously green glamour.
And then you start shopping, and quickly get overwhelmed. Where to start? What to buy? How to prioritize? How to make it happen while still having enough money to eat?
As with pretty much everything I do, my approach to greening my beauty kit was fairly melodramatic; in short, I spent outrageous amounts of money replacing everything all at once. I do not necessarily endorse this strategy, and neither does my credit card statement, so if you are saner than I am and want to pace yourself as you green your makeup bag, here are a few tips to help you prioritize your purchases:
1) Start with anything that goes in or near an orifice.
Less than eloquent, I realize, but this one is important. If you breathe it in or lick it off, more of whatever it is will get into your system. That means, among other things, hairspray, perfume, and lip products are high priority.
Intelligent Nutrients makes the best natural hair spray I have ever used, and it’s even USDA Certified Organic. At $30, it’s well worth the extra investment to know that every time you spritz, you’re actually breathing in nutrients, not airborne plasticizers.
Finding a great, toxin-free lipstick, lip gloss and lip balm is a snap. Brands I love include Revolution Organics, Couleur Caramel, Jane Iredale (who’s a huge sponsor of the Lips Against Lead campaign), Logona, and Living Nature.
2) Next, replace all products that stay on your skin all day long.
Consider the birth control or nicotine patch. Just one little square band-aidy thing delivers enough active ingredient through the skin to alter your hormone levels or prevent nicotine withdrawal. Imagine how much of a given chemical gets into your system when you rub it all over your body and leave it there all day, every day?
Healthy, clean, and effective body lotions exist at all price ranges, including (but hardly limited to): Dr. Bronner’s Lavendar Coconut Lotion ($9); Keys Soap Tortuga Lotion ($17). Max Green Alchemy’s Naked Rescue Cream ($20), and Suzanne aux Bains Nourishing Body Milk ($38).
When it comes to face lotion, you will quickly find that switching to a high-quality natural or organic brand will change your complexion for the better. Dr. Hauschka, John Masters Organics, Intelligent Nutrients, and Dr. Alkaitis deliver exceptional results. Budget tight? Logona’s Hamemelis (witch hazel) line is great for combination skin, and their Rose line is ideal for very dry skin, and each will cost you only $24.
3) Relinquish the Hair Dye (sigh)
While this is often the most difficult switch for women to make, it is also the most important. The chemicals in hair color are the only ones the FDA has explicitly stated are likely carcinogenic. The Skin Deep Database gives dozens upon dozens of popular hair color brands a perfect 10 for High Hazard. The darker the hair dye, the more toxic it is.
No completely natural brand has managed to replace the performance and coverage of their synthetic counterparts. Even most brands you find at your local health food market are far from healthy. But if you cannot bear the idea of baring your locks au naturel, a few brands have made significant strides.
Logona was the first company to offer 100% natural hair color, and it flies off the shelf in Europe, according to Rick Havemann, a U.K.-based Logona distributor. Advanced Cosmetic Technology has also recently launched a similar product. With both of these, you won’t be able to lighten your hair, but if you are OK with enhancing your natural color, or go a bit darker, these are most definitely worth a go!