Everything seems to be going green nowadays, even Hollywood. As we become more aware of the benefits of organic food, earth-friendly fashion and even all-natural skin care the Hollywood glamour girls and boys are jumping in on the action. And of course, the ever present beauty industry is making its mark on the world by “going green”.
You may notice that many of your favorite cosmetic and skin-care companies are changing their packaging by going with recyclable and biodegradable materials. A number of cosmetic packaging firms have taken the green path, using products like PLA (polylactic acid) which is derived from starch-rich plans such as corn and grains. Although similar to regular petroleum based packaging products these containers bio-degrade in landfills within 5 years. MAC Cosmetics was one of the first companies to start a recycling program—take six of your empty MAC cosmetic containers into MAC and they’ll give you a free lipstick. Now recycling packaging materials is all well and good for the planet, but how about our skin?
I firmly believe that it’s not just your skin that benefits from natural cosmetic care but your overall health and well-being. Studies indicate that up to 80 percent of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bodies. Accordingly, there are studies coming to the surface that indicate potential health risks from synthetic ingredients used in skin-care products! A number of cosmetic companies are making a point of avoiding synthetics, including: sulfates, silicons and parabens (chemical preservatives). Health risks suggested from absorbing these through the skin include cancer. However, the US Food and Drug Administration maintain their safety in small doses. You’ll be surprised when you start shopping around how this information has impacted the market, for instance I wear Lancome foundation…their latest is silicone-free and floats over the skin with a SPF of 18 and uses licorice herb in the compilation!
Back to the Hollywood boys and girls: Brad Pitt has created an eco-friendly body cleanser for Kiehl’s; designer Stella McCartney launched an organic skin-care line in 2008 called Care; Jennifer Anniston has been promoting her “all natural look” while singing the praises of all natural skin care; Catherine Zeta-Jones uses a foundation made from pure crushed minerals from the earth, with an SPF of 15 by Bare Escentuals; glamour girl Gwyneth Paltrow has long been a supporter of natural skin care products and purportedly uses Earth Mama-Angel Baby Organic Stretch Oil to negate stretch marks. And we’ll be hearing of lots more as this trend continues.
Good thing to know is that the term “pure” has no legal meaning in most of the world and doesn’t necessarily indicate a natural product. In addition, natural cosmetics should ideally contain mainly plant and mineral ingredients and avoid synthetics. Organic products should contain mostly agricultural ingredients grown without pesticides. “Eco-friendly” on a label may indicate the manufacturing process, or it may indicate the packaging the product comes in!
So it’s a case of buyer beware, and read the product labels. Also, if you are serious about getting into natural beauty and wellness and want to make your beauty routine greener you will have to do some research.
To help you get started, here’s a list of some of my favorite natural beauty boosters thanks to Mother Nature:
- Olive oil. Not just good in a salad, but good for your skin too. Olive oil is an intense moisturizer and is known for its natural anti-oxidant properties.
- Rose water. Also, not just good in the kitchen. Rose water is a gentle astringent that tones and softens the skin, and it smells divine.
- Grape-seed oil. Testing has indicated that grape-seed oil helps skin fight the free radicals that lead to signs of aging!
- Yogurt and oatmeal. Not just for breakfast. Mix together to make a paste and put on your face, leave for 15 minutes and wipe off with a damp wash cloth—wonderful face mask for all skin types.
- For more information, check out Ask the Aromatherapist archives
This article wouldn’t be complete without me reminding you that just because it’s natural that doesn’t make it good for you. A few years back I developed a sensitivity to bee’s wax and had to stop using my favorite Bert’s Bees Lip Balm. Luckily, I found Crabtree & Evelyn do a nice jojoba one (jojoba is a natural moisturizer that balances the skin’s sebum production among other things). And beauty care doesn’t have to come in packaging to be good for you: Megan Fox from the movie Transformers says that her best skin treatment is a day at the beach, claiming the salt water is great for clearing up her skin and sand is a natural exfoliant.
All in all, I believe that moderation is the key. Look for products that match your personal style, be that an eco-warrior, a glamour-puss or something in-between. Just remember we can all be “natural beauties”.
Enjoy the summer!