By Shahnaz Khan
Provided by WorldNow
There is a lot of hype in the beauty industry right now about so called "green" products. There are literally thousands of products on the market claiming to be green, environmentally friendly, natural, safe, organic, flower & plant based, pure, botanical, eco-friendly, etc - all undefined terms in a largely unregulated industry. Here are some helpful tips to navigate your way around these products and feel good about what you are putting on your skin.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Green products can be broken down into two basic categories
Founded in 1978, Aveda is the first beauty company to manufacture with 100% certified wind power. Their products are packaged in recyclable post consumer recycled materials and printed with soy ink. In addition, they source their flower and plant based ingredients from traditional communities around the world, helping to sustain these economies and cultures.
Try their Green Science kit. A 4-step program skincare program clinically proven to give skin a lift while also reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. See results in just 4 weeks! Your skin will love these products. The moisturizer's non-greasy formula is smooth and creamy and absorbs easily into your skin leaving it soft and supple.
Origins products are manufactured using renewable energy rescources, green energy, and the packaging is made from recycled paper. Ingredients are promised to be the "best of nature, best for you, best for the planet" and have always been formulated without phthalates, petroleum, paraffin, dyes, mineral oil, the chemical sunscreen PABA and Animal Ingredients (except cruelty-free honey and beeswax). Their products are enhanced with 100% natural essential oils. Check out Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Program which combines the brains of the foremost authority on integrative health with this green brand.
Your skin is your body's largest organ, so it stands to reason that what you rub, lather and smooth into your skin should be made using ingredients that don't have any damaging side effects. Absorbing small amounts of toxins into your skin over a long period of time can have a cumulative, damaging effect.
Make sure that you read the ingredient list! While many products have a long list of "organic" and "natural" ingredients - they might still be using potentially harmful ingredients that could irritate your skin. Some products will be free from one or two bad ingredients, but include other potentially harmful ones. It is important to pay attention to what is in the product, as well as what isn't. Keep in mind that some potentially harmful ingredients do have a "natural origin" too.
Terralina is a beauty brand that was started by two cousins who were pregnant at the same time and sought to find the healthiest beauty products on the market. Frustrated by the unregulated products and confusing ingredient lists they set out to create their own line of natural luxury beauty products. They believe in making the most of natural ingredients, educating consumers, and using recycled and recyclable materials for packaging. Check out the Terralina Facial Moisturizer which comes with a soy tealight candle to be used in the jar when the moisturizer is finished.
(© Aveda )
WHAT TO AVOID
These are some of the potentially toxic agents commonly found in beauty products that you should avoid.
Parabens: A group of chemical preservatives that is possibly carcinogenic. Linked to breast cancer, reproductive toxicity, and endocrine disruption.
Sulfates (harmful): Sulfur-based compounds that are found to be irritating and drying to skin and hair.
DEA: A type of Ethanoloamine which has been connected to Immunotoxicity and believed to cause harm to the brain and nervous system.
Ethoxylates: Chemical compounds which are irritating to the skin and thought to be carcinogenic.
Silicone: A synthetic additive which can be harmful and irritating.
Phthalates: These compounds are commonly found in nail polish and fragrances. They are thought to be harmful to reproductive system, have been linked to developmental disorders in children, Immunotoxicity and Endocrine disruption.
Petrolatum: Developed from Petroleum, it can be irritating to the skin, clog pores, and may be contaminated with toxic impurities.
Burt's Bees began in 1984 as a homemade beeswax candle company and expanded in 1991 to include homemade personal care products. They now manufacture over 150 natural, earth-friendly products including face care, body care, hair care, lip care, men's grooming and baby care. Burt's Bees uses natural ingredients from renewable recourses, promises no petroleum compounds, and uses recycled and recyclable packaging and nature-safe manufacturing practices.
All of their products meet the guidelines of The Natural Standard (see below). Why not try their best selling product? The Beeswax Lip Balm has a delicious tingle and will protect your lips while keeping them soft and supple.
Until recently, the personal care industry in the USA has been unregulated. Many products labeled "natural" and "organic" have been found to still contain potentially harmful ingredients, making it difficult for consumers to differentiate the good from the bad, creating consumer confusion and mistrust.
Three separate organizations have recently appeared with a common goal of setting a standard in the beauty industry for what "Organic" means, while building credibility among the truly organic products and also educating consumers. These organizations are not currently offering a certification of 100% organic because some synthetic ingredients, such as preservatives, do not have an organic alternative available yet.
OASIS (Organic and sustainable industry standards) - Dedicated to beauty and personal care, The Oasis seal aims to provide clarity and set the standards for "organic" products. They are looking for organic manufacturing procedures as well as organic ingredients for products to bear their certification. There are currently 2 certifications available: "Made with Organic" requires a minimum of 70% organic ingredients; "Organic" requires a minimum of 85% organic.
The Natural Standard - The Natural Products Association has been working with manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and the personal care industry to create The Natural Standard. The Natural Seal will be awarded to products which use organic, biodegradable ingredients and environmentally sensitive packaging. This certification requires a minimum of 95% organic ingredients, and will only be accredited to brands with a minimum 60% of its products meeting the associations standards.
Whole Foods "Premium body Care" - A new standard of personal care has been developed by Whole Foods in an effort to eliminate confusion and offer a higher standard of products to their customers. After 2 years of research, The Whole Foods "Premium" certification has eliminated 250 ingredients and only includes brands that source quality ingredients and consider the environmental impact of manufacturing practices.
Some international certifications are available, but since they have very different standards to adhere to, they might cause confusion.
Founded in 1991 in France, this internationally recognized certification organization regulates cosmetics and perfumes as well as detergents, textiles, food and food products. ECOCERT does not require 100% organic ingredients in order for a product to be labeled "Organic".
Organic wear from Physician's formula boasts that it is "The 1st ECOCERT certified organic line of makeup in the US" but on closer inspection there is only 1 product which is actually 100% organic. The other 10 products on the line have been created using 100% "natural origin" ingredients but are only 10.6% - 84% organic depending on the item. On the plus side, the product line is free from: harsh chemicals, synthetic preservatives, parabens, GMOS, synthetic colors and fragrances. Nevertheless this certification is misleading and confusing. It is still important to take a close look at the product labels and read the ingredients.