Many beauty care products try to lure us into thinking that they will make us look more gorgeous and younger. Most makeup, skin care and hair care products are loaded with chemicals and toxic agents, the amounts of which are unregulated. This is a reason to switch to natural beauty care treatments. How do you do that? Let me enlighten you.
Read the Labels
The first thing to be aware of when switching from commercial beauty to green beauty products are the labels. Unfortunately, when it comes to commercial beauty, it’s really hard to find a product that doesn’t contain toxic ingredients. Beware of false advertising that comes in the form of sweet words and expressions, such as “Nature’s friend,” “No chemicals,” “Natural,” “Environmentally friendly,” “Organic.” Sometimes the ingredients are disguised in a more general term such as additives, coloring, etc. However, a Ph.D. in chemistry is not required to know which are unsafe for you.
Some ingredients to watch out for:
• Polyethylene glycol
• Mineral oil
See more here.
The fewer ingredients on the back of the bottle, the better for you. Unfortunately, some manufacturers don’t even bother to specify all of the ingredients on the label. This leaves you with nothing you can really do to examine the contents of that product. But don’t despair. There are manufacturers you can trust, you just need to find them. This leads to my second point.
Buy from a trusted source
If you don’t trust the labels, trust organic shops. They are intended for all those green living cravers like you and I. Organic shops not only provide natural treatments, but most of them actually examine very carefully the suppliers they partner with, tracing back their history and scrutinizing the ingredients they use. In addition, they offer certificates. Meaning, the products in an organic shop are supposed to be certified by various associations.
Know the certifications
If you come across a product that has been certified by one of the certification bodies listed below, it means the product contains natural ingredients and is free from parabens, fragrances, dyes, sunscreen chemicals, mineral oil, mercury, triclosan, lead, talc and many other toxic ingredients found in synthetic beauty care products. Unfortunately, just because it is organic-labeled does not mean it really is. Keep in mind that buying it from an organic shop does not ALWAYS guarantee it is free from hazardous ingredients. Sad but true. Before you go shopping, familiarize yourself with the terms.
100% Organic: all of the content is organic.
Organic: more than 95% of the content is organic.
Made with organic: more than 70% of the content is organic (still plenty of room for toxins)
Not certified: it means what it says – the product is not certified.
Fairtrade: it means that the farmers and everyone involved in the process of making a given product will be paid their wages for the work they have put into it. It can also mean there is no GMO.
If you live in North America and you see this logo on the label, it means that the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has allowed the manufacturer of that product to carry its label. Note that a USDA-certified product will either be “100% organic” or “organic”
Do you see the colors? The USDA label is usually printed with a circle on a white background and you can see the term “USDA organic“ with a white and a green. Remember it well. There are no variations of this logo.
The term EcoCert (est. France) is printed in red on a white background. It can also be displayed in black and in red, although to make it readable most manufacturers will use a white.
European Union Organic Logo Ingredients are at least 95% organic and non-GMO. Note that there are 12 stars forming a leaf. The background is green and the stars are white. The logo is also available in a black.
Make your own
One of the best ways to be sure your sunscreen cream or facial cleanser is absolutely natural and safe for you is to make them yourself. If you do some quick research on the Internet, you will find dozens of homemade beauty care recipes, based on your skin type. Not to mention, there is such a wide selection of recipes that you can choose the one that fits your budget. Most of the ingredients in these DIY treatments are organic oils (coconut oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, etc.), beeswax, shea butter, essential oils, coconut milk, etc. They are very gentle on the skin and will work miracles on your body. Of course you should keep in mind that some of them may not be right for you, even though they are completely natural. You may be allergic to some of the ingredients. Therefore, always test a product before use. (Apply a small amount of it on your hand and let sit for 24 hours; if no rashes or other skin problems appear, then the product is good to use.)
So to quickly recap how you can go green with your beauty products: read the label, opt for organic shops, check certificates, and finally explore all your homemade product options. Try switching to natural alternatives gradually. You can start replacing your synthetic products one by one. Before you know it, your beauty care kit will be all natural. Now, how about replacing your household cleaners with their nature-friendly counterparts?
Article contribution by W3 House Cleaners