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Why you should green your beauty routine

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka. Check out he...

Go green

Why should you green your beauty routine? To eliminate toxins from your system that send your liver and kidneys into overtime. Eek! Here's how.

Woman wearing green mask

Despite having no complexion issues in my teens, I developed problem skin in my early twenties. It was such a frustrating time -- any dermatologist I'd visit would push harsh prescription products, and nothing actually worked. What did help was when I stopped using conventional skin care products.

Why green beauty is better

Every day, millions of women across the country dab on products that may contain potent skin irritants -- this breaks down your skin's protective barriers and damages collagen, leading to an increase in blemishes, like wrinkles and carcinogens. Going green isn't just about helping the environment, but also protecting your natural beauty.

Green-minded gals carefully consider their purchases, big (Prius or Vespa?) and small (stir-fry or salad greens?), but living greenly and healthfully is more than just eating well and keeping a manageable carbon footprint. Here are five reasons why you should put just as much thought into what goes on your body as you do what goes in it, whether your mission is to help keep yourself—or the Earth—healthy.

1Safety

Your skin is your body's biggest organ, with over one billion pores. More than 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body, and the beauty industry is not regulated. (No joke.) There's a glut of products on the market containing ingredients like parabens, which has been found in elevated amounts in breast tumors, and propylene glycol, a preservative commonly used in antifreeze and brake fluid, which according to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database, may be linked to birth defects and infertility.

2Environmental impact

Natural and organic products make for a less toxic Earth; they avoid chemical preservatives and synthetic colors and fragrances in favor of natural ingredients, which are better for the environment when they're rinsed off your face, down your drain and into your waste water.

3Effectiveness

Organic products have higher levels of natural nutrients and antioxidants than non-organic ones, making them just as effective, if not more so. And, as an added benefit, natural ingredients have fewer irritants for sensitive or allergy-prone skin.

4Energy-conscious

Not only does it take less energy to produce natural or organic beauty products, they are frequently sold in recycled, minimal packaging, which makes for less waste all around.

5Enjoyment

Going organic stimulates a mind/body/nature connection you just can't get otherwise. Plus, the essential oils and natural scents included in organic and natural beauty products make you feel good and smell good.

Almost everyone assumes that the cosmetics they use on their body are regulated by the government, so they must be safe. Unfortunately, that assumption is totally wrong. The cosmetics industry is self-regulated. The companies that make the products that are used on and absorbed into your skin are the very ones that deem whether they are safe or not.

Keep in mind, though, that "beauty" and "cosmetics" products aren't just make-up. It's the soap that you wash your kids with, your husband's shaving gel, the lotion that you apply in the winter time, the toothpaste and mouthwash that you use every day. Regulating the cosmetics industry is much more than being concerned about chemicals in your lipstick. It affects your entire family throughout the duration of their lives.

Some helpful tips

1Use as few products as possible without giving up everything that you love.

Instead of five different kinds of moisturizers, pick just one great one. That reduces the amounts of chemicals you'll be exposed to.

2Fragrance-free doesn't mean chemical-free.

It just means there is no smell, but there could be plenty of artificial fragrances, produced with many, many chemicals, still in the product.

3Read labels!

Just because a green leaf is on packaging doesn't make it natural and healthier. If you can't read the ingredient list, that might be a warning. Read the packaging, look up the company, do whatever it takes to be informed. This stuff is, without a doubt, going into your body. You should know what it is.

DIY green beauty products

How to make a quick homemade hair mask

Is your hair dry and lifeless? Wander over to the kitchen and concoct a remedy.

More ways to go green

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