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Committing to green beauty this year

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

Beautifully healthy

"Green beauty" once seemed like code for uniquely informed health nuts who wore only clothes made of hemp and avoided everything that wasn't organic like the plague. But as consumers educate themselves about the dangers of toxic ingredients in personal care products, green beauty has become a mainstream concept, and rightly so! If you haven't joined the effort, perhaps 2011 is the year you commit to the cause.

Woman wearing green mud mask

Monique Reavis is a green beauty expert and the brain behind Goddess Huntress. If you're ready to commit to green beauty, she will help you decide where to start and share tips on how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to switching up your beauty routine.

Why green?

When was the last time you checked out the ingredients in your favorite beauty product? I don't mean glance at them. I mean, research them. Traditional beauty products are loaded with substances that are impossible to pronounce, difficult to identify and potentially toxic. "Our skin is a permeable organ," says Reavis. "What is absorbed travels into our bloodstream. Just as moms told us to eat more vegetables, we need to incorporate more plant life and minerals into our products. They heal and make us thrive."

The risks

Dangerous ingredients are prevalent in both mainstream and "natural" products. Many of these ingredients "have shown to be carcinogenic, endocrine disruptors, cause birth defects, and cause problems with our respiratory, nervous, and immune systems," according to Reavis. Committing to green beauty can seem intimidating but the key is "becoming an educated consumer," says Reavis. "Once you know what to look for it becomes very easy!"

Jump-start your routine

One of the main reasons women resist the green beauty movement is the perception that truly natural products are most expensive. While this can be true, it doesn't have to be. "Jojoba oil --preferably organic -- is a pure, multi-use product you can find for under $10," suggests Reavis. "It will replace your eye makeup remover, body lotion, facial moisturizer, cuticle oil and lip conditioner." As far as makeup is concerned, there are a number of product lines available that are free of harmful ingredients and affordable. "Natural brands are no longer limited to earthy tones," says Reavis. "Try Alima Pure's line of natural, mineral makeup. You can even purchase samples sizes for $1, so dabble all you want with green products until you find what works best for you."

Practical tips

After reviewing countless products and ingredient lists, Reavis has identified some practical tips to help the rookie greenie:

  • Massage a few drops of argan oil into wet skin for an incredibly healthy moisturizer. Arganica combines argan oil with frankincense, which naturally reduces scars and has tremendous anti-aging properties.
  • RMS Beauty is a pure mineral color line that nourishes the skin. These high-quality products are packaged in air-tight glass pots with metal lids to preserve the integrity of the organic ingredients (yes, packaging is important!).
  • Your nails are like a sponge, absorbing any toxins that are in your polish and polish removers. butterLONDON is a fantastic nail lacquer line that is free of toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. One standout product is their Matte Finish Topcoat.
  • Check out the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetics Database to see how your products rate. There is a good chance it may be listed. You can also research ingredient toxicity ratings.
  • Not into reading all these labels and frankly don't have the time? Visit Spirit Beauty Lounge and The Nature Of Beauty. They only sell products that have met their strict formulation regulations. You can't go wrong.

Read more about going green

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