With Earth Day on the horizon, we started thinking about how to be more eco-conscious when it comes to beauty. Not only is it important to use products that won’t harm our skin, but we also want to ensure that what’s in our makeup bag doesn’t harm the earth. That’s why we turned to natural beauty expert Ava Anderson, founder of Ava Anderson Non-Toxic, for her insight into skin and earth-friendly products.
All about Ava Anderson
SheKnows: For those unfamiliar with your story, what inspired you to create your line of products and educate people about the harmful aspects of cosmetics?
Ava Anderson: I saw a segment on the news on The Teen Study, done by the Environmental Working Group, which tested teenagers for carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, etc. and every teen tested positive for all the chemicals they were looking for. This really shocked me and I immediately began researching the issue. Three years later and I still haven’t stopped! I decided after learning about the “toxic issue” for a year and not being able to find a full line of completely safe products that I would need to create my own, and that’s exactly what we did!
Busting the eco-beauty myth
SheKnows: What are some of the most common misconceptions about ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ skin care and makeup?
Ava Anderson: A lot of people feel that if they find a natural or organic brand, it will be completely safe; however, this is unfortunately not the case. Manufacturers can use terms like ‘natural’ without sticking to any real criteria. There are often just as many toxic chemicals in “natural/organic” products as there are in generic drugstore ones.
Green shopping know-how
SheKnows: When shopping for earth and skin-friendly products, what are the most important things people should remember?
Ava Anderson: There are so many bad ingredients you want to steer clear of, and I recommend you look up every product on the Cosmetics Database first, but I can give you a few specifically to avoid.
The ingredient “fragrance” should definitely be avoided. Manufacturers are able to hide hundreds of chemicals in that one word and not list them. They are often hiding phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors and are now being linked to Autism and ADHD in the 1st and 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
Stay away from parabens, triclosan and retinyl palmitate as well. The FDA reported last spring that retinyl palmitate enhances skin cancer lesions in the presence of sunlight. These few chemicals are a good start at cleaning up your bathroom but it is really only the surface of the issue. I recommend reading some of our posts on Facebook. We regularly post great articles daily on important topics there.
SheKnows: What are some of the main beauty benefits of using truly natural products?
Ava Anderson: Instead of adding to the body the burden of toxic chemicals, truly safe products have actually beneficial ingredients! For instance, our eye cream is made of 11 organic botanical ingredients that have been known for centuries to be beneficial to healing, regenerating and moisturizing of the skin.
SheKnows: What do you hope to achieve with your website, company and line of great products?
Ava Anderson: I really hope to spread the message to everyone and educate them on the “toxic message” while offering an organic and non-toxic alternative for personal care and cleaning products. We chose a direct selling/party plan method because a consumer would not understand how important the product was if they just picked it up off the shelf of a local big box store or drugstore. We felt it was important to provide an education on what they are currently using for themselves and their families before they realize why they would need to make the switch to safe products.
SheKnows: Can you share some general beauty and skin care tips for spring with our readers?
Ava Anderson: Sure! I think a great tip is applying an extra amount of lotion to your feet at night and putting a pair of socks on right away. It lets all the moisturizer soak in and you wake up with amazingly soft feet. Perfect for sandals and the beach!