Cosmetics have had a bad reputation in the past for being unethically sourced and harmful to the environment. Nowadays there is a wealth of beauty products on the shelves using buzzwords like “natural” and “organic”, but with no clear definitions of what they actually mean, so it can be hard to know what you’re getting.
Going green with your skincare doesn’t have to be complicated, and once you’ve learned to read between the lines on product information, you’ll have no problem giving your bathroom cupboard a green makeover.
Organic produce is made of living (natural) material that is free from artificial treatments such as fertilisers and growth hormones. This means that products which claim to be “natural” could still be pumped full of all sorts of unnatural things. It’s misleading advertising, but why does it matter?
Well, the use of certain fertilisers can have a nasty impact on the environment. When it rains they can run off into local rivers and lakes, flooding the water with nutrients and resulting in algae overgrowth which suffocates the marine wildlife. Nobody likes to see ponds full of dead fish, but thankfully there are plenty of options to choose from which don’t involve these nasty fertilisers, so you can enjoy a guilt-free beauty regime.
Something to be aware of is that even if as little as 1% of a beauty product is organic it can be legally advertised as “organic”, even though 99% of the product is not. To avoid getting fooled by this misleading advertising, look out for symbols from trustworthy associations such as Ecocert and The Soil Association.
With organic products charging up to 25% more than the alternatives, there is certainly an incentive to claim to be green even if you’re not. You can rely on independent associations to give an honest, unbiased assessment of the percentage of organic ingredients.
Reading the ingredients on beauty products might not seem like the most appealing pastime, but it’s one of the best ways to get a realistic idea of the green status of a product. Certain synthetic replacements for natural ingredients can have potentially adverse effects on your body, so if you’re looking to go full green, it’s worth taking the time to get to know some of the usual suspects (Warning: extremely long, silly looking words imminent.)
Methyl Paraben, Isobutyl Paraben (essentially anything with “Paraben” in it): these are thought to mimic oestrogen which can have adverse effects on your body.
Hydroxymethylglycinate, Imidazolidinyl Urea, 2-bromo-2-nitro-propane-1,2-diol, Formaldehyde: these are all believed to potentially increase the risk of cancer.
PG 1, 2 Propanediol: this is an active ingredient in antifreeze which is thought to cause brain, liver and kidney damage.
It can all sound a bit doom and gloom, but the important thing is to remember that the recommendations are there to help you find the best products and feel great. If you’d like to become an ingredient savvy shopper there are plenty of resources regarding safe cosmetics on the Internet.
However, It’s important to research these issues on reputable sites published by reliable sources such as The Soil Association to make sure you’re getting the best possible advice!
If you want to move over to the green side, take it slowly. Trashing all your current products will be expensive, wasteful and you’ll likely rush into buying unsuitable replacements. We recommend starting with products you use for your whole body, switching the largest product you use most often will have the greatest impact.
As you discover the perfect green products for you, you can gradually start to switch to other products as they run out. The Body Shop, famous for their ethical stance on animal testing and organic ingredients, do some great products such as this Spa Of The World Hawaiian Kukui Cream from £23.00. This luscious cream helps to restore the skin’s natural suppleness leaving you to feel great, safe in the knowledge that all the ingredients have been responsibly sourced.
Another fantastically green company is Saaf, which is Persian for “pure”, who specialise in naturally derived, organic, hypoallergenic beauty products. A product we love is this unique hair tonic which combines sesame seed, mustard seed and neem oils, deeply nourishing, calming and restoring the hair and scalp. This enriching Hair Oil smoothes split ends and helps give body to fine, flyaway hair, and comes with a guilt free ingredients list!
Personalised websites such as My Beauty Matches are great for helping you to decide what to try next. Using a quick, free survey they create a personal profile based on the needs of your body, giving you the best recommendations as you shop. You can discover delicious, bespoke, eco-friendly products at the click of a mouse.
You can even go green with your spa breaks at gorgeous locations such as the Pennyhill Park Hotel. Boasting an exclusive supply of organic spa treatments by Elemental Herbology and one of only 24 air purifying Natural Bissé Bubble’s, this spa will give your body the organic, toxin free TLC it deserves.
Switching to green can be a slow and seemingly arduous task, but over time, and with a little research, it will help you look after your body and the environment. Who knew saving the world could look and feel so good?
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