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How to be a Green Beauty Queen

Date: 02-Sep-10

Labels Labels Labels

First things first – take a look at the ingredient list. Just as you do with food labels, by regularly investigating the contents of your beauty products you’ll learn to decode the contents and easily identify the good stuff from the bad stuff. A number of chemicals commonly used in cosmetics, creams and cleansers can impact on your topical skin health, overall health and the environment. Even if you choose products that are certified organic or free from other chemicals and preservatives, it’s still good green practice to understand what’s in the bottle – especially if you want to copy your favourite products at home! Here’s quick hit list to get you started.

  • Petrochemicals – Many beauty products contain ingredients derived from the fossil fuel petroleum, such as mineral oil, paraffin and synthetic fragrances that can irritate the skin. While you're taking steps to move way from fossil fuels in other areas, why not do the same in your beauty routine.
  • Palm Oil - Many beauty products contain palm oil, which is linked to the deforestation of the Orangutan habitat in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Palm oil can be tricky to identify as it is often listed under the names Elaeis Guineensis, Glyceryl Stearate or Stearic Acid – so keep a look out for these.
  • Organics - Many products call themselves natural or organic. But reading the label is the only way to find out for sure. Products with more than 70% organic ingredients can be labelled 'made with organic ingredients'. To indicate which ingredients are organic they are marked with an asterisk on the product label. While only products with 95-100 % organic ingredients can be 'certified organic'.

For a complete A-Z of ingredients commonly used in skin care products, both the goods ones and the bad ones, try this great ingredients glossary.

Packaging

It’s important to not just look at the ingredients but also what your favourite beauty products come in. Try to choose products that use packaging which is recyclable, refillable, biodegradable or made from recycled content and where possible avoid products with excessive or unnecessary wrapping.

Homemade Alternatives

The best way to avoid unwanted chemicals and packaging all together is to make green beauty treatments at home. Most products you buy in stores can be substituted with homemade alternatives. All you need are some ingredients from the garden or grocery store, a little creativity and you’ll be on your way to a day at the spa, at home! For example avocados are rich in vitamins and minerals and make a great hair mask or use peppermint and cucumber as a wonderful soothing mask.

More Info

If you’re looking for more information on green beauty basics here are some great places to start.

Websites – where you’ll find product reviews, beauty news and recipe ideas. Check out sites like thegreenbeautyguide.com or cleangreenbeauty.com

Books - available from most major bookstores and online, try 'The Green Beauty Bible' or 'Eco-Beautiful: The Ultimate Guide To Natural Beauty And Wellness'.

Places to Shop – there are a number of online stores that stock a range of environmentally friendly beauty products for you and the family. A couple we found are www.greenorganics.com.au and www.ikigai.com.au

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