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Written by Laura Li   
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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Green Beauty

Environmentally conscious actions don’t have to be strenuous or require much effort. Everyday routines with just a little adjustment can decrease your environmental impact and let your conscience rest a little easier. Something as easy as changing the way you shower or bathe cannot only benefit the environment, but also your own well-being!

BENEFITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Chemicals used in beauty products go down our drains and into the ocean and local waterways. Even though there are filtration processes the water goes through before being released into the environment, chemicals are still able to pass through because the system isn’t specialized to remove these chemicals. Moreover, chemicals from anti-bacterial soaps and detergents have been known to have severely negative effects on aquatic ecosystems.1 One way you can counter this is to use homemade soaps and organic soaps which are also not tested on animals and some are even vegan, leaving you with a clear conscience and the knowledge that no innocent animals were harmed at your skincare’s expense.

Organic Soap 2


BENEFITS FOR YOUR HEALTH: Most conventional store bought soaps are artificially colored and scented. These chemicals can irritate and dry out your skin. Also, a chemical called Triclosan which has claimed to have anti-bacterial effects may actually hinder human muscle activity and function.3 This side effect can also be carried onto animals via the waterways that the chemicals travel on after use.

Cost: Medium – I will be focusing on organic and environmentally friendly products that can be bought in a store or online. For homemade options, check out these articles on homemade skincare products and soap .

Time and Effort: Low – This is for the busy Greeniacs out there who do not have the time to make homemade products. But fret not! There are many affordable and environmentally friendly brands and products out there.

Packaging

While generally the rule stands that you should not judge a book by its cover, when it comes to cosmetics it may be a different story. There are many ways for companies to catch the green consumer’s eye. However, there is a difference between packaging that boasts how green the product is and products that are actually packaged sustainably.4 Packaging can be made from recycled, reused, or biodegradable materials:
  1. Mushroom Packaging6
    Mushrooms – Packaging companies are becoming very creative. Who would have ever thought this fungus could be found on your local store’s shelf as packaging! The strong fibers known as the mycelium are bounded by agricultural crop waste to create a sturdy packaging option.5 It is also biodegradable! Other biodegradable options may be in the form of bioplastics
  2. Post Consumer Waste (PCW): Exactly what it sounds like! This packaging is made from recycled materials.7 One man’s trash could be holding your treasure!
  3. Reduced packaging: This is basically just taking the idea of less is more. Sustainable products minimize packaging materials as much as possible.
  4. There is also recyclable and reusable packaging that can be redeemable for a free product if you bring a number of them back. Promoting non-wasteful behavior is a great way to spread awareness! Some companies that have these programs are MAC, Origins, and Kiehls. For a discussion of these programs on the GreeniacsForum read here!
Chemicals to Avoid

As discussed in a GreeniacsGuide to healthy skin care, some major chemicals to avoid are: 1,4-Dioxane; Phthalates; Parabens; and Triclosan.8 Here are some additional chemicals to watch out for:9
  1. DMDM Hydantoin: This is an additive that is commonly found in conventional soaps at the drugstores. It is a preservative that releases formaldehyde, a toxin that prevents the growth of bacteria and other things that could cause the soap to spoil. Although this helps the soaps last longer, it was given a 7 out of 10 score on the Environmental Working Group’s hazard rating scale.
  2. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT): This chemical has been known to cause brain disease in rats. It has even been banned from use in Canadian cosmetics. There has been additional research conducted showing MIT can cause allergic reactions in people, and more seriously harm to the brain, nervous system, and immune system.
  3. Oxybenzone: This chemical scored a 9 out of 10 on the Environmental Working Group’s hazard rating scale. It may cause changes to the body that could lead to heart disease, and could also have toxic effects on the major systems of the human body. This is an extremely sneaky chemical as well given that it can be labeled as methanone, 2-hydroxy-4methoxyphenyl, 2-hydroxy-4methoxy-beonzophnone, 2-hydroxy-4methoxybenzophenone, benzophenone-3, and BP-3.

Popular Sustainable Beauty Brands

Lush10 – (High Cost) Although the price may be on the high side, this British company has swept the globe by storm. Its corporate ideology encompasses creating high-quality, effective, and sustainable organic products. With 830 stores in 51 countries, it is clear that this company has been well received. Most of the products are bathing products, although they recently released a make-up line. The company produces unique handmade products with all natural ingredients. It is so fresh that many of these products have expiration dates. Their products also require very little packaging, and when they do, it is usually with recyclable material. Lush also promotes a sustainable lifestyle and will give you a free face mask if you bring back five empty tins!

Osmia Organics11 — (Varies between high and medium cost) Osmia claims to have “luxury bath products for the ecofriendly bath lover” and this online store has been known to live up to such standards. It specializes in bathing products and all of them are made with natural ingredients.

Avalon Organics12 – (Medium cost) This brand is commonly sold at drugstores. All products contain at least 70% organic materials and are certified by Quality Assurance International. They are dedicated to organic agriculture. They value all walks of life and do not support animal testing. Their products have received many positive reviews and are affordable!

As you can see, sustainability does not have to be hard. It just takes one small step to start a clean and sustainable lifestyle. What better way to start cleaning your life than the way you clean body? Happy greening!


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1 http://buffalonews.com/2015/10/01/the-chemicals-in-some-everyday-soaps-threaten-great-lakes
    -water-quality/

2 http://www.skinandlife.com
3 http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2012/08/triclosan-a-chemical-
    used-in-antibacterial-soaps-is-found-to-impair-muscle-function/

4 http://www.fpintl.com/whitepaper-green-packaging-types.aspx
5 http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-5784
6 Id
7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-consumer_waste
8 http://www.greeniacs.com/GreeniacsGuides/Health/Skin-Care-
    Guide-to-Making-yours-Eco-Friendly.html

9 http://www.livestrong.com/article/116612-soap-ingredients-avoid/
10 http://www.lushusa.com/
11 http://www.osmiaorganics.com/articles/natural-bath
12 http://www.avalonorganics.com/



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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 February 2017 )

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