Navigating the world of green beauty is a little like wishing we were in an episode of Mad Men. Everything looks really hip and cool, but there’s always a rancid egg martini you could accidentally ingest. False labeling is afoot, and it can be difficult to discern what’s free of toxic ingredients and what’s just free of truthful advertising.
Confused? Scared? Wanting Don Draper and his hugs of deceit? Not to worry! There’s calm and certainty out there and we have found it. We asked some of our favorite green notables to weigh in on their favorite sustainable products.
Meaghan O’Neill, Editor-in-Chief, Treehugger.com
I’m not a massive beauty junkie. I only wear makeup on occasion, so my beauty routine is pretty simple. I think I’ve cleaned everything on my body and in my house, (from the dishes to my son,) with simple old Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap at some point. But I do, of course, need a few things to perk up my skin and de-frizz my hair from time to time.
My absolute favorite products come from a local skincare maker Farmaesthetics. At first, I thought for sure that I’d say the Nourishing Face Cream is my go-to eco-luxury. Then I remembered the Lip Softener. Or could it be the Cinnamon-Clove soap? It’s hard to decide which is best when they all smell so wonderful and work so well, with honest-to-goodness ingredients and old-timey recipes that every woman should know about. These aren’t complicated or expensive products, but they are magnificent.
Annie Leonard, Director, The Story of Stuff Project
My beauty secret is free and available at home, as well as scientifically proven to help us look and feel great. And yet, we too often don’t get enough: sleep. Adult women need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night. After work, parenting, housework, and volunteer and community activities, it seems there’s often not enough time. That’s our mistake; we need to see sleep not as a luxury to do after everything else is done but a necessity critical to our well-being. We can’t take care of our families and the planet if we don’t take care of ourselves.
My tips for getting more sleep are to watch less TV, eat well, and exercise. Getting enough sleep makes me look better, feel stronger, think more clearly and – if you ask my family and co-workers – much more pleasant to be around!
Stephanie Rogers, Green Writer and Beauty Editor, Eco Chick
My favorite beauty product is really simple, cheap and natural: organic virgin coconut oil. I use it as both moisturizer and a deep conditioner for my hair. It’s a lip balm, eye makeup remover and a main ingredient in lots of homemade beauty treatments. It’s packed with antibacterial lauric acid so it won’t make you break out, and it smells so good! As far as I’m concerned, no $60 bottle of fancy exotic oils could ever replace it.
Aysia Wright, Co-Founder of Project Green Search
I’m a huge proponent of organic and natural ingredients, as well as testing for safety and transparency in labeling. But if it doesn’t perform as well as its toxic counterpart, people aren’t going to use it and “green beauty” becomes equated with “doesn’t work”. That said, some eco lines have nailed it, keeping their line very natural while delivering results. But for certain products, especially hair care, I have found that lines using tested synthetics along with the natural and organic ingredients perform better than those lines only containing natural and organics. Frankly, as a woman with hard to handle hair, I’m not willing to have bad hair all the time and these products are still safe and they get the job done.
Amy DuFault, Fashion Editor and Co-Owner of Shift
I love everything about Farmaesthetics – the smell, the packaging and of course, how well it works with my temperamental skin. Their herbal cleanser and Nourishing Lavender Milk are pretty much my go-to products in my bathroom. But I also love their Sweet Milk Exfoliate which really gives a nice scrub and leaves you with rosy cheeks after wards which is really what we’re all going for right? And after the bottles are empty, I use them as bud vases.
Mary Vance, Holistic Nutritionist
I love using olive oil to soften the skin on my face and hair, but my favorite product is Benedetta’s Precious Nourishing Facial Oil in palmarosa. It’s a combination of plant and essential oils. Deeply regenerative, it is high in wrinkle-fighting antioxidants. Benedetta’s products are handcrafted in small batches in Northern California, near my home, so I’m buying local. And everything they make is organic or biodynamic.