From The Vault: You’re Beautiful, Naturally

You are what you wear.

“You are what you eat,” goes the favorite saying of nutritionists – and it’s equally true that you are what you put on your skin (that living, breathing, semi-permeable defense against the world that you bounce around in). Beauty is as much a matter of finding the right products as applying them artfully, and we’re big believers in the power of organic, sustainable and naturally-sourced cosmetics and skin care products.

Here are five examples of our commitment to that philosophy.

Of all the ingredients, fragrance is perhaps the sneakiest. The beauty industry has enacted so-called “trade-secret laws” allowing manufacturers to create synthetic chemical mixtures to contain as many as five hundred chemicals at a time. And what do they call these chemicals? Fragrance. In other words, you’re not just getting a delightful whiff of pleasant smell; you’re also likely getting a ton of masked, potentially-dangerous chemicals. And these chemicals may expose you to allergens, neurotoxins, hormone disruptors and more.

Listed as fragrance, perfume or parfume, they are in (yes) perfume, makeup, deodorant, body lotions, shampoo, soap and basically any beauty product that has a scent. Fragrance can also stand in for natural essential oils, which can be irritating to the skin. Basically, you just don’t know what you’re getting unless it is from a reputable brand or you run it through the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

7 Beauty Ingredients To Avoid

You’ve probably heard a lot of marketing hype about powders that are mineral-based. Mineral makeup is generally made from all natural, finely ground minerals from the earth (which is good!). Most of the time, it doesn’t contain any of the chemicals, dyes, and preservatives found in traditional makeup. But in order for a makeup to call itself mineral, it has to do”exactly nothing. Like many “green” industries, there is no regulation as to what ingredients make a mineral cosmetic. You’ll want to do your homework. Here, we put several leading brands to the test.

Dust Yourself Off With 6 Great Organic & Natural Finishing Powders

Blemishes: Apply a touch of toothpaste overnight and dab blemishes with lemon juice before putting on makeup in the morning.

Simple Solutions to 8 Common Beauty Dilemmas

If you have dry skin – or live in the Arctic – this is a great cleanser for you. It is very thick and felt a bit like washing with a moisturizer. I had to scrub to get it all off. (And then scrub an hour later when I discovered it caked around my ears.) But if you have dry skin, this could be a positive. The scent was a bit intense. It was supposed to be vanilla and tangerine, but it smelled more like vitamins to me. It contains natural and certified organic ingredients and no artificial colors or unnecessary chemicals.

Best Organic Face Cleansers: 5 Reasons To Green Your Suds

There’s a lot of sunscreen out there, and there’s very little about it that makes sense. Between the sunscreens and the sun blocks, the UVA and the UBV, it’s easier to become more confused than a tourist during Mardi Gras. How confused is that? Let’s just say it involves a level of confusion that may cause someone to bolt across the parade route from one cop to another while that certain someone is just trying to catch the last bus back to Baton Rouge or is it Ponchatoula? Yeah, that confused.

At the center of this sunscreen spaz attack comes the seminal sun protection question – what the heck is in my sunscreen?

Best Organic Sunscreens For Your Face

Images: Chicago Magazinexshamethestrongx; wei li graphic designerclickflashphotos and RenderDonkey.

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.