Beauty U -- How to: Buy Green Beauty Products

       It may not be a little known fact that beauty products don't undergo the same rigorous testing as other foods and drugs we consume, but it is really up to the consumer to do their own research. It's easier said than done when you're strapped for cash and time and most ingredients are as hard to pronounce as they are to decipher.  I can't say I am using entirely green products in my household, but I can say that I am slowly trying to make the transition to safer products and product lines which keep the environment in mind.
       One site that has influenced me greatly is "Skin Deep:  Cosmetic Safety Reviews" which I first came across on one of my former professors' web page (believe it or not).  Run by the Environmental Working Group, donations made via the site or products purchased through their site via support the group's efforts.  This site ranks ingredients and products from 0-2 (low), 3-6 (moderate), and 7-10 (high) based on the hazards they pose.  The site is updated frequently and reviews for individual products are aplenty -- if your specific product isn't listed, you can also search by entering single ingredients.  
       A warning to those who are easily influenced -- be prepared to toss many items you may own (especially those you paid big bucks for) as the information you might uncover may be so disconcerting that you vow never to slather on that favorite lotion or spritz that intoxicating signature perfume on yourself ... ever ... again... Now, getting down to the nitty gritty, here are some brands for staples you may want to try/switch to:

  1. RMS Beauty -- "An original, pure, organic color cosmetic line..."
  2. Lavera -- "Organic cosmetics and mineral makeup, natural skin care & sunscreen products"  (their line is available at Target stores and online on
  3. Dr. Bronner's -- Organic and fair trade products (available at many online retailers such as as well as Whole Foods and Target)
  4. Boscia -- (available at Sephora and on
  5. Aubrey Organics -- "100% natural skin, & body care (available at many organic food markets and some online retailers including
  6. Yes to -- (available at Target stores and on
  7. Body and Soul Cosmetics -- specifically for their makeup brushes (recent availability unknown, but try contacting Sephora store locations in Hawaii for their stock info)
However, just because a company claims to only have organic and natural ingredients in their products doesn't necessarily mean all of the ingredients are "safe."  Here are some ingredients to be wary of:
  1. pthalates -- Studies have shown it to affect male sex organs and pregnant women.
  2. fragrance -- containing, well...anything although no specific ingredients under the "fragrance" umbrella are disclosed.  Many contain allergens and neurotoxins.
  3. thimerisol -- a mercury preservative
Read Skin Deep's full article for more information on "What Not to Buy."
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