While living a “green” lifestyle may have taken a back seat during this recession in favor of more pressing concerns—such as paying the mortgage—the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2010, is the perfect time to rediscover the world of eco-friendly, natural and organic beauty products.
Many organic/natural lines are surprisingly easy on the budget, as well as abundantly available—at Whole Foods, online and even at Target. But purchasing can be confusing given all the various certifications and labels.
Natural is a term that can be broadly applied to any product that contains natural ingredients, such as aloe vera, coco butter or even lanolin. Organic can be used when at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. With this wiggle room in labeling, it’s possible that some products presumed to be natural, actually contain un-natural ingredients. Check labels for chemical ingredients. To really feel confident, look for products boasting USDA Organic or ECO CERT certifications.
If green is your thing the options are many. Here are a few interesting lines and products that have passed through my desk recently.
Eco-Minded Skin Care
From Gabriel Cosmetics, the best selling organic brand at Whole Foods, comes Gabriel Organics, a skin-care line based on the healing power of the sea. The formulations are inspired by remedies that company founder Gabriel DeSantino learned from his grandmother, a curandera (healer) in a small village on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Featuring sea-derived ingredients like sea fennel, blue green algae and seaweed, the 19 product line carries both USDA and ECO CERT certifications. For summer, Gabriel recommends taking the Seaweed Hydrating Mask ($24.95) and cooling it in the refrigerator for a healing after sun treatment.
Jumping from Mexico to Greece, the natural sponges off the Greek coast of Symi inspired the Sponge skin-care collection favored by stars Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes. Boasting organic and wild-crafted ingredients obtained via a 100% chemical free extraction process, Sponge’s face, body and aromatherapy products are available online and at Barneys New York. Signature cream Ladi Avokanto ($100) combines avocado and olive oils with vitamins D and E for firming and anti-wrinkle benefits.
Photo credit: Marsha Mason
Bath and Body Naturally
From Broadway to Hollywood to Northern New Mexico, Goodbye Girl star Marsha Mason said hello to organic farming more than 10 years ago from her Resting in the River farm in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Beginning with the cultivation of medicinal herbs calendula and echinacea, Marsha now has a line of herbal wellness products including three body products and two hydration mists. Healing Highdration Mist ($4.25) with rose, aloe and organic St. John’s Wort enhances well being while it soothes.
For a natural clean, check out these adorable yet totally eco-conscious soaps. Herban Lifestyles’ “fuzzy” soaps ($14) are made with 100% organic oils and zanily wrapped in colorful organic merino wool. The wool felt creates an anti-bacterial holder for the soap and also works as an exfoliator. Wemb Soaps ($7 to $12) from Paraguay bring the Amazonian rainforest to your shower with handmade and paraben-free bars. The soaps feature exotic blends from yerba mate and mango to black clay and white rose.
Celebrity makeup artist Christopher Drummond replaces scary sounding chemicals in color cosmetics with natural antioxidants and botanicals like açai and green tea. The spring collection ($17.50 to $22.50) is appropriately pastel with shades like petal, sky and coral reef. The Drummond line is available online and at spas nationwide, including the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
It’s reassuring to know that options abound for organic and natural lip color. Softlips Pure 100% Natural Lip Gloss ($4.99) offers easy-on-the-wallet shine in three shades, all flavored with a USDA Organic vanilla-berry scent. Available at Target, the lip gloss contains zinc oxide for SPF protection. And if plumping is your guilty pleasure, this Earth Day try DuWop Pure Venom ($24), an organic version of the famous Lip Venom essential oil blend. Housed in an earth-friendly tin, the 100% natural and 90% organic stains soothe and condition as they plumb.
Gentle Hair Care
Klorane has harnessed the “power of plants” for more than 50 years with its hair-care products based on plant extracts. This Earth Day the brand’s Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($18) arrives at counters with new fully recyclable packaging. Suitable for all hair types, Christina Aguilera, Rashida Jones and Rebecca Romijn are avid fans.
For a budget friendly and natural treat for your tresses, Organix sells shampoos and conditioners with organic active ingredients in formulations free of sulfates and parabens at CVS/Pharmacy and WalMart. Organix Nutritional Açai Berry Avocado Shampoo and Conditioner ($6.99 each) features açai berry, avocado and argan oil to moisturize, balance and smooth the hair. Organix Rejuvenating Cherry Blossom Ginseng Shampoo and Conditioner ($6.99 each) restore shine and volume to hair while leaving strands beautifully scented.