While every day should really be Earth Day, it’s good to have one designated day a year to remind myself that I need to clean up my act, at least my beauty act, when it comes to minimizing the chemicals on my face.
Now, I’m not a huge anti-chemical freak. When it comes to my beauty products, I sort of follow my philosophy when it comes to food: Everything in moderation. So while I’m not going to throw away my beloved Estée Lauder serums and La Mer creams just to go green, I am trying to pay more attention to the ingredients that are in my skin care, eschewing alcohol and synthetic fragrance (though the latter is much, much harder to avoid than one imagines) as much as possible.
Especially for beauty steps that I feel are, well, shall we say, more interchangeable (toners, lip gloss, masks), I’m willing to make the switch to a greener product, just to balance out the preservatives and other chemicals lurking in my favorites. So herewith, my new eco favorites that will be getting some serious play in my beauty regimen.
Ecco Bella Vitamin Spray, $31, eccobella.com: One of my new favorites toners. It doesn’t feel watery or evaporate quickly like other hydrating toners (certified organic aloe vera is its base). I love spraying it on immediately after washing my face because it really feels like it’s nourishing my skin. In fact, 70% of the ingredients in this vitamin-rich toner is certified organic. And it’s the only toner I trust to spritz my skin with after my Clear + Brilliant laser treatments. You better believe I’ll be buying this one again.
Indie Lee CoQ10 Toner, $32, indielee.com: Created after the brand’s namesake survived a brain tumor, Indie Lee is dedicated to eco-friendly beauty products. (Check out the unusually short ingredients list on each product, as well as the ingredient breakdown, complete with EWG hazard rating, on the website). Take the CoQ-10 Toner: the powerful antioxidant CoQ-10, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and a few botanical extracts is pretty much all there is in this 100% natural, alcohol-free toner.
The Jojoba Company 100% Natural Ultimate Jojoba Youth Potion, $39.95, thejojobacompany.com: I’m not a huge facial oil fan, not because it’s not good for my skin, but mostly because of the way it feels. But this product may change my mind. Vitamin-rich jojoba is a liquid wax that more closely mimics the skin’s natural oils and is therefore able to penetrate skin better. The 100% natural Australian jojoba — a sustainable, carbon negative crop — used in this oil is made even better with antioxidant-rich seed, argan and manuka oils. It’s elegant, fast-absorbing (almost like a dry oil), and leaves such a gorgeous fragrance on my skin (and yet check the ingredient list — there’s no synthetic fragrance to be found), I almost don’t need perfume.
Dermovia lace mask, $15, dermovia.com: I tried this mask a couple years back when I was an editor at Audrey Magazine, but I more recently got the detailed lowdown on its compression benefits from co-founder and CEO Anita Sun, a medical aesthetician. I have to say, I’m a convert. Made of antimicrobial cotton lace, this unique compression mask actually provides a temporary lifting and tightening effect of the chin and jawline (V-line, anyone?). The biodegradable material also better allows your skin to absorb the serum and won’t dry out, so you can wear it for longer than your usual mask. (Most experts warn not to wear cheaper, paper masks beyond the recommended time, because then the mask actually starts absorbing hydration from your skin.) The compression is similar to what Sun does in her clinic, wrapping clients’ faces in cotton gauze before applying topicals over it to help absorption.
Now available in eight different formulas (from Healing Yogurt Milk to Soothing Peptide), the mask is even safe enough for pregnant women. Even better? The mask retains its antimicrobial properties for up to 48 hours after first use. Just squeeze out the excess serum into the pouch before your first use it, rinse the mask after you use it, pop it back into the pouch, and refrigerate. Use the mask a second time within 48 hours. (Sun also repurposes old masks as face loofahs — just loop the mask and tie. How genius — and green — is that?)
Eminence Clear Skin Targeted Treatment, $65, buynaturalskincare.com: From an organic skin care line dedicated to green practices, from farming to ingredients to packaging (they even plant a tree for every product sold), this acne treatment showed a 42% reduction in oil production in a clinical study — a boon for my oil slick of a T-zone.
Pur~lisse Blue Lotus + Seaweed Treatment Sheet Mask, $8, shop.purlisse.com: Inspired by her Asian grandmother’s beautiful skin, one-time actress Jennifer Yen (can we say Power Rangers?) married Asian beauty wisdom with French skin care technology in her line of luxe skin care, Pur~lisse. This gorgeous cotton mask, loaded with bouncy serum full of moisturizing seaweed and antioxidant-rich tea extracts, stays moist even after 30 minutes, leaving skin extravagantly plumped and hydrated. What it doesn’t have: parabens, petrochemicals, propylene-glycol, phthalates, synthetic colors or fragrance, and animal by-products.
Lurk PRJ V1, $55, lurkmade.com: One of my best eco discoveries is perfume oil. More luxe than alcohol-based fragrances, Lurk’s perfume oils are a 100% natural (even the packaging is recycled), handmade in small batches, and offer complex scents like jasmine and rose intertwined with bitter orange essential oils. I was actually surprised at how long these perfume oil lasts, and with none of the alcohol-y bite I get every time I spritz a conventional fragrance. Yes, I like my perfume bottles, but they’re languishing on my dresser, there more for show these days. When it comes to the scent I actually use on a daily basis, I increasingly reach for these perfume oils.
Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder, $44, janeiredale.com: This mineral foundation has no synthetic chemicals, is vegan and cruelty-free, and is infused with plankton and algae to nourish skin. It also covers amazingly well (er, hence the name) and comes in a wide range of shades. I even use a slightly darker shade to “contour” my jawline.
Han Skin Care Cosmetics Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Pink Lemonade, $14, hanscc.com: A truly all-natural makeup line that features antioxidant-rich superfruits, nourishing oils, and fruit and vegetable pigments for real color payoff. Lip products are probably the one area I really should go green on, since most of any lip product we apply we end up ingesting. (I’ll also feel better smothering my niece and nephew with kisses!)
And can we talk about how affordable this line is? Because if there’s one thing almost as good as going green, it’s going green affordably.