Green Diy Beauty

By Sharon Naylor

March 25, 2011 5 min read

The news is not pretty. The Food and Drug Administration recently tested a number of brand-name lipsticks and found lead in all of them. The FDA recently recalled many beauty products, citing high levels of mercury, lead and other contaminants, and health-conscious women everywhere are considering what exactly they're putting on their skin.

You likely can't pronounce most of the ingredients in your regular skin cleansers, lotions and cosmetics, and you probably will be stunned to learn that some ingredients -- such as sodium laureth sulfate -- are on watch lists as being potentially cancer-causing chemicals. Randi Ragan, owner of GreenBliss EcoSpa, says: "If a product has more than five ingredients, be aware that three-quarters of those ingredients are preservatives, chemicals that extend the shelf life of the product."

Phthalates, parabens and artificial colors and scents all pose serious health risks, especially when a product is used on a daily basis and when these chemicals are absorbed through the skin -- the body's largest organ. "There's a growing awareness of healthier beauty products that parallels the greater interest in organic foods," Ragan says. "With organic foods, you want to know that they're made with natural ingredients; you want to know their source and how they got to your plate. It's the same thing with organic beauty products, because they are the 'food' of your skin."

If you ever have tried natural, organic beauty products, your first impression may have been negative. You didn't feel that tingle that you experienced with your previous beauty products. You didn't see results right away. "We're a culture of needing instant gratification," Ragan says. "When you feel that tingle, that's chemicals on your skin. When you become invested in green living, you need to be patient with natural products that work without harsh chemicals and scents." A regimen of consistent application is advised by Ragan, who says that once you get used to the lack of tingle and realize that the tightness you feel after washing your face with a traditional cleanser is not actually a benefit to your skin, you'll embrace being on a green path.

Another concern of green living enthusiasts is that some products are made using animal parts, such as shark fin or rooster cockscomb. Vegan beauty products are available on the market, and do-it-yourself beauty treatments ensure that the creams, masques and toners you use on your face and body are entirely free of chemicals and animal products.

*Natural Recipes

"An organic beauty regimen is paired with the food you eat and the supplements you take," says Ragan, who recommends vitamin D to synthesize skin and regulate hormones -- both of which improve appearance -- and vitamin C to provide antioxidants. "And DIY beauty products include many organic foods and teas."

Ragan says that a mixture of plain yogurt and strawberries -- both organic -- creates an ideal face masque. "Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are all filled with antioxidants and vitamins, and you can use these in teas -- as well as in skin treatments, such as the berry masque. Strawberries are a member of the rose family, so they actually act as a fabulous anti-acne treatment."

Ragan also espouses aspirin as a great natural product in DIY beauty products. "Salicylic acid is an ingredient in many beauty products, and it's just aspirin. So crushed aspirin with some apple cider vinegar creates an effective anti-blemish toner when applied with a cotton ball."

Teas are also on Ragan's DIY beauty ingredient list. "You absorb nutrients and antioxidants from drinking organic teas," she says, which works as a treatment for your skin and hair. "But you can also steep your green or chamomile tea bags to make your tea and then squeeze the tea bags, cool them and place them on your eyes for a relaxing, natural treatment that reduces puffiness and redness underneath and around your eyes." Eye treatment creams of the non-organic variety often contain dozens of those hard-to-pronounce ingredients, so this natural method protects your skin and eyes from the harmful effects of being exposed to them.

"Nourishing your skin is one part of an organic beauty regimen," Ragan says. "I strongly believe that nourishing your soul through committing to a healthier lifestyle translates into greater outer beauty. When you're happiest, you're at your most beautiful." And for many green living enthusiasts, pampering without fear of contaminants is a great source of happiness.

To check your current brands of beauty products for contaminants and toxins, use the interactive report tool at

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