Shades of Green

Leaf through any women’s magazine or breeze down any beauty aisle at a local drugstore and you’re likely to catch the word “natural” at every turn. The writing is on the wall: Beauty products with natural and organic ingredients and limited chemicals and synthetic preservatives have made the leap from fad to form. Green beauty is a trend that is here to stay. But just like the food that we eat, the details of what’s good and what’s not so good is still sketchy. The key is becoming an educated consumer. Here’s what’s new on the beauty aisles and tips on what to look for when you’re ready to make the move toward a greener beauty routine.

Look for green seals of approval on the packaging. Seals to look for:

  • Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care: Made primarily of natural ingredients. More at wholefoodsmarket.com.
  • USDA Organic: Made with at least 95% certified organic ingredients. More at www.ams.usda.gov.
  • Natural Products Association: Made with at least 95% natural ingredients. More at naturalproductsassoc.org.
  • Eco-Cert: Made with at least 95% natural ingredients and at least 10% organic ingredients. More at www.ecocert.com.
  • NSF Made with Organic: A new standard from the Quality Assurance International (QAI) for products with at least 70% organic ingredients. More at www.qai-inc.com.

Become a label reader. We all know by now that “natural” means a product may have only trace amounts of a natural ingredient. Terms to look for:

  • Organic: Grown and processed without chemicals like pesticides.
  • Vegan: Contains no animal products (including common ingredients like beeswax, honey and milk) and is cruelty-free.
  • U.S. sourced: Grown, harvested and processed in the United States.
  • Paraben-free: Contains no synthetic preservatives from the parabens family of controversial chemicals.
  • More sources: planetgreen.com and safecosmetics.org.

Integrate green products into your beauty routine over time. Products to try:

  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Mousse Body Cleanser ($22) and Extra Firming Body Moisturizer ($29). All Juice Beauty products are made with certified organic ingredients and are free of parabens, petroleums, tars and pesticides. Available at Sephora, select Nordstrom stores and juicebeauty.com.
  • Sephora PURE Wanderlust Edition Palette ($36). New from Sephora, PURE is a collection of “green” makeup and skincare set to hit the shelves in Fall 2009. All products in the collection are at least 95% natural ingredients and at least 10% organic ingredients. Packaging is made of sustainable bamboo and recyclable metal. Available at Sephora stores and coming soon to sephora.com.
  • Victoria’s Secret PINK Soothing Body Wash with Organic Oat Extract ($12) from the new line of organic, 100% vegan, eco-friendly collection with U.S.-sourced ingredients. Packaging is made from Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) materials with limited inks and dyes and removable labels. $8 to $18 at Victoria Secret stores and victoriassecret.com.
  • Finally, experiment with products from Whole Foods Market, which carries bath and beauty lines at every price range and for every skin type. Ones to try: IKOVE, Erba Organics, Avalon Organics, Desert Essence Organics, Alba and Dr. Hauschka

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