Q&A: Green Chic Organic Beauty Tips from Christie Matheson
By Erin Donnelly
Q: I want to make more of an effort to go green with my beauty routine, but I’m not sure where to start. What should I be avoiding, and what are some basic things I can do without completely overhauling my lifestyle?
A: If possible, the best green thing you can do for your beauty routine is get more sleep. That may sound strange, but sleep has no negative impact on the environment, and plenty of sleep helps you look stunning naturally. Seriously: It’s great for improving your skin condition and tone, eliminating dark circles and puffiness around your eyes, maintaining a healthy weight, and allowing your cells to rejuvenate and repair. Get some zzzs!
Okay, but once you’re out of bed, there are a bunch of things you can easily do. Start by taking shorter showers. Cutting minutes from your shower time can keep hundreds of pounds of CO2 (the major greenhouse gas and contributor to global warming) out of the atmosphere in the course of a year. Plus, shorter showers are better for your skin.
One way to cut your shower time? Shave your legs after you get out, using a bowl of warm water, instead of doing it in the shower. Not only will this save energy, but I swear it helps you do a better job shaving. For some reason, I miss a lot more spots when I shave in the shower; I guess I pay more attention when I do it out of the shower.
Let your hair air dry while you’re shaving, and for a little while afterwards, and slash the time you need to spend blow-drying. This saves energy, and—bonus!—makes your hair healthier because you aren’t aiming high heat at your soaking wet (and therefore fragile) tresses.
You don’t have to give up every last beauty product (whew), but get in the habit of reading ingredient lists, and choose products made from ingredients you recognize. A body lotion, for example, made from shea butter and scented with essential oils is far healthier, and less energy-intensive to make, than a lotion filled with parabens (avoid these chemical preservatives—they’re potential carcinogens and hormone disruptors) and artificial fragrances (which often contain phthalates and formaldehyde, two chemicals you also want to avoid).
Finally, consider your beauty products’ packaging. Look for containers made from post-consumer recycled plastic and recycled glass; buy items you know you’ll use in the largest container possible; and if you use things that come in compacts, like eye shadow (for which you should avoid ingredients like lead and talc), patronize brands that allow you to purchase refills instead of having to pitch the whole case and buy a new one.
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