As moms we’re all trying to make healthy choices and going green when it comes to what we put on our skin (and our kids’ skin) is a step in the right direction. However, in a sea of products touting organic, natural, all-natural, green and pure on the labels, how do we really know what’s good-for us? Beauty brands are finding ways to blur the line between what’s really ‘healthy’ and what’s just plain, marketing mumbo jumbo. Lesa Hannah, FASHION Magazine’s Beauty Director has tried countless products, interviewed a plethora of scientists, founders and researchers, to get the bottom of what ‘green’ beauty really means. Here, she shares the truth about green beauty after 18 years in the beauty biz.
Guest Post: Clean Beauty Rules by Lesa Hannah
I don’t really recall a time when I was introduced to green beauty per se; I’ve dabbled in it here and there over the years. But as the cliché goes, becoming a mom really put it on my radar. At first I focused on what I felt was safe on my daughter, but then I began to investigate options for myself. Frustratingly, there wasn’t a lot that appealed to me at the time. #lame #toohealthfoodstore
After reading No More Dirty Looks in 2010 that really moved the needle for me. Finally, I felt like someone was talking about it in a way that spoke to me without the extreme fear mongering rhetoric that pervaded many other books. The authors, both Canadian, guide you on making the switch to cleaner products and recognize the need for efficacy as well as aspiration. In addition, it steered me towards brands I’d never heard of that were cool, not crunchy, like RMS Beauty. Today, my routine isn’t entirely green—I can’t see a day when I’ll give up Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray—but now that there’s so many more options available, it’s a lot easier to leave conventional versions behind. Here’s what I know about green beauty that will help you make sense of what to buy next:
1. Mineral sunscreens are the better choice. One of the biggest moments for me was learning about sunscreen. I knew chemical and physical sunscreens worked differently but it was at a Burt’s Bees event years ago where Celeste Lutrario, VP of R&D, warned about the dangers of chemical ones. Talk about a game changing moment. Since many I had used over the years stung my skin, they all needed 15-30 min to be effective, they break down in the sun, necessitating reapplication, I didn’t need any more convincing. I prefer mineral formulas (at least 15% zinc oxide), and that’s the only thing I’ll use on my kids.
2. You really have to do your own research. There is so much greenwashing out there, especially since increasingly, everyone is looking for what they think are safer options. But just because something uses plant ingredients doesn’t mean shit and there’s no regulation out there so companies are free to say whatever they want on their packaging. Learning to decode labels is empowering and nothing feels more satisfying. You begin to see the bullshit. “Dear Eminence Organics, why do you use chemical filters in your sunscreen?” The mind reels….
3. Not everything can be green. While natural brands are always striving to be as comparable to conventional as possible, I think there’s a certain amount of rethinking that’s involved. Meaning, there’s probably never going to be clean version of long wear lipstick because you need pretty tenacious chemicals to achieve that. And I’m ok with that; I’m totally down with re-applying.
4. Clean beauty and luxury can co-exist. With the gorgeous packaging of brands like Ilia, Kypris and Rahua (and countless others), they’re proving just that. It’s also a way to attract those who may still be on the fence about green beauty because it’s not appealing to their sense of visual delight. And in the age of #thetopshelf, we all want products that are worthy of display.
5. There’s so much innovation. Green beauty chemistry is improving incrementally all the time. Talking to brands like Juice Beauty and Tata Harper is fascinating because you get to hear about all the innovations in their product development and new substitutes for conventional ingredients. Seriously, there’s no reason for silicone when there are coconut alkanes.
Click here to see Lesa’s much-loved and non-toxic picks. .