Green and Gorgeous: Green Beauty Tips

The bathroom is often regarded as a sanctuary of the family home: a place to unwind in a hot shower, pamper oneself with a spa treatment, or simply take care of business in relative privacy. Unfortunately, however, the average American bathroom has become a haven of chemical exposure, housing a variety of personal care products that may be harmful to your health.

Just how toxic is your bathroom? To date, 89% of the 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the FDA, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (an in-house panel appointed by the cosmetics industry), or anyone else.Of particular concern are ingredients such as phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, and mercury that are showing up in a variety of personal care product formulas. Current scientific research shows that many of these ingredients present a serious risk to human and environmental health. FDA officials and health experts throughout the world are particularly concerned about the “cocktail effect” that may occur when different chemicals and toxins are mixed in the body and then subsequently in the environment.

A 2004 survey by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research group, found that the average adult uses approximately nine personal care products each day, for a total of 126 unique chemical ingredients.While some products are tested for reactions such as skin redness, rashes, or stinging, there is little to no information about the long-term safety of these chemical cocktails for either humans or the environment.

The good news is that you don’t have to give up washing your hair or smelling good in order to protect your health and be nice to the planet. There are safe, non-toxic alternatives to virtually every personal care product your family needs. Here’s how to look and feel clean and beautiful without indulging in the chemical cocktail.

Read The Labels: Take five seconds to read the label and put down any product that contains phthalates, mercury, toluene, lead, formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, parabens (hormone-disrupting preservatives such as methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, and propylparaben), or BHA. These chemicals are considered the most detrimental to human and environmental health.

Use A Little Less: Reevaluate your beauty regimen to see if you can get by with a little less. Do you really need all of those beauty products in your cabinet? For each product you eliminate, you’ll save money and reduce the chemicals in your body and in the environment.

Be Kind To Animals: Animal testing is unnecessary, unethical, and just plain cruel. Look for the “Leaping Bunny” label to make sure your beauty products are “cruelty-free.” This symbol, created by the The Coalition For Consumer Information On Cosmetics, is the only international standard for personal care products indicating that they have not been tested on animals.

Don’t Leave A Carbon Footprint On Your Face: O.K., so you’ve cut back on the amount of oil and gas you use in your car, now how about reducing the carbon footprint of the chemicals you use on your body? Petroleum derivatives are found in a surprising number of personal care products such as lip balm, lotions, and lubricants, as well as the plastics used in sanitary products. Pass on products that use petroleum or its derivatives (paraffin oil, propylene glycol, and ethylene) and look for alternatives such as beeswax, cocoa butter, and vegetable oils instead.

Skip Disposables: According the environmental news website Grist, 2 billion disposable razors end up in United States landfills each year. Invest in a reusable and refillable razor to save money and take a knick out the waste stream.

Read more from Jenn at her blog, The Green Parent and join her in the Green Parents Forum to share ideas, ask questions, offer advice, or just rant and rave about going green!

Original post for 5 Minutes For Going Green.

10 Responses to Green and Gorgeous: Green Beauty Tips
  1. Tara Burner
    October 7, 2008 | 7:21 am

    Excellent info and sooooo on target with reading labels, checking for the cruelty free logo and knowing what is really in the products you use.
    Informative blog :)

  2. TKL
    October 7, 2008 | 7:45 am

    This article is so disappointing. I can’t believe that beauty product companies would even consider turning to toxic chemicals to put in our home products. If there are other products that have all natural ingredients, and chemicals that are in fact, certified, then why must the companies resort to the harmful chemicals?
    The next time I pick up my next shampoo, I will be sure to check what’s on the ingredient list before I pick it up.

  3. Cate Bevans
    October 7, 2008 | 7:47 am

    This article gives many helpful hints to make our environment a cleaner and safer place. It makes the reader aware of the harmful products that we use day in and day out and don’t even think twice about it. It gives incredible statistics such as 89% of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products that can do harm unto our bodies.
    At the end of this article, there are many tips to helping our environment. It warns you of chemicals such as phthalates, mercury, toluene, lead, formaldehyde and many more. The article tells you to check to see if your product is tested on animals, and if you could decrease the usage of these products daily, you could definitely decrease your carbon footprint.

  4. Tracey
    October 7, 2008 | 7:51 am

    This blog was extremely interesting and informative. I didn’t realize how many toxic chemicals are in the personal care products that people use everyday. The tips at the end seem very helpful and I will definitely use them the next time I buy these things. Its so easy to help the environment just by decreasing the amount of product someone uses each day and by checking the labels on packaging. By following these tips, I can save money and help the environment, so its a win-win situation.
    It doesn’t make sense to not follow these tips. It helps everyone and I’m really happy you mentioned animal cruelty and how one can tell if products have been tested on animals. Great blog.

  5. Tasan Thompson
    October 7, 2008 | 9:40 am

    This article has opened my eyes to what is really occurring in the world today. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that simple everyday things such as cosmetics is detrimental to your health. The next time I decide to buy cleaners or any type of cosmetics, I’ll remember to go green.

  6. Lisa
    October 7, 2008 | 1:30 pm

    Great post. To find out how safe (or unsafe) your beauty products are you can go to

  7. image consultant
    October 23, 2008 | 1:18 am

    Great post and useful information.

  8. Soma.
    November 25, 2008 | 3:04 am


    Watson soma….

  9. zsa zsa
    January 12, 2010 | 9:29 am

    Use a little less — this is a great tip! We (especially women) have the tendency to buy a lot of beauty products and try out different personal care products out there but it does contribute to so much waste! Of course, we can always reuse and recyle the bottles and containers that these products come in, but it’s a more eco-friendly move to just keep it simple and to use/buy less. This way, we not only save the planet; we save money too.