Your Mini Guide to Green Beauty

Green beauty is becoming more popular recently and I hope it continues to and eventually becomes the standard.  I am by no means perfect and in fact, I have a long, long way to go until I am 100% “green beautified”.  Being 100% green can be a little more expensive, less convenient and confusing at times.

However, do not that that deter you from consciously trying to use more eco-friendly products. For me, what is important is at least being aware of the choices I make when choosing products.  The ultimate goal is, progress not perfection. You should strive to make progress on your green beauty routine every day but don’t worry about being perfect. This is what being living my life greener means – making progress and being aware and conscious of the choices I make daily. It could be whether I choose to have my coffee in a reusable cup or use a paper cup instead, it’s the little choices you make, which eventually add up that matter.

Mini Green Guide Graphic-01

Green Beauty Tips:

  • Know what ingredients to avoid
  • Download an app called “Think Dirty”, it allows you take a photo of the barcode on your product and gives it a rating, 1 being super clean (non-toxic) and 10 being dirty.
  • Go for products that are oil-based (they don’t need preservatives)
  • Have fun with it – make your own products, try new brands
  • Know your labels (I’ll explain below)

Avoid These Ingredients [From Ecoholic Body]

  1. BHA and BHT: preservatives that are endocrine disruptors. Not safe for aquatic life and can bioaccumulate (this means toxins build up in an organism), so shouldn’t be going down our drains.
  2. DEA (diethanolamine): Can react with preservatives found in cosmetics to form nitrosamines, which could cause cancer. In Europe, there are restrictions placed on this substance, however in the US or Canada. Also avoid TEA and MEA.
  3. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (Such as DMDM hydatoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15, and Bronopol). These have been known to release low levels of known human carcinogen and allergy-linked formaldehyde. It’s restricted in Europe.
  4. Oxybenzone (BP-3/benzophenone) and octinoxate: These are found in sunscreen and could be a potential hormone disruptors. Octinoxate is suspected to be an endocrine disruptor plus a mild estrogen mimicker which is linked to thyroid changes.
  5. Palm oil (avoid anything with “palm” or “palmate” in the name): Not so much a health concern as it is a environmental tragedy. Rainforests and savannas in Malaysia and Indonesia have been torn apart to create this.
  6. Parabens: Mimicks estrogen. One study found it in breast cancer tissues causing alarm. Other studies have found that parabens may also create problems with male reproductive functions.
  7. Parfum/fragrance: full of ugly chemicals. Better to have products with natural scents.
  8. PEGs (polyethylene glycol compounds and anything with -eth in the name): contains a human carcinogen.
  9. Petrolatum/paraffin/mineral oil/petroleum distillates: Petroleum is to blame for a lot of environmental problems, so why would you want products with it?
  10. PPD: in permanent hair dies (even health store ones). Contains chemicals not good for you. Toxic for fish.
  11. Phthalates: Hidden behind word “fragrance”. Look for “phthalate-free” products. Many are restricted in Europe.
  12. Retinyl palmitate: when combined sunlight, speeds up the carcinogenic effect of UV rays in mice. Avoid direct sunlight if you use products with this ingredient.
  13. Siloxanes: toxic to fish and aquatic life and doesn’t biodegrade in the environment for a long time. Environment Canada is working to restrict them.
  14. Sodium laureth sulphate: Foaming agent that is often contaminated with a carcinogenic.
  15. Triclosan/triclocarban: suspected to be bad the thyroid and may contribute to antibiotic resistance. Toxic for aquatic life and has shown up in dolphins tissues.

Know Your Labels

There are a ton of labels out there on beauty products that are supposed to tell us if a product is natural, organic, or a plant-based product.

Green beauty labels

Naturally Products Association Certified: Product is at least 95% naturally derived. Screens out toxic ingredients such as the ones I talked above in ingredients to avoid.

Ecocert: A French label that certifies both “natural” and “natural and organic”. Both have to be 95% or more of “natural origin”. Bans synthetic scents and colors, petrochemicals, and sketchy engineering practices. Also calls for greener manufacturing.

USDA Organic: Considered the top seal on the market since body care brands that have this certification have the exact same rules for food – basically means it’s completely edible. Product must be at least 95% organic to get the certification.

OASIS Organic: Calls itself the “first organic standard for the beauty and personal care market”. Has been slammed as “bogus”. Be weary.

COSMOS: A European standard, basically the joining of forces of Ecocert, BDIH, Cosmebio (France), Soil Association (U.K) and more. Ensures a product is biodegradable, non-GMO, and not tested on animals. At least 95% certified organic. PVC packaging not allowed.

BDIH Certified Natural Cosmetics: This one is a German label that tells you the product is free of synthetic fragrances, ethoxylated raw materials, silicone-based and genetically modified ingredients, dead-animal-by-products, organic-synthetic dyes, paraffin and other petroleum derivatives.

Naturally Sephora: One that appears on many of Sephora’s off-label products. It is ambiguous though, saying it contains “high concentrations” of natural ingredients and “fewer to no” bad guys.

I know that’s a lot of information to take in. My hope is that you will browse this guide and next time you are shopping for beauty products, be able to at least recall a few things from here that will help you make a more conscious decision!

Now for the more fun stuff…

green beauty guide

Here are some of my favorite fellow green bloggers, who you can get a ton of inspiration from:

And some of my favorite green beauty brands:green beauty guide| Products Pictured: Top – Lush Natural Deodorant; Mini Modern Minerals Highlighter; Nubian Heritage Mango Butter | Bottom – Aila Nail Polish; NOW Almond Oil; MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Scrub; Yes To Carrots Moisturizer; Feel Good Soap Company Lotion |

One last tip I have for getting into green beauty is to sign up for a Petit Vour beauty box! It includes vegan, non-toxic, and ethically made beauty products every month delivered to your door. It is such a good way to try out different brands. In fact, a lot of the products I have learned about, I learned from receiving my PetitVour box.

I hope this helps guide helps you somewhat! I recommend reading some books on the topic to get more information. If you are looking for some good books, comment below and I can suggest a couple.

Maureen Adele

Maureen can be found with a cup of coffee in her hand (in a reusable mug usually), editing and creating content to feature on Metrópolette, and obsessing over weiner dogs. When she isn't breathing Metrópolette (or coffee), she is dreaming about her next adventure to Iceland, searching (and obsessing over) dachshunds on Instagram, and trying out new beauty products.

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