I was shopping at my local drugstore a few days ago and, as usual, made a point to pass up the perfunctory plastic bag for my own cloth one. I have to admit, every time I do this, I cast a smug look around me, proud of the barrels of oil and landfill waste that can’t be attributed to me. This time, though, the pert little cashier who rang up my items peered at my smug face through her thick black glasses and then at the bottle of Vaseline lotion I had just bought. Though I initially balked at her audacity, she had made a valid point. The petrolatum in my lotion—not to mention the parabens, lanolin, PEGs, and other chemicals in all of the skin care products I had purchased—is not only harmful to the environment, but potentially harmful to me. I realized that what I put on my skin goes into my body, and makes as much of a political statement as my cloth bags or vegetarian diet.
Mod.Skin Labs’ slogan is “deny excess, embrace modesty,” and that immediately appealed to my mission. The makers of mod.skin products do not use any parabens, synthetic detergents or fragrances, superfluous packaging, or animal testing. I found the site incredibly easy to navigate, with a full directory of skin care products and ingredient lists. The ingredients themselves are self-explanatory; there is no guessing, as beeswax and avocado oil mean exactly that. Prices are a little on the higher end; I was interested in a 0.15-ounce tube of lip balm that cost almost nine dollars, but you get what you pay for. Mod.Skin Labs also has store locations in eleven states, including New York and California, for those who prefer not to purchase online.
Aveda has committed itself to environmental leadership for thirty years and is the first beauty company to manufacture using 100 percent certified wind power. Not only are its products completely natural, Aveda also helps to build sustainable community-based businesses around the world by sourcing its ingredients from indigenous and depressed populations. The site offers a full range of hair care, skin care, and cosmetics for men and women and the site is easy to use, with a section that offers styling advice and a complexion guide. Prices are moderate.
Yes to Carrots
Yes to Carrots is a new concept in skin and hair care that combines vitamins and minerals from the orange produce groups with Dead Sea Mud. Dead Sea Mud has world-renowned detoxifying properties; combined with beta-carotene, it helps protect skin and make it glow. The site has a handful of products, all of which are paraben-free and well-priced through Walgreens, the company’s retailer. Yes to Carrots has also created a seed fund with its profits, which provides developing communities with equipment, vegetable seeds, irrigation support, and technical instruction so that they can have their own self-sustaining, organic food sources. How wonderful to know that there are far more benefits to your moisturizer than what you see on your face!
I learned on the Stem Organics site that you can absorb up to 60 percent of what you put on your skin! The company is committed to its belief that “everything you touch, or that touches you, matters,” as well as to biodegradable ingredients, creating vegetarian friendly products, and supporting programs like the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. Items are expensive, but you can purchase a sample kit of cleansers, serums, and moisturizers for all skin types for $13.90 before you commit to see if it works for you. Stem Organics also has several retail locations in the United States, mostly in New York and southern California.
Terralina Natural Skincare Products
Terralina products are not tested on animals and do not contain any harmful ingredients. In fact, the list of what is not included is so long that you wonder how any of these substances (ethoxylates?) could find their way into a simple pot of face cream. The site offers a directory to press articles about skin care, a blog about concerns with mainstream skin products, as well as a glossary of ingredients. Terralina’s several face and body products are reasonably priced, and kits and gifts are also available.
Juice Beauty boasts a total organic content of 95 percent and a vegetarian content of 100 percent. It uses no pesticides, petroleum derivatives, toxic preservatives, harsh surfectants or sulfates, or artificial ingredients. All ingredients are derived from organic juices, and the product line is wide-ranging. I love the Web site, with its interactive product solution wizard and user-friendly layout. Prices are on the higher end—the result of superior ingredients. However, the site offers web specials and discount deals to make shopping there almost as easy on your wallet as it is on the environment.
Eco-Beauty Organics is a holistic and ecologically conscious retail and wholesale company that specializes in natural cosmetics. It plans to expand its product line to include books, educational materials, and resources about skin care choices. For now, you won’t miss anything in this site’s vast array of items, including those for men, pregnant women, and babies. I appreciated the ability to search for products by skin type, but I became frustrated with the fact that not all items were labeled by weight—I was not about to spend $15 on lip balm without knowing exactly how much I would be getting.
Angelina Organic skin care products are made in the kitchen of Angelina Swanson’s cozy log home near Bend, Oregon (there is a picture on the site). The company operates by its commitment to ahimsa, the yogic practice of non-violence and love toward all. All ingredients are fresh and organic, usually from local farmers and everything is made with 100 percent wind power on energy efficient appliances. Angelina Organic even delivers its products by mail in recycled boxes and with a diesel delivery car that runs on pure vegetable oil! I really liked this site’s homey feeling and its efforts to accommodate shoppers. (How would you like to browse? By mood? By skin concern?)
Lavera is based in Germany and offers a line of products that are entirely organic, vegan, and paraben-free. I have eczema, and was pleased to find an entire range of products specially formulated for my itchy, dry, and very sensitive skin. There is something for every concern, from oily skin, aging issues, and cellulite. There are even items for men and babies. Lavera products are sold at Bed Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods, but can be ordered online with free shipping on items over $75. Lavera’s site also has offers on store specials and clearance items. I found deals on skincare lines inspired by Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, and Reese Witherspoon!