When most of us think “green” we tend to think of food, household products, even our vehicles – we don’t always associate “green” with cosmetics. We chat with make-up artist to the stars, Paige Padgett, about how to go green with our beauty regime.
What makes a beauty product “green”?
For me it’s being chemically safe, with primarily natural ingredients. Organic is a bonus, especially for make-up. It’s impossible to find color that is 100% organic, but often you will find organic ingredients.
What are some of the health reasons to consider a green beauty routine?
Cosmetics are filled with toxic chemicals that are linked to birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity and cancer. That’s enough reason for me.
What is the difference between organic and natural?
Unfortunately, the word “natural” means nothing, there’s no regulation for the term. In order for a product to use the term “100% Organic” it must be just that, excluding water and salt. To use the USDA Organic seal a product must be at least “95% Organic excluding water and salt” (if less than 70% organic, the term is not allowed anywhere on the label).
What are the different eco-certifications out there and which ones should I pay the most attention to?
ECOCERT, a French certification, and USDA Organic are the most common in the US for cosmetics. US organizations NSF International (NSF), Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards (OASIS) and Organic Consumers Association (OCA), as well as The Soil Association in the UK; Certech, a Canadian organization and Australian Organic are all respectable seals.
When looking for a green beauty product, what ingredients should I see at the top of the label?
Natural ingredients you can pronounce. For example, castor seed, apricot seed or sunflower seed oil are first in a lip gloss. The closer they are to the top the higher concentration of the ingredient.
What green beauty swaps can you suggest?
Look for white willow bark and grapeseed oil instead of parabens, and essential oils instead of fragrance.
Are there resources people can use to help them become more educated and chemically safe with their cosmetics?
My go-to resource is www.ewg.org/skindeep/. You can also check out the companies who signed the compact for safe cosmetics (the EU directive) at safecosmetics.org.
If people choose not to 100% go green, what are some harmful ingredients you recommend that they avoid?
Omit fragrance. By eliminating fragrance you can cut out 30-300 potentially toxic chemicals. More than 90% of chemicals in fragrance are petrochemicals. Phthalates are especially of concern since they are fragrance and are linked to a birth defect in boys. If you see the word fragrance, perfume or parfum, don’t buy it.
What do you feel is the most common misconception people have about green beauty?
That one must sacrifice beauty and performance to be clean and environmentally friendly. There are so many gorgeous and luxurious chemically safe and eco-friendly products on the market. The colors have come a long way too. They are no longer muddy. You can have vibrant pinks now.
What are the top major toxic chemicals to watch out for? Why?
Look out for parabens, fragrance and petrochemicals. Parabens are in nearly everything so you are getting much higher accumulations of them than other chemicals and fragrance has potentially hundreds of toxic chemicals. Petrochemicals are linked to so many diseases such as birth defects and cancer.
You tell people to become a “box turner.” What do you mean?
When a company is clean they will nearly always incorporate it into their marketing. They are proud of it. And the more specific they are the better. Transparency is everything. But you still have to know what you are looking for like key words, certifications, stamps and seals. Some are great, others mean nothing.
Paige Padgett is a makeup artist to the stars and green beauty pro. Padgett’s latest book, The Green Beauty Rules: The Essential Guide to Toxic-Free Beauty, Green Glamour and Glowing Skin, is filled with advice the make-up expert applies to her clients to become ‘green’ with beauty products. paigepadgett.com