Natural Beauty: Eco-Friendly Cosmetics

October 2010

They say my lip gloss is cool
My lip gloss be popping
I’m standing at my locker
And all the boys keep stopping

They say my lip gloss is popping
My lip gloss is cool
All the boys keep jocking
They chase me after school

“Lip Gloss,” by rapper Niatia Jessica Kirkland (aka Lil Mama), was released in 2007, the first single from her debut album, VYP: Voice of the Young People. The song was prominently featured in the Prada Spring/Summer 2010 Womenswear fashion show in Milan, where trendsetters and tastemakers converge twice a year to view the latest in haute couture. And while clothes play a large role in how a woman reflects her personal style, her cosmetics and personal care products also play a part, from lip gloss to eye shadow to signature scent. I bet you know what material your favorite new fall wardrobe item is made of, but have you ever thought about what’s in your favorite new cosmetic?

“The average person’s morning routine puts him/her into contact with over 100 chemicals before breakfast,” according to Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics. That’s not a surprising statistic really, considering lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, zinc, chromium, and iron are found in everything from lipstick and whitening toothpaste to antiperspirants and nail polish. Thanks largely to limited government regulation over the cosmetics industry, though paint and gasoline can no longer contain lead  — a toxin that damages the nervous system and causes brain disorders — your lipstick and nail polish can.   

If you believe the government is looking out for the average consumer and that you don’t need to be concerned with the safety of your cosmetics’ ingredients, I’ve got three words for you: Gulf Oil Spill. If the government can’t be trusted with the big stuff, they’re most certainly not sweating the small stuff like a little lead in your lipstick. We’re talking about a government whose agencies typically set “acceptable limits” for toxins, carcinogens, and endocrine disruptors (synthetic chemicals that when absorbed into the body either mimic or block hormones and disrupt the body’s normal functions) based upon “ … the information available to us at this time.” Well, not so long ago, with the information that was available to them at that time, most of the Earth’s human population thought the world was flat. I’m just sayin’.

What’s a girl to do? How do you look good without poisoning yourself? Knowledge is power, so here’s your crash course syllabus in safer personal care.

Fundamentals 101:
This site is a terrific resource for just about anything you need to know about toxins in cosmetics. Find out which ingredients to avoid and where to buy safe, natural, organic cosmetics. Also, learn how to get involved and fight the good fight for safer beauty products with grassroots gumption.

Graduate Study:
Check out the Environmental Working Group’s homepage, and familiarize yourself with all-things-toxic in our 21st-century environment. The information provided, while broader in scope, is a fabulous resource for self-education. From there, click through to and search for your favorite products. How do they rank on the safety scale?

To get started on your path to non-toxic living, log on to and search “non-petroleum jelly formula.” There you’ll find a recipe for an easy, homemade alternative to standard store-bought petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly, which is used for everything from lip gloss to wound care, is actually a byproduct of a non-renewable resource. Additionally, it’s an unwise skin-care choice as it actually draws moisture from the lower layers of your skin to the surface, moisture which is then washed away when you bathe, making your skin dryer than it was to begin with. Non-petroleum jelly, however, is a better choice as it consists of three simple eco- and human-friendly ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, and grapefruit seed extract. Whip up a batch and see what you think!

What are you waiting for? The quicker you get finished with your assignments, the sooner you can get back to standing at your locker, where the boys keep stopping ... to  admire your natural beauty, no doubt!

Required Reading: Crack These Books
To truly educate yourself on the topic of non-toxic cosmetics, there are a few standard readers you should consult. Here’s what I recommend:

Dying to Look Good: The Disturbing Truth About What’s Really in Your Cosmetics, Toiletries and Personal Care Products by Christine Hoza Farlow (KISS for Health Publishing, 2006)

Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry by Stacy Malkan (New Society Publishers, 2007)

Toxic Beauty: How Hidden Chemicals in Cosmetics Harm You by Dawn Mellowship  (Gaia Thinking Books, 2009)


jillian_g's picture

Kudos to girls who uses eco-friendly products. I just hate women who use too much of bad make-up especially for the environment. Especially those who use too much hairspray. And also, when it comes tohome remedies for acne some women just don't trust natural products. So they seek those treatments that provide immediate result.

Kris's picture

I really appreciate the eco instinct of ladies who are conscious about their skin type & use eco friendly products.Organic or eco products are free from chemicals and provide effective results for the skin

dorra's picture

I didn't know that we have natural options on makeup cosmetics, I knew some of them are better but never thought they can actually be natural. Are there any cosmetics that also act as remedy for adult acne? Please share some ideas!

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dorra's picture

I really had no directions on finding eco-friendly cosmetics. I would also be interested in organic non-toxic cosmetics. Do you have any recommendations on that? I've been struggling with treating acne for a long while, I think I'd need this.

EllaRochelle's picture

I didn't know whitening paste is dangerous for us. Why do we use it, if it harms us? I understood there weren't so many beauty brands on the market that contain lead anymore. I am truly appalled by the idea something can get past my skin and mimic my hormones. Is makeup responsible for us being so edgy all the time?

John Mcclane's picture

Well there are so many brands and cosmetic products out there that claim to be eco-friendly and so much more. Thanks for sharing and, I am sure everyone using beauty products should visit these 2 resources to know more about what safe products are.

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brighterlooksskincare's picture

I really Like your article. All that You explained is very beneficial for all of us girls and somehow to others also. Good work keep that going on. I want to add some likes,but girls have usually soft skin. So, they need to do some extra efforts to remain their skin soft and they use that kind of products which make their skin soft and Brightening and whitening . Like that Ingredient which make their skin soft and brightening. Use home made products and that will not damage your skin like Yoghurt, Lemon, turmeric, etc.

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I agree that we have to be more careful about the environment, and our cosmetics are a good place to start. Considering the tons of plastic we throw out each year, from make-up, lotions, soaps and shampoos, shopping online is a great alternative. My sister's birthday is coming up and I ordered a basic set of eco-friendly make-up. I recently started to Shop for custom packing tape at so I'll make sure everything is biodegradable. I hope it teaches her an important lesson on protecting the environment.

I think that thanks for the valuabe information and insights you have so provided here.
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Women are getting addicted towards cosmetics and most probably cosmetics consists of chemical ingredients which directly affect our skin therefore in most of the cases we used to applied Eco-friendly cosmetics those are quite applicable to protect our skin. So in case of skin care Eco-friendly cosmetics are really working and help to protect our skin. Therefore along with natural products we should follow Eco-friendly cosmetic products for skin care.
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This was really an interesting topic and I kinda agree with what you have mentioned here!
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AshleyCole's picture

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I appreciate a lot this great and quality post! The majority of women like to use make-up in order to look beautiful and many of us use to buy eco-friendly cosmetics as they don't cause allergies. I like eco friendly cosmetics and I use it very often especially when going to work. Actually I am going to shop now for some eco friendly cosmetics for my sister.

Knowledge is power, so here’s your crash course syllabus in safer personal care. FroKnowsPhoto Guide

ettamead's picture

Many skin care products contain salicylic acid. Some are available over-the-counter and others require a doctor's prescription. Thanks for posting about the skin care products. Suncreen Skin Moisturizers

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Wear a sunscreen every time you step out in the sun, not only in the summer. Increased exposure to UV rays causes drying of skin. Oily and normal skin types need sunscreens of SPF 15. All people with dry skin must use a sunscreen of SPF 30. Buy Ultraceuticals for skin care

adoradeny's picture

I like a woman with a good fashion taste, but I also like a man who is attentive with his imagine. I believe I am such a woman and I try to take care of my husband too. I often buy him products from to use them daily to look handsome.

tedmosby545's picture

I have studied that going for natural options are always better than the cosmetics. Organic and eco-friendly products are the best as they do not carry any form of harmful chemicals. This is such an informative article. I’m really happy that I found this one!!!

marshkolley's picture

I always use eco-friendly and natural products. These things actually suit my skin a lot. I am very glad you said kudos. Thank you very much.

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marvinvinn's picture

I have many favorite eco-friendly beauty products.

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leonardo85's picture

Although we women use a lot of cosmetics products every day, we hardly have any idea about the harmful chemicals that are used in these cosmetics. Eco friendly cosmetics are going to help us stay beautiful in a safe manner. However, to achieve flawless look you need more than just cosmetics, you need skin and body care procedures. For my personal care needs I visit GiGi Salon Spa in Portland twice a month.

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