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Go Eco for Beauty: How You Can Be Your Hottest and Healthiest

We’ve all heard of eco-this and eco-that, but what about eco-beauty? Think about it—our skin is the largest organ of the human body, yet we seem to abuse it the most with synthetic lotions, makeup products and creams. Wouldn’t it make sense to put only the most natural, chemical-free products on our skin to make it, well, natural and chemical-free? Over time, our bodies will start to show the consequences of years of abuse through using synthetic cosmetics, so get on the eco-wagon and start revamping your makeup bag now. It’s time to get the glow without the Imidazolidinyl Urea, Petrolatum, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Stearalkonium Chloride. ‘Nuff said.

When shopping for soap, reach for one that is vegetable-based. According to Ingrid Naiman of Kitchendoctor.com, soap that we tend buy are by-products of the meat packing industry. She says, “There are a large number of reasons for preferring vegetable-based soaps over animal ones, not the least of which is that toxins, including synthetic hormones used to bulk up animals, tend to accumulate in fat tissue.” Imagine rubbing animal lard all over your body and sprinkling a few toxic chemicals here and there and you’ll get the picture. 
Try Dr. Bronner’s castile soap-based body washes, which cost between $8 and $15 for a 12oz bottle.  The brand South of France also makes vegetable-based body soap starting at $5, and these soap bars last months at a time.  You can find them online, in your local pharmacy, or at health stores.  Most pharmacies will hold a vegetable-based soap option.

Two words: coconut oil. This all-purpose fat works wonders on the skin.  According to the Coconut Research Center (yes, it actually exists), coconut oil is globally touted as the “healthiest oil on earth.” Coconut oil is effective in treating psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, skin infections, and removing scars. While it may seem greasy, it is easily absorbed by the skin and leaves a faint, virtually odorless nourishment to the skin without leaving any sticky, heavy feeling behind.  Coconut oil can also be applied to the hair. It is an effective conditioner for damaged hair, providing all the essential proteins required to replenish dry, damaged, and thinning locks.  
How to use coconut oil: after a shower, dry your skin with a towel, and massage a small amount on your elbows, knees, and any other typically dry area. Then rub the oil into your arms, torso, and legs. Within minutes the oil will have absorbed, leaving your skin radiant and hydrated! For your hair, use the coconut oil as a once a week wash-out treatment or apply a small amount to hair on a daily basis as a leave-in conditioner. Try applying the oil to dead ends before bed, allowing your hair to repair overnight. Coconut oil/butter (same thing, since its consistency simply depends on room temperature) can be found at most grocery stores.  You can find a 15oz tub for as low as $7. Butter up!


With things like methylparaben (linked to cancer), acetate (linked to skin scaling, hives, and blistering), red 22 (rated “moderate hazard”), and propylparaben (irritates skin and linked to endocrine disruption and cancer) roaming around in your resident lipstick, don’t you think it’s time to throw away your ruby red for something dangerously sexy, but not dangerous? Not sure? Well, what if a celebrity personally designs it?  Cargo Cosmetics offers just that!  A slew of female celebrities have designed their very own shades of 100-percent natural PlantLove lipstick.  PlantLove lipsticks are certified by ECOCERT for their environmentally friendly way of “Product, Packaging, and Process.”  Denise Richards, Courteney Cox, Envangeline Lily, and Lindsay Lohan are among many other actresses, models, and singers who have designed their very own lip shade for Cargo’s cause.  Each PlantLove lipstick is $20—$2 of which goes to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Not only does this brand do the environment good, but it also does humankind some good too! Check PlantLove lipstick out here.

Alison Raffaele created a line of beauty products free of parabens, talc, mineral oil/petrolatum, fragrances, and gluten.   All the packaging of her products is biodegradable and recyclable, and her wood-handled brushes are even Forest Stewardship Council certified.  Primers run for $44, foundation for $38, concealers for $23, and powders for $26. You can find her products here.


You have to be extra careful what you put on your eyes, because whatever goes near the eye will probably find its way into the eye.  Sephora carries a PURE line, which offers organic makeup without the use of parabens, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, GMOs, and other harmful substances. The eyeliner and mascara cost $6 each and the eye shadow palette, which contains six shades, runs for $22.  Both can be found online or in stores.

Skin Treatment

It’s hard to avoid the chemicals when it comes to treating acne or maintaining clear skin, but fortunately Derma E is one step ahead of the eco-craze.  Derma E is a natural body care company renowned for its natural, organic, cruelty-free, and paraben-free skin and hair products.  Their products are condition specific and will cater to dry, oily, and acne-prone skin types.  Honestly, Derma E is not the cheapest of brands, but you can rest assured that only the healthiest ingredients are going onto your skin! It’s definitely worth the extra buck, and the products last for months at a time.  You can find Derma E products in health stores or online.

It truly pays to watch what touches your body.  While you can get any quick-fix from the chemical-laden cosmetics so readily available on campus pharmacies, in the long run, you will benefit from having taken extra precaution to nurture your skin with only the most natural and simple products.  Try these products out and you’ll be sure to do your body and your conscience a favor.  For more information about eco-beauty, visit Eco-beauty.com for more products and information. 


Aylin is a senior Government concentrator at Harvard with a citation in German. An avid traveler and lover of languages, Aylin was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, although spending a lot of her childhood in Turkey and Germany. She is a self-proclaimed “foodie” — loves everything food, from home cooking to fine dining . In her sophomore year summer, she went backpacking through Western Germany, researching and writing for the “Let’s Go: Europe” travel guide. She has contributed to several on-campus publications. Her junior year summer, she interned as a production assistant for chef Bobby Flay and Alex Guarnaschelli’s Food Network shows filmed in New York City. She also interned for author and nutritionist Natalia Rose. An entrepreneur at heart, she'd ideally love to open a chain of high-end, health-minded restaurants. Her passions include piano, tennis, and dark chocolate.
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