The world is getting smaller.
We have all heard this time and time again and can see proof of this in our everyday lives. As a human being living in the 21st century, opportunities are endless. We have all of the information in the world at our fingertips and traveling across the world no longer takes months in a boat, but now hours in an airplane. The advances that we have at our disposal are revolutionary and have changed the world and all things in it. As our world rapidly grows smaller, however, our environmental impact grows greater. Because of years of irresponsible and unsustainable living, there is now a mass of trash known to be up to twice the size of the continental U.S. that has been officially named the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” Carbon dioxide levels are also continuously on the rise and are now at a record high according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
Do not be discouraged! Fortunately, just a few small changes can enact huge positive change towards a greener, healthier planet! It all starts with the most basic part of your daily routine—your beauty regimen. By following these simple tips and tricks for natural living, you will not only make yourself healthier and more beautiful, but also make our world a cleaner, greener place!
1) Stay away from micro beads.
When searching for cleansers or body washes, avoid micro beads at all costs! According to NPR, the Great Lakes, which account for over 20% of the world’s freshwater resources, are contaminated with millions of micro beads from facial and body cleansers. Not only do they pollute the water, but they are also consumed by fish which, in turn, pass these toxins along to humans and animals. Although the micro beads might be alluring when looking for an exfoliating cleanser, there are natural and organic alternatives! Any organic cleanser containing honey or nut, seeds and/or plant grinds or powders will provide excellent exfoliating properties. These natural exfoliators will cleanse and sooth the skin without using chemicals or environmental pollutants.
2) Be wary of “natural” products.
For the health and environmentally conscious individual, natural products are a must! Many products, however, mask toxic and often carcinogenic materials under natural guises. Given that 98% of “natural” products on the shelf are misleading and mislabeling harmful ingredients (according to TerraChoice’s study: The Seven Sins of Greenwashing), there are necessary precautions that should be taken when shopping for green beauty products.
-Carefully read the labels—Some cosmetic and body care companies create logos that deceitfully look like certifications. Scrutinize every image to make sure your products “certifications” are legitimate (USDA Organic and USDA Made With Organic are the true benchmarks).
-Always read the ingredients—Natural products should have recognizable ingredients. If they do not, there’s a problem! Always use this general rule of thumb—if you can’t properly say the ingredient or have never heard of it occurring naturally, don’t buy it!
-Check to see what company produces it—Even if a product is natural, there could be some cross-contamination in the production and packaging if a larger company known to make hundreds of other products makes it. Do your research on the companies and brands you’re supporting! Air and water pollution from factories are huge contributors to the environmental situation we are in today. Let’s make a conscious effort to support those trying to make our world a cleaner place!
3) Lastly, Don’t be afraid to go all organic in your household!
Organic products, particularly beauty products, are often neglected. Even the most conscious individual on a strictly organic diet may go straight to the neighborhood drug store’s cosmetic isle to fulfill all of his/her beauty needs. This is because most people fail to realize the importance of protecting one’s skin. Watching what you put onto your skin is equally as important as what you put into your body! The skin protects us daily from harsh pollutants, ultraviolet radiation from the sun, and harmful bacteria and viruses. Protecting it by using organic products is of the upmost importance! The chemically laden soaps, sprays, creams, and powders one may use are absorbed through the skin and circulated throughout the body through the bloodstream. By choosing organic products for all aspects of your life—dietary, beauty, household cleaning—you are ensuring that you and those most important to you are protected from the harmful, cacogenic chemicals.
If there is ever a time to reverse humans’ negative impact on the environment, it is now! The air is growing more polluted and the world’s natural resources are depleting daily. Take the small step today to buy environmentally friendly and sustainable beauty products. By making thoughtful choices about the products you use each day, you can not only make yourself healthier and more beautiful, but also make our world a cleaner, greener place! Reduce your environmental impact and support those companies who strive to do the same. And remember—your beauty routine can make a difference!
Sources: “The Seven Sins of Greenwashing” by Terrachoice; “Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” by the Global Monitoring Division of the NOAA; “Why Those Tiny Micro Beads in Soap may Cause a Problem for the Great Lakes” by Cheryl Corley in NPR.