If you want to adopt a green lifestyle, you’ll need to avoid synthetic products that contain toxic ingredients or that use energy-intensive methods to produce. Unfortunately, this means chucking most of your store-bought beauty aids. Although eco-chic cosmetics can be as expensive as conventional upscale brands, using only green beauty products doesn’t require taking a second job. You can make many products at home from inexpensive ingredients. Supplement these DIY products with select natural products from retailers you trust and you’ll have a full yet affordable beauty regimen.
Step 1:Decide what you need to purchase and what you can make for yourself. Turning raw ingredients into fabulous beauty products can reduce the sticker shock of store-bought natural and organic products, but some products — like shampoos and lip gloss — require multiple hard-to-find materials and won’t necessarily get you the results that you want. Budget in the purchase of these items. Then save money by making the less labor-intensive products — face masks, scrubs and simple moisturizers — that don’t require a degree in biochemistry to whip up at home.
Step 2:Separate an egg yolk from the white and use the yolk in place of conditioner. Conditioners coat your hair in silicone and oils, giving an immediate result that quickly wears off. Eggs strengthen and restore your hair over the long term. If you’ll be making facial masks, reserve the egg white for those recipes, as egg whites help tighten your pores.
Step 3:Find and patronize local sources when procuring ingredients for your beauty recipes. While you’ll have to hit the health food store for essential oils and — unless you live in a subtropical climate — ingredients like lemons and avocados, local farms can provide you with products like the yogurt and eggs you need for many beauty recipes. Connect with local beekeepers for honey and beeswax used in beauty products like homemade lip balm. In addition to the green benefits of shopping locally, you can often find amazing deals at farmers markets or when buying directly from a farm. (See References 1)
Step 4:Learn to apply makeup correctly. Once you know how to get the most out of your makeup, you can cut out many of the products you’re already using, reducing the number of products for which you need to find green alternatives. Achieving a versatile, “natural” look is actually an art, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll only need a few products instead of a huge makeup case filled with all shades of the rainbow. (See References 2)
Step 5:Develop a fashion style rather than falling back on short-lived trends. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 12.7 tons of textiles went to landfills in 2009, constituting just over 5 percent of total municipal solid waste (see References 3). Hunting down secondhand and vintage clothes saves you money, helps you to develop your own style and cuts down on the amount of castaway clothing sent to the landfill. When you do make new clothing purchases, plan to spend more at the outset for quality and durability and purchase items that you can imagine wearing for years; over time, your investment will pay for itself, as you spend little to replace worn-out clothes or items that are no longer trendy. Use fun accessories to enliven your old favorites. If an item no longer fits, consult a tailor or crafty friend to see if it can be remade into something new, like a handbag. Developing a personal style will also reduce the amount of makeup you need to purchase, as you’ll focus on what works with your coloring and personal style instead of purchasing new lipstick shades every time the trends shift.