Do you do last minute cramming before you go to the dentist? No, I don't mean reading up on orthodontia in hopes of having an intellectual conversation about crowns with your dentist (how you can talk at all with all those tools in your mouth is beyond me, though dentists always ridiculously try).
Rather, I'm talking about amping up your brushing and flossing routine the last few days before you go to the dentist. I've noticed that a few of my friends and I slack off in the flossing department - you'll catch me doing it every other day at most - but when a dentist check up date looms close, I'll hop on my proverbial high horse, ridding plaque and swigging mouthwash like somehow a few extra hours of dental hygiene will make up for a year of neglect.
Good dental hygiene takes consistency. And the same thing goes for green beauty.
I see so many articles, beauty products, and campaigns come out every year around Earth Day intended to inspire plant love and general Earth love. We're all told to use recycled plastic, to recycle our empty lotions, and to opt for "natural" and "organic" when possible. And many of us gals do so...for a while. And then it sort of wears off as Earth Day fades into memory.
That is not what being an eco-friendly beauty is about. It's about dedication to doing these things year round, even when doing so takes some extra work (read: Research). But is it worth it? Oh, definitely, considering you're reducing your carbon footprint while using products with natural ingredients that have been used to soothe and cure ailments since the birth of the healing arts.
At the dawn of the world, cavemen and women cleansed themselves of toxic pitch and heated club size comparisons by soaking themselves in baths of elements that were readily available to them, such as river water and live bristle-haired squirrels.
You can find a happy medium between living by the dirt and exfoliating your toes with gold doubloons by making some tweaks to your beauty ritual.
Soften the you-clay and knead it back together again into one soft, happy lump with fair trade-certified body creams, or jive your way into the enzymatic maw of relaxation with an organic sea salt bath.
Because while Paleolithic cultures were menaced by daily terrors like mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and man-eating rabbits, twentieth century earth muffins face their own set of monsters—noxious nasties like triethanolamine and isopropyl palmitate that haunt every prettifying dab and swipe.
Go au naturel—with how you maneuver beauty and skincare, that is—to both minimize exposure to chemicals that sound like specimens found on the recent Mars Rover mission and to conserve precious money and resources.
Whether it's finding a creative yet pious demise for the last of your eyeshadow pan or recycling empty lipstick tubes so they can be reborn as evil-doing temptations for the next victim—er, girl—crunching on this granola will open new doors to a smexier you.
An added bonus to becoming an eco-goddess? Times are tight, but with the guided green acumen available for your perusal in this article you won't have to scrimp on the primp.
So take a cue from Paleolithic bliss and beautify with the earth in mind, weaving yourself a tranquilly snug blanket of natural, organic, and fair traded goodness that gulps toxins to revive those feeling depressed and sluggish, or those whose political beliefs restrict them to a diet of Shasta soda and polysorbate 60.
1. Fall in Love With Fair Trade
The heating power of the enzymatic bath was first used by Japanese Olympians until it was banned for bestowing performance-enhancing calm.
Support the makers of our favorite equanimity-inducing Zen delights by dropping a few banknotes on products whose humble origins and modesty are preserved by fair trade labels.
Fair trade is a pretty rockin' concept, bestowing the carpenters of our faces with fair wages, fair working conditions, and fair treatment of the environment.
Workers receive at least minimum payment for their toils plus a snazzy premium for organically certified loot.
Farmers are provided with safe, tolerable working conditions and forced child labor is not permitted.
Try:The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Japan Yuzu & Rice Body Milk ($22, The Body Shop).
2. Invest in Multitaskers & Buy Items in Bulk
Going to Costco can seem like a minefield of a shopping trip that can't safely be attempted without a sturdy hard hat. After all, a stroll through the steel chic isles isn't complete without the vexing terror that the teetering stacks of canned salsas piled like Jenga blocks 50 feet above your head will make an impromptu cameo on your head.
And all this happens as you hurriedly debate the eternal question of whether to get the large, super, or Aquarium sized bottle of Heinz.
It's total madness, but Costco is a secret environmental haven that's worth the head trip.
Because even if that 20-pound tub of Crisco you just tried to strong-arm onto your cart doesn't seem liftable by anyone but Mr. Clark Kent himself, learning to love bulk purchases will help you remember how to do cardio without a Wii remote.
Note:To earn a gold star on your forehead for your frugalista chops, reuse the containers.
If you're not into slinging weights and screaming out squats like a classic chunkhead, go for multitasking dreams like an all-in-one blush, lipstick, and cheek stain, or moisturizers that are also sunscreens.
Try: NARS The Multiple ($38, Sephora).
3. Oil Up
Lotions are the truest of relationship folks—without a significant other to push them along, they shrink into their dark cotton hoodies and drag their feet to work, half-assing your moisturizing job.
Unite Bonnie with Clyde (without the super sucky ending) by dousing your body lotion with body oil. Just a single pump turns weak, weepy lotion into a masterpiece of dermal penetration, painting all the layers of your skin canvas with a palette of natural extracts and humectants for baby's butt smoothocity.
Body oil extends the life of a lotion because it lets you use less lotion while enhancing penetration.
Note: See that pretty bottle? Flip it over. If you read "mineral oil" anywhere on that list, avoid. Mineral oil is a cheap, petroleum-derived jelly that doesn't let skin breathe and is made of non-renewable crude oil.
Try:Alba Botanica Hawaiian Kukui Nut Massage Oil ($9.79, Amazon.com).
Check out part 2 soon!
*A piece of this article was first published by moi on Examiner.com. Link here.