“Going green” is a popular catchphrase for everything from food to lightbulbs to composting. It’s also rising in popularity in skin care products, according to Jill Stacey, founder and owner of Elaa Living Organic Skin Care in Ashland.
“Ideally, green beauty means nontoxic and chemical free products. It can also mean products that are made with sustainable and eco-friendly ingredients and practices,” says Stacey. “Green skin care products are safe and effective. They contain real ingredients from nature.”
Stacey points out that the skin is the largest organ of the body and is the primary means by which we absorb toxic chemicals.
“If there are chemicals in your skin care, they are entering your body and not only causing long term damage to your skin, but may also cause cancer, hormonal imbalances and a host of other health issues. More than one-third of all personal care products contain at least one ingredient linked to cancer,” she says. “Choosing green beauty products is choosing your health and the health of the planet. If there is a downside, it would be a shorter shelf-life because natural preservatives are used, but surely your health and well-being are worth a shorter shelf-life.”
Michele Zagorski, founder and owner of Zagorska Oasis Spa and Salt Cave in Ashland echoes that principle.
“There is no ‘green’ certification, but ‘green’ generally means a high proportion of organic and/or natural ingredients. They are not contaminated with toxins or hormone disrupters. Green skin care is safer, healthier and superior,” she says. “Because there is a growing demand for these products, it is important for consumers to read labels and understand the ingredients list. I trust smaller companies and especially handmade products. I feel there is a higher level of integrity when your name is on the label.”
How to choose the right product
When evaluating a skin care product, Zagorski says to make sure it contains no water.
“Water is usually the first ingredient listed and can make up to 80 percent of the formulation. When you see water listed first, it is a lost opportunity to use a powerful active ingredient or botanical such as organic aloe vera juice or an herbal extract. The company may be choosing cost over effectiveness,” she says.
Zagorski also recommends assessing the price and packaging.
“Organic and Eco-Cert certified ingredients cost more, period,” she says. “It is not possible to produce a superior quality, effective product with high levels of active ingredients at the same cost of lesser quality products. Look for airless containers. This is a costly type of packaging that prevents contamination while keeping products fresh. When I see this, I know the company really cares about their products and their customers. This is a case of truly getting what you pay for.”
Other things she suggests for consideration are organic and Eco-Cert certified products, use of essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances, and how the company gives back to the community and the world.