Ok, this is a subject that I could probably waffle on about for hours, but I'll try to keep it as concise as possible!
Now, I love beauty products - all those lovely lotions and potions and cute little pots of make up etc - and have read various books on the subject over the years. One of the best ones has to be The 21st Century Beauty Bible by Sarah Stacey and Josephine Fairley. These ladies really know their stuff and are also very keen on keeping things as green as possible too, so I've learnt a lot from them. In fact they have also written a Green Beauty Bible (which I did some product testing for, although I'm slightly ashamed to admit, I haven't actually read it yet! The paperback version is out soon though so I will be buying that.)
After reading the first book, I started looking more closely at the ingredients lists on products. Many products that promote themselves as being "natural" or for sensitive skins actually include lots of the chemical nasties that I now try to avoid, such as:
Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulphate (makes stuff foam)
and any petroleum derivatives such as paraffin liquidium, petrolatum and propylene glycol
I have quite dry skin which has become more and more sensitive as I've got older. Several years ago it became a real problem, with sore, red patches on my face so, after a lot of trial and error (I think I went though the entire contents of the beauty aisles at Boots), I discovered that, actually, using the most pure and natural products was the best solution. My favourite facial products are Neals Yarn Camomile Cleanser and Almond moisturiser, but I also really like Liz Earle's products too.
When it comes to showering, I don't stick to one brand, but I still try to use "greener" products. Our local Waitrose stocks quite a good range of green brands so I usually go and look there. It does seem to be becoming easier now to find good, reasonably priced, truly natural products. I do make my own body scrubs now - they are so expensive in the shops! You just need some granulated sugar and some oil - sweet almond oil is lovely but I've used plain olive oil too, you just need to add a few drops of essential oils to avoid smelling like salad! Get a handful, scrub it on to wet skin then rinse off, easy!
With regard to haircare, I've used a brand called Daniel Galvin Jnr Hair Juice, which is really nice, and my boys use the lovely melon scented kids version too. I have been reading on various blogs about the "no-poo" method - cleaning your hair with a bicarb & water solution. It obviously works for a lot of people, but I'm not sure I'm quite ready to take that step! Maybe one day. If anyone has tried it then I would love to hear from you!
(By the way, slightly off subject but I'm sure I read somewhere that using a hairdryer for 30mins uses the same amount of electricity as a TV does in 24 hrs! Good reason to go for a more natural, tousled look, perhaps?)
Ok, so on to make up. Now, despite what I said at the start of this post, I don't actually wear very much make up, so any products in my make up bag tends to last for years!! However, I recently tried some mineral foundation and a mineral eye shadow from Lily Lolo and have been very impressed! They sell sample sizes of the foundation so you can try out various shades to find the right one, and there's a pretty impressive range of shades in the eyeshadows too (they also sell blusher and lipglosses). There are obviously lots of other "green" make up brands out there, but this is the only one I've tried so far. Actually, that's not true, I've also used Dr Hauschka powder and mascara - both very nice but a little pricier.
Make up and skincare are obviously very personal subjects, so what works for me may not work for you. There are a several websites over in our sidebar for some "green beauty" shops which are all worth checking out.
There are some areas of grooming where I am still decidedly un-green (toothpaste, deodorant, hair colourant & perfume spring to mind) so I still have some work to do. And I do want to have a go at making some of my own products at home. There is a huge amount of information about this online, you can find recipes for pretty much anything - do let us know if you have a favourite homemade beauty recipe!
Right, I'm off to make a cup of tea now, looking forward to reading all your posts!
'Til next time,