December 27, 2007

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Blush

For years, I opted for bronzer over blush because I didn't trust myself to apply it without looking like a Broadway performer. It didn't help that my mom referred to it as "rouge" growing up.

But it's winter now and bronzer seems unseasonal. At a Sephora recently, I let a sales associate apply 1 of 18 shades of Bare Escentuals' mineral blush to the apples of my cheeks (shade Golden Gate)—and it looked so natural, so healthy! BE understands that, with blush, the more color options, the better.

Pretty factor: Talc-free and ultra-pure (the only ingredients are bismuth oxychloride, mica, and iron oxides), these blushes won't irritate even the most sensitive skin.

Eco factor:
No talc, mineral oil or chemical dyes and fragrance.

To buy: $18 at Ulta and Sephora

December 19, 2007

Care by Stella McCartney Gentle Cleansing Milk

In many parts of the country, winter has gusted in mercilessly. In addition to upgrading your moisturizer from a lotion to cream (or using one if you don't the rest of the year!), it's time to switch from a foaming to a creamy cleanser if you have combo, normal or, especially, dry skin. This season, every other beauty editor has been gushing about designer Stella McCartney's Care Gentle Cleansing Milk.

Pretty factor: This creamy wash soothes and conditions the skin while thoroughly removing grime and makeup. Apricot kernel oil, rich in vitamins A and E, revitalizes the skin, while sesame seed oil, full of fatty acids, protects and plumps. The result is a smooth, hydrated face as fresh as first-fallen snow. Ideal for normal, dry and mature skin

Eco factor: Care by Stella McCartney contains organic, bio-active ingredients certified by ECOCERT® and zero petrochemicals, silicones or parabens—"everything your skin needs and nothing it doesn't."

To buy:
$35 at

December 17, 2007

Bare Escentuals Well Rested Eye Concealer

This time of year, few of us are getting our recommended eight hours of nightly shut-eye. Throw in booze from holiday parties and you have ragged personified. A quick, simple solution? Bare Escentuals Well Rested concealer.

Pretty factor:
This talc-free mineral shadow is yellow-hued, which neutralizes blues, e.g. dark circles and capillaries on lids. Give this a quick sweep on your lids and under-eye circles and you instantly appear bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Eco factor:
No chemical dyes or fragrance. The only ingredients are mica (CI 77019), bismuth oxychloride, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, ultramarines and and kaolin.

To buy: $18but it comes in a big pot and will likely last you an entire year; Sephora stores and

December 14, 2007

Paddywax candles

I've been high-energy since birth and often require a trinity of soft music, mug of tea, and candles—my natural Xanax, if you will—to wind down at night. At Whole Foods recently, searching for an earth-friendly replacement to a candle that had burned to a stump, I spotted Paddywax, a sleek line of soy-based illuminations with the loveliest, freshest scents.

It was a tie between Olive Tree and Chamomile. I chose the latter for its soothing blend of linden blossoms, sandalwood oil, and chamomile flowers.

Eco factor: Paddywax candles are 100% natural, made from a soy blend and essential oils. They burn clean which equals better for your lungs and better for the environment. In September 2008, the environmentally committed company went carbon-neutral, teaming up with Verus Carbon Neutral, to measure its CO2 footprint and monetarily give the green debt to the Chicago Climate Exchange, which funds fund carbon-reducing projects.

To buy:
$15.99 at and Whole Foods

December 10, 2007

Mineral Fusion Hydration Mist

Ah, winter. It's the season of both delights—time with family and friends at the holidays, crystal-clear January sunsets—as well as annoyances: cranked up heat that zaps hair and blistery wind that punishes the face. Though I'm addicted to them year-round, I'm especially endowed to hydrating sprays from December through February.

Hydrating sprays are facial spritzes that contain myriad soothing and moisturizing ingredients plus antioxidants. They can be used to:

- tone the skin after cleansing
- set makeup
- freshen and moisturize the face throughout the day

My favorite (and I've tried many) is Mineral Fusion's Hydration Mist

Pretty factor: A large amount of allantoin soothes and hydrates the face, while chamomile calms redness. Green tea lends free radical protection, and myrrh kills surface bacteria and regenerates skin tissue.

Eco factor:
No parabens or chemical dyes and fragrance

To buy:
$17.50 at Whole Foods and

Full Ingredient list

December 8, 2007

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15

You won't find Laura Mercier makeup on the shelves at Whole Foods, but this first-rate company does have a few all-natural goods, including this stand-out mineral powder.

Pretty factor:
Micro-milled minerals give inconspicuous coverage and pearl powder illuminates. A whopping 20% zinc oxide provides natural sunscreen and calms any redness. (It's the main ingredients in diaper rash creams.) And, like most mineral makeup, this powder won't clog pores. Available in 6 shades.

Eco factor:
No harsh chemicals or parabens. The only ingredients are active zinc oxide and pearl powder, mica, bismuth oxychloride, titanium dioxide and iron oxides.

To Buy: $35 at higher-end department stores, Sephora and

December 2, 2007

Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion

Aveda's Pure Abundance Hair Potion is a newish product that has quickly become a best-selling must-have. The $22 price sticker is a bit outrageous, but it gives my locks Dolly Parton heights when lightly rubbed around my roots. I definitely recommend it to fine-haired women.

Pretty factor:
This magical powder thickens hair "up to 17%" according to Aveda thanks to acacia gum and kaolin clay, which coat hair and add thickness. It also contains moisturizing aloe juice and honey, and it doesn't dry hair at all. Distribute a small amount around your scalp and rub in evenly.

Eco factor: Aveda's been dedicated to environmental responsibility long before "green" entered the public vernacular and celebs rolled up to the red carpet in little black hybrids instead of gas-guzzling limousines. Aveda's manufacturing facility in Minnesota is powered entirely by wind energy, and its cosmetics contain organic, sustainably sourced, fair trade ingredients. ("Fair trade" means that workers were paid decently and worked in humane conditions.) Finally, most of its products come in containers made of post-consumer recycled material.

To buy: $22 at Aveda concept salons and spas nationwide

November 27, 2007

MyChelle White Cranberry Cleanser

Updated 5/15/2008: MyChelle Dermaceuticals is an extraordinary yet reasonably priced skin care line, and if you have oily or acneic skin, you must try its recently re-formulated and renamed White Cranberry Cleanser. I'm a product switch-a-holic and have gone through three bottles. Here's why:

Pretty factor:
This nicely foaming, sulfate-free cleanser contains gentle surfactants and an anti-acne combo of

• .5% salicylic acid, an exfoliator that can penetrate oil

• 5% azelaic acid, an exfoliator and skin lightener that helps reduce annoying post-zit red marks.
• Bacteria-killing cranberry fruit juice, tea tree oil, and totarol, which is even more potent than tea tree oil.

Eco factor:
MyChelle products contains organic ingredients and are toxin-free, lacking phthalates, parabens, propylene glycol, ureas, EDTA, and artificial fragrances and colors. The company is actively involved with local animal rescue programs.

To buy: $10 for 2.1 oz and $17 for a 4.4 oz. at and Whole Foods


November 19, 2007

Earth Science A/B Hydroxy Acid Night Rejuvenator

Before switching to all toxin-free skincare, I used products that contained skin-refining alpha and beta hydroxy acids with a nun's devotion. After months of hunting for a natural but dermatologist-worthy AHA/BHA product, I happily discovered Earth Science's A/B Hydroxy Acid Night Rejuvenator.

Pretty factor: Unlike a huge majority of cosmetics, the main ingredient in this lightweight facial lotion isn't water but skin-energizing ginseng. It also contains a 10% blend of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids, which smooth the skin via exfoliation and diminish fine lines, acne and hyperpigmentation over time.

Finally, I commend Earth Science for listing the pH levels of all its products. Don't have a snooze fest while I wax scientific—this is important info: Most skin has a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. So, for a hydroxy acid product to be effective, its pH should range from 2.5 to 4.0. With a pH of 3.5, this lotion exfoliates without being overly harsh.

For: all skin types

Eco factor: Santa Barbara-based Earth Science is committed to making environmentally safe skin and haircare products. No petroleum derivatives, parabens, soaps, toxins, heavy metals or artificial dyes

To buy:
just $19.95 at Whole Foods and


November 15, 2007

Jane Iredale 24 Karat Gold Mine Kit

Has anyone else read about $420 gold-infused face cream that Jennifer Aniston supposedly uses? You know you have too much money when....Well, you can sparkle like the prettiest ornament on the tree this holiday season for a heckuva lot less with Jane Iredale's 24 Karat Gold Mine Kit. It's also made with real gold, which is believed to have rejuvenating powers.

Pretty factor:
The six shades—gold, silver, bronze, pink, lilac and champagne—can be swept on the eyes, checks and shoulders, worn alone or blended to produce different hues. The densely pigmented minerals provide pretty twinkle that'll get you through a day at the office, plus an after-work party. I wear the gold shade (which used to be sold individually in a larger pot) year-round for a red-carpet-worthy glow.

Eco factor:
All Jane Iredale cosmetics are non-comedogenic (won't clog pores) and free of talc, parabens, phthalates and chemical dyes

To buy: $58 at and

November 12, 2007

John Masters Honey & Hibiscus Reconstructing Shampoo and Hair Reconstructor

After working for years in traditional, chemical-loaded salons, hair guru John Masters opened a green salon in New York's fashionable SoHo neighborhoodwaaay back in 1994. The revolutionary salon offers ammonia-free, clay-based coloring and does not offer chemical-laden services like perms, bleaching and relaxing.

He also has a stellar hair care line, of which the Honey & Hibiscus Reconstructing Shampoo and Hair Reconstructor are must-buys. Highly-rated on, I've received an uncommon number of compliments in just the month I've used them: "D
id you do something to your hair??" "Did you re-highlight your hair? It looks brighter..."

Pretty factor:
The shampoo contains gentle, naturally derived surfactants that cleanse locks without stripping. Both it and the reconstructor (a deep conditioner) contain hyaluronic and linolenic acids—essential fatty acids found in young hair—and honey, which is uber-moisturizing and nutrient-packed. Hibiscus soothes strands and ylang-ylang regulates scalp oiliness and gives that seductive, Aveda-esque scent.

Eco factor: All John Masters products are 75 to 100% organic, containing wild-crafted, ECOCERT® ingredients (ECOCERT® is an European organic certification organization.) No parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, artificial colors, fragrances or fillers are ever used. His salon is powered completely by wind energy! No animal testing and the company supports Animal Haven, a no-kill shelter in NYC.

To buy: $26 for the shampoo, $28 for the reconstructor conditioner at Whole Foods and

Ingredients: Shampoo; conditioner

November 11, 2007

Got a New Job!

Sorry for the delay in posting. It's been a busy past two weeks and I'm thrilled to report that I found an amazing, new job. I'll be leaving to help with a huge launch of Gourmet's Web site!

Gourmet's owned by the crème de la crème of publishing companies, Condé Nast, where I've dreamed of working since I was a nerdy teen on the southside of Indianapolis, devouring Vogue and Vanity Fair.

I'm especially stoked about the job because one of's editors said they're devoting a good portion of the site to the booming farm-to-table movement.

Anyway, it should be a crazy, exciting next three months—and with the holidays, too.... But I'll continue to update Eco*Pretty when time allows. Keep reading.

November 7, 2007

Ren JoJoba Micro-Bead Purifying Facial Scrub

Okay, I'll admit: In a small percentage of cases not every natural cosmetic is the better choice. I’ve found this fact to be most true with facial scrubs. Many natural exfoliators contain ground walnut or apricot shell, whose jagged edges can micro-tear the skin, becoming a welcome mat for bacteria. No thanks. Ren’s Micro-Bead Purifying Facial Scrub employs perfectly round jojoba beads to exfoliate without aggravation. And it smells so refreshing.

Pretty factor: Non-abrasive jojoba spheres gently remove dead skin cells and refine the face without irritation. Jojoba oil, which is similar to our skin’s natural sebum, regulates oil production and cleans out pores. Organic juniper and peppermint oils help detoxify and will make your face feel and smell as fresh as an Oregon evergreen forest.

For: All skin types. Use 2 or 3 times weekly after cleansing.

Eco factor: No petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance or colors, T.E.A., D.E.A., propylene glycol, silicones, PEGS, animal ingredients or animal testing. U.K.-based Ren donates 2.5% of its profits to environmental organizations.

To buy: $35 at Sephora stores, and


November 5, 2007

Ren Matte Balancing Fluid Review

If only they would've had Ren's Matte Balancing Fluid when I was in high school—my face wouldn't have looked like the government should drill for oil on it instead of in the Middle East! This ultra-clean moisturizer provides a light, matte finish and makes my oily skin miraculously less shiny throughout the day.

Pretty factor: Instead of plain H2O, its main ingredient is lavender flower water, which inhibits bacteria, normalizes sebum production and gives a delicate, lovely scent. Flavonoids in mayblossom and salicilin in willow bark extract (where we get salicylic acid) reduce pore size, normalize oil production and provide anti-microbial protection. Japanese konjac root disperses sebum away from the T-zone to drier areas, while blue cypress oil and chamomile calm redness.

Ideal for: combination skin. It contains cetearyl alcohol, a mildly comedogenic ingredient that could be problematic for acneic skin.

Eco factor: No petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance or colors, T.E.A., D.E.A., propylene glycol, silicones, PEGS, animal ingredients or animal testing. U.K.-based Ren donates 2.5% of its profits to environmental organizations.

To buy: $45 at Sephora stores and


November 2, 2007

CARGO PlantLove™ Lipstick

This Sephora-sold lipstick isn't 100% natural, but its eco efforts and impressive moisturization merit it a mention—you can plant the box and it'll grow into flowers!

Pretty factor:
These creamy lipsticks are ultra emollient thanks to shea butter and mango, jojoba and meadowfoam seed oils. They come in 15 shades (6 are designed by actresses, like Courteney Cox and Lindsay Lohan), so you should have luck finding a for-you hue.

Eco factor: No mineral oil or petroleum. The tube is made from corn, a renewable resource, and its carton is constructed of flower paper embedded with seeds—moisten, plant and it will grow wildflowers! Additionally, $2 from every sale goes to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. (Note: This product does contain potentially parabens.)

To buy: $20 at Sephora stores and

October 31, 2007

Mychelle Incredible Pumpkin Peel

I couldn't think of a more appropriate product to feature today, Halloween, than Mychelle Dermaceuticals' best-seller, Incredible Pumpkin Peel.

Disappointed with the options and results of natural skincare products on the market back in 2000, Myra Michelle set out to make highly effective, toxin-free cosmetics. The result is Mychelle Dermaceuticals, a stellar, under-the-radar skincare company that spends its money on quality ingredients instead of quality advertising.

Pretty factor: Pumpkin is packed with vitamin A, which increases cell turnover. Its derivative, tretinoin, is the main ingredient in the popular prescription acne and wrinkle treatments Retin A® and Differin®. However, because pumpkin is natural, it doesn't cause the redness and dryness that Retin-A and Differin do.

This peel also contains pumpkin enzymes to eat up dead skin cells, revealing brighter skin. It also contains honey to soothe and ginger root oil to boost circulation. After just the first use, your face will be super smooth and glowing. After a couple months, fine lines, age spots, and acne will have faded.

Eco factor: Mychelle products are "toxin-free", lacking phthalates, parabens, propylene glycol, ureas, EDTA, and artificial fragrances and colors. The company's actively involved with a couple local animal programs.

To buy: $26 at and Whole Foods (Trial sizes are available for just a few bucks.)


October 28, 2007

Kiss My Face Liquid Rock Deodorant

A TMI confession: I've tried two deodorants from natural hygiene giant Tom's of Maine and both left my underarms like those of an adolescent boy about to ask out his crush. Because I like to play it safe and can't get past those rumors that the sweat-blocking ingredient in antiperspirants, aluminum, may cause breast cancer, I'm resolved to stay natural.

Thankfully, on, I found Kiss My Face's Liquid Rock as one of the highest-rated deodorants. And I'm happy to report that it does a decent job of keeping sweat at bay and an amazing performance at keeping underarms freshly scented.

Pretty factor: Lavender oil lends anti-bacterial and anti-smelly properties. Willow bark (the derivative of salicylic acid, the major ingredient in acne products) exfoliates and cleans out pores, while lichen extract eats up odor.

Eco factor: No aluminum, parabens, artificial colors or fragrances and the bottle's 100% biodegradable.

To buy: $4.49 at Whole Foods and


October 22, 2007

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers

Several months ago, I was using a popular, Sephora-sold lip gloss and began to notice slight flaking around my mouth. Now I can tolerate a little dryness from long-lasting lip stains (notorious for turning lips into a mini Mohave) but from a kid-like lip gloss? It got a disgusted chuck in the trash. Knowing how much my mom loves her Burt’s Bees Honey Lip Balm, I too went au naturel and bought one of Burt’s Bees lovely Lip Shimmers.

Pretty factor: Cocoa butter and sunflower and castor seed oils provide hydration that could get you through an ice age. Real peppermint oil freshens breath and stimulates blood circulation, which means a plumper pucker. Though only 6 shimmers are shown above, they come in 11 shades.

Eco factor: For over 20 years, Burt's Bees has made beauty products that are nearly 100% natural (they tell you the exact percentage on the package) and are packaged in post-consumer recycled material. In 2003, co-founder Roxanne Quimby bought a 24,000-acre tract of forest in Maine for preservation.

To buy: $3.99 at drugstores nationwide, Whole Foods and Borders Bookstores


October 16, 2007

The Best Natural Clarifying and Dandruff Shampoo I've Found

Tea tree oil is like the Meryl Streep of natural beauty. Just when you think it's impeccably performed every role possible, it plays another one. From Australia's Melaleuca alternifolia plant, tea tree oil is antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial. Studies have shown it as effective as benzoyl peroxide in treating acne—without causing redness, dryness, or irritation like BPO does. Tea tree oil is used in toothpaste to fight bad breath, in deodorants to kill odor-causing bacteria, and in shampoos to fight dandruff.

Cult favorite Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo is the best weekly clarifying and anti-dandruff shampoo I've used. I return to it time after time. Those with exceptionally oily hair, scalp itchiness, or dandruff may opt to use it every other day for a couple weeks.

Pretty factor: The one-two punch of tea tree and peppermint oils de-bacterialize, boost micro circulation (=increased hair growth), and invigorate the senses—hello new day! Interestingly, peppermint is thought to be an anti-androgen, helping to lower the production of the hormone DHT, which is responsible for excess sebum production and hair loss.

Eco factor: Giovanni products are made with natural, organic ingredients. No animal byproducts or testing.

To buy: $7 at and Whole Foods


October 13, 2007

Lavera Volume Mascara

For the past year, I've been on the hunt for a mascara that doesn't dry out and flake everywhere after only a few weeks of use, nor feel like I'm applying shoe shine to my lashes. I nearly lost my balance when I saw the $20 price sticker on Lavera's Volume Mascara at Whole Foods, but in the noble name of beauty research, I bought it. And I'm so glad I did. Here's why:

Pretty factor:
Thanks to jojoba and wild rose oils, this mascara didn't even start to dry out until two months after I opened it and I swear it made my lashes grow quicker. Though it's certainly pricier than the drugstore mascara you've probably been using, it will last twice as long. Also, instead of sitting heavily on lashes, it seemed to sink into them, offering a really natural look. The brush is comparable to Maybelline's Great Last Mascara.

Eco factor: Lavera Cosmetics, a 20-year-old German line, are made especially for sensitive skin. They contain organic plant oils, herbs, flower extracts and essentials oils and are free of parabens, petroleum, artificial fragrance and emulsifiers (and no animal testing, of course).

To buy: $19.99 at and Whole Foods

October 11, 2007

Jane Iredale Active Light Under-Eye Concealer

In the early 1990's, Jane Iredale, a former Hollywood producer who worked with makeup artists daily, posed the prescient question: In addition to covering and enhancing, could makeup not also heal and rejuvenate? The result of this question was a line of light-diffusing, micro-fine mineral makeup packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Over a decade later, Jane Iredale remains the finest in mineral makeup and a favorite of celebrities—Victoria Beckham is obsessed—and plastic surgeons.

One of her must-haves is the Active Light Concealer—a natural, better alternative to Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Éclat!

Pretty factor: Think of Inner Light as a tinted moisturizer for the eyes. Avocado and sunflower seed oils hydrate and plump the delicate area. Buckwheat and cucumber extracts reduce puffiness, vitamin K lightens dark circles, and white tea boosts the skin's immunity—while micronized minerals create a "soft focus" that illuminates dark circles. Available in 5 tints.

Eco factor: All Jane Iredale cosmetics are non-comedogenic (won't clog pores) and free of talc, parabens, phthalates and chemical dyes

To buy: $25 at and


October 9, 2007

Simply Organic Heat-Activated Shine Complex

I spied this spray at a beauty sale at work and learned through research that Simply Organic's founder, Gene Martignetti, worked for 20 years in the haircare industry. Then his son was diagnosed with leukemia and he began thinking about getting healthy, which included researching the ingredients in cosmetics. He learned that not only were many of those chemicals irritating, but potentially carcinogenic. So, he created his Simply Organic.

Actor Chris Notha.k.a. Mr. Big from "Sex and the City"—is a "Big" fan. In fact, he liked the products so much that he introduced Simply Organic to the stylist on the set of "Law and Order"and now the whole cast uses the line.

Pretty factor:
Unlike most shine-enhancing sprays, this one doesn’t contain silicones (e.g. cyclomethicone, dimethicone), which smooth the hair shaft but can build up over time. The star ingredient of the entire SO line is olive leaf extract, naturally anti-viral and bacterial, plus rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.

In the shine complex specifically: r
osemary oil, an antioxidant that purportedly stimulates hair growth, vegetable glycerin, which adds shine through its humectant properties (humectants draw moisture from the air) and calendula extract, which soothes and smooths the hair shaft. When I spray this on my damp hair before blow-drying, it's much shinier and softer.

Eco factor: Pure, organic ingredients and zero irritating and potentially carcinogenic chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens or propylene glycol

To buy: $24 at

October 8, 2007

Zia Natural Microdermabrasion Scrub

Once only available as a costly treatment in dermatologists’ offices, microdermabrasion loosens dead skin cells to give you a smoother, more luminous face. Used once or twice a week for a few months, the scrubs can reduce sun spots, fine wrinkles, those post-pimple red marks and even acne scars. My preferred one: Zia Natural Microdermabrasion Scrub.

Pretty factor: Unlike most microdermabrasion scrubs, which use aluminium oxide crystals, this one contains magnesium oxide, which is gentler and ideal for people with sensitive skin. The scrub's loaded with macadamia seed oil, which moisturizes and protects the skin against abrasion, and therapeutic-grade essential oils .

Eco factor:
No harsh chemicals, artificial colors and fragrances or animal testing.

To buy: $39.95 at and Whole Foods


JASON Super-C Cleanser™ Gentle Facial Wash

When I decided to "green" my beauty, like my lifestyle, a few months ago, my first purchase was JASON's Super-C Gentle Face Wash. Its ingredients were nearly identical to Ole Henriksen's On the Go Cleanser, a best-selling wash when I worked at Sephora—but JASON's was half the price.

Pretty factor: Gentle surfactants—no drying sulfates—remove makeup and grime without stripping the skin. A 10% vitamin C concentration perks up skin and orange essential oil lends an amazing, fresh-sliced oranges scent, making it a perfect a.m. cleanser for those with combo, oily or acne-prone skin.

Eco factor: No parabens, petroleum, animal ingredients or animal testing

To buy: $10 at and Whole Foods

October 6, 2007

Aveda Inner Light Tinted Moisture SPF 15 Review

If you can't be bothered with the moisturizer-then-makeup process in the a.m. or you find mineral powders drying (me: both of the above), hit up a tinted moisturizer. I'm loving Aveda Inner Light Tinted Moisture SPF 15 , which gives excellent, luminous coverage.

Pretty factor:
Mica, malachite and tourmeline gemstone create a flaws-reducing "soft focus," while jojoba gives dewy hydration. Lavender extract provides astringent and anti-bacterial properties, and Japanese knotweed—which contains the potent antioxidant resveratrol (also found in the skin of red grapes and in red wine)—prevents aging.

Eco factor:
Aveda has been dedicated to environmental responsibility long before "green" entered the public vernacular and every other celebrity drove a Prius. Its manufacturing facility in Minnesota is powered entirely by wind energy, and its cosmetics contain organic, sustainably sourced, fair trade ingredients. The tinted moisturizer, like many Aveda goods, comes in a 100% post-consumer recycled carton. No phathlates, petro ingredients, or animal testing.

To buy: $25 at and Aveda salons and spas nationwide


If you would like your organic or more natural-based beauty line to be considered for review, or if you are interested in advertising on Eco*Pretty, please e-mail Lindsay at ecopretty at gmail dot com. Thank you!

Why Use Organic or Natural Beauty Products?

Coco Chanel once quipped that "Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty." Well, Eco*Pretty believes it is up to you to use nature to give you an exquisite face at fifty!
But when you can buy shampoo or face wash from the drugstore for only a few bucks, why shell out, say, $16 on a natural or organic product—especially if you don't (yet) have Al Gore's environmental devotion? Nine times out of ten, the results are better. Here's why:

Fewer Irritating Ingredients
Our skins absorbs about 60% of what we put on it.  So why not feed it nutritious stuff? When I decided to "green" my beauty products, like my lifestyle, I started by switching to a more natural cleanser (after I ran out of my old one). After just a few uses, it was "goodbye post-cleansing ruddiness, hello even skin tone." 

Usually organic and natural cosmetics don't contain irritating and potentially risky chemicals such as:

• Parabens
(ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben)
:  Parabens are preservatives that mimic estrogen and have caused reproductive changes in lab rats. Parabens have been found in breast cancer tissue.  Butylparaben is the most potent.

Phthalates: Mostly used to soften plastics, they're also added to deodorants, hair sprays, and shampoos to make scents linger longer as well as to nail polish for chipping resistance. They've been linked to allergies, asthma, cancer and reproductive damage and are banned in Europe.  In 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill banning phthalates use in kids’ toys.

• Sulfates
(sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl/laureth sulfate): Surfactants found in face cleansers, shampoos and body washes that remove grime but can strip moisture from skin and color from hair. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the harshest and can also be comedogenic (pore-clogging)

• Propylene glycol
A moisture-binding ingredient that can irritate sensitive skin (and is also used in car engine coolant).

Artificial dyes and fragrance: Can irritate sensitive skin. In fact, synthetic fragrance is the No. 1 cause of allergic reactions to cosmetics.

More Nutrient-Rich, Performing Ingredients

Natural products are not only free of potentially toxic chemicals, but they often contain less fillers and cheap thickeners and more healing botanicals and seed oils.  For example, rosehip seed oil
a popular emollient in natural skin carealone contains vitamin A, vitamin C, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids! 

No Animal Testing

Nearly every natural beauty brand refuses to test on animals.  They don't shave guinea pigs and bunnies raw and apply products to them to test for irritancy, rashes, redness and swelling
as if animal skin is the same as human skin anyway!  You wouldn't do that to your furry loved one, so why support companies that do?

About the Writer: Lindsay Baron

Lindsay Baron, Editor + Writer 
Lindsay Baron is a freelance writer and the Chicago-based Midwest Account Executive for a top organic skincare company. She holds a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University and has worked as a web producer for several major magazines in Manhattan.

Battling acne through her teen years and frustratingly trying countless products that did nothing—or worse, left her skin ruddy and raw—Lindsay applied her research savvy in college to learning about skincare products and ingredients. Soon after, she started contributing reviews to MakeupAlley, earning a Top Reviewer status.

After arriving in NYC to pursue magazine editing, she parlayed her cosmetics knowledge into a position as a skincare consultant at Sephora to pay the bills until becoming an editorial assistant at  She started Eco*Pretty has a fun, non-mommy outlet while at Parents.  She has since worked for Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Allure, and Self's websites and is a contributing writer for a central Indiana magazine called SOUTH.  

Jen Tanner, Contributing Writer
Jen Tanner is a licensed esthetician and makeup artist with 12 experience in the beauty industry. She has worked as a sales rep and trainer for several top natural skincare companies including Aveda, Dr. Hauschka, Jurlique, and Juice Beauty.

Jen and Lindsay became blogs buddies through an informative site that Jen wrote called Skin Rhythm, and Lindsay asked her to lend her knowledge to Eco*Pretty in January 2009.  Jen lives in Austin, Texas with her young twin boys.

October 4, 2007

About Eco*Pretty

Since Al Gore's 2006 book-turned-documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the popularity of "green" living has skyrocketed. As consumers have become more aware of what's in our air, water and food, we have also started questioning the myriad hard-to-pronounce chemicals in the cosmetics that we apply every day.  As a result, there has been an explosion in efficacious, earth-conscious, natural beauty lines.  Gone are the Birkenstock days of slapping beeswax on your face and calling it a moisturizer! 

The organic and natural sector of the beauty industry has increased 39% annually for the past several years, according to the Organic Consumers Association.  Personal Care has been the fast-growing department at Whole Foods.

Started in October 2007, Eco*Pretty is a fusion of writer Lindsay Baron's increased eco-awareness and strong interests in research, writing, and skincare.

Eco*Pretty aims to provide educated information and reviews on the many excellent, natural cosmetics now on the marketfrom well-publicized lines like John Masters Organics and from lesser known ones, such as Evan Healy. In December 2008, named Eco*Pretty the second best "natural" beauty blog in the U.S.