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