Posts Tagged ‘Beauty’

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By Amy Loder

As an EcoWoman, you recycle, use reusable shopping bags and bring a water bottle wherever you go. But are you being mindful during your morning routine?

When I took a look at my morning routine, I decided to make some changes that are better for my health and kinder to the environment too.


1. Shower Power

My shower goals: to use less water and choose products that are both good for my body and less harmful to the water supply.

For body: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap is ethically-sourced and is made with certified fair trade ingredients, plus it’s manufactured in the USA and packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle.

For body: My Salux Beauty Skin Cloth. I’ve used loofahs in the past, but this bad boy really does the trick. Plus, it reaches every spot. The cloth is washable and reusable. I pair the cloth with Dr. Bronner’s soap, and don’t need to use an additional exfoliation product.

For hair: I use Duross and Langel, a Philadelphia-based, independently-owned business. They make all of their products by hand on the second floor of their retail shop. I order online which means packaging and fuel consumption with every purchase, but these impacts are minimal.

Shower Tips:

  • Just say no to microbeads! You can learn more on this topic by checking out Robin Garcia’s DC EcoWomen blog post.
  • Take shorter showers and turn the water off while you soap up and exfoliate. When you’re ready to rinse, turn the water back on.

2. Skin care routine

My skincare goals: Cleanse, moisturize and prevent sun-damage and wrinkles while doing the least harm to my body and the planet.

For gentle cleansing: I’m a devotee of Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash. It is widely available, and it’s fragrance and dye free. (Disclaimer: it’s a Johnson & Johnson product, so manufacturing practices and possible animal testing are something to take into consideration).

For deep cleansing: Glycolic-based products are great pore cleansers, encouraging skin cell turnover and preventing blemishes. I use M-61 brand products, which are created by the D.C.-based entrepreneurial duo that founded Blue Mercury. No parabens, sulfates, fragrances or dyes.

  • Parabens are preservatives and prevent bacteria growth in products. Sulfates are synthetic ingredients that make products nice and foamy. Most scientists and doctors say both are ok to use, but I prefer to avoid these when possible.
  • Fragrances and dyes can be irritating to the skin and potentially hazardous to your health. The majority of manufacturers don’t disclose fragrance ingredients on websites or product labels.

For moisturizing: Anything La Roche Posay. This company scores well with cosmetic watch groups when it comes to human-friendly ingredients. This moisturizer allows me to skip foundation entirely; I create my own by mixing the Anthelios tinted and un-tinted SPF mineral moisturizes.

There are many similar products available, these are my favorites, which are yours?

3. The natural deodorant debate

SkinProductThere are conflicting reports about the potential health implications of antiperspirants. I’ve decided to err on the side of caution, so I’m a natural deodorant convert.

Several girlfriends helped me field-test a variety of natural deodorant brands. We compared notes on product effectiveness and scents. Here are my top two recommendations:

Dermalogica Environmental Control Deodorant This is the most effective for when I exercise. This product is gel-based, free of potentially-irritating Aluminum Chlorohydrate and S.D. Alcohol and it lasts forever. I use it regularly, alternating it with my other go-to favorite.

Priya Means Love makes an amazing spray product. Bonus: Priya is based in Baltimore, so your money supports a local woman who creates wonderful, natural products.

Note: It’s important to find a product that works well with your unique body chemistry. It might take multiple attempts to find the brand that works well for you.

4. Coffee

coffee-beans-759024_960_720Several months ago, I read an article about the number of paper cups consumed by American coffee drinkers each year. Appalling!

I’m a five-day-a-week, coffee on the go consumer. If my buying habits are continually creating waste, then I’m doing more harm than good. Buh-bye paper cups!

KeepCup saved my morning routine. These reusable cups come in recycled plastic or glass and in a variety of standard barista sizes. Now I make coffee at home or take my KeepCup to a local coffee joint for a fill up.

How are you making your morning routine green? Please share your best tips in the comments.

5. The more you know

I like to stay in-the-know about new developments that help keep my morning routine nice and green. Here are my top three favorite websites for eco-friendly style and beauty news.

The Environmental Working Group I’m especially fond of the “skin deep” page  – you can look at the ingredients and health scores for your favorite skin care products.  

Ecouterre This is my go-to website for the latest info on eco fashion, sustainable style, organic beauty products and ethical apparel.

Mother Nature Network This is a fantastic site focused on environmental news, being socially responsible at home, healthy families, green living and everything in between.  

Editor’s note: While DC EcoWomen does not endorse any specific products or services, we do endorse a conscious effort to live with the environment and sustainability in mind.

Amy Loder is a personal stylist and a Business Development Director at Blackboard Inc., a firm specializing in higher education technology and solutions. Amy has extensive experience in both the fashion industry and business development. She is passionate about women creating their most authentic personal style and using human and environmentally friendly clothing and products.


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By Robin Garcia

In a recent bipartisan victory for the environment, President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 into law. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in March and was passed by both the House and Senate within a month.

The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to include a ban on “the manufacture or the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of a rinse-off cosmetic that contains intentionally-added plastic microbeads.” The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 does not apply to drugs that are not cosmetics as defined by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.


The ban on manufacturing will begin on:

  • July 1, 2017 for cosmetics
  • July 1, 2018 for nonprescription drug cosmetics.

The ban on introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce will begin on:

  • July 1, 2018 for cosmetics
  • July 1, 2019 for nonprescription drug cosmetics.


Banning microbeads is not a new concept in the US. Illinois was the first state to pass a ban on the manufacture and sale of products with microbeads in 2014. Illinois has been followed by Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, and most recently California.

So what’s the big deal with plastic microbeads anyway?

The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 defines microbeads as any solid plastic particle that is less than five millimeters in size and is intended to be used to exfoliate or cleanse the human body.

You have likely seen them – these are the exfoliating beads in your face wash, body wash, and toothpaste. They are also placed in deodorants, sunscreen, hairspray, and other personal care products to deliver active ingredients and to create a film for that highly-desired “long-lasting” effect.


Microbeads do their job very well, but when their job is done – when your face wash, body wash, and toothpaste is rinsed down the drain – that is where the problems begin.

Most water treatment facilities are ill-equipped to remove microbeads; consequently they have been found in every ocean, including the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. Microbeads can then be consumed by marine and aquatic organisms, such as fish. Recently, a study documented zooplankton consuming microbeads. This revelation especially troubling since plankton forms the bottom of marine and aquatic food webs.

Microbeads can make their way onto your dinner plate through the food web, but it is also making its way through another route – salt. A study found microbeads in both table and sea salt in China.

Even if you don’t ingest microbeads, they can linger in you. A dental hygienist has reported finding microbeads embedded in the gums of patients. Further research is needed to determine if there are any adverse effects, but microbeads are meant to clean your teeth and then be rinsed out, not to get stuck under your gums.

In marine and aquatic environments, microbeads are chemically attracted to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), increasing the concentration of these pollutants in the environment. When animals and humans digest microbeads, they are also digesting the POPs attached to the surfaces of those microbeads. POPs are lipophilic, meaning that they are attracted to fats and are repelled by water. This quality makes fatty tissues in organisms highly susceptible to microbeads and the chemical compounds that they can carry.

Marine debris degrades over time, leaving tiny plastic particles adrift

Marine debris degrades over time, leaving tiny plastic particles adrift

While this law is a great accomplishment, it does not cover every means of microbead introduction into the environment. Many microbeads are intentionally manufactured, but many are also created as larger plastic litter break down. It is important to continue reducing all plastic pollution by recycling and using reusable items.

If you’d like some ideas for exfoliates to use instead of products with microbeads, check out this list (note that one of the listed options is sea salt, which for reasons that I just mentioned may not be the best choice!). Additionally, look out for products with polyethylene or polypropylene in them – ingredients for plastic.

Robin is a Communication Specialist at NOAA and a DC EcoWomen board member. A DC native, she enjoys exploring her hometown, developing her yoga skills, and getting out on the water as much as possible. She also wishes she could hibernate until spring comes back.