Monday, February 10, 2014

How To Become Beautifully Eco-Friendly

[As published on HERE]
We’ve been having a bout of unprecedented cool weather in Malaysia recently – temperatures dropped to as low as 27°C during the daytime (usually it’s around 34°C). From what I remember, it’s never been this cool before, especially at night. Plus, we’re also hearing lots of news regarding the extreme climate change in Europe and America. According to, temperatures in the Midwest are at -40°C with stiff wind conditions. Just five minutes of exposure will cause frostbite!
Maybe it’s Mother Nature’s way of telling us she’s fed up of how we’re taking the earth for granted. So now’s a good time as any to start being more eco-conscious. Little changes in your lifestyle, such as separating your trash properly before discarding it can cause a significant impact in helping our world become a better place. It’s even proven in science – in chaos theory, the butterfly effect describes how one small change can result in large differences in the future.
Beauty-wise, there’s a lot we can do too.

Choose chemical-free skincare products.
Synthetic chemicals are not only bad for us; they’re detrimental towards the environment too. In many cases, chemical by-products that are not disposed of properly will leak into water sources like rivers and oceans, poisoning whatever they touch. Using chemical-free beauty products mean you lessen the demand, thus reducing the supply.
Ingredients to avoid:
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate/ Sodium Laureth Sulphate: a foaming agent that does not break down well in the environment and is toxic to aquatic animals.
Parabens (Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben): having the ability to mimic the effects or hormones, parabens that are washed off in the shower flow into the ocean, affecting animal hormones and causing genetic defects.
Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly): the source comes from crude oil (petroleum), which is not renewable. Poorly-refined petrolatum is said to contain carcinogens, which contribute to causing cancer.
Phthalates: used to accelerate the absorption of skincare ingredients.  It doesn’t break down in water, but breaks down in soil, affecting plants that grow around the area. Phthalates are said to be toxic to plant life.

Recycle your empty bottles and jars.
Brands like MAC and Origins offer ‘rewards’ for customers who bring back empty containers, so be sure to save your bottles and tubes! Plus, empties come in handy when there’s an exchange programme. When they’re launching a new product, some brands will give you a new product in exchange for an old one (of a different brand) you’re currently using. Who says you don’t get good karma for being eco-friendly?

Buy multi-tasking products whenever possible.
Multi-tasking products mean you only use one product in place of 3 or 4. This reduces the amount of waste produced, which in turn minimizes your carbon footprint. Also, try to avoid products with excessive packaging (paper bag + plastic sleeve + box + box lining), because the extra volume and weight increases your carbon footprint drastically.

Cut down your shower and/or face-washing time.
Not only do you save water and electricity, you also save products! It’s okay to shampoo every alternate day, especially if you have long hair. On no-shampoo days, simply tie your hair in a braid or pile it up into a pretty ballerina bun – nobody will be able to tell! If it’s hot, skip using the water heater and refresh your skin with cool water instead.

Make your own beauty products.
You can make your own body scrubs and face masks using ingredients found in the kitchen. It’s economical, and less impactful on the environment! If it’s good enough to eat, it’s good enough to put on your skin. Personally, we prefer sugar scrubs over salt, and if you’re feeling extra hardworking, why not grind some rice using an old-school pestle and mortar? Mix it with milk and honey to form a paste, or just add it to a handful of shower cream for an instant exfoliator.

Confused about the entire green beauty concept? Here’s how to tell your beauty products apart.
Vegan: contains NO animal ingredients
Cruelty-Free: DOES NOT support testing products on animals
Natural: NO synthetic compounds. All ingredients are derived from natural sources.
Certified-Organic: AT LEAST 95% organic ingredients, grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and chemicals. You can find a comprehensive list of organic certifications here. The most popular certifications are ECOCERT, NATRUE and COSMEBIO.
Halal: NO unlawful ingredients under Islamic law such as alcohol, synthetic and animal ingredients. Find a list of halal makeup here.

(Images: Richard Bush for i.d. Magazine,,,

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