The best eco-friendly beauty products
Protect your health and the environment with these green beauty picks
No animal testing
Without any laws governing cruelty-free labelling, the certification logo of the international program Leaping Bunny is an assurance of zero animal testing done in a product’s development. The PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) cruelty-free bunny logo on a product indicates the beauty company and its ingredient suppliers do not conduct or commission animal tests. The nine products on this page carry one or the other of these symbols.
From left: Soap Walla Deodorant Cream, $13, soapwallakitchen.com; Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Eye Cream, $30, burtsbees.ca; Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Vitality Facial Serum, $27, select drugstores, grocery stores and natural food stores; Hugo Naturals All Over Lotion in French Lavender, $8, Whole Foods Market, wholefoodsmarket.com; Cocoon Apothecary Petal Purity Facial Cleanser, $16, cocoonapothecary.com; Nature Clean Pure-Moisture Shampoo, $9, naturecleanliving.com; Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum, $30, Sephora, sephora.ca; Giovanni 2Chic Brazilian Keratin Argan Oil Hair & Body Super Potion, $9, giovannicosmetics.com; Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Peppermint Hemp Pure Castile Soap, $6, drbronner.com.
There are various certification logos appearing lately on product labels. In general, they are a guarantee ingredients’ origins are verified. France Gravel, director of Ecocert Canada, says, “Also verified are the method used to formulate the product, the packaging and the labelling-to make sure it is clear and not confusing.”
1. Weleda Skin Food cream is certified natural by Natrue; 2, 3. This shampoo from Green Beaver and argan oil from Zorah (both Canadian companies) are certified organic by Ecocert; 4, 6, 7. Also Ecocert are these products from The Body Shop (cleanser and eye cream), Yves Rocher (shower cream) and Kibio (body oil); 5. Burt’s Bees toner is certified natural by the Natural Products Association (NPA); 8, 9. EOS lip balms and Desert Essence cleanser carry the food-grade USDA Organic seal.
No chemical preservatives
Eco-conscious beauty has sparked a wave of interest in facial and body oils: They’re often 100 percent natural, or close to it, and rich in essential fatty acids beneficial to skin health. Elabloom and Cocoon (made in Canada) and MiniOrganics are new oils, while Nuxe Prodigieuse all-purpose oil celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Using pure shea butter-like Yves Rocher’s-to keep skin supple also avoids chemical preservatives. Canada’s Rocky Mountain Soap Company has rosemary oil as a preservative in its lemon-grass body lotion.
From left: Elabloom Nourishing Facial Oil, $48, elabloom.com; Mini Organics Pregnancy Essentials Nourishing Body Oil, $49, miniorganics.com; Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil, $45, Shoppers Drug Mart, shoppersdrugmart.ca; Cocoon Apothecary Organic Argan Oil Skin & Hair Serum, $24, cocoonapothecary.com; Yves Rocher 100% Organic Shea Butter Intense Repair Concentrate, $27, yvesrocher.ca; Rocky Mountain Soap Company Lemongrass Body Lotion, $26, rockymountainsoap.com.
More of us are trying sulfate-free shampoos and other personal care products-and there are plenty to choose from. While sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are biodegradable and have low environmental toxicity, research indicates they are irritants. (Also, sulfate-free shampoo helps mitigate fadeout of colour-treated hair, say the hair experts.) Here are six options.
From left: Marc Anthony Salon Expert Color Save Shampoo, $15, drugstores, grocery stores and mass retailers; Ahava Time To Clear Purifying Mud Mask, $34, ahavaus.com; Live Clean Spa Therapy Moisturizing Body Wash, $10, live-clean.com; Pureology Precious Oil Shamp’Oil, $29, pureology.com; Schwarzkopf Bonacure Hair Therapy Color Save Shampoo, $15, schwarzkopf-professional.com; Aveeno Active Naturals Pure Renewal Shampoo, $10, drugstores, grocery stores and mass retailers.
From hair gel to deodorant, there are many choices for beauty that embrace a natural approach. Small companies may not have the budget to get certification, but that doesn’t mean their product isn’t natural. Some here have a high percentage of natural ingredients. (Some contain chemical preservative phenoxyethanol, commonly used to replace parabens).
1, 8, 10. Creation’s Garden aluminum-free deodorant; Nürish Washed Away cleanser; and Alba Botanica face cream all have certified organic ingredients; 2. Hurraw! lip balms are vegan and all-natural; 3. J.R. Watkins Crème Bath is 99.15 percent natural; 4, 6. Nuworld Eczema Relief oil and Consonant SPF 15 sunscreen are both natural, fragrance-free and made in Canada; 5. Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C night moisturizer is 95 percent natural with “herbal extractions sourced from Greece”; 7. Dr. Roebuck’s lip balm from Australia teams beeswax and essential oils with SPF 15; 9. Garnier Fructis Pure Clean hair gel is “98 percent naturally derived.”
It’s not only health food stores that carry beauty products with more eco-friendly packaging.
1. St. Ives lotion’s recyclable bottle contains 20 percent post-consumer recycled material; 2. L’Occitane Bonne Mère body wash bottle with Braille labelling is recyclable and made from material at least 95 percent plant-based and renewable; 3, 6. The outer boxes of Yes to Tomatoes rollerball for blemishes and Nivea Visage moisturizer have the Forest Stewardship Council seal (FSC), indicating their source is a well-managed forest; 4. La Roche-Posay Lipikar body balm tube now uses 40 percent less plastic, and it comes in a box with Braille labelling; 5. Organix labels use environmentally friendly inks; 7, 8, 9. Kiss My Face botanical moisturizer, Method hand wash and Aleva baby wipes are all biodegradable.
These products bring awareness to issues, provide a chance to support a cause with a purchase, or include ingredients that help a community thrive.
From left: Secret “Mean Stinks” antiperspirant promotes anti-bullying; The Body Shop Madagascan Vanilla Flower fragrance contains a Community Fair Trade ingredient from an Ecquador co-operative; This lip gloss from Canadian Pandora’s Makeup Box supports Plan Canada’s “Because I Am a Girl”; Amazon Beauty Rahua shampoo supports the Amazon rainforest; Mineral Fusion vegan body wash supports the U.S.-based National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Lush mouldable soap (we made a flower) helps fund recreation for children in need.
Makeup and nails
1, 9. The Body Shop All-in-One Face Base and lipstick both contain Community Fair Trade marula oil; 2. Mineral Fusion bronzer duo is fragrance- and gluten-free; 3. ZuZu eyeshadow is natural and vegan; 4. Physicians Formula Organic Wear mascara boasts a natural fibre blend to coat lashes; 5. Made in Canada Suncoat nail polish is water-based; 6. Mineral Fusion nail lacquer is vegan, and free of formaldehyde, toluene, camphor and dibutyl phthalate. The bottle is recyclable; 7. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar is a vegan-and high-intensity-gloss; 8. Vapour Organic Beauty foundation is all-natural and contains 70 percent certified organic ingredients; 10. Ilia lipstick contains certified organic ingredients and carries the Leaping Bunny logo; 11. Zorah argan oil lip balm is certified organic by Ecocert; 12. Creation’s Garden Lip Plumper contains certified organic castor seed oil; its outer box carries the FSC seal; 13. Dr. Hauschka Cover Stick is certified natural by Natrue.
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