Although green is the new black and the stereotype of environmentalists as the socks-and-sandals crowd is fading, many of us still don’t identify ourselves as environmentalists. We’re not going to abandon our style, and we don’t believe hip equals green for the average Jane.
But if you think about it, being a virtuous consumer can actually make you more beautiful — and not just on the inside.
Bike for a bikini bod
Many of us approach each summer with a vow to lose that extra five pounds of winter weight. This time, rather than hit the gym, hit the streets — on two wheels. Vow to ride your bike to any destination within a 10-mile radius of home. You’ll save gas, reduce CO2 emissions and get your bod swimsuit-ready in just a few weeks.
Hold out for better threads
Clothes have become so cheap that much of what we wear is virtually disposable even before the season is over. Sure it looks great in the store, but a few washes later it’s misshapen, faded and less than flattering. Instead, invest in eco-friendly clothing that’s responsibly made. Sometimes it costs more, but that often ensures that we only buy what we really love (and need) — instead of impulse buying.
A few of my wardrobe staples include a pair of “dressy” bamboo and soy yoga pants (and yes, there is such a thing!), a recycled cashmere sweater and an organic cotton and bamboo wrap dress. Every time I put them on, I feel fabulous. Washing in cold water and hanging to dry — another eco-step — also ensures that they don’t fade, shrink or pill.
Eat real food for a real glow
Eating healthy natural foods that are free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and ingredients you can’t pronounce is your surest way to glow with healthy skin and hair.
Angie Richter, owner of The Currant Organic General Store in Parkhill, Ontario, also recommends eating two tablespoons of hemp seed daily. The essential fatty acids in hemp, says Richter, will rejuvenate the skin and even slow down the aging process. And there are few plants more eco than hemp.
Make over your makeup
Much of what we slather on our skin — though designed to make us look healthy — is actually bad for our health. While it purports to give us “radiant” skin, many chemicals in personal care products are wreaking havoc on our hormones and are known to cause, or strongly suspected to cause, cancer, mutation or birth defects. Kinda gives new meaning to “if looks could kill,” doesn’t it?
Steer clear of phthalates, parabens, synthetic fragrances (which often mask phthalates and can be irritating to skin), 1,4-dioxane and petrolatum, for starters. Visit the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetics database to see how products stack up for safety, and opt for cosmetics made with natural and organic ingredients.