A commonly asked question I receive is how to dispose of old toxic, chemical-filled cosmetics and personal care products in an environmentally responsible manner. Once you’ve switched over to natural products, the last thing you want to do is create more pollution by washing them down the drain or dumping in the toilet. Here are three responsible options to discard those bottles without trashing Mother Earth:
1. Drop off at your local hazardous waste facility
This is the best and most environmentally responsible way to dispose of toxic products. Most hazardous waste facilities will accept cosmetic and personal care products where they will be discarded properly. In fact, most cities have banned personal care and cosmetic products from being poured down the drain to prevent pollution in local waterways.
Yes, that’s right, the conventional personal care items formulated for our bodies have to be disposed of at the same facility as paint thinner.
(I’m thinking about putting this on a holiday greeting card…Yay?Nay?)
While some suggest at least recycling the plastic bottles, there’s still the dilemma of what to do with the contents that shouldn’t be rinsed out. And mixing in bottles which still contain product with other recyclables can contaminate the entire contents of the blue bin. Placing items in the trash is not a great option because landfills leach chemicals into nearby soil and waterways.This brings us back to the first, and best, option to treat conventional beauty products as hazardous waste.
Make the most out of your excursion to the town hazardous waste dump (no, just me?) by gathering up other hazardous items most households have lying around like batteries, bulbs, leftover paint from that cat condo DIY, cleaner, medications, electronics, etc. and drop them off, too. Some facilities have schedules for different materials or require appointments so make sure to call or check their website for the posted schedule.
2. Return unused products to the brand
Unlock your inner activist by mailing the product back to the brand or returning to the store and explain why you’re no longer a customer. Post on social media, making sure to mention the brand. This signals to the company that if you’ve stopped buying their toxic sludge, so have other customers, affecting their bottom line. I’ve created a customizable template letter to express your concerns about the harmful chemicals used by the company to include in your package:
To the X Company,
I am writing to inform you that you have lost me as a customer because of the presence of chemicals linked to serious health issues and environmental harm in the products sold by your company. Enclosed is the unused portion of (list product), which I no longer choose to use. As ingredients in this product are classified as hazardous to local waterways under state and federal law, I trust that your company will dispose of the remainder of your toxic product in accordance with local and federal hazardous waste regulations.
If you would like to win me back as a customer, remove these harmful chemicals from your formulas (list ingredients, if you choose). Make a pledge to find safe, non-toxic formulas that are tested for long-term environmental and human safety and sign The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
I hope to see (company name) take the well-being of its customers and the environment seriously by phasing out dangerous chemicals.
3. My thoughts on using up or donating products
If you absolutely cannot get to a hazardous waste facility and the idea of wasting products keeps you awake at night, then this is the last resort. I’ve gone back and forth with this, but ultimately, we have to think about the big picture: Yes, the chemicals are still going to be used and end up going down the drain but the impact of your new toxic-free lifestyle has a positive impact that eclipses the negatives of using the last bit of that ‘Toxic Brand X’ conditioner. You’re happy and thriving with your natural, eco-friendly products and have most likely influenced the purchasing behaviors of your family and others in your life and have now prevented multiple bottles of ‘Toxic Brand X’ from being purchased.
Understanding this, combined with the spirit of using up items that have already consumed precious resources to produce, I’d say that finishing up or donating the last few bottles to those your community who really need it, is a reasonable option.
I hope this helps! Do you have any other questions? Let me know by commenting, below.
I’ve never had a professional facial; I know, I know. I’m a green beauty blogger – shouldn’t that be at the top of my list? I do dream of making an appointment one day but most treatments at organic spas cost about 1/4 of my rent, at least here in L.A. But while browsing fancy spas and wishful thinking, I noticed that steaming is a part of the treatment, something that up until recently I reserved for alleviating a head cold.
Steaming works like a deep clean, unclogging the buildup from your pores while encouraging blood flow and increased circulation which is incredibly wonderful for dull, tired skin. And it’s one of the easiest, yet most indulgent DIYs out there! [Ed. note: this also comes in handy if you told someone you worked out, but instead decided to collapse onto the couch and watch Netflix. Just steam your face and you’ll have a legit-looking workout glow to show off.]
I now steam before applying my weekly mask and each time I’ve experienced an instant revitalized glow along with better efficacy from my pricey products! Incorporating this steam step into your routine does take a few minutes extra, but if you have a super fancy product that you feel guilty even using, applying it after a steam is the best time to use it since your skin is ready to soak up every penny’s worth of the product’s benefits.
Just hot water and a towel will do the trick but you can customize your home steam with the essential oils, herbs and flowers beneficial to your skin type.
DIY Therapeutic Facial Steam
Here’s my custom blend, good for normal/dry skin:1/3 cup blend of dried rose buds/petals, calendula, chamomile, and lavender
My method: pour a full tea kettle amount of boiling water into a large pot. Throw in your desired herbs or essential oils and mix around. Place a large towel over your head to trap in steam and breathe deeply. Sit for 8-10 minutes, enough time to allow the steam to cleanse pores and for the beneficial oils to really soak in. Take intermittent breaks from the steam, when needed (note – if someone’s in the room with you, its fun to look out from under your towel and cackle like a witch). Rinse face with lukewarm water then apply a mask or just finish your routine with your night time serum/moisturizer.sit over the steam for about 10 minutes. If you have rosacea or redness, you may want to limit or skip steaming since it increases circulation and can irritate already inflamed skin.
When finished, you can compost the herbs and water your plants the facial steam water.
Happy home spa day!
Lately, I have been carrying around a mystery vial with me and receive a lot of odd looks when I unscrew the top and sniff. To clear up any rumors, it’s a very simple stress & headache relief essential oil blend that I have with me at all times. The two oils work together to instantly lift my mood and open up nasal passages. Lavender acts as a stress-whisperer, dissolving tension. Peppermint cools when applied to the skin and remedies nausea and headaches. Make this yourself with just two oils that you probably already have around the house:
Peppermint essential oil
Lavender essential oil
Optional: oil to dilute, like jojoba or almond, if this blend is too strong for you
In small glass jar/vial (make sure it’s glass since you’ll store the oil in it) mix 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil with 5-7 drops of peppermint essential oil. If it’s too strong for your liking, dilute with a 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba or other carrier oil. Mix and you’re done! You can also just mix a couple drops of each E.O. in your palms, rub your hands together and breathe in. I like to dab this on the back of my neck and the pulse points on my wrists.
Life hack: Container Store has these little glass droppers and vials (pictured, above) that are great for concentrated DIYs!
Any other essential oil blends you’d like to share? I’m always looking for new combos!
It has finally hit 50 degrees at night which means that us Angelenos now have to wear a medium-weight jacket over our dresses we’ve been wearing since summer. Even though it’s not very chilly here, my skin tends to dry out from indoor heating, hot water, and living in a really arid climate, and dry skin can turn into painfully itchy skin. Check out my roundup of therapeutic products that will alleviate all your winter skin issues and are great to take with you on your travels!
Dry, windburned, or cracked skin and eczema: True Organic of Sweden’s All You Need Is Me
For those of you who can’t seem to find a lotion heavy or moisturizing enough, this stuff is for you. True’s stand out ingredients are castor, shea, olive, and blueberry seed oils, and zero fillers, making this balm ultra effective since it’s so concentrated. I’ve been using this waterless balm on my hands, elbows, knees, cracked heels and general rough patches and they’ve been magically softened up! True also suggests using this on hair and to treat everything from diaper rash and insect bites to sun and windburn. Skip the toxic jar of Vaseline and use this single product as your family’s winter skincare cure-all!
Cracked, dry cuticles: Lilian Eve Cuticle Oil Pen
A la Karen Smith, my nail beds suck. Really, I have painfully dry, hang-nail ridden cuticles that will make even the most polite nail technician gasp with concern. This oil pen has rescued me! While it’s a simple product made with just Argan, apricot, and jojoba oils, the ease of application via the handy cuticle brush pen really wins me over. For me, half of the battle is remembering to oil my claws so I leave this on my nightstand and apply before bed.
Prevent dry ends: One Love Organics Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder
Two words: greasy bangs. Since I followed through on a whim to cut my own curly fringe/bangs, I now understand the greasy bang struggle that my straight-haired counterparts have dealt with. This dry shampoo stands out for me because of its gorgeous, subtle scent and the incredibly velvety consistency of the powder. OLO’s dry shampoo is great for soaking up excess oils at the root of the hair in-between washes, preventing my ends from being dried out from too much exposure to hot water. I sprinkle a little at the crown of my head and then add oil to my ends and I’m set!
Calm irritated facial skin: Keys Luminous Hydrating Moisturizer
This is one of the first natural products I tried and it has been a staple in my winter routine for about three years now. With therapeutic ingredients like avocado oil, Shea butter, blood orange and carrot seed oils, this formula is wonderful for calming sensitive, dry skin. It’s perfect to use as a daytime moisturizer since it is thoroughly hydrating and protects against drying environmental factors. It also provides a moisturizing base for makeup without being greasy.
Do you have any special wintertime rituals to soothe skin? Share, below!
*Affiliate links appear in this post which means that I receive a small commission from any purchases you decide to make. I only provide reviews for products and brands that I use, trust, and love and all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting MDG!
As a kid, summer meant never not being in a pool (AZ life, hollaaa) but at the end of a carefree day, I would come home with patches of itchy, dry skin. This summer has been reminiscent of my childhood; traveling, being outside all day, nothing to worry about except which type of ice cream to devour for dessert. But spending so much time in the elements has returned my skin to that scaly fishchild state. One of the first things I did when I got home from vacationing was whip up a batch of this body butter/lotion, et voila, my skin was renewed!
This homemade body butter soothes virtually every skin irritation issue; dry skin disappears, rashes and bites are calmed and it also heals and prevents scarring, which is wonderful for my darker, scar-prone skin. This would also be great for preventing stretch marks and healing burns.It’s thick and luxurious due to the incredible healing properties in these rich ingredients. Not to mention it smells like chocolate frosting (no, it doesn’t taste like frosting..not that I’ve tried it or anything…*looks away*).
If greasy lotion bothers you, just make sure to slather it just before you go to bed to give your skin plenty of time to soak it up.
Healing Body Butter Recipe
To get the most out of any homemade products, make sure to purchase raw ingredients that are responsibly-sourced and organic. I purchase mine from Mountain Rose Herbs, Lassen’s (LA area), or Whole Foods.
1/4 cup Shea butter (improves elasticity, collagen production, intense moisture, anti-inflammatory)
1/4 cup coconut oil (healthy fatty acids, rich in vitamins K, E and iron, anti-bacterial/anti-viral)
1/4 cup cocoa butter (antioxidants, rich in vitamin E, caffeine said to help firming/reduce cellulite)
1/4 cup jojoba or sweet almond oil
10-15 drops of essential oils of your choice (I prefer rose or neroli)
Hand mixer (optional)
Combine the first four ingredients in a sterilized glass bowl and melt using a double boiler. Once melted, let the bowl cool down then place in fridge until the ingredients solidify (about 45 min-1 hr).
Optional, yet highly recommended: use a blender to whip ingredients for about 5-8 minutes, until a frosting-like consistency is achieved.
Mix in essential oils of your choice, if desired. When you choose your oils, keep in mind that there will be a strong chocolatey smell from the cocoa butter, so they should pair well with that. Slather this on after exfoliating/dry brushing and feel like a queen. Store in an airtight glass jar, like a small mason jar. Use within 1 month. Enjoy! You’ll definitely be feeling yourself.
In the spirit of spring cleaning, I’ve been purging and simplifying all aspects of my life. Clearing out the unnecessary really does clear the mind (can you tell I’ve been doing a ton of Yoga? Hehe). While I love luxurious, rich products, lately, my skin has been asking for minimalist products, and to just let it be. Trying to be more in tune with what it needs, I’ve been using my own blend of oils for cleansing and makeup remover and my skin has responded really well. I thought I’d share this since it’s easy to make and super inexpensive.
Here’s my no makeup selfie, post oil cleansing. See, dewy, happy skin!
I’ve chosen these three oils because they give skin a balanced ratio of oleic (moisturizing) and linoleic (great for cleansing and preventing blemishes) fatty acids, and would work well for normal to dry skin types. If your skin is acne prone, I would suggest reducing the amount of coconut oil and doubling the amount of grapeseed oil since it’s higher in linoleic acid, the type of acid that acne prone skin lacks. This is just a base formula, so feel free to play around with the ratio of oils. And since I also use this as my makeup remover, the only essential oil I’ve included is lavender that will not irritate the delicate eye area.
Basic Oil Cleanser Ingredients:
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp sweet almond oil
optional: 3-4 drops lavender essential oil
Add oils to a small glass jar then stir or gently shake to blend (I use these amber dropper bottles from the Container Store). Add 3-4 drops of lavender, if desired.
To use, apply a few drops to dry skin. Massage away dirt and makeup for 30-60 seconds (I like to add a few drops of water to emulsify), then wipe away with a gentle microfiber cloth or my favorite, this cute lil’ konjac sponge. Follow up with a toner and/or moisturizer.
I hope this inspires you to simplify in some way!
I am about 8 months late with this review and can’t WAIT to tell you about this power serum! Which is a great segue into my next bit of info. I will always provide the amount of time I’ve used a product so readers can get a better sense of whether its a newer discovery or a tried-and-true staple of my routine. This lets you know that I’ve spent time with the product and have experienced the product in a range of seasons and the fluctuations of skin/hair that come with those seasonal changes. I am very careful with the products I review and usually try to experience a product’s long-term performance and value, especially when it comes to scar-reduction and complexion brightening products. With that out of the way, let’s move on to why this so impressive!
I had heard rave reviews about Mun’s No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum, but as a product with a ‘luxe’ pricepoint, I was glad to receive a sample at last year’s A Night For Green Beauty event to see for myself. After just two nights’ use, I knew that this product was a holy grail item.
You guys, it’s confession time: I’ve found myself at a few more farewell happy hours in the past two weeks than normal and I’ve relied on this oil to erase any sign of inflammation/wine-fueled late nights. As long as I apply at night, I roll out of bed looking like I went to the best yoga class ever then ate kale for dinner.
While this serum has just three oils, they are each luxurious powerhouse oils on their own and are from high-quality sources. All three ingredients are also certified organic.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil – This is where the wrinkle-smoothing and damage preventation properties are. Also known as Barbary Fig Seed oil, this stuff is loaded with vitamin E, linoleic acid (great for acne-prone skin), and antioxidants, its the new anti-aging “it” oil. I like to think of it as the ultimate reparative oil since it treats stressed out skin and penetrates to protect against environmental damage. Just FYI, the Mun website says it takes 1500 pounds of the fruit to make just 1 liter of this precious oil. And to close the loop, the by-product is used to feed livestock (now imagining cows batting their lashes with beautiful, glowing complexions. AWWWWW).
Rose oil – A soothing treat for all the rose-lovers out there. Rose is one of the best ingredients to fight hyper-pigmentation because of its high vitamin C content.
Argan oil – this lightweight oil is pretty much a miracle for most types of skin because of its balancing, anti-inflammatory properties.
While I’ve used argan oil on its own, this oil blend works much more effectively and my skin responds better to this magic potion. I find this serum to be lightweight and fast-absorbing on my normal/dry skin. Real talk: when I apply it before bed, I wake up with a supple, bright, complexion. every. time. I also love falling asleep with the scent of rose. Within a month of using the serum about 3 times per week, I noticed fading of brown spots and evened-out skin tone! When I have/feel a pimple coming on, I use this serum which calms it down and prevents scarring. Witchery, I tell ya!
One thing to note- because vitamins C and A are known to cause photosensitivity (increased susceptibility to sunburn) I only use this oil at night. In general, if a product has ‘brightening’ properties, its important to stay out of the sun or use sunscreen. If you tan or scar easily, like me, its probably best to save brightening products for your nighttime routine.
You can purchase the serum at The Detox Market
. If you want to sample the serum before committing to the full size you can order a sample from Integrity Botanicals (3 free samples with purchase) or Spirit Beauty Lounge (order customer samples)
*Affiliate links appear in this post. When you click the link, I receive a small commission from any purchases you decide to make. While the samples were gifted, I purchased the full size product and all opinions are my own. I only provide reviews for products and lines that I use, trust, and love!
I did it! I did my own wedding day makeup and I am incredibly happy with how it turned out. I made this decision for a few reasons. The first, was authenticity. I wanted to feel like myself in pictures. 87% of Pinterest search results for ‘bridal makeup looks’ are my worst nightmare. I didn’t want to look “bridal” and all the pale pink and nude shades that go with it, or worse, overdone smokey eye. I wanted a natural, yet glammed up, old-Hollywood look using the beautiful, natural products I love. Like if Beyonce and Elizabeth Taylor had a makeup baby.
I approached a couple of eco-makeup artists to see if they could help execute this look but both were going to be out of town on my wedding day, so that was a bummer. And when I began to research non-eco artists, many were crazy overpriced and felt like I’d look like an overdone cartoon of myself.
Two months out from the big day and no artist booked to paint my face (procrastination was a prevalent theme in our planning process), essentially without any options and a limited budget, I nervously committed to doing it myself. I already owned most of the colors/products I’d need, and it would also save some money. All I really needed was practice.#nopressure
If you’re on the fence about doing your own makeup, here are a few things to think about that really helped me along the way:
1. Find your inspirational look
I would say this is the determining factor. If you’re sure of what you want it will be so much easier to get the shades you need or ask for advice at the beauty store. Many of the looks that inspired me came from editorial spreads, bloggers, Instagram, and looking at the work of makeup artists I admire as opposed to other people’s wedding makeup.
I adore celebrity eco-makeup artist Katey Denno’s work and found a few looks of hers that inspired me. Her blog was also extremely useful in recommending products. If an artist has enough faith in a natural lipstick to look beautiful in photos on the red carpet, then I figured it would hold up for my wedding look. I settled on an old-Hollywood inspired feel and knew I wanted a true red lip and subtle cat-eye. Rrrowr.
Think about the look you want and experiment with it a few times before the big day. Try/buy new colors now. Remember to take a few indoor and outdoor pictures to see if you need to add more/less, depending on the look you want. For me, it all came down to perfecting the cat eye and adding a bit more color to my cheeks than I normally would.
3. No new shades
Okay, you can buy new colors, but give yourself enough time to try them out, as I mentioned. You’ll have practiced a few times and know what looks good. Stick to the plan the day of and you’ll be confident in your application skills.
4. Be multi-dimensional
While you may want to have a little extra coverage to achieve a soft “airbrushed” look, this means the face can look a little flat in photos, especially against a white dress. I used blush, contouring powder and a highlighter on my cheeks, all applied a little more heavily-handed than usual. But it gave my face more depth that came out just right in photos!
5. The week before: prep your skin
I was extremely stressed the month before, but I didn’t get any pimples! I attribute this to drinking apple cider vinegar every morning and using essential oil aromatherapy ( I used a few drops of lavender with peppermint- instant tension relief!). And also, the the goddess of weddings smiling upon me.
Take care of any detox/exfoliating masks no less than 3 days before the wedding. This will give your skin time to chill out in case there’s any irritation or detox-related blemishes. And two days before, exfoliate. I used my trusty Clean Dirt from May Linsdtrom. Again, use your routine products – don’t introduce anything new to your skin to avoid a freak out.
6. Don’t forget to clean your brushes!
This will ensure a fresh palette and no clumpy brushes that could result in streaks. It’s a common-sense step, but I was so busy, I almost forgot! Use this genius trick to dry them properly!
Now to the fun part: The products I used!
After washing my face, I applied African Botanics Marula oil. I went to my salon to get my hair done which allowed the oil to set for a couple of hours.
The bridal suite at my venue had gorgeous lighting so I chose to apply my makeup there. I applied Kjaer Weiss Foundation in Illusion with a Beauty Blender (yes. this tool lives up to the hype! more on this in another post). This foundation offers heavier coverage, but still feels lightweight. I first used a concentrated amount to conceal under my eyes and a few lingering brown spots, then blended everything out with the Beauty Blender, which gave me a nice, even complexion. Note: I did NOT want to cover my freckles. If my freckles start to look “masked” I know that I’ve applied too much foundation.
Freckled ladies: If anyone ever tells you to cover up your amazing freckles/angel kisses (which two MUA said to me when I wad younger), go bananas, tell them they’re crazy, and then immediately walk out of wherever you are.
I then applied a very light dusting of Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation in Beige 4, just to set everything and reduce shine in photos.
I used my trusty Ecobrow Wax in Penelope, just a more defined, thicker brow to get the old Hollywood feel. In general, always make your brows a bit darker when you’ll be taking photos. They make your eyes pop and defines features.
Applied first was Alima Pure’s Chai eyeshadow to the entire lid. What really made them pop was contouring the outer lid with W3ll People’s Sparkling Plum shadow for a bit of depth. This shade offered the perfect amount of smolder, without looking too dramatic.
I decided to use two dirty products for my mascara and eyeliner. As of now, I’m not aware of waterproof/smudeproof mascara or eyeliner in the green beauty world (that could change!). I just didn’t want to risk having black smudges in my wedding pictures in case I started bawling. I created a subtle cat-eye with Stila’s waterproof liner and used a sample tube of Makeup Forever Smoky Lash Waterproof mascara.
My favorite part of my look: Ilia Lipstick in Strike It Up was love at first try for me! The blue tones make my teeth look glow-in-the-dark white and just brightens up my complexion. I have found my perfect red! I knew the lips would offer drama so I tried to keep everything else subtle.
I applied a bit of RMS Living Luminizer on the apples of my cheeks and my brow bones. Then an ever-so-slight swipe of Alima Pure’s Contouring Powder in Sombra in the hallows of my cheeks (or where I wish I had them on my round face 🙂 I then finished with a generous dusting of Alima Pure Blush in Honey Rose.
There you have it! Thinking of doing your own makeup? Have any other suggestions that I missed? Leave a comment!
Photo credits: NorrisPhoto and my talented sister-in-law, Alice Helms
*Affiliate links appear in this post and throughout this site. When you click the link, I receive a small commission from any purchases you decide to make through the partnering merchant. Unless noted otherwise, I originally purchased the product(s) and all opinions are my own. I only provide reviews for products and lines that I know, trust, and love!