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The Green Life: Beauty You Don’t Have to Work At

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February 13, 2007

Beauty You Don’t Have to Work At

safecosmetics.orgThe latest beauty trend is environmentally fashionable too: using fewer cosmetics. The New York Times reported last month on a "back-to-basics movement among dermatologists," exemplified by Dr. Fran E. Cook-Bolden in Manhattan, who advised, "Just two products, a gentle cleanser and a good sunscreen, are enough daily skin care for most people, and you can buy those at a drugstore or a grocery store."

This "skin-care minimalism" is good for the environment as well as consumers' health, since the ingredients in cosmetic products often include potentially toxic substances like mercury, lead acetate, formaldehyde, coal tar, and phthalates. It saves money too: why invest in exfoliation beads or a microdermabrasion system when, as Dr. Cook-Bolden recommends, you can clean up dead skin cells just as well with a washcloth?

Cheap, healthy, and mild on the planet: now that's a regime that’s easy to find beautiful.

For more on the environmental impacts of personal-care products, check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and "Skin Deep," an Environmental Working Group report on popular brands.

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