Cause: more toxins in everyday environment. Effect: cancer rates continue to climb for men & women. Answer: do not use conventional make-up or bodycare. [Summer Rayne Oakes interview]

Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 3, 2009
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Why use chemicalridden makeup, lotion, shampoo or conditioner? Seriously: why do you do it to yourself?

If you wouldn’t eat it, we probably shouldn’t be putting it on our skin—the body’s largest organ that absorbs (according to Joshua Onysko of Pangea Organics) 87% of what’s put on it. Not to mention that we wash a lot of this stuff down the drain, and then we got chemicals in our water, and skies, and sinks.

But enough from me—I’m a boy, and don’t know nothing about bodycare—let’s hear from Summer Rayne Oakes, ecomodel and ecofashionista. Excerpt:


So if we’re new to environmentally responsible beauty shopping, what tips can you teach us?

Good question. Here are my Top 5 Tips:

  • Beauty Shop like You Food Shop. Shop for your personal care and cosmetic products like you would the food you eat. Make an effort to shop for the freshest, most nutritious, naturally-derived ingredients on the market.
  • Keep it simple. Simplify products and look for simple ingredients with no or less synthetic ingredients. Some synthetics to steer clear from include: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, formaldehyde, synthetic colors and fragrances.
  • Buy what you reapply. We don’t have unlimited budgets to spend on beauty, so if you have the money to only purchase a few natural or organic products, purchase the ones that you use most often on a daily basis, like deodorants, body washes, soaps, toothpaste, foundation and sunscreens.
  • Look at the labels. There has been a big shake out in the beauty industry between different “organic” and “natural” claims, but for the most part you can still use organic and natural logos as a guide. These labels include: Natural Product Seal, USDA Organic and Ecocert, just to name a few.
  • Filter it out. One of the biggest beauty secrets is a water filter – for both your drinking water and your shower. Filters help eliminate heavy metals that can make your skin and hair dull, dry or filmy.

Many people want to shop from more earth-friendly companies, but are scared off by high prices. What are your favorite budget-friendly companies that fit the bill? On the fashion front: Levis has a great line called Levis ECO that is cost-conscious but with the same Levis-fit that everyone loves. H&M has upped their organic content and they have some great basics, like tees and undergarments. I’m also developing a line of sustainable shoes and accessories called Zoe & Zac with Payless ShoeSource, which will be all on-trend and under $30.

On the beauty front, you can get a lot of great natural products from Burt’s Bees that are all fairly budget-conscious. I love their scrubs and the honey lip balm. Some pretty nail polishes by Zoya (without chemicals like formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate) are only $6.00 and available at Giovanni also has some pretty amazing products-ranging from creamy lotions to chocolate body scrubs that are Oh-so-decadent.

Do you have any at-home beauty tips you can share with us? I do love doing an apple cider rinse for my hair. In fact, I just did one after I came back from London last week because the old water pipes in the house I was staying at left my hair filmy. Pure apple cider vinegar, when rinsed through the hair helps remove dull layers and restore a natural sheen…for much more, go here.



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


15 Responses to “Cause: more toxins in everyday environment. Effect: cancer rates continue to climb for men & women. Answer: do not use conventional make-up or bodycare. [Summer Rayne Oakes interview]”

  1. Evan Ravitz says:

    If we just hold our breaths and don’t eat, drink or touch anything, we’ll be just fine!

  2. Jezebel says:

    I think that its good to be aware of what we are putting onto our bodies. A lot of people still don’t really understand that almost everything they use is full of synthetic and harmful chemicals.

  3. Heather says:

    Check out this site, it’s an invaluable and easy resource:

    It’s the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database. You can search any company or product and get a toxicity rating and full explanation of every ingredient. For example, the Burt’s Bees face cream that I use every morning has a toxicity rating of 3 out of 10, while Blistex lip balm gets a rating of 8 out of 10. Pangea’s bar soap gets a rating of 1. Check your own daily regimen—it’s fun!

  4. […] is done by the first company to expand a market. And when that expansion is in the name of ‘Green,’ we prefer due credit be applied with some respect for the […]

  5. […] When are women going to connect toxic bodycare, make up and haircare with cancer?  […]

  6. Also, many of the products she lists aren't truly natural. They have questionable synthetic ingredients. Her advice is good, but the products she recommends don't align with that.

  7. I am a "use as little as possible" gal. I don't use soap on my face, I make my own shampoo (or use baking soda), and I make my own lotion to combat dry winter skin. I try to keep my beauty routine as natural as I can, and it works very well for me.

    Thanks for this info!

  8. I recently begun constructing my own solar panels – I utilized some video guides I discovered and it's working out fantastic!

  9. Remember also, that the food you eat is metabolized by your liver. What you put on your skin isn't. It goes straight into your bloodstream. So being mindful of what you put on your skin is as or more important than being mindful of what you put in your mouth.

  10. Sharil says:

    i am feeling good about only buying good 'products' for me and mine. thanks for the article!

  11. elephantjournal says:

    Dig the humor, but there's a whollllle lotta distance between nihilism's we're effed no matter what and common sense.

  12. Lulu says:

    My local co-op has discontinued selling Burt's Bees because their product line has been compromised. They were bought out a while back and the ingredients have changed for the worse, I was told.

  13. bigmike784 says:

    @yurikomuro no it doesn’t require more weed.

  14. chiara says:

    Danika, as soon as something enters the bloodstream, it gets to the liver in a matter of minutes or less. Which obviously doesn't make putting toxic chemicals on our skin any better, although we need to be careful when we make a bunch of every chemical, as not all are toxic. Formaldehyde is (are you sure you have seen it in cosmetic products? I am a bit surprised), but detergents like sodium lauryl sulphate are just irritants at high doses… so while it is important to become more aware of what we are doing to ourselves (at least some of us) it is also important to stay grounded in science, I think

  15. […] covered this issue many times before, but there’s nothing like a simple infographic to remind us: our choices […]