Beauty edi­tor Frankie Rozwad­owska goes green for Earth Day

Friday - - EDITOR'S LETTER - Earth Day is on April 22:­

Cos­met­ics with a con­science.

N ext week sees the cel­e­bra­tion of Earth Day – when the world will come to­gether to high­light the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing our planet – ad­dress­ing is­sues from cli­mate change to pro­mot­ing a greener fu­ture for gen­er­a­tions to come.

You may think you’ve got be­ing green sussed. We all re­use plas­tic bags and turn the lights off when we leave a room, right? But how en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly is your beauty regime? And how green can it be? Pretty vivid, ac­tu­ally. Se­lect­ing your beauty prod­ucts wisely is no longer just cos­metic – it makes a dif­fer­ence to the state of our planet, too.

From watch­ing out for harm­ful chem­i­cals (that don’t do your skin much good ei­ther) to buy­ing brands that em­brace all things eco – Kiehl’s Rare Earth Collection, for ex­am­ple, was cre­ated in hon­our of Earth Day and to sup­port the Emi­rates En­vi­ron­men­tal Group (a per­cent­age of all sales will be do­nated to it and its planet per­fect­ing work) – it’s never been eas­ier to do your bit. Take it from us, your quest to get gor­geous whilst go­ing green starts here.

In­ves­ti­gate in­gre­di­ents

We all worry about what we put in our bod­ies, so it makes sense we should worry about what we put on them. Prod­ucts are packed with an end­less list of things we can’t pro­nounce that are most cer­tainly not the work of Mother Na­ture. From sul­phates in sham­poos to car­cino­gens in sun creams, chem­i­cals can lead to se­ri­ously dam­ag­ing prob­lems for the planet, but also af­fect our skin. Just as eat­ing a clean, nat­u­ral diet keeps us happy and healthy, us­ing nat­u­ral and or­ganic prod­ucts keeps skin smil­ing sans nas­ties. Sim­ple. And with over 60 per cent of what we put on our skin be­ing ab­sorbed straight into the blood stream (the skin is our largest or­gan, af­ter all) this is some­thing of great im­por­tance.

Dr Lamees Ham­dan, cre­ator of lux­ury, nat­u­ral skin­care brand Shiffa Dubai, agrees. “Our bod­ies are ex­tremely ef­fec­tive in deal­ing with pol­lu­tants, but in this day and the sea they be­come a per­sis­tent pol­lu­tant to ma­rine life. Ac­cord­ing to stud­ies by the 5 Gyres In­sti­tute (which works to re­duce plas­tics pro­duc­tion), they are in­gested by wildlife and dam­age sea or­gan­isms with their tox­i­c­ity. So who’s tak­ing ac­tion? New York is set to be­come the first US state to ban mi­crobeads from prod­ucts com­pletely, with the likes of Proc­tor & Gam­ble, The Body Shop, L’Oréal and John­son & John­son vow­ing to end plas­tic bead pro­duc­tion. There’s even an app Beat The Mi­crobead that tells you which prod­ucts con­tain the mi­crobeads sim­ply by scan­ning the bar­code on the prod­uct with your smart phone. Should a green sym­bol ap­pear, you’re good to go – that brand uses nat­u­ral ex­fo­liants. See an or­ange glow and you know the com­pany is phas­ing them out. But a red hue in­di­cates a mi­crobead nightmare to be put straight back on the shelf (for more info go to www.beatthemi­

Rest as­sured Ren’s Gen­tle Ex­fo­li­at­ing Cleanser (Dh150, Har­vey Ni­chols, The Dubai Mall) con­tains no nas­ties, just up­lift­ing, detox­i­fy­ing ex­tracts of ju­niper and pep­per­mint oil and nat­u­ral beads made from jo­joba wax. We love.

Prod­ucts are packed with an end­less list of things that are cer­tainly not the work of Mother Na­ture

age, where we have pol­lu­tion in the air we breathe, ad­di­tives and chem­i­cals in the food we eat and the wa­ter we drink, we are ex­haust­ing our bod­ies’ own de­fence mech­a­nisms. That is why I be­lieve at least the prod­ucts we use on our face and body should not add to this chemical on­slaught.”

On that note, here are some key chemical cul­prits to watch out for.


When you’re next in search of a fa­cial or body scrub, opt for one that will slough off dead skin with­out the use of plas­tic. That’s right – many of us have been pum­melling plas­tic into our skin in the hope of a smoother com­plex­ion, com­pletely un­awares.

Not only are these mi­crobeads (any one prod­uct can con­tain up­wards of 1,000) harsh on the skin, they’re not biodegrad­able. So when they swirl around your sink, into your pipes and out to

Bub­bles and lath­ers

Noth­ing quite beats the rich, lus­cious lather of a bub­ble bath or a de­li­ciously frothy sham­poo. But there’s bad news. When a prod­uct foams it’s a sure sign of sul­phates – salts, acid de­riv­a­tives, and per­ox­ides. Sul­phates are found in most of our bath­room cab­i­nets –

face washes, shower gels and bub­ble baths and even mouth­washes (that should never foam up) con­tain them. In fact, they’re the most com­monly used chem­i­cals in beauty prod­ucts across the board, with Sodium Lau­rel Sul­phate (SLS) and Sodium Lau­reth Sul­phate (SLES) be­ing the top two. Look at the in­gre­di­ent list on any prod­uct men­tioned and we guar­an­tee most, if not all, will con­tain these two top play­ers. You’ll find them in most of your do­mes­tic clean­ing prod­ucts too, so es­sen­tially you’re us­ing floor cleaner on your face.

Sul­phates do con­tain low-level car­cino­gens (sub­stances in­volved in the form­ing of can­cers) and are known ir­ri­tants to our skin, eyes and re­s­pi­ra­tory tracts. As we only use small amounts of sul­phate-con­tain­ing prod­ucts, the lev­els are deemed safe for con­sumer use, but let’s face it – over time harsh chem­i­cals aren’t go­ing to do your hair or skin any good.

Once these chem­i­cals en­ter seas and oceans they are toxic to fish and aquatic an­i­mals too, build­ing up in­side their bod­ies as they can’t be bro­ken down.

So say bye to bad news bub­bles and try the Davines Au­then­tic Cleans­ing Nec­tar, which gen­tly cleanses and hy­drates both skin and hair with 98 per cent nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents for a won­der­ful, wildlife-friendly wash. (Dh115 from The Pur­ple Sanc­tu­ary).

Sun creams

We are con­stantly be­ing told to wear sun­screen, slather­ing on the high­est of SPFs to ward off pre­ma­ture age­ing and pro­tect against the risk of sun­burn and the on­set of skin cancer.

So sun creams must be the longterm saviours for our skin, right? Well, ac­tu­ally, that’s not the case. More than half of sun­screens con­tain oxybenzone, which is added to ab­sorb ul­travi­o­let light. But this chemical is also linked to hor­mone dis­rup­tion and cel­lu­lar dam­age shown to pro­voke cancer ac­cord­ing to The En­vi­ron­men­tal Work­ing Group and tox­i­col­ogy ex­perts in their in-depth 2012 Sun­screen guide.

Add to this retinyl palmi­tate, a type of vi­ta­min A, and you’re at even higher risk of cre­at­ing cancer cells. (Amer­ica’s Na­tional Tox­i­col­ogy Pro­gram is in the process of in­ves­ti­gat­ing this, de­ter­min­ing what lev­els of Vi­ta­min A are safe when ex­posed to sun­light.)

CNN re­cently re­ported on govern­ment-funded stud­ies that have found “this par­tic­u­lar type of vi­ta­min A may in­crease risk of skin cancer when used on sun­ex­posed skin”. These stud­ies have only been con­ducted on mice so the ef­fects on hu­mans are yet to be de­ter­mined. But to make The En­vi­ron­men­tal Work­ing Group’s safe list, sun­screens must be free of oxybenzone, retinyl palmi­tate, not have SPF above 50 and pro­tect against UVA and UVB sun­rays. On top of this, most prod­ucts are petroleum-

Once these chem­i­cals en­ter the oceans they are toxic to fish, build­ing up in­side their bod­ies

based and not biodegrad­able, which is cause for alarm when, ac­cord­ing

to the Jour­nal of En­vi­ron­men­tal Health

Per­spec­tives, about 6,000 tons of sun­screen wash off swim­mers and threaten co­ral reefs by bleach­ing and in­fect­ing the co­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

For all-round safe sun pro­tec­tion, go for The Or­ganic Phar­macy’s Cel­lu­lar Pro­tec­tion Sun Cream – a nat­u­ral min­eral sun­screen that pro­tects skin from harm­ful UVA and UVB rays whilst nour­ish­ing with Aloe, Rose Hip and Shea But­ter. (Dh225 from Sis­ters Beauty Lounge).

Hand wash

They may blast bac­te­ria and keep germs at bay, but hand washes and liq­uid soaps con­tain the catas­tro­phe-caus­ing chemical Tri­closan, an ac­tive anti-bac­te­rial found in over 75 per

cent of liq­uid washes as well as hand gels and anti-bac­te­rial wipes.

Orig­i­nally used in hos­pi­tals, it was adopted into con­sumer cos­met­ics in the 1990s. Only now has it been recog­nised as a health haz­ard. Linked to liver tox­i­c­ity and thy­roid dis­rup­tion, it has also been said to en­cour­age bac­te­rial re­sis­tance to an­tibi­otics.

It be­comes dan­ger­ous when mixed with wa­ter as it re­acts with chlo­rine con­tent. The US Food and Druf Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) has given man­u­fac­tur­ers un­til 2016 to prove Tri­closan is more ben­e­fi­cial than plain old soap and wa­ter (ac­cord­ing to its 2013 re­search, it’s not) or prod­ucts will be pulled from re­tail shelves.

It’s also highly toxic to aquatic life and al­gae, cre­at­ing im­mense suf­fer­ing for sea-life. But thanks to Mother Na­ture there are many nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tives to chem­i­calladen hand washes. Neal’s Yard Reme­dies use the zesty an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties of lemon es­sen­tial oil in their Cit­rus Hand Wash to work magic on mitts with­out spoil­ing our seas (Dh110 at Neal’s Yard Reme­dies).

Brands that give back

The good news is many brands are now tak­ing ac­tion when it comes to the en­vi­ron­ment, and not just with in­gre­di­ents. One of the most pop­u­lar ways is a new re­cy­cling push. Cus­tomers who re­turn empty pack­ag­ing for re­fills are re­warded with a beauty bonus. With 45 per cent of prod­uct pack­ag­ing be­ing dumped into land­fills, it’s an easy and ef­fec­tive way to do your bit. MAC has launched Back To MAC, where­upon re­turn­ing six emp­ties you can pick a lip­stick of your choice. Lush asks for five black pots back in re­turn for a fresh face mask, and at Kiehl’s if you re­turn a sin­gle empty this April you get a Num­ber 1 Kiehl’s Lip Balm.

This is just the tip of the (al­beit melt­ing) ice­berg. Now most ma­jor brands are join­ing the eco-revo­lu­tion, recog­nis­ing their re­spon­si­bil­ity to cre­at­ing cos­met­ics that care. Some strive to source in­gre­di­ents from sus­tain­able, fair-trade farms around the world in sup­port of both the en­vi­ron­ment and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. Davines use re­new­able en­ergy to power its of­fices and Shiffa Dubai uses or­ganic argan oil sourced from a women’s co­op­er­a­tive in Morocco, while The Body Shop has 25 Com­mu­nity Fair Trade sup­pli­ers around the world.


What you put on your body mat­ters as much as what you put in it

Hand wash Dh110 Sun cream Dh225 Cleanser Dh115 exfoliator Dh150

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