In recent years, most Americans have made healthier food choices a part of their every day lives. But what about the products we put on our bodies?
Local professionals in the beauty business say the quality of the soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair color and cosmetics also affect our health and well being. And the customer base for such products is growing.
“Knowledge of the benefits of organic food preceded this, but people are becoming more and more aware of using all natural beauty products,” says Amiee Boswinkle, a sales representative at Baums Natural Foods. “There’s a whole new movement out there. “
Jennifer Grow, a stylist at Studio One salon in Highland, sees the emergence of green products as a cyclical one. “We are educating our clients, and our clients are educating us,” she says. Grow uses natural products such as shampoos from manufacturers Wen, Brocato, Simply Organic and Eufora.
People with sensitive skin and allergies tend to seek out these kinds of products, according to Grow. However, both she and Boswinkle say they are seeing an increase in customers not suffering from these problems, but have other reasons for using green beauty products.
So what makes a beauty product green?
Customers should look for words they can recognize in ingredient lists, Boswinkle says. Listings like water, aloe vera, oats, vitamin C, green tea, tea tree oil, and extracts of natural herbs and fruits.
The price of green beauty products can be higher than conventional products. Euphora products, for example, use fresh aloe, and honey is a popular ingredient in Simply Organic products.
The price difference could be because non-green products are “cheaper to produce [since they have] harsher chemicals,” Grow says.
Such chemicals common in mainstream products are parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, petrolatum, propylene glycol, silicone, ethoxylated ingredients, and ingredients with urea.
The companies themselves are solely responsible for the safety of their goods before they hit store shelves, according to the FDA website, since beauty products are not subject to FDA approval before they are sold.
Despite the prevalence of non-green products, green product lines will only grow in popularity, predicts Toni Lozano, supervisor of SpaPointe & Hair Studio in Munster.
“People are becoming more environmentally conscious, and there’s a real concern about toxins,” she says. “The desire to use [green products] is definitely out there.”