Discovering the Beauty of Natural Products

This post was written by Katie Peige, Herban Lifestyle’s sustainability intern

I recently started an internship with Herban Lifestyle. I got the position in part because of the knowledge about natural beauty I had gained from my experience at ecocentricity!, an eco-friendly gift shop in Phoenix, AZ that sells, among other things, bath and beauty products from locally-owned businesses. Last month, I returned to Phoenix to pay a visit to my Alma Mater for an Alumni reception and to visit my friends and “Phoenix Family” that I had left behind six months ago. I had only started interning a few weeks prior and was not only learning about the natural, organic, and fair trade ingredients found in Herban Lifestyle products, but found myself obsessively checking out labels on any bath products I came in contact with.

On my second day back in Arizona, I woke at 6:30 am to help my organic, natural, locavore and thoroughly earthy-crunchy former roommate sell locally-made tamales at the farmer’s market (something she does every morning). I had a wonderful time walking around the market sampling salsas, peanut brittle, chocolate, cupcakes, desserts, and of course tamales. I was also excited to see the natural beauty products there, since I am now an expert! I read many labels and was tickled to spot ingredients that I had just entered into the Skin Deep Database for Herban Lifestyle. There was a smorgasbord of soaps, lotion, lip balms, deodorants, shampoos, massage oils, and facial scrubs. Some were really creative, with exfoliants such as natural and plastic loofah embedded into the soap. This reminded me of the exfoliating properties of our Fuzzy Soaps, which have a built-in wool “washcloth” on the outside. I discovered lotion in solid form, that came in a tube like deodorant. I later found you can get solid perfumes in a tube, too. There were even cosmetics made out of goat’s milk, which was a new concept for me.

I collected these vendors’ cards and headed over to ecocentricity to tell my former boss about all the fun, local, bath and beauty products products that she could potentially carry. At the store, I saw a lot of new natural soap that comes in loaves so customers can purchase as much as they want and pay by the ounce. I also saw my old favorite lip butter, which comes in an array of natural flavors, and my mascara made from tea and blackberries.

In the store, there was a display calling attention to the Skin Deep Database, explaining that some products that are ranked highly toxic even though they claim they are “natural.”  I smiled when I recalled the time I had spent entering products from Herban Lifestyle’s new Naked Line into the database, all of which scored a 0 or 1 (on a scale of 0 to 10) for toxicity.

Entering products into the Skin Deep Database made me more aware of the importance of knowing what ingredients are in my personal care products. I have not used a lot of cosmetics in my life. so I feel good knowing I haven’t been smothering my face in toxins. But now I am working on replacing my soaps and shampoos that I had no idea were bad for me and the planet (I am really digging the Herban Lifestyle Deeply Herbal Shampoo Bar). That’s one more earthy-crunchy step I’m taking to reduce my ecological footprint, and reduce my exposure to environmental toxins.

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