6 Eco-Beauty Resolutions for 2014

Love 'em or hate 'em, New Year’s resolutions are part of our cultural DNA. But, while the optimist in me sees the dawn of a new year as a natural time for reflection and goal setting, the realist in me knows this can also lead to creating, and failing to realize, unrealistic expectations. I prescribe more to a “lean into it” kind of philosophy. That goes for eco beauty, too: it isn’t an all-or-nothing undertaking. For those with a budding interest in having more natural, organic and sustainable fashion and beauty in their lives, here are six simple ways to start. Try one or all six—any step is a step in the right direction.

1.  Start With the Basics: If you have any interest in starting to wear organic clothes, ease into the habit by beginning with socks and undies. Try the immensely soft, comfy and colorful socks and panties from PACT. When you’re ready for another baby step into an eco-friendly wardrobe, stock up on some sustainably made, organic basic tees from Threads for Thought.

2. Remember the Three Rs: As previously discussed on The Penny Rose, every item of clothing has an environmental footprint associated with it. Get inspired to swap used clothing with friends, donate or sell unwanted items, and embrace upcycled and recycled clothing when you shop.

3.  DIY: You can’t get much more natural, resourceful, or local than making your own beauty products from items you already have in the kitchen. Don’t let the concept intimidate you. Aim to master one simple recipe (face masks and scrubs are particularly fun and easy) this year. We love the recipes in “Organic Body Care Recipes” by Stephanie Tourles.

4. Choose Fair Fashion: The dark side of mass-produced fashion got some much-needed attention in 2013 after a horrific garment factory accident in Bangladesh in April. Don’t let that lesson go unlearned: lean toward “fair” fashion—clothes, shoes and accessories made in socially and environmentally responsible ways. Sites like Roozt.com make this easier by aggregating products from conscious companies in one place.

5. Go Local: Not only will beauty and bath products made in your area have a smaller footprint, chances are they’re made with better ingredients than the conventional options at the store. Made Simple Cosmetics is a perfect example for Santa Cruzans.

6. Bait and Switch: Pick one of your must-haves (coral lipstick, perhaps, or glittery nail polish) and make this the year that you find a stellar, on-par replacement that doesn’t use any parabens, sulfates, toxins, artificial fragrances and other unsavory ingredients.

Images: solastyle.com and blog.freepeople.com.

Q&A with Elizabeth Limbach: Eco-Beauty Editor

As the eco-beauty editor at The Penny Rose, Elizabeth Limbach brings a smart approach to the "green" side of beauty. Twice a month she blogs about products that she's loving, news in the eco-beauty and eco-fashion worlds, and offers up DIY tricks to save money and be conscious of the global impact of our beauty routines. The 26-year-old is also a professional journalist and newspaper editor. We caught up with her recently for some insight into the best eco-beauty trends of the moment.

How would you describe your personal style?

Feminine, bohemian, earthy, comfortable, sometimes quirky, and environmentally minded.

What’s your favorite brand of denim?

Recycled. My favorite jeans are hand-me-downs from friends, but stores like Crossroads Trading Co. have a great selection of gently used denim. Aside from being eco-friendly, lightly used jeans are broken in nicely.

What fashion designer (or beauty brand) are you eyeing right now?

AmyKathryn bags recently caught my eye, and as of late I’m a big fan of the basic organic tees from Threads for Thought. As for beauty products, I’m itching to invest in some organic skincare products from Sequoia Beauty, which uses natural flowers and herbs and is said to work wonders.

What’s your favorite skin care item?

Naturopathica’s Lavender Protective Moisturizer SPF 17. This is an eco-beauty dream product: all natural, with zinc oxide to protect the skin from the sun and turmeric root to reduce redness.

If money were no object, what spa or beauty treatment/service would you be addicted to?

Massage, hot tub/sauna sessions, and manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), a massage-like lymphatic stimulant that improves circulation and the immune system and is great for the skin.

On occasions when you need to get ready in a rush, what is your quick ‘n’ easy beauty routine?

My usual: a swipe of jane iredale loose powder, a spritz of rose water to blend it, a touch of natural mascara and some tinted natural lip balm. 

What is the most unusual or surprising beauty product in your arsenal?

Baking soda. It’s a powerful yet gentle facial exfoliant, and great for teeth whitening when paired with mashed strawberries. 

What beauty products would we find in your purse?

PeaceKeeper’s lipstick in Paint Me Healed, a jane iredale compact, Burt’s Bee’s Res-Q Ointment, Inesscents’ Jasmine Sandalwood roll-on oil perfume and Chocolate Mint Lip Balm from Organic Indulgence.

Lip gloss or lip balm?

Natural lip balm.

Heels or flats?

Boots—heeled or flat!