Green skincare tips for a better you – and the planet

April 22nd is Earth Day, fellow Earthlings. It’s the day to hyper focus on everyday human behaviors impacting the Earth, educate ourselves – and take action to protect and restore our planet! It’s a challenge, but we can all do our part, and we can all start somewhere. And for many, it’s as easy as reevaluating your daily skincare products – the products you purchase and use that possibly harm Mother Earth.

To address the big elephant in the room, it’s important to know the FDA does not regulate beauty products, makeup, or skincare products. And currently, the only term they do regulate in the beauty realm is “organic.” So hotlist words like beauty, vegan, cruelty-free and many others are simply left up to beauty brands and organizations, such as Our Green Planet and Leaping Bunny, to define and self-label. 

So, what is “green” beauty? Well, it depends who you ask. But, generally,  green beauty, also referred to as “sustainable beauty,” are products developed with minimal present and future environmental impact. And that is not limited to the eco-friendly formula of the actual product, it also includes the product’s production practices and packaging methods. 

We spoke with Lindsay Platt, licensed esthetician and owner of Dharma Skin Spa – a holistic skincare spa in Houston, Texas – to learn about sustainable beauty and how we can keep our skin and mother Earth healthy and beautiful.

Dharma Skin Spa in Houston, Texas | Photo by Dharma Skin Spa via Yelp

Yelp: What are some steps to “greening up” your skincare routine?
Lindsay Platt: Find products formulated with organic, plant-based ingredients and that are scented with essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances. Be mindful of the integrity behind the company and their vision of providing products that are not only good for you – but for the environment as well. This would include a cruelty-free practice and eco-friendly packaging. Local is an added plus!

What are some ingredients to absolutely avoid?
Foaming agents, like Sodium Lauryl and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Heavy metals such as aluminum, synthetic fragrances, and colorants

What is your daily green beauty regimen?
1. My morning ritual begins with the Lemon Gel Cleaner and Algae Deep Cleanse from Source Vital Apothecary. (Source Vital Apothecary + Beauty Market ships nationwide)
2. After I have cleansed my skin, I apply my custom serum blend, also from Source Vital Apothecary.
3. I finish with my Badger Rose Tinted Sunscreen.

In the evening, I cleanse again with either the Lavender or Lemon Gel Cleanser before applying the Soothing Cream. Mondays are my at home spa day when I incorporate in my weekly exfoliation and face mask. I love the using the Algae Deep Scrub and Charcoal Mask from Source Vital.

FOLLAIN in Boston, Massachusetts | Photo by Jenna S

What is your favorite green SPF?
My favorite SPF is the Rose tinted sunscreen from Badger. It is a mineral sunscreen that is reef safe and biodegradable. It is also water-based, making it lightweight and easy to apply. [Editor’s note: The product is discontinued and unavailable on as the company is reformulated the product, but it can be sourced from other online outlets as article publish date.]

What to look for (or avoid) when shopping for SPF?
When searching for a sunscreen, it is vital to know that chemical sunscreens have a much bigger impact on the environment and your body than you might realize. Mineral sunscreens take a little getting used to at first, but they are imperative when you are wanting to eliminate toxins from your lifestyle.

When looking for a green esthetician, what should consumers look for or ask their esthetician?
Aside from making sure they are using a product line that you connect with, it is also important to find a safe space where you feel comfortable and can relax. 

AILLEA in Denver, Colorado | Photo by AILLEA via Yelp

What are your favorite all-natural skincare products people can find in their home refrigerator or pantry?
Topically: Avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, oatmeal, chamomile, green tea hibiscus, chia, papaya, honey, and turmeric are a few that come to mind.

Another essential way to get a glowing complexion is to nourish and hydrate our bodies through eating whole foods and herbs that contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Get creative and find ways to ingest as many of these wonderful foods as possible. Making flavored waters and saving vegetable scraps to make homemade soup broth are some of my favorite ways to get the most out of my fridge and pantry.

Got any at-home green beauty recipes to share? 
I actually love making tea for my skin! Herbal tea can be used in a variety of ways. You can add into your homemade clay masks instead of regular water, it can be used as an eye rinse or compress, a hydrating spray for a hot day and even added into a bath or foot soak. Once you brew a cup for yourself, you can reuse the herbs one to two more times to make this healing and restorative water for your skin. You can store the water in your fridge for several days until you are ready to use it.

Anything else?
Combining these suggestions with diet and lifestyle changes will gift you the best results, however always stay true to your pace. Everyone is uniquely different and being compassionate with ourselves is essential. Start slow if you need to. This will also help prevent purchasing products that do not get used and sadly go to waste. Keep it fun, and enjoy discovering the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer us by embracing her abundant pharmacy. Remember to show your appreciation to her by consuming consciously and respectfully because the daily choices that we make contribute to something bigger, something magical and completely incredible. Once we understand the weight that our decisions carry, we can help to lighten her load and allow her to keep giving.

Follow this Collection for a list of local green and sustainable beauty brands, or find green and sustainable beauty services near you on Yelp!