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Sustainable Skin-Care

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

We bet you’ve considered cycling to work or ditching plastic, but there are easier (and cheaper!) ways to save the environment. Purva Indulkar & Jagruti Verma tell you how to begin with an eco-friendly beauty routine

We know that we can’t all be those people who use biodegradable coffee cups and actually separate our dry and wet waste religiously. But, while we ridicule those who are overly conscious about the impact that they have on the environment (sorry hipsters), it’s time we all took a few small steps to conserve resources and consume products that are more ethically sourced. And, what better way to start than at our dressing tables? Those half-finished bottles of hairspray and cheap nail polishes contain many toxic chemicals that can seriously damage your skin as well as your surroundings. Here we tell you how to switch to using safer products that are better for the environment. Remember that while some companies make products from organic ingredients that are grown without using pesticides or herbicides, others have gone the extra mile to ensure that the packaging is also made from recycled wood, glass or plastic.

These products are made with ingredients that have been grown sustainably, and do not contain poisonous substances that may damage your skin (and the environment). They’re a good place to start.

Rosemary bar soap
This moisturising shea butter and sea kelp bar has an addictive scent of lavender, rosemary and patchouli. Find it at for Rs 468 and turn every bath into a spa session!

Coffee body scrub
Perfect for a Monday morning, when a hot cup of coffee is not good enough to wake you up, this scrub for Rs 935 is loaded with antioxidants and caffeine that improve the quality of your skin. An exfoliating bath with this product from will leave your skin feeling silky smooth — so much so that you can ditch the lotion afterwards.

Bay beard oil
Yes, even beards need to be taken care of, and this essential oil blend from will moisturise and refresh your facial hair. It includes a combination of coconut, argan and sweet almond oil and costs Rs 1,068.

Raw shea butter
Infused with frankincense and myrrh, this raw shea butter from is 100% organic and in its purest form. This total body balm, priced at Rs 934, rejuvenates and nourishes your skin. For quicker results, rub the butter between your palms to soften it and then apply it on your skin.

Sheer powder blush
If you want to try environmentally-conscious makeup as well, pick up this blush for Rs 1,597. It’s a sheer and loose power for light coverage available at

Dead sea mud mask
This unscented mud mask from has no additives, chemicals or artificial fragrances. Available for Rs 1,335, it helps improve circulation and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Brands we love
Want to try more of our eco-friendly favourites? Check out these brands:


Everyone has had their say about skin products — so much so that we often don’t know how to separate fact from fiction. We asked a few people around the city, who have been in or are about to step into the beauty industry, to tell us more about organic, environmentally-friendly beauty products in order to help you stay updated as you get started with your responsible beauty regime.

Friends & foes
“Always use skincare products that are suited to your age and skin concerns, and as far as possible, avoid using fragranced products. The good thing about environmentally-friendly products is that they are free of preservatives. Natural ingredients such as fuller’s earth or aloe vera are generally very gentle and can be used as maintenance products. These products are also generally cheaper. The ingredients they use are your friends — aloe vera is anti-inflammatory in nature, calming and soothing your skin; fuller’s earth fights acne; and marine extracts are very helpful for lightening and brightening your skin.”
— Dr. Geeta Oberoi, Dermatologist, Founder of Skin and You Clinic, Nariman Point

Stay away from fake products
“We use several herbal products in the salon and there is a high demand for natural beauty products due to an increase in the number of people who complain about sensitive skin. Such products prove to be good for your skin as well as for the environment as they do not contain artificial ingredients and chemicals. Biotique is an amazing brand, because it is made with ayurvedic extracts. Since there are no chemicals in these products, they definitely take longer to give you visible results, but at least they are good in the long run, unlike chemical products. These products aren’t always expensive either — a face wash costs about Rs 250. However, it’s important to make sure that the products you buy are not fake. I have had clients complaining of hairfall after using fake products! Remember that people can re-fill the bottles you throw out, selling cheaper versions that masquerade as big brands. Please do check the packaging of the product before you buy anything. If it’s covered in thin plastic packaging, don’t buy it! Also, remember to crush your bottles and tear packaging so that it cannot be re-used.”
— Shifa Gaziani, Owner, Ravish Salon

The good stuff
“You should buy skin products that will help your skin to heal. Environmentally-friendly products are the best if you want long-lasting results with the least side-effects. They are free of chemicals and don’t damage your skin. Also, when you buy eco-friendly products, you can take comfort in the fact that they weren’t tested on animals or manufactured using animal byproducts. There is a wide range of products available in the market including sunscreens, eyeliners, makeup brushes, lipsticks and facial soaps, all made using organic and natural ingredients. My clients include some well-known health and beauty experts who also ask me to use organic beauty products as they give you flawless skin and save nature as well! These products are often available at affordable prices. They help fight acne, eczema and sunburn while promoting skin smoothening and dark circle removal. The long-lasting results make them an excellent choice. However, the word ‘organic’ is very confusing — was it grown naturally or brought to you without chemicals? Companies should use specific terms such as ‘no antibiotics administered’, ‘no hormones administered’ and ‘raised without antibiotics’.”
— Reshma Sikander Hussain, Skin and Health PR Professional

Check labels
“Always look for the word ‘organic’ on the label and maybe a green seal to know if the product is environmentally-friendly. Also, check if the packaging is recyclable. Eco-friendly products should be your preferred option, since they are good for your skin and the environment. The toxic build-up due to the harsh chemicals in everyday items such as soaps and shampoos can be detrimental to your skin as well as to the environment. I would recommend the Organic Harvest sunscreen, khus soap and lemongrass essential oil spray.”
— Shaikh Shahista Haider, Student

Look for green certification
“Always look for products with green product certification and avoid products with carcinogenic ingredients such as triclosan, sulphates and parabens. Almost every product that we use in our daily life contains harmful toxins that are hazardous to our health. So, I guess it’s always better to switch to eco-friendly products. The eco-friendly products I think everyone should use are Lotus Herbal products, especially the neem face pack.”
— Shaikh Shagufta Haider, Student

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