Navigating the natural, eco-friendly beauty world can be pretty daunting. Where does one start? What ingredients are safe? Do you have to shop at certain stores? What does natural even mean?
That's why we enlisted celebrity makeup artist and green beauty expert Katey Denno to come by our offices and give us the lowdown on how to make strides to reduce one's toxin load -- a "Natural Beauty For Dummies" course, if you will. Denno is responsible for the red carpet glows of Amanda Seyfried, Christy Turlington, Olivia Wilde and more top stars, so you can imagine how eager we were to get her expert take.
To start you on your own quest for green beauty, we decided to present you with the most surprising takeaways:
How your products could be harming you:
1. Out of 1,000 carcinogens the EU has banned, the US has only banned 9 of them.
2. Scientists have only "improved" upon all of the chemicals used in our beauty products, making the particles both smaller and stronger. This means they're more easily absorbed into the skin and past the protective layers that once served as a barrier to these toxins.
3. Safe beauty products should have an expiration date, just like the food you ingest. According to Katey, most regular, non-natural products are like "bomb shelter food" in that they have extended shelf lives -- just imagine what chemicals are in there to make them last that long.
4. Terms like "herbal," "organic" and "natural" on beauty packaging aren't regulated and have no actual meaning. Trust us, there's not one "herb" in Herbal Essences shampoo.
5. Not all natural sunscreens are created equal. Ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide might make your sunscreen safer and more effective at protecting against UV rays, but some leave more of a white residue than others. Test out a bunch and find your favorite. (Here are Katey's top picks.)
6. When it comes to antiperspirant, you may want to consider going for the less potent, natural options. When you shave your armpits, you're scrapping off a layer of skin -- and then you apply the carcinogenic-filled deodorant right onto the vulnerable area right near your lymph nodes. Yikes!
All these things may sound really scary, but that's why we have natural beauty products, ones that are created from safe, non-toxic ingredients that are naturally occurring. Phew.
What you need to know about natural beauty:
1. The green world may not have caught up with the mainstream market world of cosmetics in all product realms (though Kjaer Weis' colors and packaging are stunning), but natural skincare products are just as effective (if not more effective) as the best regular products. So that might be the best place to start.
2. The downside to committing to a green beauty cabinet? Just like with organic food, it's generally more expensive to buy natural grooming products.
3. Even though oils have become the crowd-pleaser when it comes to natural beauty, make sure you figure out the right system for you. Those with rosacea must be careful when using harsh essential oils or oils with too many natural active components, while those suffering from acne can treat zits with tea tree oil. (Katey recommends applying tea tree oil to a Q-tip and diluting with water, as to not kill cells.)
4. You don't have to go green on every single product if you simply can't find a green product comparable to your non-green favorite -- Katey prefers Cover Girl mascara to any of the natural ones around. She says that natural beauty companies face a tough challenge when it comes to competing with regular mascaras on the market.
6. Most importantly, pick your battles. Don't drive yourself crazy by overhauling your entire beauty regime. Start slowly and see what makes the biggest difference in your life and well-being.
Have any more questions? Stop by Katey Denno's fantastic blog for all things natural beauty.
Maybe these guys could've gone green instead...
The "American Idol" judge has reached the pinnacle of outlandish in this lace-front wig, yellow eyeliner and bubble gum pink lipstick.
This is all just wrong -- from the thick, side plaits to the neon pink ombre hair to the heavy makeup.
It's no secret that this life-size Barbie loves to wear wigs, but this lackluster hair piece is in desperate need of moisture.
The "Jersey Shore" star and new mom can't seem to let go of the kid inside with her Skittles-colored hair (which really complements her fake tan).
Stewart takes the concept of the cat-eye too literally here.
While the model's platinum blonde hairstyle was envelope-pushing, she should have stopped for a moment before bleaching her brows.
The "Fashion Police" host is giving us a modern version of Dr. Seuss' <a href="http://www.thegloss.com/2010/12/21/culture/taylor-momsen-was-cindy-lou-who/">Cindy Lou Who</a> with her towering, purple top knot. But it's nowhere near as cute.
This auburn hair color makes the young actress appear well beyond her years, and the difference in skin tone between her face and chest is just ... obvious.
We're not sure what's more distracting here: Barton's blush overload or her sequin-wrapped cleavage.
We love the way Burrell mixes flavors on her Food Network cooking show, "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef." However, she hasn't quite nailed the art of layering makeup or applying hairspray.
We almost didn't recognize the supermodel with this helmet hairstyle. Keep it easy and breezy, Niki.
The Italian lawyer should read our feature on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/07/eyebrow-makeover-thick-brows_n_2258146.html">the best brows for your face shape</a>, and check out <a href="http://www.bellasugar.com/Smoky-eyes-smokey-eyes-How-create-smoky-eye-tutorial-53781">this tutorial on the smokey eye</a>. Then maybe we'll excuse the outrageous headpiece.
"The Twilight" starlet's drastic new dark hairdo makes her look like a vampire in real life.
We're guessing she dozed off as her hairstylist was preparing to give her a buzzcut.
Dog the Bounty Hunter called -- he wants his hairstyle back.
The "Mad Men" actress' attempt to pull of a retro flipped hairstyle and '60s-blue eyeshadow-and-pink lipstick combination fails miserably.
Lana Del Rey
The 26-year-old singer looks so much older with this shapeless, brunette hairstyle.
Ashley Tisdale's faux tan should not be the standard of beauty.
Xtina's bronzer-blush competes with her faux glow and platinum curls. While her highlighting powder appears to be in all the right places (above the brows and cheeks, on the cupid's bow and chin), it fails to bring light back into her face because of excessive contouring.
Harsh contour lines drawn down her cheekbones instead of along the midpoint, make Kim appear unnatural.
Lindsay painted bronzer onto her face as if it were war paint. A softer shade brushed gently along her cheeks and jawline (plus, subtler, smokey eye makeup) would've made a HUGE difference.
We used to think <em>everything</em> looks good on January Jones -- until we saw her in this hair color. The uneven cut isn't making matters better, nor are Jones' mismatched eyebrows.
This British singer's dye job -- or lack thereof -- hit a wrong note at the Chanel show in Paris. Couture fashion week is definitely not the time to let your roots show.
We asked, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/paz-vega-new-look-photos-pictures_n_2543627.html">you voted</a>: this visage evoked too much Morticia, not enough Vega. It's hard to see her natural beauty under shadowy eyes and layers of loud lipstick.
We'd venture a guess that you should be able to see out of both eyes when you go to a movie premiere. Maybe Shelton styled her hair this way to avoid watching "Hansel & Gretel."
That's a tall, tight topknot. Lopez's updo is so sleek it looks painful.
We appreciate Mirren's attempts to keep it fresh, but the pink rinse is a look that's more geriatric than Manic Panic.
Seriously slick hair and dark eyes make Lawrence look like she spent the night partying. Maybe she did.
Faith's hair is full of secrets. What else could make it stand up so high?
The usually <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/23/nicole-kidman-emmys-2012-dress_n_1908154.html">flawless</a> Nicole Kidman was off her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/nicole-kidman-photos-pictures-fashion_n_1607068.html">A game</a> at the Australians In Film Screening of "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/the-paperboy-trailer-nicole-kidman-zac-efron-urinate_n_1729865.html">The Paperboy</a>" on November 25th. Kidman's typically vibrant strawberry blonde hair looked flat, damaged and downright messy. In addition her dark eyeliner looked especially harsh with her pale skin tone. Maybe Kidman should start taking tips from her daughter Sunday Rose, who's apparently a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/04/nicole-kidman-daughter-su_n_791990.html">makeup artist in the making</a>.
We love how <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/07/mila-kunis-dating-2012_n_1328174.html?utm_hp_ref=lady-gaga">opinionated</a> Lady Gaga is, especially about her recent <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/25/lady-gaga-weight-singer-bulimic-teenager_n_1913701.html?utm_hp_ref=lady-gaga">weight gain</a> and the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/29/lady-gaga-pope-gay-marriage_n_1925324.html?utm_hp_ref=lady-gaga">causes she believes in</a> but her makeup choices...we're not so into. When she arrived at South Africa's Lanseria Airport on November 27th, she sported what looked like a blonde bob wig and a pair of giant shades. We've seen some <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/napoleon-perdis/going-gaga-for-lady-gaga_b_396446.html">unconventional beauty choices</a> from Mother Monster before, but this recent incognito <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/80s-fashion-photos_n_1642744.html">80s</a> inspired look was still a bit of a surprise.
Although the naturally beautiful actress<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/leighton-meester-style_n_1409547.html"> Leighton Meester</a> always looks great <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/16/leighton-meester-uptown-downtown-beauty_n_965388.html">with</a> or <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/26/leighton-meester-without-makeup_n_1032261.html">without makeup</a>, her recent <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/leighton-meester-hair-cut-photos_n_2023171.html">hair cut</a> has posed a challenge. At the Target+ Neiman Marcus Holiday Celebration she rocked a red pout but we weren't a fan of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/leighton-meester-gossip-girl_n_1940129.html">ex-Gossip Girl's</a> tight pompadour hairstyle. We say go for loose locks a la Karlie Kloss instead.
Kelly Osbourne would never be described as understated. The Fashion Police host has had hair <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/26/kelly-osbourne-makeup-photos_n_1033182.html">every shade of the rainbow</a> and even got a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/27/kelly-osbourne-manicure-diamonds_n_1918663.html">$250,000 black diamond manicure</a> for the Emmys. Although we're sometimes fans of Kelly's looks (her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/05/kelly-osbourne-gray-hair-_n_1255894.html">gray hair</a> being one of them) the odd hairstyle she sported at the W LOVE Hangover Ball on November 28th was definitely a miss. It looked rather well...tupe-like. Yikes! As always Kelly we appreciate your <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/12/kelly-osbourne-talks-body-confidence-glamour_n_1420424.html">confidence</a> but this style just wouldn't look good on anyone.
We love that Minaj always takes risks on the red carpet. To show our support, we're willing to look past her white lips here. What's truly unforgivable are those very dark roots. Looks like it was time for a touch-up or color change <em>weeks</em> ago!
Scary Spice lived up to her name here. An ultra-pale lip made Mel look sickly--an adjective we'd never wish to evoke in front of flashbulbs.
Bingbing may have been the busiest non-nominee of Oscar night, with no fewer than <em>three</em> ball gown costume changes between a pre-party, the actual ceremony and the Vanity Fair after-party. Through that flurry of activity, a shiny, helmet-like dome atop her head kept it safe. And despite the likelihood that such extensive travels might flush someone else's cheeks, Bingbing's complexion remained <em>paler</em> than the rest of her skin throughout the evening.
That's a Lotte long hair! (We had to.) Verbeek's a gorgeous redhead, but her tresses could have benefited from some volume to tie her red carpet look together. Oscar day is not the one to skip styling.
This heavy-lidded look is not Hudgens' finest. We'd have preferred to see a bit more color in her cheeks and lips -- the monotone tan makes her look a little washed-out.
Well, at least her lipstick looks great.
Hall often looks radiant on the red carpet, but we found the unruliness of her bob a little off-putting this week. Perhaps a blowout or an updo might elevate Hall's look.
Blue is a big trend these days, but we'd prefer to see it in Benson's wardrobe, not around her eyes. Cakey foundation doesn't help matters much, either.
Cuoco displays how to not wear a pompadour. The pouf is just a little too dramatic and we're not really digging her heavily-lined eyes; it makes her look tired and worn out.
Oh no, Gwyneth! You looked so wonderfully natural <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/emmy-rossum-makeup-photos_n_3022376.html" target="_blank">just last week</a>. This is a case of bronzer overload.
On the other hand, Riseborough's extremely neutral outfit could have benefitted from a splash of color -- whether it be bright blush or lipstick. She looks washed out.
While we are all over the new beauty trend of statement-making lipstick, Winter missed the mark by choosing a shade that is too close to the color of her dress. It doesn't provide the right amount of contrast.
The celebrity stylist should take note of the minimal trend and wear at least half of the amount of eyeshadow she is sporting here. The dramatic navy color also comes across a little tacky.
Just because you decide to wear a bright lipstick doesn't always mean you should forget about the rest of your face. Sevigny ghostly complexion makes her appear extremely tired.
We love an updo on the red carpet, but we're not sure why Kidman left a couple strands down. Not only did she look undone, she obscured her earrings.
This plum lip could have been pretty, but it was applied unevenly. And is it just us, or is Eastwood's complexion tinged gray?
This yellowy pompadour brought <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/27/january-jones-hair-sag-awards_n_2564060.html?utm_hp_ref=style">David Bowie</a> to mind. We understand a certain desire to "Rebel Rebel," but Jones erred on the side of "Space Oddity."
We're not sure if it's the color, the texture or the shape, but an actress' hair should <em>never</em> conjure comparisons to a bird's nest. If it weren't for the rhinestone barrette, we'd have no way of spotting a difference.