The Kinder, Gentler Guide To Beauty

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    For the most part, we strive to be as eco-conscious with our beauty choices as we can. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, we still might be doing more harm than good. Thanks to a largely unregulated industry in which “organic” and “natural” can be printed willy-nilly on labels, even if you make a point of buying the crunchier-looking beauty products on the shelves, some can still contain ingredients not-so-friendly to the water, air, and soil.

    Of course, some of the chemicals used to make beauty products aren’t just disturbing the environment — they’re also making their way into our bodies. The Centers for Disease Control has found that exposure of phthalates (which help hairsprays create a flexible hold on the hair and nail polishes crack less) is widespread in the American population, with adult women carrying higher levels than adult men. And, in its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, it also found that triclosan, a chemical commonly used in personal-care products, to be present in 75% of people that they tested.

    While toxins are literally within and all around us, there are some steps we can take to cut down on our chemical consumption. So, with that in mind, we've rounded up eight potentially harmful beauty products and treatments and their eco-friendly alternatives — proof positive that being a beauty junkie and an eco warrior don't have to be mutually exclusive.

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