Clean Beauty

Women Who Are Working For A Safer Beauty Scene

By Amy Zimmer

With scientific advances and growing access to information in recent years, we have become more cognizant about how we take care of ourselves. Many eat organically, avoid processed foods and double-check labels to make sure that no pesky preservatives sneak into our diets. But while we pay so much attention to the things we put into our bodies, we may forget—or not even know—about the potential harm in the products we rub into our skin and lather into our hair.

Did you know that the U.S. has not passed a law to regulate chemicals in cosmetics and self-care products since 1938? On the other hand, the European Union, for example, sets up a series of hoops to jump through before any cosmetic hits the market. Manufacturers are required to pass a stringent safety test and complete a detailed report. Each and every chemical must be individually approved, down to the nanomaterials (substances found only in particles). The E.U. has banned more than 1,500 chemicals in cosmetics to ensure safety and prevent any negative effects.

Now, let’s look at the United States: no official process whatsoever. We only partially ban 30 chemicals from cosmetic products. Cosmetics marketed and sold in the U.S. are not registered with the F.D.A. The responsibility for safety lies with the manufacturer, who is “consistently advised”—but not required—to perform safety testing.

There are only three rules for the American cosmetic industry. One: a product cannot be outright poisonous. Two: it must be produced in sanitary conditions. Three: it must be correctly labeled. In other words, as long as the label lists an ingredient, it doesn’t have to be verified as safe. The F.D.A. regulates only colorant chemicals, and even then, it makes an exception for coal tar hair color, which has long been the cause of serious injury to eyes and life-threatening allergic reactions. It has also been linked to various forms of cancer, according to some studies.

I hope to bring greater awareness to the growing concern regarding harmful substances in American cosmetics—and perhaps offer some safe alternatives to add to your beauty routine. I have found that a synergistic balance between science and nature can improve a self-care regimen.

Now, allow me to introduce the powerful women who are working for a safer beauty scene around the world by producing natural, guaranteed safe products.

Weight Loss

Did you know that only one hour of hiking can burn more than 500 calories? Head for the hills and you can expect to burn even more; just a small incline can boost calorie burning by 30 to 40 percent. If weight loss is your goal, hiking regularly can help you shed those extra pounds.

Full-Body Tone

Regular walking has its own fitness benefits, but your body gets a total workout from hiking, especially up trails with sharp inclines. Your quads, glutes, hamstrings and core are all being worked and strengthened. If you’re carrying a backpack and using trekking poles to help propel you forward, your upper body reaps the benefits as well. Emotional Wellbeing Nature can be a great therapist. Getting outside and into the sunshine can help clear the mind of clutter and slow-building negativity. On the trail, confidence, problem-solving, creativity and self-esteem can be restored as you meet the challenges of your journey.

Improved Friendships

Most hikers would agree that it’s more fun to hike with a friend. A regular weekend meet-up or a planned long-distance trek is a terrific way to enjoy conversation and bond over a shared challenge. There are no screens or distractions, so you and your companion are sure to experience meaningful interaction. Not to mention that the hiker community encourages hiking as a lifestyle—making you more eager to continue hiking regularly.

Breathtaking Scenery

While hiking can be enjoyed locally, some adventurers take the opportunity to seek out beautiful trails in other parts of the world. If you find yourself bound for Europe this season, there is Tour du Mont Blanc (TOMB), a 110-mile trek through France, Italy and Switzerland, beloved by beginners and experts alike. Also in Switzerland, surrounded by beautiful glaciers, is Haute Route. Not recommended for the faint of heart, Haute Route is a demanding 12-day trek passing through Chamonix, France and Zermatt. It’s quite strenuous, to be sure—but the eye-catching villages, snow-capped peaks and green alpine valleys make this one of the most fascinating and stimulating trails in the world.

Fitness and exercise programs often seem a chore, but hiking is absolutely the opposite! It’s inspiring, enjoyable and accessible. All you need are comfortable clothes and shoes. Start with day and weekend hikes to train and ready your body. Increase your skill level before moving on to more advanced trails. Oh, and remember to bring your camera. You’ll want pictures of all the surprises Mother Nature has to offer.

Women Who Are Working For A Safer Beauty Scene

Susanne Kaufmann

Working as part of her family’s hotel business, she developed a spa and created her own line of products—at first made available only to hotel and spa guests. Susanne Kaufmann Products took off and is now marketed globally. She strives to provide natural skincare products that are both luxurious and healthy. (I especially love the Eye Crème Line A.)

Tata Harper Skincare

Following her father’s 2005 cancer diagnosis, she became intensely interested in healthy lifestyle changes. She studied the science of skincare ingredients and decided to develop a line of natural, high-end products—Tata Harper Skincare. On her company’s website, she says: “There’s nothing more beautiful than to have healthy glowing skin and to show it. I hope this trend continues to help other women, as it’s helped me.” Her Elixir Vitae Eye Serum is an especially popular product. I have personally become obsessed with Tata’s Daily Essentials Travel Set. It’s a great way to keep your skin healthy clean while on the go.

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