Being fashionably green is about more than just what you wear. It’s also about the other things we put on our bodies such as sunscreen and even shampoo.
• Pick safer personal care products: Many personal care products contain untested chemicals and estrogen-mimicking preservatives like paraben. Some ingredients can’t even be found on the ingredient list because they’re hidden under the term “fragrance.” Visit CosmeticDatabase.org to find what’s in the products you use.
• Buy better make-up: There’s nothing pretty about what could be lurking in your favorite blush, lipstick or eyeliner. Some brands actually contain mercury, lead, or chemicals that are known to cause everything from cancer to reproductive problems.
• Be a resale shop regular: Resale shops are the perfect places to get a steal of a deal on gently used clothing, shoes and accessories. There are specific chains that specialize in all kids’ clothing and you can sell back what your children have outgrown. And don’t forget your local Goodwill.
• Rent high-fashion clothes and accessories: You know the problem with trendy clothes and accessories. One day they’re in and the next day they’re out. Consider renting instead of spending top dollar for items that will be used occasionally.
• Opt for organic cotton: Twenty-five percent of all insecticides and 10 percent of all pesticides are used on conventionally grown cotton. That doesn’t even account for all the chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Organic cotton clothing may cost you a little bit more but it is almost always softer and makes a big green fashion statement.
• Shop for safer sunscreen: Your best bet when picking sunscreens is to buy ones that contain zinc and titanium. The Environmental Working Group recommends avoiding oxybenzone because it is suspected of altering hormonal systems. The EWG has an online sunscreen guide (http://breakingnews.ewg.org/ 2011sunscreen/) that rates hundreds of sunscreens.
• Give back: When you’re no longer wearing what’s in your closet, do some good with it all. Soles4Souls (www.soles4souls.org/) collects gently used shoes for people in need around the world. Goodwill takes all kinds of clothing to sell in order to raise money for job training programs. And, Dress for Success (www.dressforsuccess.org) wants business-appropriate clothing for women in need who are going on job interviews.