Inspired living

Meet the beauty bloggers


Gone are the days of trusting labels on beauty products: Natural no longer means pure and organic is not necessarily 100 per cent. Confusion is inevitable as more consumers start to understand that what they put on their skin ends up within. If you should unwittingly choose chemical-based formulations, you could put your health at risk.

This is well-known to the popular eco-beauty bloggers, who make it their job to sort through the leading and misleading eco brands to ensure their readers make the best decisions possible when visiting the cosmetics counter. But what really drives these eco mavens to dedicate their days to spreading awareness among beauty lovers?


Christy Coleman

A renowned fashion and celebrity makeup artist, Christy has worked with some of the world’s most famous actresses, models, magazines and photographers. Celebrated for her flawless and sophisticated artistry, she’s also known in the industry for “going green”. The first top makeup artist to switch to all-natural, earth-friendly cosmetics, she says her desire is to show that going green can also be glamorous.

Why is natural, organic beauty so important?

For your health and the love of the planet. A few small changes in our approach to daily life can have a huge impact on the health of the planet as well as the health of ourselves and our loved ones.

What would people be most surprised to learn about traditional beauty products?

That a lot of these products are filled with chemicals that are known carcinogens as well as hormone disruptors.

How did you become so interested in spreading the word?

After losing my father to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a motor neurone disease), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, I knew I needed to make a difference. I loved beauty and decided it was time to bring awareness to brands that were removing ingredients that are known carcinogens or hormone disruptors. It took me nearly a year to find high-performing natural and organic Beauty products and makeup that met my standards.

Are the modelling and celebrity worlds embracing eco beauty?

I believe they are. I believe more and more people, whether it be the girl next door or a celebrity, are looking to take responsibility for their health and beauty.

What are the trends in eco beauty?

Lots of handmade facial products that must be refrigerated to keep out any preservatives, as well as food-grade ingredients.

What are your top tips for seeking out authentic eco beauty?

Educate yourself. Do not rely on labels to keep you safe. I am a huge fan of the Environmental Working Group, as they have an incredible amount of data to check on your products.

Is there a company leading the way in the eco-beauty market?

I am a huge fan of the Organic Pharmacy and Arcona, as well as RMS Beauty. These are three brands you should definitely get to know.

What are your favourite products and why?

I use Arcona Triad Pads for a quick refresh. They purify and moisturise. I’m also a fan of Natracare Baby Wipes, as they are parabens-, SLS- and alcohol-free and have no synthetic ingredients. I love these for cleansing my hands as well as removing makeup while on set. I also carry Dr Schulze’s Air Detox; it’s great for disinfecting my makeup kit. It’s also great for hotel rooms, as they can be can be filled with unhealthy air and artificial scents.

What can people expect when they visit your blog?

High-performance boutique lines as well as which mainstream brands offer clean makeup and products. Every season I showcase my favourite runway makeup looks with step-by-step guides on how to recreate them with all-natural makeup. All the products I recommend are model-tested, celebrity-tested brands I use every day in my Green Makeup Kit.


Sophie Uliano 

Author of the Gorgeously Green series, passionate environmentalist Sophie Uliano believes transforming your beauty case to eco- and health-friendly doesn’t have to compromise on style. A sought-after spokeswoman for the eco-lifestyle movement, Sophie makes it her mission to find natural alternatives that work just as well as — or better than — the chemical-based skincare and cosmetics.

Why should we consider natural and organic products?

Organic skincare and beauty are important because many companies are now greenwashing their products by labelling them “natural”. This means absolutely nothing. As consumers, we need to understand what a “clean” product is. A certified organic beauty product will have gone through a rigorous inspection process to ensure the essential oils, plant oils and other ingredients are organic and non-toxic.

What would people be most surprised to learn about traditional beauty products?

Many of them contain a plethora of chemicals that can be irritating, harsh and ineffective, and could disrupt your hormones and even cause cancer.

Why Gorgeously Green?

I’m all about the “gorgeous”. I don’t live in a yurt and wear hemp! I want to find beauty products that are clean yet outperform many of the products we see in department and chemists — products that are overpriced for what they are. I think, as green women, we should still be able to be into the gloss and fun of beauty.

What are the trends in eco beauty?

So many: probiotics, gluten-free, natural retinols and natural peels, to name but a few!

What are your top tips for seeking out authentic eco beauty?

Always look for a third-party certification. There are a few now, depending on which country you are in. Don’t trust labels such as “organic”, “natural” or “made with botanicals”. Look for companies that produce in small batches to ensure freshness. It’s best to buy products that are made in the country where you live, because they won’t have had to sit for days or months in a freight container.

What are the five most toxic ingredients in common beauty products and their side-effects?

1,4 dioxane: Found in an alarming number of products, especially baby products. This chemical is a byproduct of the process ethoxylation (increases water solubility). It can also be listed as PEG or ingredients ending in “eth” or “oxynol”. The EPA classifies it as a probable carcinogen to humans. It is readily absorbed through the skin and also found in hair products, lotions, face creams and anti-ageing products.

Parabens: Listed as methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl paraben and found in 75 to 90 per cent of all products. This preservative can disrupt your endocrine system (hormones). It is a known medical fact that oestrogen stimulates breast cancer and anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose. It’s found in many products, from lotions, scrubs, conditioners and shampoos to makeup.

Formaldehyde: This has been recently added to the “known carcinogens” list. It’s most commonly used as a water solution called formalin rather than in its pure form. With the help of preservatives, formaldehyde is released in small amounts over time to help protect cosmetic products against contamination by bacteria during storage and during continued use. It is also referred to as quaternium-15 or DMDM hydantoin. It is found in nail polishes, nail hardeners, eyelash glues, hair gels, soaps, makeup, shampoo, lotions, deodorants and hair-straightening treatments.

Phthalates/fragrance: DHP, DBP5, DEHP and dibutyl phthalate are used in personal care products and considered probable carcinogens by the EPA and likely to cause cancer. Phthalates are also known endocrine disruptors (may interfere with, mimic or block hormones), development toxicants (can interfere with the normal development of a foetus or child) and a reproductive toxicant. Phthalates can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin via perfume, nail polish, skin lotion, deodorant and some hair-styling products.

Coal tar dyes: A known carcinogen and made from bituminous coal, coal tar is found in dandruff and psoriasis shampoos, anti-itch creams, hair dyes and other cosmetics. Also listed as p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as CI, FD&C, or D&C.

Others to be aware of: Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), petrolatum, triclosan, polyethylene glycol (PEG), phenoxyethanol, TEA (triethanolamine), DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine).

Why are companies still including such toxic ingredients in their products?

Because it is cheaper to use these chemicals and it’s an easy fix to obtain a texture and fragrance that consumers will like. They also extend the shelf life considerably.

What are your favourite eco beauty products and why?

There are so many companies that I barely know where to start. I love Nvey Eco and Jane Iredale makeup and I love Avalon Organics, Living Nature, Lavera. That said, I review hundreds of beauty products, so it’s tough to pick out a favourite!

What can people expect when they visit your blog?

You will find my Gorgeous Find reviews of all the new and wonderful beauty products. There are also recipes and how-to videos, such as how to make your own skincare and much more.


Amanda Rootsey

A former international model turned eco model, Amanda Rootsey discovered the benefits of eco beauty after being diagnosed with cancer. It was then she replaced the toxins in her life with their natural equivalents, choosing a vegan diet and natural and organic beauty products. She now shares her journey on her blog, hoping to inspire others to follow a path that’s kinder to the environment and themselves.

Why should we replace traditional cosmetics with natural and organic products?

It’s so important to treat our bodies with love and respect, and our beauty regime should be a part of this. Our incredible bodies already know what to do — we didn’t come out of the womb needing to lather our bodies in chemicals — so the best thing we can do is help it out with products that are as natural and gentle as possible.

What would people be most surprised to learn about traditional chemical-based beauty products?

That the beauty industry isn’t regulated the way the food industry is. A beauty product can be a cocktail of toxic chemicals and, because the skin is the largest organ in the body, these chemicals can be absorbed and wreak havoc with our organs, hormones and other parts of the body.

How did you become so interested in spreading the word?

I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer in the lymphatic system) in 2009 and this really made me take a look at the way I was treating my body. I went vegan straight away and made sure all my beauty products were as natural and organic as possible. I would hate another person to have to go through what I went through to learn that we do actually need to take care of our beautiful bodies.

Is the modelling world embracing eco beauty?

In general, I’d have to say no. But there are some companies that are really embracing it. Two that spring to mind are Peppermint mag and Sanctus Stones Motivational Jewellery, two companies I’ve worked with recently and who happily ensured that all the beauty and cosmetic products were eco-friendly and cruelty-free. There is a bit of a stigma in the industry that mineral makeup and anything eco-friendly is probably not as good in terms of colour pigment and overall look. In my experience this is definitely not the case.

You’re an eco model now. Does this mean you’ll only allow organic, natural products on your skin?

At home I exclusively use these products and most of my clients ensure that all products are organic and natural as well. I’m very lucky to be working with people who share similar values, so it’s never a problem.

What are some eco beauty trends?

There is now a huge selection of affordable eco beauty brands but I’m really starting to notice a high-end market emerging with luxury ingredients and advances in science such as plant-based stem-cell research. Another trend I’ve noticed recently is eco nail polish. There are new brands popping up everywhere!

What are your top tips for seeking out authentic eco beauty?

Check the ingredients and look out for certification and industry standards. These companies know that more and more consumers are looking for eco-friendly and natural beauty products, so they market them accordingly. Having a peek at the list of ingredients is a quick way to check out whether they are for real or not. If the list is miles long and full of ridiculously long names, it’s probably not very natural!

What are your favourite products and why?

I love A’Kin’s Cellular Radiance Serum as my skin has been quite dry and this serum hydrates it beautifully without being oily. I also love Adorn Mineral Cosmetics primer as it’s perfect under any makeup and, between the two products, I don’t need to use a moisturiser any more. When the weather is cooler, I also love Montville Organic Skincare body butter.

What can people expect when they visit your blog?

A collection of all the things I love and am passionate about: eco-fashion, organic beauty, vegan food and simple living.


Elena Lipson

Elena Lipson’s goal is to empower women to make informed choices. “Recently, my family lost a friend to ovarian cancer; a cousin is battling breast cancer and my mother has been diagnosed with skin cancer,” she says. “Each of these women works with products that are riddled with toxic chemicals. Two have been in the beauty industry for over 20 years — the very industry that promises to make us beautiful and more youthful is slowly making us sick. My mission is to show women another way.”

Why is natural, organic beauty so important?

Choosing natural, organic beauty is one of the best ways we can honour our place on this earth and ourselves as women. This may seem like a big responsibility for someone simply picking out a lipstick, but your choice of the product on the shelf creates consequences that stretch beyond the shade of lipstick we choose. Buying conventional makeup tells the company we are fine with the way things are; that we are fine with the approximately 1200 known toxins found in beauty products.

How did you become so interested in spreading the word?

I worked in and managed beauty salons for eight years. During that time I saw my friends getting sick and several dying of cancer. I would never have linked their illness and death to the products we were exposed to day in and day out. My eyes were truly opened when my son was born in 2005. He was experiencing rashes and allergies on his precious newborn skin. This is how I started researching the possible causes and began to learn about the myriad chemicals and toxins in our home and our life.

What are the trends you see coming up in the eco beauty market?

People want to know how they can use natural products like coconut oil and almond oil and even avocado to create their own beauty products.

What are your top tips for seeking out authentic eco beauty?

1 Bookmark a site like cosmeticsdatabase.com so you can research ingredients and brands. You can get an application for your phone and research right in the beauty aisle.

2 Do an inventory of what you are using and become familiar with the terminology of the top 10 toxins. I have a list on my site: www.theecodiva.com/safe-cosmetics/twelve-of-the-most-toxic-ingredients-in-personal-care-products/

3 Be willing to change. Don’t just do something because you’ve always done it.

What are your favourite products and why?

I am a big believer in less is more. For moisturiser I use raw organic cold-pressed coconut oil. In the morning I use organic almond oil. My skin has never looked better. Three makeup brands I am using are Alima Pure, RMS Beauty and Marina Cosmetics.

What can people expect when they visit your blog?

My honest opinion, my story and my ever-changing journey to live a life based on following my intuition, holistic beauty and juicy moments. I am currently on a 30-day raw diet and, truly, this is the best thing I’ve ever done for my “beauty routine”.


Shannon Dunn is a writer and eco-beauty editor. Visit her website www.ecobeautyeditor.com. Email her at shannon@ecobeautyeditor.com.


Shannon Dunn

Shannon Dunn is a journalist, author and writer who specialises in holistic wellness, self-empowerment and natural beauty — from the inside out. The mum-of-one is founder of the popular holistic beauty blog Eco Beauty Editor and a conscious public relations company, Communeco. When she’s not writing and spending time with her family, Shannon can be found sweating it up at her local hot yoga studio.