Retool Your Beauty Routine

By Einav Keet

If you think your beauty cabinet passes muster just because you’ve banished parabens, think again. “A health-minded consumer’s responsibility does not end with the purchase of healthy and eco-friendly bodycare products,” says Julie Ebner, founder of Philadelphia’s Juju Spa and Organics. “We must also spend our money wisely on the related accessories.”

Washcloth. Skip the standard washcloth (which can harbor millions of microbes), and try one made of sustainable ayate from agave plants. “The fibers are renowned for their natural antibacterial properties, and these multipurpose cloths can be used wet or dry,” says Ebner. Exfoliate and boost your circulation when you use your ayate washcloth dry, or lather up with it in the shower. Best of all, these cloths resist mildew and can last up to a year.

Makeup Brushes. If you wouldn’t wear a fur coat, you should definitely forgo animal-hair brushes, made from squirrel, mink, sable, horse, and goat hair that’s been inhumanely sourced. “Consumers should demand cruelty-free makeup tools,” says Ebner. Apply your makeup with brushes made from vegan fibers such as nylon. “Not only are these brushes humane, they are nonporous and smooth, providing a more sanitary application.”

Cotton Balls and Swabs. Splurge on organic cotton balls and ear swabs instead of the conventional variety, which often come loaded with insecticides. And while those swabs with the colorful sticks might look pretty, pass on the nonbiodegradable plastic in favor of paper sticks.

Body Brush. Dry body brushing sloughs off dead skin, massages tight muscles, and improves circulation and lymph drainage. Choose a dry brush or loofah made of vegetable fibers, and brush toward the heart to maximize the detoxifying benefits.