7 Simple Ways to Go Green in Your Beauty Routine

Back when we were little girls, we thought the prettiest colors were pink or baby blue. Now we know the true color of beauty is green, as in making eco-friendly products and practices a daily part of our looking-great regimen. Here’s a green tip for every day of the week.


Recycle your beauty packaging. You faithfully toss newspapers, milk cartons, cans and bottles into the recycling bin, but the habit probably stops at the bathroom door. “We know that the vast majority of people don’t recycle what’s in their bathrooms,” says Jenny Rushmore, global sustainability leader for Procter & Gamble’s beauty and grooming division. “But there’s a lot that could be recycled, including any plastic containers that have the number 1 or 2 on the bottom, such as shampoo and conditioner bottles.” Most municipalities don’t recycle plastic lids, caps or tops, so toss these separately into the regular trash.


Shave time off your showers. You’re using an average of five gallons of water for every minute you spend in the shower, says Sara Snow, host of Discovery Channel’s “Living Fresh” and “Get Fresh With Sara Snow” and author of the eco-guide Sara Snow’s Fresh Living. Cut your shower time by a minute or two and you can save 200 or 300 gallons of water every month. Even better, install a low-flow showerhead and you’ll cut your water consumption by another half.


Conserve water while you wash your face. Every minute you leave the tap running while you apply cleanser and massage it into your skin, two or more gallons of water escape down the drain. Instead, wet your hands, turn off the faucet, apply cleanser to your face, scrub away and don’t turn the tap back on until you’re ready to rinse.


Cut down on packaging by using multitasking products. Try two-in-one shampoo-conditioners, body washes that also moisturize, razors that have shave gel built right in and hardworking cosmetics like a stain that you can use on your cheeks, eyes and lips. Added benefits: less clutter on your vanity and less strain on your beauty budget!


Practice energy efficiency when you dry your hair. Instead of blow-drying your locks straight out of the shower, let your hair air-dry until it’s at least 50 percent dry. “It’s a win-win situation because you’re using less energy and you’re preserving the health of your hair by minimizing heat exposure,” says Rushmore. “And since it’s only in the last few minutes of drying your hair that the real styling takes place, you’re not compromising your look at all.”


Opt for reusable rather than disposable cosmetic tools. Instead of sponges, use brushes (you can find earth-friendly ones made with bamboo handles and animal-free taklon bristles). Or, gain mastery with the favorite application tool of The Style Glossy beauty blogger Tasha Reiko Brown -- your fingers. “The heat of your fingers will blend cream products like foundation or concealer into your skin seamlessly,” she says. Added plus: You’ll likely pick up less product with your fingers than you would with a brush, so your cosmetics will last longer and your makeup will look more natural.


Relax with a sudsy foot soak instead of a bubble bath. A bath can use 50 to 75 gallons of water. Instead, for a de-stressing time-out, fill a pretty basin or bowl with warm water, add your favorite bubbles or a few drops of essential oils like rose, lavender or jasmine, and add a few marbles or pebbles to roll under your toes and soles for a do-it-yourself reflexology massage. Have a garden? Throw some fresh herbs or the petals from your favorite flower into the bowl.

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Photo: @iStockphoto.com/Blend_Images

The Spring Beauty Diet

Want more beautiful skin and hair? Celebrate the warm weather with regular visits to your local farmers market. If winter is the season for bundling up in cashmere and braising rich stews and hearty soups, then spring is the time to not only brighten up our wardrobes, but also sate our palates with a colorful bounty of fruits and vegetables.

“Eating off the vine and onto the plate offers the best flavor and optimal nutrition,” explains nutritionist Jackie Keller, author of Body After Baby: A Simple, Healthy Plan to Lose Your Body Weight Fast. “And it’s widely known that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats will benefit the appearance of your hair, skin and nails.”

So as we spring forward, lighten your load, leave behind those heavy foods and fats, and do some spring dietary cleaning by indulging in these healthy and delicious fresh foods.

“When it comes to vitamin C, don’t just think oranges. Consider strawberries too,” says nutritionist Christine Avanti, author of Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food: Kick Your Fake Food Habit, Kickstart Your Weight Loss. These delicacies not only taste great, but are also loaded with skin-enhancing vitamin C, which, according to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, may help ward off wrinkles by promoting collagen synthesis and production. Added bonus: Vitamin C’s load of antioxidants brightens skin by mopping up free radicals produced from too much sun exposure.

With its high calcium content, spinach helps thicken hair and strengthen nails. And with vitamin C and A to boot, it helps the hair follicles produce sebum -- the body’s natural hair conditioner that adds shine and strength while preventing dry, brittle hair. “A strawberry and spinach salad is a killer vitamin C combination that tastes great,” says Keller.

There are just 25 calories in eight medium-sized asparagus spears, but that’s enough to provide a full quarter of your recommended intake of vitamin A, a vitamin that’s essential to the maintenance and repair of healthy skin. And since asparagus is 90 percent water, the elegant veggies will help keep you hydrated. “Good hydration is fundamental to skin health and appearance,” explains Keller. As a diuretic, asparagus is also a natural way to get rid of unwanted bloat.

Who doesn’t love peeling away artichoke leaves to get to the heart? Rich in the family of vitamin B’s like folate, artichokes aren’t just good for the heart; the folate also helps encourage healthy hair growth and skin rejuvenation by promoting cell turnover. Keller recommends eating artichokes with low-fat or fat-free yogurt instead of butter so you can take advantage of dairy’s calcium, without extra calories or saturated fat.

Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids and biotin, which help prevent dry skin and brittle hair and nails. “They help keep the skin youthful,” says Avanti. And since avocados are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they are anti-inflammatory
wonders for heart health and circulation too.

Kale, Cantaloupe and Carrots
Want a more attractive hue to your skin? Sure, a pink blush can help, but for a glow that won’t rinse away with your nightly cleanser, try adding a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies to your diet. A new study done in Scotland found that eating foods that are rich in beta-carotene and lycopene led to a rosier skin tone among college students. What’s more, other people rated their skin as more attractive at the end of the six-week study. For the greatest skin boost, fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Dermatologists say every color has its own health- and beauty-boosting benefits!

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/starush

Health, Beauty and Earth Benefits of Vegetables

Want to add more variety and spice to your life? Consider becoming a flexitarian, which involves regularly fitting meatless meals into your diet. Also called “sometime vegetarians” or “temporary vegetarians,” flexitarians enjoy the health benefits of vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds and nuts without forsaking the meat, fish and poultry columns of the menu.

Planet-friendly Benefits of Vegetables
In her weekly newsletter, Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow recently touted the benefits of Meat Free Mondays, a campaign launched by Paul McCartney in the United Kingdom. Going meat-free one day a week is a painless way for people to “do their bit” for the environment, according to the ex-Beatle.  

Consider that it takes about 634 gallons of freshwater to produce a single 5.2 ounce burger patty, but the same amount of tofu requires only 143 gallons. Or that about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of beef protein, whereas a calorie of corn is produced with just 2.2 calories of energy. As Mark Bittman puts it in his book Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating, a steak dinner for the typical family of four uses about the same amount of energy as driving around for three hours in an SUV while you’ve left the lights on back home.

Beauty Benefits of Vegetables
The Meat Free Mondays movement (a sister campaign here in the U.S. is called Meatless Monday) is really about the foods you discover as you put together meals of plant-based ingredients. “It’s amazingly easy to take one day in your week and not eat meat,” says McCartney. “When you think about it, there are so many great alternatives. For instance, in Italian cooking, so many of the dishes are vegetarian already, and Thai and Chinese cuisine are the same. All it means is that you have to think a bit about what you’ll eat that day, but it’s a fun challenge.”

There’s a beauty benefit to vegetarian meals too. Protein is found in every cell, organ and tissue in our bodies and is essential to glossy hair, radiant skin and strong nails. Vegetarian sources of protein -- beans, nuts, lentils, peas, soybeans, and whole grains such as quinoa and kasha -- give you the beauty boost without the fat of animal proteins. A cup of cooked lentils, for example, contains 18 grams of protein but less than 1 gram of fat. Three ounces of porterhouse steak, in comparison, have 19 grams of protein and a whoping 22 grams of fat, according to The Harvard School of Public Health.

Tips From Paltrow’s Chef
Lee Gross, who was once Paltrow’s personal chef and still cooks for her from time to time, says, “consuming a largely vegetarian diet gives me a feeling of lightness and euphoria that I don’t find in a meat-based diet.” Celebrities seem to relish the high of lotus root and tofu as well. Gross is the consulting chef to M Cafe, a trio of contemporary macrobiotic eateries in Los Angeles, where Drew Barrymore, Renee Zellweger, Eva Longoria, Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon regularly dine on dishes like tempeh wraps, shitake-avocado sushi rolls and green kale lemonade. 

A Recipe for You
A favorite on M Chaya’s spring menu, the chickpea and dandelion salad below features dandelion greens, which are slightly bitter and astringent and “balance the richness of the lemon-tahini dressing and frizzled onions beautifully,” says Gross. Feel free to substitute arugula, mache or any other spring greens. And either almond butter or peanut butter can be swapped for the sesame tahini.

Chickpea and Dandelion Salad

Salad Ingredients

15-ounce can organic chickpeas, drained

1/2 cup red Bhutanese rice (or long-grain brown rice), cooked

1 cup celery hearts and inside leaves, sliced thin

1 1/2 cups fresh dandelion greens, washed well, dried and chopped

1/4 cup frizzled onions (recipe follows)

Tahini-lemon dressing (recipe follows)

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Tahini-lemon Dressing Ingredients

1/4 cup sesame tahini

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

To make dressing:
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Adjust dressing with additional sea salt, black pepper or lemon juice, to taste.

To make frizzled onions:
Slice one yellow onion into paper-thin half-moons. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in frypan and add onions. Fry onions over medium heat until they are golden-brown and “frizzled.” Transfer to absorbent towel to drain excess oil. Season with sea salt and reserve.

To assemble salad:

1. Combine chickpeas, cooked rice, celery hearts and dandelion greens in mixing bowl.

2. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of frizzled onions to bowl.

3. Moisten salad with about 1/4 cup tahini-lemon dressing and mix well to combine.

4. Taste salad and adjust with additional dressing, sea salt and black pepper as needed.

5. Transfer salad to serving bowl or platter; drizzle additional dressing, if desired, and garnish with additional frizzled onions.

Vegetarian Proteins for Gorgeous Hair and Skin

Experts have long known that protein is an essential beauty nutrient, helping to replenish skin cells and keep hair and nails growing and healthy. Now there are more ways than ever to get the essential proteins your body needs.

Grocery stores and online specialty shops offer a stunning range of beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains that are high in protein and satiating fiber, low in cost and absolutely luscious. With benefits that go way beyond the cosmetic, these proteins may cut your risk for heart disease and cancer, and they help the planet as well.

“It’s cheaper and healthier to eat vegetarian proteins, because they don’t contain saturated animal fat and the contaminants of production-fed meat,” says Paulette Lambert, director of nutrition at the California Health & Longevity Institute, who advocates quasi-vegetarian diets to help the environment. “Eating one vegetarian meal a week as a family saves 21,000 gallons of water a year.”

Here’s a guide to some of the fashionable and affordable proteins that can add new flavor to your culinary staples.

Heirloom Beans
Bored with black beans and kidney beans? Expand your legume repertoire. Top chefs, like Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame, are turning to heirloom beans that have been cultivated for centuries without genetic modification and are now being rediscovered and replanted. There are about 10,000 varieties of legumes, carrying exotic names such as Tongues of Fire, so you’ll never have trouble finding something novel to try.

Consider dense Yellow Indian Woman beans and Good Mother Stallard beans, a meaty chef favorite. Both are available at ranchogordo.com for $4.95 a pound and offered at some of the top restaurants in the country. They’re easy to prepare and great for soups, chili and spreads.

You can order fruity Moon beans and creamy Red Scarlet Runner beans at nativeseeds.org for $4 per pound. Or visit zursunbeans.com to explore a wide selection that includes marbled chestnut-flavored Jackson Wonders, which date back to 1888 and are delicious when cooked simply with butter, garlic and fresh herbs.

Loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients, beans help manage blood glucose levels and weight. You’ll find basic cooking directions as well as recipes for soups, stews, dips, chili and bean salads on each of the retail Web sites. Or check out the Heirloom Beans cookbook, co-written by Rancho Gordo founder Steve Sando, with an introduction by Keller.

Healthy Whole Grains
Most people think of them merely as carbohydrates, but grains can also pack a powerful protein punch. The ancient grain quinoa, considered sacred by the Incas in the Andes of South America, contains more protein than any other grain.  What’s more, quinoa is a complete protein, which means it has all the essential amino acids for building muscle, skin and bone. With a wonderful nutty flavor, quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice or couscous.

The cereal-like herb amaranth, grown mainly in Asia and Latin America, is also a complete protein. Buy it in bulk for $2 to $3 per pound and use it as a flour substitute for baked goods. Or try buckwheat, sometimes referred to as kasha, which is found in such traditional Jewish foods as knishes and blintzes, Russian pancakes called blinis and in Japanese soba noodles. Buckwheat is not only high in protein and essential amino acids, but it has also been shown to help lower blood glucose levels and cholesterol.

Teff, another high-protein grain from Ethiopia, is used to make that country’s fermented flatbread, called injera. It can be used as a flour substitute in pancakes and breads. Barley, spelt and kamut are also great grains for protein, although it’s best to mix them with other plant proteins, such as nuts, to get all your essential amino acids.

Meat Substitutes
If you’re seeking a veggie alternative that has a meaty texture and versatility, tofu is not the only option. Try meat-like substitutes such as tempeh, made from fermented soy, and seitan, also known as “wheat meat.” They’re both perfect for stir-fry.

Best Indoor Winter Workouts

Don’t let a few inches -- or feet -- of snow and subzero temperatures keep you from getting your best body ever this year. It may be too cold for jogging or playing tennis, but you can break a sweat with these great new indoor workouts.

1. For a fresh spin on spinning, check out RealRyder cycling classes. They feature “unstationary” stationary bikes with frames that tilt 18 degrees, so along with pedaling, you can also lean and steer. That means your whole body -- legs, upper body, glutes and core -- are working. What’s more, as you shift your body from side to side, you come a lot closer to the experience of riding a bike on a curvy road on a windy day. The result: you can count on burning about 20 percent more calories than in a conventional spin class, while getting a good mental workout too. With total focus required, it’s a boredom-buster.

2. Pilates is great for toning and lengthening muscles, but it falls short when it comes to cardio conditioning … until now. Pilates reformer classes equip the classic piece of Pilates equipment with pulleys and springs for a fast-moving workout that will leave you drenched in sweat. Sara Kapuchinski teaches a version of these classes to a roster of celebrities that includes Kim Kardashian, Christina Ricci and Sofia Vergara at her Los Angeles studio, I Heart Fitness XO. “Pilates is great for your core,” she says, “but I wanted to balance that with something that was more cardio-driven without being a boot camp.” For an at-home alternative, consider the CoreBody Reformer by Nautilus ($279 at CoreBodyReformer.com), a portable Pilates system with built-in pulleys and weights, and DVDS that will lead you through Pilates and cardio moves.

3. “Muscle confusion” is the newest science in working out. The principle is that when your body becomes accustomed to a set of exercises it adapts, you stop losing weight or toning up. New at-home programs like P90X and Supreme 90 Day outsmart this plateau by constantly changing up moves so your muscles don’t know what’s coming next. The P90X system includes 12 DVDs -- Supreme 90 Day has 10 -- that take you through different core, cardio, lower-body and upper-body workouts each day. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) tested out various muscle-confusing programs and found them highly effective. Overall, muscle confusion workouts burn more calories, including a higher percentage of fat calories, says an ACE spokeswoman.

Cold-weather Swaps

If you can’t get to your yoga class, try:

“Shiva Rea: More Daily Energy.” This DVD from the celebrity yoga teacher contains seven 20-minute practices for both beginners and advanced yoga students. A customizable yoga matrix allows you to tailor your own workout depending on your energy level, mood and schedule.

If the playground is under a foot of snow, check out:

The “Hoopnotica” collection of fitness hoops and DVDs, and join the new generation of hoopers, including Michelle Obama and Beyonce. You’ll find travel hoops, glow-in-the-dark hoops and beginner hoops. Advanced hoopers also get mini hoops so you can twirl two or more at a single time.

If you don’t have time for a full-length workout, try:

“Exhale: Core Fusion Power Sculpt.” With five 10-minute segments that combine yoga postures and light hand-weights, you can work your biceps and triceps before your morning shower, your core at midday, and your thighs and glutes before bedtime.

If you’d rather stay near the fireplace than venture to your favorite dance class, try:

Zumba Fitness 2 for Nintendo Wii or Zumba Fitness Rush for Kinect for Xbox 360. Both versions include tracks from artists such as Pitbull and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as 24 dance styles, including Latin pop, Bollywood and samba. Want even more moves? Join one of the crews on Dance Central 2 for Kinect for Xbox 360 and get your sweat on to a soundtrack that includes Usher, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Daft Punk and Missy Elliott.