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Varying Shades of Green Beauty

Post from Manhattan Mindsan inspired blog on New York City Art, Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle, by the Founder, Mona Maine de Biran...

It is easy to identify green beauty as one of the biggest growth areas of the beauty industry. The estimated market in the neighborhood of $13 billion a year is just huge! It is a whole lot harder, however, to define what fits into the green category.

In the beauty world, green seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

Botanicals? Chemical free? Cruelty free? Vegan? Organic? Natural? Sustainably Sourced? Recyclable? What qualifies as green? Just like there are various levels of vegetarian, there are varying shades of green beauty.

There are no-meat eaters who take the most leeway with dairy and eggs and then there is the extreme raw veggie-only crowd. Like veganism, green beauty is a sliding scale.

Though I’ve met vegan, wannabe meat-eaters who satisfied their cravings for meaty flavors with soy-based sausages and tofu cheese, I never met someone who wanted to feel toxic and dirty. Have you?

With green beauty brands it all boils down to different levels of commitment.

New to the green conversation right now is cannabis. Little indie companies had experimented before – as cannabis is known as an anti-inflammatory – but the Estee Lauder Companies has stepped up the game. The launch of Origins’ “Hello, Calm” mask, which uses non-intoxicating cannabis sativa seed oil from the hemp plant, was a milestone.

Estee Lauder, herself, was known for being a fidgety and hyperactive personality. Had it been legal in her times, I’m guessing Estee would have enjoyed using more than just a little mask to chill.

To make matters even more confusing for the consumer, what qualifies as green is even more complicated when it comes to fragrances.

Semantics are even more particular when it comes to scent. There are green fragrances – as having one of the aforementioned green qualifiers – and there are “green notes” – which are green leaves, green tea and grass, among others. Then, there are some fragrances that have both, just like KIERIN NYC’s new, spring scent — 10 a.m. Flirt.

According to Modeliste and New Yorker Magazines, 10a.m. Flirt is the “it” spring fragrance. Described as a unique fragrance with a fresh, green, grassy, fig scent it has a magnetic vibe that reserves its most memorable notes for those you allow to get close. The olfactive harmony of the fragrance, for those connoisseurs, is woody-green with notes of gardenia, fig and cashmere wood.

Even the celebrated “scentertainer”, @CubaKnow — a well-known and wickedly hilarious YouTube and Instagram sensation I recommend you check out — ranked 10 a.m. Flirt as his favorite green, fig niche-fragrance for under $100.


KIERIN NYC is touted as a “disruptive” and “uncompromising” new niche-perfume house challenging the rules of fragrance. The brand produces only clean, conscious, cruelty-free, unisex scents for men and women. Their products are also free of skin allergens, vegan, sustainably sourced and recyclable. Clearly, KIERIN NYC weighs heavy on the scale of green commitment.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of seriousness when it comes to green choices, by voting with your wallet for “green beauty” brands you can feel like you are headed in the right direction.

For years, science and technology have been pouring into research and development of new green products. This mean there’s little to no sacrifice in efficacy, benefits or even just the look, feel or smell between the new goodness and the old badness of a previous generation.

What’s stopping you from going green with your beauty regiment?

Your skin will thank you: Artificial fragrances and colors can be irritating and aggravating, while so many botanicals are known for their healing, calming and soothing properties.

Your health will thank you: Toxins are linked to a host of scary illnesses, including different forms of cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Earth will thank you: Green beauty products, generally, are kinder on the planet to both our current and future generation’s benefit. Some of the packaging features may even include recycled or recyclable materials (two different shades of green). Many nowadays are both.

You may not believe in all the claims green beauty brands make about the benefits to wellness they offer. But there can be no doubt that green beauty, at the very least… does less harm.

So, do us all and yourself a favor. Step on the green scale. Read the packaging labels before you buy that fragrance, shampoo or cream. Use your brain and read between the lines (very often is what they are NOT saying that also matters).

Green beauty is such a runaway success the industry these days that every brand is doing what they can to ride on the wagon. What the brand is NOT saying about its commitment to green, clean or cruelty-free is as important as the message it is telling you.

Here are some tips to get you started: when a fragrance won’t say it is “vegan”, then it likely contains animal products. A perfume that refuses to claim it is a “cruelty-free” product, is likely testing on animals which is torcher to those little fury creatures your children would rather cuddle. A brand that makes no statement about being clean or conscious, is mostly likely on some scale of toxicity and use of non-recyclable materials.

An oil drum, once emptied, is refillable.

Don’t be tricked with some companies’ work-arounds and gimmicks. Being able to refill a bottle may save you money but, despite what those companies may infer, it falls no where on any green spectrum.

Just because you can refill it, doesn’t mean it was recycled, recyclable, sustainably sourced or that the contents or container are kind or good for you or the Earth. A "Free Refill" is mostly just soft on your dollar.

So, as a woke individual, I encourage you to go for it! Whether you go slow-mo or whole hog, you’ll be glad you took some action.

How often to you vote green with your wallet and choices? Manhattan Minds wants to know! FOLLOW and JOIN the conversation on social media: @ManhattanMinds on Instagram, Pinterest , Facebook , LinkedIn and @Manhattan_Minds on Twitter.

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Author: Mona Maine de Biran

Manhattan Minds is an inspired blog on New York City Art, Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle.

© 2018-2019 Mona Maine de Biran / Manhattan Minds All Rights Reserved