By Jeanine Behr Getz

Photography by ChiChi Ubiña

Darby Cartun, a sought after self esteem motivational speaker and host of AM1490WGCH radio show Darby and Friends. Darby reminded FCL how simple looking and feeling beautiful can be in this over complicated world and inspired FCL to look within.

FCL: What are your favorite beauty products and secrets?

DC: All my decisions begin with “is this healthy”? I don’t really have a “brand” allegiance, sometimes the labels don’t tell the full story on ingredients. Believe it or not, I like to make my own beauty recipes and I like to use what I have on hand in the kitchen.

My top beauty secrets are:

  1. Drink enough water everyday
  2. Get enough sleep
  3. Exercise
  4. Always be open to learn
  5. And use the products you have at home

Looking and feeling eco beautiful doesn’t have to always be expensive nor complicated.

FCL: What top chemicals do you avoid in your beauty regime?

DC: Fragrance, parabens, formaldehyde. I carry a wallet card to cross reference chemicals to avoid.

FCL: Did you have an eco beauty “aha” moment? When was that?

DC: I had two vivid experiences in my life that inspired and sustained my eco beauty regime. The first inspiration was when I attended a boarding school in West Virginia. My schoolmates were from all over the world and on some Saturday nights they would cook up home beauty remedies and showed me how simple and effective these were. My second was when I lived with a host family while studying in Florence. My host mother would leave out cantaloupe for me when I would return from a night out. No spoon, fork, plate…I thought it was odd. Finally I asked her why she didn’t leave utensils; she replied that the cantaloupe was for my skin. The antioxidants rejuvenate tired skin.

FCL: If our readers could walk away from our interview with a new eco beauty idea for 2011, what would that be?

DC: There are no quick beauty fixes, take time to seek out and repurpose natural ingredients you have at home.

Tanya Murphy is a devoted health awareness champion, an active community member and board member of Mt. Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center and Healthy Child Healthy World.

FCL: What do you consider “eco” or “clean” beauty products?

TM: I look for products that don’t use chemical fragrance. Fragrance on labels may include any of 3,163 different chemicals. 95% of the chemicals in fragrance are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum.

FCL: What are your favorite beauty products?

TM: I use a lot of Trader Joe’s products because most of them are chemical fragrance free and the company has an initiative to use healthy and organic ingredients.

FCL: What other chemicals do you try to avoid in your beauty products?

TM: Phthalates and formaldehyde. Phthalates, hormone disrupting chemicals, can be found in chemical fragrances. Formaldehyde, can be found in nail polish, nail hardener, shampoos, hair gel, baby personal care products and cosmetics. The trouble is, these chemicals are not always clearly listed on cosmetic labels.

FCL: For some of us, changing our “routines” is challenging, what piece of advice as a first step in the New Year would you give us?

TM: Become educated! The places I have learned the most from are Mt. Children’s Environmental Health Center and Healthy Child Healthy World and Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.

FCL: What were your eco beauty “aha” moment and your inspiration for keeping an eco beauty regime?

TM: My inspirations are my children, Liam and Faithe. When I was pregnant with my eldest, a close family member was suffering from chemical sensitivity issues. In my search for an education I found Dr. Philip Landrigan, the Chief of the Preventative Medicine Department at Mt. Sinai. I saw him interviewed by Bill Moyer and he said, “Children are not simply ‘little adults’. They are uniquely sensitive to toxic exposures in the environment. Toxic exposures in early life can effect health and cause disease in childhood and across the entire human life span”. This inspired me to do my best at removing as many man-made chemicals from my environment, not only for my sake, but for my unborn baby’s and children’s health.

Elisabeth Wolfe is co-author of Click! The Girl’s Guide to Knowing What You Want and Making It Happen, and an Emmy and Peabody Award winning co producer with HBO of Classical Baby.

FCL: What is your inspiration for your eco beauty regime?

EW: I became interested in learning more about the health risks of environmental exposures when one of my kids developed allergies. I am just learning about all this, I try to be realistic and look for products that are safe for people and the environment.

FCL: What have been some of your favorite eco beauty discoveries?

EW: 1. Eco-lips lip balm. It contains 99% certified organic ingredients and comes in flavors my kids love too.

2. For dry dull “winter” skin, a bottle of Safflower Oil from the grocery store goes a long way. Put in a spray bottle and spritz oil on skin, avoiding face area because it could clog pores. My dermatologist, Dr. Amy Weschler recommended this for dry skin once, and it works!

3. I always ask for a "buff” manicure or pedicure when I go to the nail salon which means they clean and shine my nails without nail polish. It lasts a long time, doesn't chip, and I end up saving time (no need to wait for nails to dry), money, and minimizing exposure to chemicals.

FCL: What eco beauty product have you most recently switched to? Why?

EW: I am always checking out new products. It's fun! I recently tried and loved the Inika line of mineral cosmetics, recommended by a friend in the UK. The Burts Bees lip gloss and lip shimmer line is widely available and easy to throw in your purse. Jane Iredale bronzers, blushes and eye shadow are great as well! Olivier makes a great moisturizer for dry skin called Creme.

FCL: What is your greatest eco beauty indulgence?

EW: A transcendental facial with Robin Queen. It's out of this world, literally!

FCL: If there were three things you would recommend as first steps for a new 2011 eco beauty regime, what would they be?

EW: Don’t go it alone. Make it fun! Explore with friends. Connect with others in your community who care about eco-causes and compare notes. The Mount Sinai Greening Our Children luncheon on May 9th at the Greenwich Hyatt (Elisabeth is co-chairing with Eunice Burnett) is a great way to learn about eco-friendlier products and talk to eco-beauty business owners. Also, look for many other green events and expos year round.

- Go at whatever pace works for you. I think just being more aware that there are lots of great options available is a great first step. Each year, there will be more products to try!

- Check out Environmental Working Group’s skin deep database. You may be surprised to find out that your “tried and true” product isn't as toxic as you may fear (or even that a “natural” or “green” brand isn’t so safe either). I still use Clinique "all about eyes" under eye cream which is ranked a 3 out of 10 on the skin deep database.

Jeanine Getz, our Eco Editor, is an author and founder of Kids Think Big, LLC. She is committed to environmental advocacy locally, nationally and abroad. She works with organizations, including National Audubon Society, Mt. Sinai’s Children’s Environmental Health Center, Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Seeds of Green to raise awareness and to improve the health of our children and the natural habitats that teach, inspire and sustain us all.