Being fashionably green is about more than just what you wear. It's also about the other things we put on our bodies such as sunscreen and even shampoo. Here are my top seven ways to be green from head to toe.
Pick safer personal care products
Many personal care products contain untested chemicals and estrogen-mimicking preservatives like paraben. Some ingredients can't even be found on the ingredient list because they're hidden under the term "fragrance." Visit CosmeticDatabase.org to easily find what's in all the products you use and how they compare with others available on store shelves.
Buy better makeup
There's nothing pretty about what could be lurking in your favorite blush, lipstick or eyeliner. Some brands contain mercury, lead or chemicals that are known to cause everything from cancer to reproductive problems. Again, CosmeticDatabase.org is a good place to start researching the products you use. You can search by specific brands and product names.
Shop for safer sunscreen
Your best bet when picking sunscreens is to buy ones that contain zinc and titanium. The Environmental Working Group recommends avoiding oxybenzone because it is suspected of altering hormonal systems. The EWG has an online sunscreen guide (breakingnews.ewg.org/2011sunscreen/) that rates hundreds of sunscreens by safety and tells you what's the best and what's the worst. They also have a free smart phone app.
Be a resale shop regular
Resale shops are the perfect places to get a steal of a deal on gently used clothing, shoes and accessories. There are specific chains that specialize in all kids' clothing, and you can sell back what your children have outgrown. And don't forget your local Goodwill. Many locations are being updated to look like department stores, and you can put together a complete look for an unbelievable price.
Rent high-fashion clothes and accessories
You know the problem with trendy clothes and accessories. One day they're in and the next day they're out. Consider renting instead of spending top dollar for items that will be used occasionally. Go to DoYourPart.com/Columns to see my favorite rental sites. www.weartodaygonetomorrow.com/Default.asp
Opt for organic cotton
Make a fashion statement by opting for organic cotton. Twenty-five percent of all insecticides and 10 percent of all pesticides are used on conventionally grown cotton. That doesn't even account for all the chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Organic cotton clothing may cost you a little bit more but it is almost always softer and makes a big green fashion statement.
When you're no longer wearing what's in your closet, do some good with it all. Soles4Souls (www.soles4souls.org/) collects gently used shoes for people in need around the world. Goodwill takes all kinds of clothing to sell in order to raise money for job training programs. And, Dress For Success (www.dressforsuccess.org) wants business-appropriate clothing for women in need who are going on job interviews.
Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of "Do Your Part: A Practical Guide for Everyday Green Living" available at DoYourPart.com.