Written by GOOD magazine features editor Siobhan O’Connor and L.A. journalist Alexandra Spunt, "No More Dirty Looks" seeks to turn the beauty seekers into eco-thinkers. This book isn’t about scaring you about chemicals in your makeup bag so much that you end up embracing a frizzy-haired, patchouli-scented hippie look (not that there’s anything wrong with frizz or patchouli). Instead, "No More Dirty Looks" is about looking better by making smarter beauty choices.
After all, we all know the unfortunate foibles of less-than-natural beauty remedies. Health issues aside, anyone who has ended up with an orangey-looking tan, brittle yellowish nails or over-processed damaged hair knows that expensive chemical-laden products can create more beauty problems than they solve. In fact, "No More Dirty Looks" begins with the authors getting Brazilian blowouts — which looked good briefly but ended badly.
“The shine had gone matte, our ends were decimated, and we had crowns of flyaways that were most certainly not there before.” That $400 treatment-gone-wrong got the girls investigating. The two soon learned about a woman who had died from getting this toxic, formaldehyde-filled hair treatment!
"No More Dirty Looks" goes through a scary laundry list of reasons why you should avoid the nasty, chemical-filled stuff — and how hard it is to do just that. Thanks to lax laws, the FDA has little power to regulate the beauty industry, which means many potentially dangerous ingredients are allowed to be used. Worse, some of these scary chemicals aren’t even listed on the ingredient lists! Formaldehyde is disguised under monikers like cormalin and methyl aldehyde; 1,4-dioxane escapes mention via a loophole because the carcinogen is considered a byproduct exempt from listing requirements, and all sorts of chemicals can remain anonymous under the one-word ingredient “fragrance.”
To add insult to injury, many of these dangerous “beauty” products don’t actually make you look good — especially not in the long term. Want lighter skin? Hydroquine can give you that — along with bluish-black lesions. Pretty nails? Toulene in your polish has you covered, until the chemical makes your nails turn brittle and break off. Sweat-free pits? Aluminum will keep you dry as a robot — and decorate your white T-shirts with yellow stains.
After a couple of chapters detailing the dirty side of conventional “beauty,” "No More Dirty Looks" shows you how you can stop sabotaging your looks and health by making smarter, prettier and greener decisions. Each chapter tackles a beauty topic — starting with your hair — and shows you what’s wrong with conventional habits and how to change your ways. The advice of course includes picking better-for-you products — along with recommendations for specific tried-and-true green beauty elixirs — but also goes beyond ingredient lists to suggest changing up your beauty routine altogether.
The suggestions range from the minor — like Siobhan’s decision to get fewer highlights — to the extreme, like Alexandra’s choice to stop washing her hair
. Yes, you read that right — not “washing her hair less” or “washing her hair with baking soda instead of shampoo.” Alexandra stopped washing her hair — period — and now says “dirty has started to feel like the new clean.” Her hair looks pretty to me, at least in the press photo above!
I especially loved the chapters in "No More Dirty Looks" on changing your diet and your life — because what we eat, what we do, and what we think generally affects our looks a whole lot more than what we put on our bodies. Pick up the book to get the full range of beauty tips, from the truly hippie (cheap DIY tricks that could leave you looking prettier than ever!) to the extravagantly eco-luxe (high-end green brand products that are eco, effective, and expensive!). The paperback costs $14.95.
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