March 27th, 2015
At Whole Foods, customers are awakening to the idea that what you slather on your body is as important as the food you ingest, so borrowing a page from major fashion and beauty retailers, the business we tend to think of as a super health food market recently launched a Beauty Week Event March 19 to 22 to call attention to its Whole Body department.
The event focused on introducing personal care products made from naturally derived ingredients, as well as raising awareness of its weekly 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday DIY classes in making such basic items as lip, face and body scrubs, and food-based masks.
Said Whole Body Associate Team Leader Tiffany Jones, "Skin is the largest organ and what goes on skin, goes inside. But not many people think about that."
With a background in the mainstream beauty industry, Jones said the idea of naturally derived beauty products did not always appeal to her.
"I thought of it as hippie stuff," she said.
There's been an assumption that organic, naturally derived beauty products are not as effective as possibly synthetic counterparts, and I have friends who have blurted with conviction, "I need chemicals!"
I do try a lot of different products and my results have convinced me that organic, plant-based products can be just as potent, if not even more powerful than those containing manmade ingredients. Fruit acids do a good job of sloughing off debris and dead skin, and among the brands featured during Beauty Week was Juice Beauty, a skincare and color line based on fruit and botanical ingredients.
For typical Whole Foods customers, who care about what they ingest, it isn't much of a leap to take the next step and make similar choices about what they put on their bodies. Jones said a lot of customers are new parents who want to start their kids on track to a healthy life.
Many chemicals used in the beauty industry have been shown to contribute to cancers, hormonal disruptions, headaches, allergies, nervous system disruption, fatigue and more adverse reactions.
To protect consumers, the European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals from cosmetic products. To compare, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned only 10.
Based on its own research, Whole Foods has identified 400 ingredients they consider unacceptable, including parabens, polypropylene and polyethylene glycols, sodium lauryl and laureth sulfates.
Jones said that at a minimum, bath, body and skincare lines carried by Whole Foods contain no artificial preservatives, colors and fragrances, and no parabens. In addition, premium lines contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients, "Customers looking for those premium products can feel comfortable that they will find products that work and are good for them," Jones said.
Among the most popular brands are John Masters and Andalou, and about a dozen Hawaii brands are featured, including Honey Girl honey-based skincare products, Bubble Shack soaps, and Puna Noni skincare products featuring noni-based soaps, body wash, shampoos and hand and body lotions.
"Times are changing and as customers are becoming more aware, more companies are changing their products to be organic and performance based.”
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.