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New York Times best selling author Sophie Uliano shares natural beauty tips

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Sophie Uliano is very passionate when it comes to healthy living. She loves sharing her tips with her friends, and fans, which also includes celebrities such as Julia Roberts. Her passion for healthy living led her to write Gorgeously Green, which landed in the hands of Oprah Winfrey, and instantly became a NY Times bestseller. She also made and appearance on the Oprah show sharing her tips with the world. Sophie is also a lifestyle/beauty expert. Recently, I caught up with Sophie and she shared some spring beauty tips and some of nature's hidden beauty.

Nikki: What made you decide to pursue a path in Natural Beauty?

I am passionate about trying to be a bit more earth-friendly in all that I do and I am passionate about beauty, so it seemed like a perfect fit. I wanted to find amazing products that were healthy as well as really effective! I want to educate women so that they can be empowered to make better choices. Sometimes we don’t make healthy choices because we don’t know any better. With more knowledge, though, it becomes easier to make a healthier choice in your beauty routine or a choice that you feel is more in line with your overall lifestyle and goals.

Nikki: When it comes to the term "eco," explain to us what that means.

"Eco" is short for ecologically-friendly meaning a product that doesn't harm our air, water or soil, which, in turn, won't harm our body.

Nikki: A lot of beauty products on the market may not be so eco-friendly. What are some of the things that we should look for on labels when trying to adapt an eco beauty routine?

I recommend considering the following:

1. What preservative(s) are they using? Are they natural or artificial? I recommend going paraben and phenyoxyethanol free. However, you also need to make sure the product you are buying has a clear expiration date because this is an indicator of natural active ingredients.

2. Try to avoid products that contain the ingredient "fragrance" or "parfum," unless you know it’s a natural fragrances. Otherwise, you might be smelling synthetic fragrance and potentially harmful chemicals.

3. There are some chemical ingredients in sunscreens that are actually thought to promote skin cancer. I recommend sunscreens that use the mineral blocks zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Nikki: What are some beauty brands on the market that are eco-friendly?

I love Tom’s of Maine for natural oral and personal care, Badger Balm or Suntegrity for sunscreens and John Masters for hair. Switching to a natural toothpaste or sunscreen – something you use daily or often during the week - is a great place to start to move toward a more natural beauty routine.

Nikki: Will you share with us some good cost efficient eco-beauty finds?

Tom’s of Maine natural toothpaste and floss are a good way to take care of your smile, which people notice right away. They are a brand that has been making natural products for more than 40 years and have an affordable selection at stores nationwide. Other cost-efficient natural brands include: Derma E (for anti-aging skin care), and John Masters hair care.

Nikki: When searching for natural beauty products, what key ingredients should we be looking for?

It depends on which kind of product you are looking for. In general, look for products that are scented or flavored with pure essential oils (I really like peppermint for toothpaste, and lavender for body lotion). Look for body lotions and face creams that are loaded with plant oils and plant butter such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter, mango butter and cocoa butter. For anti-aging skin care, look for antioxidants such as green tea.

Nikki: When a beauty product label states that it's 100% natural, can we trust that?

You need to look at what’s inside products and go beyond that front label. Read the ingredient list (and less is more)! More importantly, check out the company online where they should provide full ingredient lists and also talk about their commitment to sustainability/ethical practices etc. You can generally get a good sense from exploring a website. If you aren't satisfied with the info they provide, don't be afraid to ask questions.

Nikki: What other tips can you share with us on healthy and eco-friendly living?

Check the shelf-life of the product that you are buying. The fresher the skin care product, the more effective and active the ingredients are likely to be.

At this time of year, I like to think of the most important actions that everyone can take to lessen their footprint on the planet. Here are 3 important ones:

1. Eat less meat, especially red meat. If you can give it up altogether, you are doing a huge favor to yourself and the planet.

2. Eliminate single-use plastics. There is no need to drink your water from a bottle that gets immediately disposed of. If you need to grab one occasionally, that's fine, but 90% of the time take a reusable bottle with you.

3. Demand transparency (social media helps with this) about what is in everyday products you use. As consumers, we can and have to take charge of our health and our future by asking companies for clean and safe products!

9. How can readers connect with you via social media?

@sophieuliano on Twitter and Gorgeously Green on Facebook.

Thanks for your time. I look forward to reading more of your tips in the future.

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