Paige from PaigePadgett.com and Erthling talks to us about green beauty in episodes 3, 4 and 5. Paige is a Hollywood makeup artist, who recognized the need for clean beauty products for her celebrity clients over 15 years ago. Her passion for the environment led her into learning about how products are made and how various ingredients impact our bodies and the earth.
Paige graciously helps people find good, green products that align with their own personal values. She sees skin care as a diet. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another. And we each need to define our own unique diet. Ideally we find products that are good for our bodies, good for the earth, are not tested on animals, and are ethically and sustainably sourced. Paige is starting a makeup line called Erthling that does all of these things.
Click play if you would like to listen to our conversation (it was aired in three parts).
Listen to episode 3 (Part 1):
Listen to episode 4 (Part 2):
Listen to episode 5 (Part 3):
Read the transcript: Transcript episode 3 only
6 Simple Ideas to Try:
Here are 6 actions to choose from if you want green beauty to be a larger part of your life:
- Copy & paste the ingredient list to see if a product is safe at Skin Carisma
- Buy Paige’s book! Seriously, Paige’s book made it SO easy to clean my beauty routine. She breaks green beauty down into simple, easy to understand ideas. She then walks you through changing your makeup drawer. And you have the book to reference forever.
- Sign up for Paige’s free 5 Day Clean Beauty Challenge
- Look for the EWG VERIFIED™ or COSMOS seal on the box.
- Research brands and then make a list of your favorite trusted brands so that shopping is faster next time.
- Or, just start one at a time. Next time that you need to replace an item, replace it with a clean one.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through links on this page. Money made on these purchases goes into For Animals. For Earth., helping us reach new people and help more animals. Thank you for your support!
About Our Guest.
Paige joins me from Los Angeles, California, where she is a Hollywood makeup artist and well known green beauty expert. Paige has been working to clean up makeup for over 15 years! She’s a leading influencer in the space of making skin care better for humans, animals, AND the earth.
Paige encourages everyone to learn what works for them as an individual, because not one of us is the same. There are some general rules for choosing makeup, but what one person allows for is not the same as another. We are all as unique as the products we buy.
Paige's Book & Erthling Brand.
Paige authored a book, “The Green Beauty Rules: The Essential Guide to Toxic Free Beauty, Green Glamour, and Glowing Skin”. In the book, she walks people through step by step what to toss, what to try, and what to buy.
Paige is also launching a new vegan beauty line called Erthling that I’m so excited to try! Her first product is called Space Cream, and it’s a bio vegan glitter! It seems to be the first of its kind on the market.
My Favorite Episode Quote.
“Until you have your philosophy down, you cannot really say if it’s a good product or not. You really have to know what you’re looking for and what matters to you and your values, because everyone will have things that work for them and don’t. But ultimately, it’s petroleum.” – Paige Padgett
When Paige was little, she was one of five children. She spent most of her time taking care of her little brothers and sister, so she didn’t have much time to think about makeup. But, she does remember watching her mom get ready to go to the disco in her flowing floral dresses and macrame heels. And she remembers how breathtakingly beautiful her mother was. Paige describes her as being a natural “California beauty”, with a smokey eye and pale lip. Long before smokey eyes were a thing!
As a teenager, Paige found herself with high end tastes loving to read Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar and W. She would spend summers with her aunt who was a hair stylist in a high end salon in Fresno, California. In her salon, they would always have fashion shows playing, and the makeup artist in the salon would do avant garde makeup for fun on Paige. She used to sweep the hair to make a few dollars each day, and she says this is where she first became interested in makeup.
Bring on Palm Springs!
When Paige was 18, she moved to Palm Springs to live with another aunt and cousin. She worked for Sonny and Mary Bono! Most of the time she worked as a journalist for Palm Springs Life Magazine. One day at a photo shoot, she had to cover for the makeup artist, and the stylist. She found that makeup came very easily to her, and that she had fun with it!
But, she didn’t see it as a career, and she really wanted to be a journalist. When she started at UCLA, she already had a journalism career going. She worked for KCAL9 News and put together a successful reel for them, but she didn’t like the sensationalism that came with broadcasting news.
So she went into skin care and holistic wellness when she left school. When she finally found green beauty, she felt that her passion had finally aligned in a way that she could really make a difference in the world.
Beauty is actually the ease of confidence.
Every woman is beautiful. Beauty is actually the confidence and ease of being yourself and showing up in the world as yourself. Paige says that there was a whole chapter about this in her book, but People panned it out! But she does believe that confidence is a huge part of being beautiful. But confidence is hard sometimes. And it comes and goes. Makeup is there to help us in those moments.
It wasn’t easy to be one of the first people in the world trying to change makeup to be clean and nontoxic. Because Paige was a celebrity makeup artist, she was able to help influence the future of makeup. But, there was a lot of pushback because people generally felt that clean makeup did not perform as well. And even to this day, there is still a generational gap in belief around how well clean makeup performs.
Reasons to change to green beauty:
1. Personal Health:
Skin care and makeup absorbs into our bodies, immediately entering the bloodstream. The ingredients inside our products directly impact our health because of this. Many people with autoimmune diseases, cancer, or heavy metal toxicity may find that changing skin care helps them to feel better.
We are a closed circuit. Everything that goes down the drain ends up in our crops and livestock. It flows into our streams and is bio-cumulative and persistent, changing our wildlife, literally while we talk today. If we have a sick planet, we will have sick humans.
Many cosmetics have microplastics and chemicals that go down the drain and cause these environmental problems. The environment is also impacted by how sustainable the natural products are, that go into our skin care. If we deplete the resources, they’re no longer available for their natural need in the ecosystem. Green beauty is important for making sure that products are good for us as individuals, but also for the environment.
3. Cruelty Free (Animals):
Traditionally, skin care and makeup has been tested on animals. The process is extremely painful, and animals are subjected to torture because of this. A lot of progress has been made, but amazingly there are STILL brands who allow for animal testing, even in the United States! And China actually REQUIRES that products be tested on animals before they are released to the public. You can read more about it here.
Wondering if your favorite brand still allows for testing on animals? Here is a List of Brands that Still Test on Animals.
4. Ethical (Child Labor):
Minerals such as mica are commonly used in makeup. It’s important to make sure that child labor is not being used to mine the minerals that go into your products. Look for Fair Trade endorsed items.
Is it called Green Beauty or Clean Beauty?
Paige talks about how beauty products can be clean, but it does not necessarily mean that they are good for the planet (an example is palm oil). Most people, when referring to a product that is holistically good for personal health and the planet, will call it a green product. That’s why Paige uses the term “green beauty” or “sustainable” when she recommends products.
What should I avoid?
Eliminate petroleum, petroleum by-products, mineral oils, and anything processed with petroleum (has “eth” for ethylene in the name of the ingredient).
Paige says that this is only hard in the beginning. Once we define our own personal parameters, and are clear on what we value most, choosing our products becomes much easier.
Paige has something called the 3 P’s: Perfume, Parabens, Petrochemicals. We should try to avoid all of these if possible.
- Perfume is synthetic fragrance. Avoid parfum or “fragrance free”. Fragrance free does not mean that it does not have fragrance. Every product has fragrance to mask smells, even natural products. If it does not say “free of synthetic fragrance”, it is probably not. For clean products, essential oils are typically used, so check your sensitivity to the oils that are included.
- Parabens are the hot topic in a ton of medical research around skin care. A lot is still unknown, but we do know that they are endocrine disrupters. And they’re cumulative through all of the products that we use, so they add up. It’s best to stay away from them.
- Petrochemicals – Not all eth’s are the same. Petrochemicals are a carcinogenic, and in general you want to avoid anything with “eth” in it. But some synthetic ingredients can be safe. We really have to determine what works for us. The EWG and Skin Carisma databases listed below can help us do this.
How do I know if a product is safe?
The easiest way to know if the product we are considering has the 3P’s inside is to look it up on the Environmental Working Group Scale.
Or, we can use my favorite online resource to look it up: the Skin Carisma Ingredient Analyzer. Both of these allow you to type in the brand name or copy and paste in the ingredient names and create a report.
There are some seals that can help us immediately identify if a product is safe by looking at the box. Paige’s favorites are:
Align with brands you trust. It's easier.
The best thing to do is to get to know your companies. What philosophies does the brand align with? What do they allow to be included, and what do they take away? If we can align with brands we know and trust, it’s easier. We don’t have to scrutinize every single ingredient every time we shop.
I'm overwhelmed. Where should I start?
It’s easy to understand why changing to green beauty can be overwhelming. The biggest barriers seem to be knowledge and money. There are a lot of chemicals and ingredients and supply chains involved that are nearly impossible to fully understand. And often, clean brands are more expensive than toxic brands.
I put together a short post that only includes Paige’s Roadmap to Clean Beauty. Use that post if you’re overwhelmed and want an easy way to start.
Here are the highlights:
- Start by going to the clean beauty section of the store. Everything at Whole Foods should be pretty clean. A place like Target, or Sephora, should have a section with only clean products that you can stick to. Weleda is also a great brand to start with.
- Start with the next thing you have to replace. Replace it with a green product.
- If you have a little more money to spend, replace the item that you use most (either every single day or on the largest part of your body).
Your beauty routine is a diet.
Because our skin is such a large organ, and products put onto our skin go directly into our bloodstream, our skin care routine is basically a diet for our body. We can use this to our advantage actually. We can choose to put nutrients that are good for our bodies into our bodies with our skin care.
As individuals, we need to decide what is most important to us. If we have an autoimmune disease, we may be more worried about toxicity than someone else is. If we’re extremely passionate about the environment, we may think it is most important to have products that are sustainably produced. Each person is different, and we should first start by identifying what about green beauty is important to us.
Using pure coconut oil, honey, yogurt, etc.
Paige said that she loves using pure products from the home for skin care. Personally, she breaks out with coconut oil, so she uses it more as a makeup remover and doesn’t put too much on her face. But she loves it.
She also uses eggs for masks. And honey for exfoliating. She also had a great ayurvedic Indian recommendation for lightening sun spots. She says to thin out plain greek yogurt from the grocery store with water and a little lemon to make a light paste. And use this as a mask to condition and lighten sun spots!
These products won’t give us the anti-aging or the textures that we may get from our skin care products, but they are useful. And many people can just get away with these alone.
Paige said she’s currently using Biossance Squalane Oil because it’s more sustainable than other squalane or common oils, like olive oil.
Aluminum, parabens, petrochemicals and fragrance are all problems in deodorant! And if you’ve dipped your toe into green beauty, you’ve probably tried to find an all natural deodorant. So many of us have tried… and so many of us have failed miserably!
I will say that I personally tried for about five years before finding the current deodorant love of my life: Beauty by Earth Sweet Citrus Deodorant. Paige mentions that she likes Freedom Natural Deodorant and Ursa Major Natural Deodorant.
Acne is so tough! We’re not going to use a product if acne happens because of it. Nor will we use it if it doesn’t get rid of our acne. Paige and I talk about this a little bit in this podcast episode, but we have a full interview about fighting acne with clean beauty coming up in episode 6 with the founder of Skin Society, Nga Tran.
And if the episode with Nga is up, please go listen! I think you’ll be excited to hear the conversation if acne is something that you struggle with.
Another note about acne. It’s possible that breakouts are happening because of the products we’re using that could contain toxins. You may find when you put your products into EWG or Skin Carisma that there’s something in them that could be causing the breakouts. It’s just another thought.
And if you’re trying Retinol for acne, she the next section on “Anti-aging” below for thoughts about Retinol.
Paige reminds us that all of these things are temporary fixes. The reality is that we’re going to continue to age – it is a part of life. As much as I like to ignore that fact. :-)
Hyaluronic Acid is synthetically made in a lab, but it’s used a lot in clean beauty and is a great anti-aging ingredient. Peptides are another great thing for anti-aging that can be found in clean beauty products. Collagen as well.
The reality is that taking care of your skin is probably the most important. Exfoliating is really important to do daily. Tammy Fender has a great manual exfoliant that Paige mentions. Sunscreen of course is very important.
Retinol… if you’ve looked into anti-aging you’ve probably come across Retinol. It’s chemically derived from vitamin A. Paige has a whole section about this in her book, but she shares that right now she does not use it. The EWG warns against it because although it does work very well, it exposes your skin and makes it vulnerable. It allows everything to go deeper that enters your skin, so basically exposes you to all of the elements, allowing them to absorb more easily. Most green experts warn against it and most products will not include it.
Paige says that she believes anti-aging is a clinical issue. Long term taking great care of your skin and health is going to be the best bet. Not smoking, eating well, drinking lots of water, eliminating sugar, and exercising will help more than any over the counter lotion.
At the clinic, you can have heat thermal tightening therapies and laser treatments done. Paige mentions Botox and says of course many people are against it. She personally is not that against it. But it really comes down to our own individual choice of what we will allow in our body, and what we won’t.
It’s our own personal skin diet.
Because this is a diet for our skin, it’s like a diet for our body. We should choose what works for us. If we follow the 80/20 rule, it allows us to keep a few of the products we absolutely love. In general, we should aim to have 80% of our skin care and makeup be clean. Then the other 20% can just be what we absolutely love. If you have a red or pink lipstick that is the perfect color for you, and you just don’t want to let it go, keep it! Just clean up as much as you can. And take it slow and gradual. This is the sustainable way to switch over.
Paige talks about how her new makeup line Erthling is starting in plastic containers, and it’s killing her! She really wants to use glass, but for the manufacturer to use glass, there has to be a high volume order, which is nearly impossible to do at launch.
We talk about how this is a very tough thing for brands. I face this problem with the For Animals. For Earth. clothing line too. That being said, things are changing. I’ve seen a drastic difference in just the five years that I’ve been selling clothes. Compostable packaging has been created, and labels can be made with recycled paper and eco-friendly inks. Etsy offsets carbon emissions from shipping. There are more and more things happening daily to help with this.
One tactical idea… Nga Tran from episode 6 of the podcast shares the idea of reusing your makeup and skin care packaging for travel bottles. She sells the product SKIN SOCIETY, and these little bottles are something she struggled with making a decision about as well. Both Paige and I loved this idea of reusing them for travel, or even to mix products inside of them for future use.
Paige is also hoping to do a recycling program with Erthling. This would be a program in which customers could mail back 5-6 empty containers for a free product. She said that MAC and LUSH currently have programs like this.
Erthling is currently a beauty line, with hopes of also becoming a skin care line. The first product coming to market is Space Cream. I literally love this product! It’s a fun bio vegan glitter alternative for people who like to add a little sparkle to their makeup. It’s actually in a skin care cream so it’s good for your body! And for the environment. And it is made with ethically sourced fair trade mica. It can even be used on kids because it has good ingredients inside of it.
You can get on the waiting list here.
What does Paige recommend?
Paige is awesome at giving green beauty recommendations! Every season she puts a new collection in the “Shop” section of her website. So you can go there for the newest trends.
Paige also has an Amazon store. If you’re an Amazon shopper, you can purchase her product recommendations immediately there.
Instagram: @PaigePadgett (Paige says feel free to DM her here with questions.)
And to sign up for the Erthling wait list, go to the @we.are.erthling Instagram feed.
Disclaimer: Some links in this post refer you to shops that Paige and I earn money from on qualifying purchases (Credo and Amazon). Money made on these purchases goes into helping us bring you more clean and ethical recommendations. Thank you for your support!