Leave A Mark, Not A Mess: 3 Rules To Follow For Safer Beauty Buys

Earth Day is perhaps the biggest vastly under-celebrated holiday of the year.

Call me a tree-hugging dandelion or a environmental compost freak (I find those compliments, btw), but humans are destroying Earth.

Some things to consider: Climate experts estimate if the ice caps continue melting at their current rate, the entire East Coast of the United States will be underwater in 100 years or less.

And, since 1970, we’ve killed more than half of all animal species on the planet.

Al Gore has even said,

In our everyday experience, if something has never happened before, we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future, but the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions.

Sure, you recycle paper and plastics, but you're probably not doing all you can to really make a difference.

So, what can you do that won't totally trip up your routine?

In honor of Earth Day, we investigated our favorite subject -- beauty, duh -- and rounded up a list of earth-friendly buys that really work.

Fellow Earthlings read on, and remember it’s up to us to save the planet and ourselves.

Going organic means you'll leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Impact: Going organic helps reduce pollution. Plants grown with pesticides and insecticides leech chemicals that seep into water supplies, poisoning animals and throw off the ecosystem’s balance.

Organically-grown plants have a smaller carbon footprint than traditionally-grown plants -- meaning  you'll leave a less harmful impact on the atmosphere.

How You Can Help: Proving something is “organic” can be tricky. There’s little regulation over the use of the word, and companies often falsely use the label.

To know a product is formulated with “clean” ingredients (at least 70 percent worth) you’ll want to look for the USDA Certified Organic label on the packaging, and check the ingredients list.

Just a tip: Being able to pronounce everything on the label is a good indicator there isn’t anything too sketchy in there (like synthetic chemicals or toxic carcinogens). Still, always research unfamiliar-sounding ingredients to be sure.

Who You Can Trust: Weleda, Neal’s Yard Organics

Favorite Finds: Weleda’s Skin Food ($19) is a cult favorite among models and celebs (including Lindsey Wixon and Alexa Chung), and for good reason: It’s all your top kitchen finds packed into one. The goods are made with rosemary, sunflower and sweet almond oils, which are incredibly hydrating and great for sensitive skin.

Another pick: Neal’s Yard Organics' Orange Flower Facial Wash ($16), made with 89 percent organic ingredients still higher than the grade you got in BioChem).

Shopping sustainable means less pain for Mother Nature.

Impact: To say something is "sustainable" suggests it's derived from a renewable source — meaning it can self-sustain for an infinite amount of time.

Sustainability is incredibly important to environmental protection: If a source is renewable, less land is needed for growing or harvesting the ingredient and thus, it promotes a healthier, livelier ecosystem.

How You Can Help: Since there's no legal definition, determining what constitutes “sustainability” is vague. It’s trickier than terms like “organic” and “natural” to decipher, mainly because you have to research the company’s manufacturing policies.

Make like Beyoncé and check up on it: Look for keywords like “renewable,” “ethically sourced” and “fair trade” when shopping.

Who You Can Trust: Restorsea, Lavanila, Pacifica

Favorite Finds: Freshen up your pits and the plants. Fans can choose from Lavanila’s many scented aluminum-free Healthy Deodorants ($14) and with every purchase, the company plants a tree with the Nature Conservancy.

Or smell like a rose (or coconut, or an orange) with Pacifica's entirely recyclable Body Butter Tube ($12), which comes in a zillion (okay, 14) luscious scents.

Routinely recycling means Earth won't look like your bedroom floor.

Impact: According to the EPA, product packaging makes up about 25 percent of what goes into and remains in landfills.

Cutting down on packaging waste means freeing up land so the planet doesn't look like a giant sinkhole. It’s an easy fix.

How You Can Help: Always recycle or reuse your empty containers. You can also look for products packed in already-recycled materials.

Many companies use recycled paper in their labels, while others use recycled plastics or metals for the actual container.A good rule of thumb: Aim to produce as little waste as possible.

If something can’t be recycled in the bin, contact your local recycling center; it’s possible that they accept additional materials that your local pickup doesn’t.

Who You Can Trust: Ilia Beauty, Tata Harper

Favorite Finds: All of Ilia’s products are packaged in recycled aluminum casing, and their 85 percent certified organic Lip Conditioners are more necessary than another tabloid mag.

From Tata Harper’s handmade skincare line, try the best-selling Love Potion aromatherapy oil ($40), which, like many of the brand's products, is 100-percent plant-derived and entirely recyclable.