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Battling City Pollution in NYC

May 2013

By Megan Taylor Morrison, New York

New Yorkers don their best suits and dresses every Saturday night, only to pass large trash piles on the way to Michelin-star restaurants and fancy clubs. In a city where air quality alerts are just as common as Dolce & Gabbana, it’s no surprise that the combination of beauty and health reigns supreme in the realms of indulgent, or simple self-care alike.  

At day spas, all-natural services are increasingly popular, with customers indulging in raspberry eye masks, honey-and-milk pedicures and massages with ginseng and chestnut essential oils. With more and more studies highlighting the potential health risks of parabens, and other hard-to-pronounce ingredients, New Yorkers are becoming pickier about what they put on their bodies.  As a masseuse said to me last week: “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.”

Marketing campaigns on cruelty-free products are also setting new standards. The trend extends into the world of makeup with local companies, such as Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, snatching up a growing percentage of the market.

The emphasis on eco and health-conscious products has also affected how services and products are marketed online. For instance, Green Zen Organic Spa prominently displays the icons for numerous certifications and partnerships on its homepage, while John Masters Organics lists the certification for each of its products. Logos for cruelty free, USDA Organic, Organic Trade Association, Oregon Tilth, Organic Crop Improvement Association and Quality Assurance International abound change the intrinsic value of a product.

The all-natural beauty craze has even leapt across the gender gap. Shaving products, colognes, and body washes are becoming more popular with men, with companies such as Brooklyn Grooming offering masculine, handmade products ranging from beard oil to mustache wax. Larger companies have also noticed the trend. Last year, John Masters Organics came out with a men’s line that includes eucalyptus and agave face wash, shave foam, moisturizer and aftershave. As men’s facial hair trends have expanded, so too have the products.

And men aren’t just buying the products. In many cases, they’re the brains behind the companies. While MALIN+GOETZ is New York’s most famous example, startups such as Southern Hospitality are following suit. The new company, created by podiatrist Quinton Yeldell, creates footcare products that are free of questionable ingredients such as phthalates, parabens, petroleum, mineral oil, SLS and talc. Southern Hospitality’s men’s line includes heel balm, foot soaks, foot creams, cuticle salve and more.  

Health & Fitness
Green
Food & Drink
New York
Blog Issue: 
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NYC's Southern Hospitality sweet tea foot soaks
Products for sale at Green Zen Organic Spa

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