Eco-chic: Spring 2011's hottest beauty and fashion trend

Sunshine, green grass, and buds popping out on trees and flowers everywhere - all those signs of spring may have you thinking about getting your hands on the season's newest beauty products. But think beyond sheer foundation and floral hues; this year the hottest trend in beauty and fashion is "eco-chic."

Soaking up some sun on the beach or relaxing in the green grass of your backyard can remind you just how important it is to protect the environment. Eco-chic products, manufactured using sustainable, environmentally friendly ingredients and/or processes, can help you do something good for the planet and look great while doing it.

Here are some nature-friendly ways to help keep you and the environment protected:

Skin is in

Winter can leave your skin in serious need of nourishment to restore its moisture. Look for products that have natural or organic ingredients to help revitalize skin. The Nutriganics natural skin care collection from The Body Shop provides a certified organic alternative to anti-aging products and helps smooth skin in as little as four weeks. And you can feel good while looking good, because the company sources many of the ingredients through its unique Community Fair Trade program, which benefits more than 25,000 people in some of the world's poorest communities.

Sustainable accessorizing

The accessories you wear can, in their own way, have a significant impact on the environment. When you're checking out the season's latest handbags or fashion jewelry, consider the manufacturing processes and materials used to make the product. You can look great and feel responsible about your accessories when you shop for items made from recycled or organic materials. You can find plenty of totes, bags and fashion jewelry made in eco-friendly ways with environmentally responsible materials. A quick online search for "eco-chic accessories" will yield enough results to ensure you can find items to fit every look and mood.

Brushing up

Make-up can make you look great, but does it also make you feel great about how it was made? The new "Brush with Fashion" collection does both. The products blend the practicality of a built-in applicator brush, with the cruelty-free (bristles are not made from animal hair), fashion-forward awareness that's a signature of The Body Shop products, while at the same time featuring spring's irresistible colors. The products' cruelty-free status make them especially appealing for vegetarians, plus they're made from high-quality, naturally derived ingredients.

Cleaning up

Recycling your empty water bottles and volunteering to help remove litter from a local stream are great ways to help clean up the environment. And when you're engaging in your everyday personal cleaning tasks, you can also help the earth - and start your day feeling fresh in body and spirit. The Body Shop Shower Gels for Earth Lovers are made from a soap-free base (so they're non-drying), plus feature a blend of herb and fruit extracts, are 100 percent biodegradable and contain Community Fair Trade aloe vera. They're also free of sulfates, parabens or colorants - all things that have been associated with a negative impact on the environment.

Dressing up

When you try on a new outfit or shoes do you think of the materials it's made from and how manufacturing those materials has impacted the environment or people in the developing world? Chances are you, like many other American women, are now thinking about whether or not your fashions are environmentally responsible. Eco-chic is in style for clothing as well.

Many innovative designers are now offering trendy attire made from earth-friendly fabrics like hemp and cotton. They're buying their materials from fabric-makers in the developing world who practice sustainable, environmentally conscious harvesting and production.

Spring is a great time to find new ways - and great new products - that nourish your body and soul, and help the planet as well. For more information on eco-conscious beauty, visit