Greening Hollywood: Guild by Guild

Cannes Film Festival

Becky Sutton

Greening Hollywood, under the direction of Paige Donner, wants to make an eco impact on the production community.  In order to do this, she’s getting the message out, guild by guild.

Greening Hollywood: Guild by Guild kicked of its inaugural event on Sunday June 14th.  The first in a series of panels that focuses on a specific specialty on the film set, the first panel focused on “natural beauty and cosmetics in the Film and TV Industry.”  An invitation to attend this event was extended to all of the make-up artists and hair stylists guild members (I..A.T.S.E. Local 706.)

The session was moderated by Rachelle Carson-Begley, co-star of “Living with Ed.”   Participants on the panel included Lisa Archer (national coordinator of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics), Robert Hallowell (hairstylist and founder of the hair care line Prawduct), Cristina Marcaccini (marketer, Raw Natural Beauty), Nikoletta Skarlatos (makeup artist, “The Soloist,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”), and Rebecca Sutton (Sr. Scientist, Environmental Working Group)

The first half of the presentation focused on panelists Archer, Hallowell, Marcechini, and Skarlatos discussing their experiences with different make-ups, methods they developed for managing waste, and solutions they’ve found that allow for the safest means of effective applications and clean up.  After Carson-Begley opened the presentation by discussing her desire to learn about product toxicity,  Archer began the panel by discussing the importance of understanding “phothalates;” a type of toxic chemical that makes plastic flexible.  Most cosmetics contain high levels of phothalates that get into the tissues and blood stream, and high amounts of these chemicals have been linked to birth defects and cancers.   Marcechini then discussed the benefit of her brand, Raw Natural Beauty, stressing its performance capacity that’s achieved without dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals.

Skarlatos stressed the importance of “being your own doctor” and learning about the effects of the products one uses on themselves and their clients.  She also discussed the recycling of sponges and tissues on set to minimize waste, as well as material that can effectively clean brushes without the use of alcohol.   She also discussed, a website that has become useful in cataloguing continuity shots, so paper can be elliminated from this process altogether. 

After suffering skin damage from the products he was using on client’s hair, Hallowell set out to develop hair styling products made from natural ingredients.  He described the difficulties of finding the best formulas, and the roadblocks that have made marketing Prawduct difficult.  Both he and Skarlatos felt that with the aid of clients, better product use could be promoted in the hair and makeup industry.  In regards to greening production and using healthier products, Hallowell said, “You do what ever you can do.”

After a short break, Rebecca Seton presented the results of a scientific study that linked product use to health risks. The average woman uses 12 products a day and is exposed to 168 unique chemicals daily, and men, who generally use 6 products a day are exposed to 85 unique chemicals.  Several chemicals found in beauty products were compared to the quantities of the same chemicals found in prescriptive drugs.  In many cases, the product presented higher quantity than the drug.

Seton reported that the Federal Drug Administration has little authority over regulating the safety of cosmetics.  Although they have the ability to place a warning on a product, it is rarely used due specifically to a lack of testing and government standards.  Currently, 90% of all products on the market have never been reviewed or tested.  

At the conclusion of the panel, The Ambrose Hotel, a US Green Building Council Member and winner of a number of sustainable awards, hosted a refreshment reception.  Mariel Hemingway was present at the reception signing copies of her books that focus on green solutions in the kitchen and in life practices.

Future Greening Hollywood: Guild by Guild events will be announced in the 411 Publishing newsletter.

If you are interested in participating in a Greening Hollywood: Guild by Guild event, please contact