Stephanie Brua believes in plenty of things. Company claims aren't one of them.

Stephanie Brua believes in plenty of things. Company claims aren't one of them.

"If they say, 'It's anti-aging, it's going to work,' we say, 'Yay!'" Brua noted. "And we go buy it. We don't ever ask, 'What's that going to do to me long-term?'"

But three years ago, Brua started asking about all sorts of things. And what struck her was that she was rubbing and spraying unknown chemicals into her skin.

She's also outraged at the number of products that claim to be natural - claims that consumers believe - when they're really just twisting the word, Brua said.

"We put too much trust in companies, and we don't ask them to do enough for us," Brua said, listing off the harmful chemicals found in mainstream skincare and beauty products and the reactions they've been known to cause in lab rats.

Since then, Brua has completely converted her family to organic skincare products and became a local representative for Miessence, an Australian skincare company whose ideas align with hers. She advises those interested in going organic to look for seals from the USDA or Australia Certified Organic; Miessence is one of only a few brands that bears them.

And she realizes people don't have time to research all these claims on their own.

So Brua shares what she's learned in occasional seminars held in libraries across the city that present the "dirty secrets of the beauty industry," she said. Visit organicology.com/seminars for details and to register.

Stephanie Brua's tips for being a choosy shopper:

1. Take a look at the products you use every day - shampoo, toothpaste, makeup - and find greener alternatives.

2. Check out a do-it-yourself book from the library and get creative with products from your pantry. Unrefined, organic coconut oil is a brilliant moisturizer.

3. If a product is labeled "free from parabens, SLS and fragrances," that's fantastic, but what else is in the product? Most likely, it's other chemicals.

4. Take a closer look at items marked "organic" or "natural." The first three or four ingredients on a label make up 90 to 95 percent of a product. If none of these ingredients are certified organic, you're being greenwashed.

5. Look for a third-party seal of approval on organic products. If something has a USDA and ACO label, it means those products are 95- to 100-percent certified organic.

6. Take a few minutes to research a manufacturer. If they're dumping toxic waste into our waterways, why would you want to buy their "organic" products?

Miessence beauty products

Skin essentials set, $93-$107

Lip shimmers, $19

Mineral blush powders,$19