The Chicago P.D. actress and environmental activist spills about her new partnership with EcoTools and shares easy ways to more green in honor of Earth Day

By Kylie Gilbert
Corbis Images

Happy Earth Day! To celebrate all things green, we sat down with longtime activist and Chicago P.D. actress Sophia Bush, who has teamed up with eco-conscious beauty brand EcoTools and Global Green USA, a national non-profit organization dedicated to green urbanism, resiliency, and ensuring a sustainable future. Naturally, we tapped Bush for her expertise on how to make a big difference in the environment with just a few small tweaks to your daily routine.

On her partnership with Global Green and EcoTools: I've worked with Global Green forever, almost 10 years now, and I've done a lot of fundraisers with them over the years-I even did a half marathon with them after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. They're just one of my favorite organizations. I've traveled with them a lot, and we're always trying to do something for Earth Month or Earth Day, so when I found out that EcoTools was going to donate $1 per sale from their Complexion Collection brushes up to $100,000 to Global Green, I was like, "How can I help?" I've been joking with them about how buying makeup is a way easier method to raise money and awareness than running 13 miles!

On her passion for the environment: I've been environmentally conscious since I was a little kid. Growing up in Southern California and being in the ocean and hiking in the mountains and going to summer camp in Northern California every year, I've always just loved nature. It's the most important, I think, deep-rooted connection we have as people. The Earth is so important for us. As our cities grow and as people get more overwhelmed, we take less time to appreciate it and we take less time to take care of it. This planet hosts us, not the other way around, and I think that when that lightbulb clicks on for people and they become a little bit more aware or they start making changes and realize how much better it makes them feel, everything gets a little bit better. To have been able to have this global conversation over the years as a working actor, and not just screaming about it in my sixth grade classroom or talking about it around my dinner table anymore, that's really inspiring for me.

On simple tips to be more green: Thermostat adjustments are big. In the summer, keep it two degrees warmer in your house than you normally would, and in the winter keep it two degrees cooler than you normally would-if you're feeling bold go for five! This makes a huge difference not only in the amount of energy that you're using but also in your bills. The amazing thing is that everything you do for the Earth either saves you money or makes you healthier or look better! Also, stop using plastic if you can. Single-serving plastic is so terrible. I have a bunch of glass bottles at home that I'll fill up in the morning and throw in my bag and take to work and I'll try not to use plastic bottles of water on set. I try to do the same thing when I'm traveling, and if I can't-look we're human-I make sure that any time I do have to use something plastic, I keep it on me until I can put it in a recycling bin. I also use reusable bags. The baggu ones are the best-they hold 55 pounds! A couple years ago, I sent five packs to all my friends and family for Christmas. All my girlfriends who have kinds are obsessed with them because they're easy to wash.

On an eco-friendly beauty routine: Your hair products go down the drain and into our water supply, so if you're using products that are crazy-laced with chemicals, that's actually going back into your drinking water. So, one of the things I've been using that I love-instead of something full of ingredients I can't pronounce-is coconut oil as a conditioning mask! It's incredible. It really strengthens your hair and smells fantastic. I love lavanile deodorant, it's totally non-toxic, smells great, and actually works! I also really like rms concealer, they're a super clean brand. It's exciting that the further into this we get, the more options we have! (See more natural beauty products that actually work.) I also just started using the EcoTools air dryer hair brush last week and I'm obsessed with it! It has a really amazing, Japanese design aesthetic, and it lets you dry your hair faster so you use less electricity! So many people like to leave their products plugged in when it comes to hair care, but all of these products you leave in all day are sucking power through your walls, even when they aren't on-it's called vampire power. My toaster, my coffee maker, and even my phone charger I unplug in the morning before I leave and plug it back in when I get home.

Her post-gym beauty hack: When I'm not working, I try to be really good to my hair, so usually if I'm leaving the gym, I'll take a quick shower, throw some coconut oil in my hair, and wear a messy top knot. Then I don't have to dry my hair so I get a break from the heat, and my hair gets conditioned. Then I'll throw on some eyeliner and a bright lip and it looks purposeful!

On easy ways to give back to the environment for Earth Day: Everybody can jump on a computer or their phone and just google 'green initatives' or even ask Siri and see what initatives are in your community. You can go help plant trees or participate in a community garden. And it's awesome, because not only are you helping the air quality and utilizing some land, but you're getting exercise, or fresh vegetables! You have to seek it out-once you do, you'll be shocked at how many opportunities there are to give back and get involved and make your day a little bit brighter.


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