Paraformaldehyde, isopropyl paraben, PFAS, o-phenylenediamine (which I can’t even pronounce)… I’ve always read chemical names like these on all my makeup and body care products but, probably like most people, assumed they must be safe. “They must be safe… The Government wouldn’t possibly allow toxic chemicals to be used in cosmetics… All chemicals must go through rigorous testing before they get the go-ahead”. Turns out, there is little-to-no regulation in the cosmetic industry and us ladies (and lads) are slathering all kinds of crap all over our bodies in the name of beauty.
My research into the history of vaccines led me to discover more about toxins, particularly those found in most cosmetics, body care products and household cleaning products. They. Are. Everywhere. And, while a tiny amount in one product can’t possibly hurt us (can it?), it is the repeated exposure to, and the accumulative effect of, toxins that results in their undoubtedly toxic effects.
The most well-known example is talc, as reported in the documentary “Toxic Beauty”, which I highly recommend. Johnson & Johnson has been a household name for well over a century and talc has been sprinkled over babies’ bottoms and patted over women’s crotches for decades. I myself have been known to use talc as a quick fix for greasy hair (in the days before dry-shampoo!). It’s bad enough that substances like talc are not tested, it’s worse that substances like talc are not discontinued after initial reports of their risks, but it’s absolutely shocking that hundreds of women suffer and die of ovarian cancer and the cancer-risk of talc is proven in court but talc is still for sale in shops! Talc, as well as several other toxic substances, is present in some cosmetics – the documentary also looks at toxins in makeup and 24-year-old medical student Mymy Nguyen tries natural makeup. Her blood levels of toxins such as pthalates went down after using natural makeup and then shot back up again when she started using her normal makeup. I didn’t need any more convincing!
So, on 1st January 2021, I made a New Year resolution to go natural and embark on a toxic-free lifestyle, starting with makeup! I have £100s worth of top brands, including MAC, Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown and Lancôme and it was, I have to say, rather a painful experience to say goodbye to my favourite products, not to mention calculating the sheer cost of all that money I’ve blown! I was surprised to also feel a little anxious, I suppose due to the fact I was letting go of the very tools I used to hide my flaws and improve my looks – it’s quite a daunting realisation that the “mask” I’ve been hiding behind is in the bin. Eeek! (But instead of binning them all, I’ve gathered up the lightly used and non-applicator products and I’m going to look at donating those instead). Anyway, as painful as it was, ruthlessly throwing all my much-loved makeup in the bin, it also felt euphorically cleansing! Who’s joining me?!
In trying to keep busy during lockdown, I’ve been experimenting with some natural face masks and lotions as well as looking at natural, organic and vegan makeup brands. I look forward to sharing what I find in future posts! If anyone can recommend any non-toxic makeup or natural beauty tips, I’d love to hear from you!