We live in a funny world these days. Full of endless possibilities, opportunities, and all kind of crazy new ways to carve our bodies & faces into what we are told we should be.
But to what extent will we go to achieve that? No one likes feeling overwhelmed and helpless - so, I have made the choice not to use visually disturbing images while I highlight these travesties - but to leave it up to your fingertips, imagination, and gut instincts.
I have also made it a point to present these shames in a special light. Not as to simply give you something to consider or feel unsettled about, but as a way to empower you. As demanding consumers, it is in our hands to shape what it is we desire- now more than ever, as our economy goes global.
1. False Marketing
Somehow, it has become all-too-easy for the beauty industry to get away with false marketing. We all know the strict punishment for making false claims verbally in advertising, but the rules often slide under the radar when it is proposed simply as pictures in magazines. While the vast majority of us know that advertising images are an enhanced, impossible dream, it still hurts. The pressure to conform to such narrow ideals can feel overwhelming.
What you can do: Be aware. The moment that you are comparing yourself to any of these women, or longing for what "they have", check yourself. Instead, check-in with real women, and discover *real* role models. Women that you admire, not for the products that they use, but for reasons that really matter to you. Personally, my favorite role models are women that model how health & beauty intertwine to help us all get to know our most beautiful selvesf. Some of my favorite inspiration comes from Miranda Kerr's book - Treasure Yourself- & Louise Hay's book - You Can Heal Your Life.
2. Animal Testing
Apparently, Americans lag behind on ethical issues vs. profit. I know we have heard this all before. And because of this, I refuse to put harsh images here. So, imagine the worst possible- or type it into google if you need to- and then multiply that 100 times worse. Regardless of your view on animal testing, I think it is safe to say that at this day in age - that kind of sacrifice is completely unnecessary for the vanity of simply selling cheap beauty products. And with that being said, if our products weren't laden with an over-abundance of unknown toxic chemicals, then animal testing would by far be needless.
What you can do: Do your research! There are SO many other options. You might need to start ordering online, but from my knowledge often even drug stores will carry makeup & personal care items that are labeled cruelty free. Remember, if it doesn't say it on the label, most likely, it isn't.
3. Women's Ethical Abuse
It's a rude awakening to know that the hair extensions we innocently buy are actually often as a result of crimes, and ethical abuse against women in other parts of the world. In the best situation, impoverished women & girls are paid to cut off their hair. In the worst scenario, women's hair is cut off without their consent & against their will. If you need to see the visual images, again - google it. It's all there in the raw.
What you can do: Again, do your research! Contact companies to ask about where their supply comes from. Check out Dream Girl, and Balmain, companies that claim to work within strict ethical standards. If it still isn't sitting right - try synthetic hair pieces. Or get creative, and try decorating your locks in other ways. Think - yarn, flowers, synthetic feathers. Also, make sure that if you do have hair extensions, love and cherish them. Don't throw them away because of incomfortable feelings. Instead, send your gratitude to these women for the sacrifice they have made. Again- the reason for this article is to empower the future, not dwell in the past.
4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Other Chemical Irritants
It's completely contradicting when a face lotion (for example) that is marketed to be anti-aging will be causing a lot of damage and irritation over the long run. I could easily go on for days about the cheap toxic chemicals that are conceived for the use of cosmetics and body care, but it's actually very simple. Just don't do it! Think about it - chemicals on your skin. Is it really healing things over the long run?
What you can do: Choose products that are 100% pure and healthy. I personally love Tates, Juice Beauty and 100% Pure. There is also a lot to be said about using baking soda & apple cider vinegar for washing your hair (which I will get into more later!) and to tighten and firm skin - try real Aloe Vera (from the plant!) and hot/cold water therapy in your shower.
I realize it is challenging to leave a list like this feeling a little crazy. But you have permission to let that all go now! Like I mentioned in the beginning, this list is not meant to leave you feeling guilty about your choices, but as a a blueprint for how your choices as a consumer really DO matter. The power is always in our hands.
It's that time of year.
Time for reflections, shining up what has worked for us, & clearing out what has not.
Which brings up one of my favorite topics: Skin Care! With a saturated market full of a zillion different options- how do you really ever decide or know what will work best for you? Call it intuitive shopping, but I recommend following your hunch. Whether its pretty packaging that lures you, or simply the pull of what a skin line is promising, follow that hunch!
A lot of people in this world would likely roll their eyes at this, but I am firm believer in magnetism.
I feel that as long as we know what we are *specifically* looking for, we will be attracted (or will simply attract) what we need. I believe that so many of us become victims of specific targeted marketing that prays on our insecurities, simply because we might not know what we are really looking for. We end up feeling like we've spent way too much money with way too little results.
So this year, get clear on your desires for your skin health, and then, let the stars guide you.
Skin Care Favorites of 2013:
About This Product:
100% Pure : The very first organic makeup line that I ever fell in love with.
And in my book, still stands alone as one of the most fun, & truly effective lines that I have ever tried.
Their Superfruits foundation in particular was a product that not only boosted my confidence, but also helped to heal my skin. It's Aloe Vera base makes it PERFECT for problematic, sensitive skin ~ & the best part is that it will even help to heal any scarring that you might have. It is gluten-free, vegan, loaded with antioxidants (lots of Vitamin C from fruits) & the coolest part - it is pigmented from fruit.
I used this particular foundation for about 1 year consistently in the color Golden Peach.
On my skin, it was very lightweight & healthy feeling, even after hours of wear. I had also tried the tinted moisturizer in this line, in the same color, but it was a little too oily for my skin. The coverage of this foundation has beat out the coverage of numerous other foundations that I have tried- and I also feel like it's the best bang for your buck.
Each bottle is $32, and each lasted me about 3 months of daily use.
The downfalls to this product:
• You will need order it online, unless you happen to be in California.
• The limited color selections - which honestly, are all quite neutral & seem to be very universal. Personally, I was always happy with my color selections and switch between Golden Peach / Toffee depending on the season.
Organic Makeup = Worth it!
Some of the ingredients that we are putting on our skin just aren't that pretty.
U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.
You can avoid harmful chemicals when you use David Suzuki's shopper's guide, and audit your bathroom cupboard using this list of harmful ingredients:
THE DIRTY DOZEN! (take a deep breath, check your labels, and avoid.)
1. BHA and BHT: Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more from David Suzuki »
2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by a five digit numberIn addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosmetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in the 75000 and 77000 series, respectively).
3. DEA-related ingredients: Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicalsMEA and TEA. Read more from David Suzuki »
4. Dibutyl phthalate: Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more from David Suzuki »
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer. Read more from David Suzuki »
6. Parabens: Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions. Read more from David Suzuki»
7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance): Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as "unscented." Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more for David Suzuki »
8. PEG compounds: Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., polyethylene glycol). Read more from David Suzuki»
9. Petrolatum: Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer. Read more from David Suzuki»
10. Siloxanes: Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more from David Suzuki »
11. Sodium laureth sulfate: Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate). Read more from David Suzuki»
12. Triclosan: Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more from David Suzuki»
Taking the time to switch to healthier versions of your favorite products can take time.
And that's a-ok! Switching to a healthier lifestyle, is simply that: a lifestyle. It's not about stressing and switching everything right here and right now. It is something to simply start being aware of how you would like to reshape your thoughts and actions- and when the time is right, you will know it.
Keep in mind that when you are switching products, although Organic Tends To Be More Expensive, You’ll Use Less. Generally, you can use less organic makeup per use than you would with non-organic.
We find that we run out of that creamy, cakey non-organic foundation before we run out of a mineral powder.
Remember that weird feeling that you skin gets after a few hours of wearing traditional makeup? This just doesn't seem to happen with organic makeup.
Organic is simply better quality. So, we wear it longer. The price often evens out in the end.
When shopping organically, still be conscious of reading labels, and making sure that what you are buying is truley what you are looking for. There is a lot of misleading marketing when it comes to "organic" and "all-natural" these days.
Personally, I hvae noticed dramatic difference in my skin from avoiding toxic, cheap, makeup. My skin is healthier than ever and I can't express enough how greateful I am to the organic movement and to companies out there like Vapour, Tarte, and Juice Beauty who are doing amazing things for the health of women.
Cheers to a beautiful, healthy you!
These days, I am working on being more confident in my own skin. With or without makeup.
With that being said, it is beyond awesome to have found a foundation that compliments me, instead of trying to hide me.
Thank you VAPOUR. . . . . .
Because honestly, you guys make the BEST foundation I have ever used in my LIFE. Hands down. Hands down. hands. down!
It's not cake-y and it is like a chameleon with my skin tone. Oddly enough, even though their foundation isn't quite what I would call a "build-able" foundation, it makes my skin look better than ever. It's so soft, and it doesn't leave my skin dry at all. On the contrary, the base of Camellia effortlessly enhances and nourishes my skin.
What beautiful thing.
Today is the day!
Today landmarks a truly amazing day for me. A few years ago I decided that when I finally figured out how to heal my body from chronic acne, I would share it with the whole world.
I feel so blessed to be able to share this information now, as I have ventured through and learned from a difficult period of self-acceptance (& true healing!) in my life. The truth is - my life wouldn't be the same without this experience.
My hope is that anyone suffering from low self-esteem because of a skin condition will tune in to gain inspiration and feel me when I say - you are exactly where you are supposed to be. You CAN heal your skin!