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.