17 February 2012

Step 14: Get Rid of Toxic Cosmetics and Reclaim Your Natural Self

A full list of the Simple Living Challenge steps can be found here.

You may wonder how cosmetics relate to simple living. Well, it's simple. Buying cosmetics shares one common feature with buying clothes - consumerism. Someone, at some point in history managed to persuade us women that we aren't beautiful enough just as we are. I know this has happened long time ago, somewhere in the beginning of time, but while women employed natural beautifying products at the time, we no longer do that.

Nowadays we've been blackmailed and lured into buying, buying, buying all kinds of cosmetics that promise to help us be forever young.
Photo: Vancouver Film School
But there are countless toxic chemicals and parabens in almost every beautifying product you can afford to buy from shampoo to mascara.

What gets me most about this is that while you think you are cleansing your face with the latest lotion you are in fact stuffing yourself with harmful substances. The effects are devastating - from "harmless" rashes and allergies to cancer.

I would like to have the source of this illustration, but I don't. If you know where it comes from, please let me know, so I can link to them!
In Norway, girls as young as 12 start applying mascara and nail polish daily, and dyeing their hair. They go shopping with girlfriends to choose bras (at the age of 12 you can imagine how much there is to put in the bra) and makeup. And yes, they sell kids' makeup and kids' bras in the stores. You tell me how it is in your country but what I see here bothers me.

Big beauty business knows that the earlier they get you as a customer, the longer they will have you. That is a sign of what most women are - vain and insecure in their worth.

I remember an old tale about three ladies who are arguing which one of them has the most beautiful hands. Because they cannot decide they consult a man nearby. He looks at their hands, which are white, soft-skinned and delicate and points out to a woman working in the field next to them, who has dark, dry hands. He tells them that, in fact, she has the most beautiful of hands because they are put to use for the good of mankind.

This is what I would like to leave you with today. Our beauty is not on the outside. 
  • Positive thoughts and good character will bring the best of us on our faces. 
  • Healthy food and lifestyle will give us the best of complexion, hair and nails. 
  • Regular movement and sport will make our bodies fit. 
Nothing you can buy can help you conceal lack of said activities.

Because my way of thinking coincides with a progressive young lady's vision, I have teamed up with her today to back up my words. Taylor Lynn of Perfectly Sensible Nonsense compiled a video of women of all ages who embrace their natural beauty and are proud with it. This is her way of encouraging and inspiring us to love ourselves.

It is a pity that nowadays we have surrendered to the brainwash that we need makeup to be beautiful. We think that we need to look in a certain way in order to be attractive, and we don't feel worth looking at unless we have makeup on. Instead of feeling gorgeous naturally, we feel the need to cover up that natural beauty.

Taylor Lynn. all the gorgeous ladies who participated by sending their makeup-less photos and I want to tell you: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!



To learn more about how most of mass-produced cosmetics are killing you and how to replace them to reclaim your true, natural self, go to:

Share your experience: How much cosmetics and makeup do you need to feel beautiful? Can you challenge yourself to go out without makeup if you are addicted to it?

See also:

27 comments:

  1. Really starting to look forward to these posts! When my son was little (he's seven now), organic or environmentally friendly moisturisers/ shampoos etc were still quite expensive in England. I love that now there is a wider range in supermarkets and some are around £3- the price you pay for a cheap and cheerful moisturiser. There are also quite a few local companies selling natural products using lavender etc. Great to see such a range available and also your links encouraging homemade products. Rx
    http://sandersonsmithstory.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hi Rachael, thanks for dropping by! I, too, am seeing more and more real organic cosmetics in Norwegian health shops but I am more inclined to find homemade solutions, as you have noticed :D

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  2. Some years ago I came across the Environmental Working Group and their Skin Deep database. They have tested over 70,000 products for chemical ingredients and list the known/suspected dangers of each. I've referred to their database often and hope the link listed below will be of help. It's interesting to search your favorite/everyday product and see what's in it. And very concerning what personal care companies will put into their products to make us "look good". Thank you for bringing to light a subject that needs to be studied. Enjoying your posts, as always!

    http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

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    1. Indeed, skindeep offer so much information and I have been surprised to find so many people of different backgrounds referring to them, which means that people are awakening! Exciting indeed!

      Until recently I didn't consider chemicals in personal care, I just used a very limited array anyway but since I started on my eco journey I've weaned off almost all of it.

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  3. I LOVE this important post Sonya...with three daughters and (so far) four granddaughters this touched me deeply. I stopped wearing make up in October. The first time since I was 12. It was hard at first as people asked me if I was ill...(because I looked pale and washed out compared to with make up)...and after awhile I said "yes" I'm sick. Sick of wasting hundreds of dollars every year on make up, sick of wasting 30 minutes in front of the mirror every morning, sick of hiding my imperfections, sick of eyes watering, rashes, itchy skin, sick of thinking my worth was tied up in my external beauty....they stopped asking. Southern California is a brutal place for females. Girls at age 16 are getting breast implants and starving themselves. Women walk around like human Barbie dolls. It is a harsh environment for 'naturals' as they literally go unnoticed, ignored, shunned in a way. So...thank you for the video and information...BTW...great book: Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me 2011. Lists almost every beauty product and the associated chemicals, and possible side effects...horrifying and important information.

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    1. Julia, you are a brave woman, I've told you that already, but I want to repeat it again! You look so beautiful and fresh without makeup! I wish more people had your strength and embraced their natural beauty, the hell with industry! We cannot be its slaves forever!

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  4. The other day I threw away a lot of make-up and other cosmetic products I had, mostly because I wasn't sure about its expiration date. I still have 5 pieces of make-up (powder, mascara and one eyeliner) and I don't use them every day. My cosmetics cabinet looks almost too empty now. :)

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    1. You are going a day ahead of the challenge, aren't you! I am sure you look awesome without makeup :)

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  5. I would like to officially thank Taylor Lynn for the thought-provoking video that she compiled just in time for this post! Also, I enjoyed seeing so many faces of blogging friends! What a lovely collaboration!

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    1. Thank you so much, Sonya, for this awesome post to go along with my video! I'm so glad it was able to have such an awesome debut, and I really appreciate you sharing it. <3 Thanks so much for all of the support you've given me along the way, as well!

      Hugs!

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  6. I've gone years where I didn't wear makeup at all, and years where I wore it every day. Now, I'm somewhere in between. I'm trying to replace items like soaps with natural products, and trying to just cut back on the number of products I use. It's a challenge, for sure. I also read about a more natural hair dye available at some salons (for a higher price) that I think I might try next time.

    I read the comment above about living in Southern California, and I feel very fortunate to live on the east coast. There's still pressure for women everywhere to look young and beautiful no matter where you live, but I think in DC the emphasis above and beyond is on your intelligence, education, career, etc. I never see women here with breast implants, or who are overly tanned with teeth that are too white, wearing too much makeup...like a Barbie doll. Honestly, I think if a woman looked like that and tried to find a job here, she would have a harder time being taken seriously.

    We all need to probably take a step back and reevaluate how we judge ourselves and how we judge each other, focusing on natural beauty instead of focusing on flaws and imperfections, or recognizing that there's beauty in those flaws. For example, I love portrait photography. There's nothing more fascinating to me than looking at someone's face up close. But not the airbrushed faces in cosmetic ads in magazines; nothing could be more boring to look at. I mean real faces of ordinary people with freckles, laugh lines, scars left over from childhood scrapes, or imperfect teeth...the characteristics that make each person unique.

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    1. The pressure is on everywhere but to a different extent. Also, I can say that it is changing through the years. I believe that a woman should take care of herself but not at the price of her health and most of all, if we were all more concentrated on inner beauty we would have been able to recognize it on our faces. Alas, modern culture leads us in a different direction. Girls growing up with airbrushed faces looking at them from magazine covers are having such a hard time accepting their beauty. My God, every young girl is beautiful, but the industry brainwash machine is so powerful.

      That is why I am so proud of Taylor and her video initiative!

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  7. Congratulations Taylor Lynn!! What a fantastic job you did!! Thank you Sonya for sharing this with us. It is so important.

    The contradictions in western society, especially the US, are so blatant and yet so hard to get away from. I've been thinking about this while reading all the posts this week.

    Society tells us that if we are successful we should have, big house, expensive car, vacations, etc, but at the same time, we should have no debt.

    Society tells women and sadly young men now too that we should be Barbie and Ken while at the same time eating and drinking unhealthy foods.

    I remember as a child in the early 70's being confused by the magazines at the supermarket check-out counter. Even way back then they had the same covers as today - a picture of a huge piece of chocolate cake next to the text saying "loose 10 pounds in 2 weeks!"

    Society tells us to exercise and be heathy while at the same time telling us to poison ourselves with make-up and creams, etc.

    There are so many examples. We believe that we need these things to have value as human beings, while all that the companies that send us these messages care about is making money.

    I salute you Julia! I took the easy way out. I left California before I had kids. I couldn't imagine raising them there. I was very lucky. That's not generally a choice we can make.

    Tuning out society and finding value in yourself as a person - your example of hands is fabulous Sonya! - is extremely difficult especially for teenagers. I'm just grateful that we have blogs like yours and Taylor's Sonya to help us through!

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    1. Laurie, the contradictions you mention are the reason why so many young people are lost nowadays. It is hard to analyze it all and easy to go with the flow. And one thing is true - the flow is, in fact, a mighty current.

      I have noticed another contradiction as well - popular psychology magazines whose cover shout that we should be confident and accept ourselves hide among their pages diet ads, etc...

      I am glad you brought this topic up, and I am twice as glad that I see my thoughts written down by you - just another proof that we are so close!

      Thank you for your support!!

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    2. Thank you so much, Laurie! <3 And I know what you mean about society...it bombards us with conflicting messages that say we're not good enough the way we are, and that we need to change who we are to be good enough. It's always fantastic to find someone else who disagrees with those messages. :) Thanks for the great comment! <3

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  8. Several years back I did some research on cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, deodorants ~ and what I found horrified me. As you probably know Sonya, I don't do things in baby steps! ;) In fact, I threw away everything that night (cringing while I threw it in the trash), and went on a mission. What I found? Not much comforting info. So, I decided to challenge myself. I stopped wearing make-up altogether. I'd say it took me almost an entire year before I could look at myself and not think 'blech'. I felt so plain and that really disturbed me. I had obviously absorbed a lot of the brainwashing info out there. While I haven't told the girls that they 'can't' wear make-up, none of them do. I warned them that once you begin it's hard to stop. Like an addiction of sorts. You have no idea how many people didn't send Tay pictures because they felt so ugly without their make-up on. :( So, I really think it's very, very important to get this info out there. Women are beautiful and gorgeous in their fresh and natural state. Now, if only I could make them believe that...

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    1. Oh, Melinda, I too went through that period - couldn't look myself in the mirror, didn't like myself on photos... Lately I've been thinking of how introspective blogging is. So many posts lately are directed towards me :D and I love how we manage to support each other along the way with tiny bits of everyday wisdom.

      It is important for us to keep on writing about natural beauty, it is double as important for young women, like Taylor not only to feel well in their skin but also to promote that and influence their peers! You know I love your oldest daughter for her bravery and strength, don't you! She is a gem and I am so proud to be featuring her video today! :)

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  9. Oh that illustration is very worrying. Nowadays I only wear make-up if I take pics which is very rare, but for many many years it used to be every day all day and I never bothered to read labels. Woups:(

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    1. Yes, same with me... that is why I thought it was useful to post about the dangers of chemicals in makeup. Glad to see you again!

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  10. I have to admit, sometimes I wonder how great the risks are from these chemicals? I've switched to mostly natural products everywhere but my makeup bag. I don't feel like I need makeup to feel beautiful, just to cover up my dark undereye circles! I don't wear a lot of makeup but going completely without would be very challenging.

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    1. Did you know that there chemicals are only now being tested... big industry doesn't really care, but in the sources listed here http://blog.kanelstrand.com/2011/11/what-everybody-ought-to-know-about.html you can find some pretty disturbing information.

      The problem is that, once you suffer the effects, it's kind of late to relive it again... I, personally consider it common sense to rid myself of chemicals as much as possible. But I do have the occasional eye line :)

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  11. This post is fantastic, Sonya, and fits my video perfectly! And it's the same here in America - girls of younger and younger ages are wearing heavy makeup, buying bras, and so much more. And that just paves the way for when they're adults or even teenagers and think they're positively ugly in their natural state.

    I absolutely love the story about the hands, too, by the way. :)

    Thanks for writing such a great post to go with my video's debut! :D Sending a hug! <3

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  12. You are correct the beauty business is big business, and the the younger they get you sucked in the more money they will make.

    When I was young you did not even think about wearing makeup until you were in high school, and if we were going to wear any we had to coordinate with our friends so we would all being wearing it on the same day.

    As I got older it became an everyday thing, and I could not leave the house without it. Since I have been in my 40's I almost never wear any make up unless I am going out for an evening event. I have come to the conclusion that the I get older less is more.

    It is disturbing how many chemicals their are in cosmetics. Luckily these days their are many sellers of all natural beauty products.

    Taylor Lynn's video was amazing! What a talented young woman she is.

    Valerie
    Everyday Inspired

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    1. Aw, thanks, Valerie, I'm so glad you like my video! I think it's fantastic that you wear less makeup these days, I love that. :) Good for you!

      Hugs!

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