Minimizing Make-up & Toxin Considerations

I had picked make-up as one of the categories for my March Micro-Minimizing Challenge, but quickly realized it was a big topic that covered several areas. I decided instead to discuss minimizing these items, now, during my intentional self-care theme instead and do a five-part series this week. I’ll be discussing minimizing our make-up, grooming supplies and appliances, nail polish, bodywash and toothpaste, and deodorants and highlighting some of the toxins found within and alternates to consider. (If you prefer video, scroll to the bottom of this post.)

I’m starting with make-up. Make-up gets old. Creams and lotions generally have a shelf life of one year. Water-based make up has a shorter life than oil-based. And natural make-up has a similar shelf life to it’s more toxic counterparts. Mascara should be replaced every 3-4 months due to bacteria being added into the bottle.

Keeping these timelines in mind is important as you go through your collection of bottles and powders.

Have your keep and garbage areas ready. There’s unlikely to be anything to donate or recycle here.

Put all of your make-up products out in the open, like on a counter or dining table, where you can really see how much you have.

Consider each piece. Do you love this piece of make-up? Does it serve a purpose? How long ago did you last wear it? How old is it? Keep only your absolute favourite (non-expired) pieces. Everything else can go in the garbage. Remember, occasionally used make up is likely expired.

And don’t forget to also take stock of your make-up brushes and other applicators. They get old, worn, and lose bristles.

Considering your keep pile, I want to talk a bit about chemicals. Skin absorbs cosmetic chemicals, allowing them to enter the bloodstream. Powder makeup products may be inhaled, bringing potential contaminants into the airway and lungs. Lip makeup may also be ingested by repeatedly licking or biting your lips, delivering the chemicals to your stomach and digestive system. Just writing this paragraph makes me feel icky!

Let’s get nitty gritty for a second so you know this is real. Here are just a few examples of toxins that are commonly found in make-up:

  • PFAS are known to cause multiple health issues, such as cancer, high cholesterol and weakened immune systems.
  • Lead is a harmful heavy metal and naturally occurring impurity that can show up in lipstick and any eye products containing kohl. High levels of lead can cause serious anemia, neurological problems and kidney issues in children.
  • Carbon Black is often found in mascara, lipstick and eyeliner, linked to increase of cancer and has a negative effect on organs.

Even if there are no studies linking a product to a specific disease, it’s my opinion that our bodies fight too many foreign substances every day just by existing in our world. If there are places I can help in its fight to detoxify my body, then I want to do that. If I can reduce chemicals in my personal hygiene products, then that’s a win in for my body!

It’s also important to note that individual studies may be done on this chemical or that chemical and it may be deemed “safe” in whatever minute amounts. But there have never been any studies on the effects of all of the chemicals combined that our bodies are exposed to day in and day out. And many of those chemicals are in the ground, in the air and saturate our environment, it’s impossible to avoid them. All the more reason, I believe, to reduce chemical exposure where we can, particularly on our own bodies and in our homes.

So, what do I use? I don’t wear much for make-up, but what I do wear is a natural concealer and eye liner. I use natural mascara. I have yet to find a natural lipstick that I like, so that’s a commercial one still, but I’m looking. (I’m open to suggestions for a good natural lipstick that doesn’t disappear after ten minutes.)

Take your time transitioning to new items. Finish what you have first, to switch it all at once could cost a fortune. Changing your items over to healthier options as you finish them, makes it much more cost effective and less wasteful. 

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