Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ridding the chains of beauty

With all the stuff I talk about removing from our home that is either unsustainable or not organic or whatever, some of the last things I've been dragging my feet on getting rid of or replacing has been makeup, moisturizers, anti-aging things and the like.

Well, I've been doing some research for a new project I'm working on and finally felt compelled to start cleaning the junk out of my trunks. I hate throwing this stuff out because not only is it expensive (some of it crazy expensive), I don't have a replacement for some things, and I can't really do anything with it to get rid of it, so in the garbage it goes. I hate throwing it into the waste stream, but I really don't want to be absorbing any more phthalates, parabens, nanoparticles and other potential toxins.

But this first part is baby steps for me. Now, let me be clear. I haven't completely gotten rid of all of it yet. I'm considering this to be a 5 step program. This is the stuff that I've replaced with other products that are relatively inert or that I don't use. I'm still using some things that are questionable, but those will fall into the rest of my step program.

I must admit that I've found this to be the hardest chain to let go of. Sure, I'll do all manner of nutty things like give up toilet paper and standard menstrual products. Hell, I'll even pee on my plants for nitrogen. But, this one? It's been difficult. And, to admit things further, I've really only been more compelled lately because I've been having more and more allergic reactions to products I'm using. And this includes even the organic stuff (more on that later).

But, I'm so unforgivably indoctrinated by the beauty industry that I've been absorbing for the last thirty years that it's hard to give up the promises, I mean, products, that are out there. The promise to look beautiful. The temptation to turn back the clock. The packaging and glory that comes with the goods. I know a lot of you don't care about this and probably think I'm nuts for giving a crap, but it's important to me for whatever reason. Possibly because looks do matter, no matter what people like to think.

So, this is step one in ridding myself from the chains of conventional beauty products. I won't be completely forgoing beauty products altogether, but I'll be looking for products that are sustainably produced, organic if possible, and as non-toxic as available, referencing the Environmental Working Group (EWG) cosmetic safety database as much as possible. Expect to hear more about this later. In fact, I'll tell you more about this project as I get a little further into it.


Paula said...

This is one of the things I struggle with most. I'm still in baby steps on a lot of things, but this is the toughest. Would you mind elaborating on which things you've been able to replace with other products and which you're giving up completely?

LatigoLiz said...

Good for you on starting the process!

I for one loathe makeup. Expensive, time-consuming, unhealthy.

I may not have the best skin or look all dolled up when I do go out, but at least I haven't got that one part of my life in excess. Doesn't mean I don't have my issues elsewhere. :)

Once you get used to the look and feel of it, I think you'll be fine, and hopefully the people around you really will notice that the beauty comes from within. :)

You should consider a segment on "green" salons, if you haven't covered that already. My CRSD (can't remember shit disoreder) kicking in.

Lisa said...

Check out Everyday Minerals for makeup. I LOVE IT!!!! I have gotten tons of people hooked, including people who don't care about using natural products. It's very affordable.

Aimee said...

Good for you! If you have allergies then this isn't an option, but why not make makeup a once in a while thing? I only wear it when I go out, which means about twice a year (alas). I do moisturize every day, with eucerin unscented, and I use sunscreen when necessary because I burn very easily. But that's about it. You are so pretty you can do without and still look hot!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Paula - I will definitely be mentioning what I'm replacing things with. There are a lot of issues to address with the different products...

Liz - I will be doing something eventually on green salons. But will be totally addressing hair care and coloring products and toxicity.

Lisa - I'm looking into the safety of Mica and mineral makeups, particularly the loose powders and potential respiratory issues. I know you have asthma, so you might want to be careful with the mineral products. I'm still researching on this one.

Aimee - Thanks! The issue I'm running into is the ingredients in products that are potentially carcinogenic and the like. Eucerin has its own issues with its ingredients. Not sure which product you are using but here's a link to their original moisturizer on the EWG database.

Cat J B said...

I'm right with you on this one, it's the hardest for me to give up too and I haven't really gone there yet. If you come up with any effective homemade recipes, will you let us in on the secret?

Jenn said...

Good job on taking the first steps! I think I get an eyeliner and a mascara every couple of years - and since I have dry skin and acne, every so often I will try to find a moisturizer that doesn't make me break out (never works) - but for me it's good ole olive oil soap, Dr Bronners and, uh, sleep. Which I am getting now. I swear.

I was never told I was beautiful - my parents would say "It doesn't matter what other people, think - we think you are pretty" sort of thing - which always made me feel like a) I'm not really attractive to anyone but my parents; b) anyone who tells me I am is a liar; c) it doesn't matter so why bother trying? ... so I never bother with cosmetics and beautifying stuff because I have always figured I never would look like the beauty industry standard anyway. I guess I got lucky?

Elizabeth B said...

Your local household hazardous waste drop-off day may accept makeup and toiletries--mine does! I know it sure made me happier to hand off old makeup and such than to throw it in the trash to be landfilled and leach yucky stuff into the already overstressed water table in the SFBA.

thesimplepoppy said...

Well, this is certainly one benefit to having spent all my formative years in a natural food co-op surrounded utterly by alternative lifestyle types - I did not recieve the make-up/pretty message until I was too old to care or believe in it. I am, however, a natural body products junky, and even though I'm extremely careful about ingredients, I don't think I should be "consuming" so many products just because they make me smell good. Ahem. Good luck, looking forward to reading more about this!

Aydan said...

Good luck with this! I've never worn makeup regularly (I don't like how it feels on my face), but I'm in a performing arts group, and I need to wear it on stage about 2x a year. I discovered that organic, cruelty-free makeup is really expensive especially if you're just going to wear it a few times before it goes bad! Some of mine probably needs replacing, so I'll be interested to see what products you find that you like.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

I have makeup, I just never wear it. For me it was always to much of a hassle (as my DH says, I was always a hippie, I just didn't know it until we had kids).
Check into the benefits of Coconut Oil, we use it for moisturizer. My youngest has the most severe lip chap I have ever seen. While I was uncomfortable using Vasoline, it was the only thing that was working until I leared it was creating a rebound cycle. On a suggestion I purchase coconut oil. We all use it at night for our faces (check into it, its in most of the anti aging products for a reason), and for our lips. I really like it and the smell is brief (but I like the smell of coconut).
As for makeup I simply don't ware it enough to be concerned, but GreenTween worries me. She love polish and while I am looking into water based polishes, they still have mica and some other ingredients (Depending on the brand) that I am not so comfortable with.
She wants eye liner too, so we are looking into homemade organic makeup.

Cara @ Health Home and Happiness said...

I've never been real into makeup, but I recently gave up shaving (out of lack of time more than being crunchy, but it counts for both, right?). I have a mineral mascara and burt's bees lip gloss that I use occasionally. I've found that since cleaning all the *junk* out of my diet my skin has gotten better and usually my undereye circles are gone, so I have less need now too.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I have to say I'm a big fan of the Honeybee Gardens line. I use their eyeliner and mascara, and my eye allergies have gotten much better since switching. I also like their hairspray and odor-free nail polish, though it is really hard to get off your nails, since it works differently than regular polish. I tend to pick one color for my toes and just keep it, so I don't have to worry about trying to get it off. I don't paint my fingernails, since that would be a big waste with how chipped they'd get.

I'm also a fan of Burt's Bees moisturizer, but I don't use it that often, only when my skin's really dry. Hope that helps :)

Panamamama said...

I've switched to all natural products (didn't wear much makeup anyway so not a hard thing for me) but my hair is going so gray that is a challenge. I started using natural hair dyes but it was making my hair so dry- went to all hennas etc. and getting so many compliments! My hair is fuller and much healthier. The only problem is that my hubby says it smells like grass (more like green tea to me.) I wish there was a local salon that used all natural products, most hairdressers don't know enough if anything about these things.

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

I have to admit that I own several products that are not so earth friendly. But I have an excuse, sorta. For one I cannot afford to buy expensive organic cosmetics. For another I was not able to even go buy them until recently because of how far we lived away from civilization. I had a Walmart and that was it. Ugg I know! Now that I live closer I literally can go walk over and buy it if I wanted.
But to be honest, I wear make up only 2 times a year when I go out and maybe when I have a breakout because of the monthly monster. I cannot see myself buying expensive stuff to use 2 times and then go bad. So I choose not to wear anything at all. Not even moisturizer. All I use is Seventh Generation baby wipes to clean my face at night (freeibe trying to use it up) and thats it!.
I too have horrible allergies which cause me to have dark circles under my eyes and they really bug me. Sometimes I will put make up on to cover that up but just in the eye area and to be honest I forget 99% of the time.
I am a firm believer that make up is what causes our face problems. Get rid of that and your face will thank you.

Anonymous said...

anti-aging? why would you not want to age?

Reading this I realize how profoundly I just sidestepped the whole "beauty" business. Never used any of it: make up, hair dyes (yes I do have bits of grey), nail polish or creams. Figured that anyone who needed those props to accept people weren't worth the effort.

PS just learned that Burts Bees no longer is a small business but was bought by Clorox.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried using AVEDA? They just reformulated all of their products, getting rid of all parabens. They have pressed dual foundation powder that I love! An added bonus is that they work really hard to use recycled materials and every April they donate a ton of money to make clean water available to people worldwide. This year they are trying to raise $3.5 million dollars!

Farmer's Daughter said...

So now I've taken a second look at the ingredients in some of my natural make ups. What's the problem with mica? I just assumed it was a ground mineral, so not a big deal... Now I need to know :)

Rp said...

Freecycle ratherthan tossing out your stuff. Yeah downsizing is always good. For moisturizer I use olive oil and stuff that I can find in my kitchen pantry.

Erika said...

I quit using most conventional cosmetics when I started having allergic reactions randomly, all over my face. That made it super-easy. Some things I struggle to live without are moisturizers - lip balm, lotion, extra-tough skin lotion, etc. I've finally started making my own. I get to control what goes into the mix, I know where it's from (or I don't buy it!), and it solves my issue with packaging - I put it in whatever containers I have around.

I agree with Rp on the freecycle thing - if someone is going to use the product, you can't really stop them, so they'll either take yours and use it up, or buy new and let yours go to waste... I totally understand the cognitive dissonance, but I've finally settled with it. :-)

I'm excited to hear about safe alternatives, the low-down on "safe" products (like mica - you've got me hooked now!), and how your baby steps go!


Ivy said...

It may not be the most virtuous solution, but the thing I've found that's tempting me to give up conventional beauty products the most is finding natural alternatives that draw me in. Etsy has some amazing stuff...and the temptation to use rose petal lotion on my face is easily enough to make me want to dump by conventional products!

Sense of Home Kitchen said...

This has been a concern of mine for awhile. I tried mineral make-up, even the expensive stuff, and it made my face itch.

Then I read about on someone's blog and have been using their products ever since. When you read the list of ingredients, it really is pure, you could just about eat the stuff. It is expensive, but I use very little make-up and store it in my fridge so it will keep. I have been using it for several months and am still pleased.


Juli said...

If you are dumping empty or close to empty cosmetics and toiletries, Origins will accept the packaging- no matter what brand- for recycling:

...they say "products will be recycled or used for energy recovery", so I suppose that means some things get incinerated. Better than a landfill?

I am with you on developing skin allergies. You got me turned on to using honey for face wash, and that has helped, so thank you! I've been doing that for several months now. Still works for me, and doesn't irritate my skin as Cetaphil (yes, dermatologist recommended Cetaphil) had.

Looking forward to seeing what alternatives you find--


Dea-chan said...

Good luck! I wouldn't even know where to start, and I don't even use it regularly! I'll bet telling other women how to green their beauty and health was coming to bite you in the bum, eh?

Unknown said...

I have heard about Coconut oil before, but where do you buy it?

Jen ( said...

I don't use a lot of make-up and products like that, but I did recently go out and buy some small containers to put my shampoo/conditioner in for the gym. I was originally just going to buy samples or travel sized shampoos, but then I decided I'd buy one small container for each product I need and refill them from the jumbo sized containers I buy.

I've thought about making my own, as well, but I really love my Aveda shampoo/conditioner. :(

Anonymous said...

I stopped using make-up the day my husband said I look beautiful without it! I do use a moisturizer, I confess probably no eco friendly. I guess I should look into this.

everydayfrugaleverydaygreen said...

Really intriguing topic. I'm looking forward to hearing more. I can't survive without sunscreen unless I hide in the house (and gardening is just too hard to do at night). I would love to know what my alternatives might be. and because of almost terminally dry skin, I go through tons of moisturizers. I'll give coconut oil a try.
And regarding hair dye - I'm convinced there is no healthy alterntive. I stopped coloring my hair when 28 years ago when my hairdresser told me that we had to "get more aggressive" in dealing with my pre-mature grey. Did it make me look older? Yes, no doubt. But now I like my silver locks. And every once in a while, I'm told that I inspired another woman to let her hair go naturally grey.

Kristijoy said...

I wish you luck, it's a hard one and took me years to get over the beauty indoctrination. If I have to be on TV or at a special event I still wear some out of convention. So I keep it around for those times. It's bare minerals brand.
I also quite dying or hennaing my hair about 2 years ago. That was the hardest because two tone hair drives me nuts. I had very short hair for about a year as I grew it out. And I had been dying my hair so long..I has no idea I had gone burnette! I used to be blonde. Anyways...
I think part of what made it easy to transition at some point was realizing most of the women I know work with and socialize with, don't wear make up. And we all look damn good. Maybe it's a Portland thing. but more like it's the social circles I run in.

Now I use Wild Carrot for stuff like needing some moisture for dry hands or face. but that's it.(except for tv and fancy pants things I still cave for that.and that is purely self esteem related!) it's feels very liberating!
takes time and it is really hard, good luck=)

Katy said...

Uhm so count me as the freak who uses make-up. Honestly, I don't use that much, just foundation and lose powder. If I put on eye shodow or even lip gloss I'm getting fancy.

That said, my mom used to work for a department store cosmic line so I got all my make-up for free. She has recently retired and the freebys are almost used up. I'd be happy to hear if there are any good natural alternaives out there.

CitricSugar said...

I am terrible at a LOT of eco things but the makeup and personal care products, I think I'm doing quite well. And I found it a lot easier to do that I would foregoing the TP.

I'm still no saint whatsoever but I get a great satisfaction from knowing that my mascara is petro/pthalate/garbage-free, my makeup remover pads are machine-washable, my shampoo didn't kill a bunny and won't choke out the fish, and the big corporations don't get paid because I was too insecure to go without wrinkle cream. (They get paid by me for too many other things already. But not for wrinkles.)

roxannarussell said...

Late to the party, and I can't really answer for makeup, but I *love* The Goth Rosary for personal care products! I've used her lotion, shampoo, conditioner, hot oil treatment, and fragrances--love them. They're vegan and natural and the scents are amazing (my personal favorites are Death By Chocolate, Can't Wait Demeter, and Dervish. If scents aren't your thing, she has unscented versions as well.). I use her lotion as a moisturizer and it's fantastic. Everything I've tried from Goth Rosary, I've loved. I can't recommend it highly enough. Plus, she's based in Bremerton, WA--so that's somewhat local for you, too. :) (Not paid to plug the site or affiliated, just a satisfied customer.)

Gypsy said...

This is a constant battle for me. I am 95% of the way there ... but things always creep in. Like the gorgeous Elizabeth Arden tinted moisturiser I wear once in a blue moon and just can't throw out. I am half way through a post about this, as here in New Zealand we have some amazing local companies (mainly one woman bands) making beautiful stuff with local ingredients. After all, NZ started the paraben free train (!!!). (can you tell I'm a proud kiwi!)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Crunchy, this is my nemesis too. I will happily make my own soap, lotion, shampoo, laundry soap, etc.; can, dry, preserve, hang laundry, and garden...but giving up makeup is just not on my list.

I've tried several different 'natural' products and they just don't perform like the more expensive products do.

You're right, we ARE judged by our looks, and I do think we judge women particularly negatively when they start looking older than about 25. Which is the main reason I'm still on that particular train and have no immediate plans to jump off.

Post some more on this as you do more 'research' on yourself. If you find things that actually work I'll be interested.


-Meleah- said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-Meleah- said...

I use all Joppa stuff, by Joppa Minerals. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I tried it when my skin went crazy with my second pregnancy. I loved it so much that I didn't miss any of the old stuff. It could be a complete dump site of chemicals. It wouldn't be the first time I fell for false advertising. lol.

Anonymous said...

I'm experiencing similar challenges in letting go, or minimizing cosmetics.

I have swapped my shampoo to Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap. Nicely, it has many uses beyond that of just washing my hair----I use it for body soap, washing my dishes, and regular liquid handsoap. It washes my hair as well as any shampoo I have ever tried and I don't worry about any toxins with it.

I want to try Aubrey's Jojoba oil for a conditioner later this month. (I've been using the last of my pantene conditioner after washing with the peppermint soap) Skin Deep gives the jojoba oil a great rating for low toxicity, and it doubles as a make-up remover. (I love it when a product has multiple uses.)

As to skin care---I have switched to Gi'ovane's All organic italian olive oil line of anti-aging cleaners/moisturizers. Pretty amazing stuff---and they also rate very low for toxicity on Skin Deep.
Way too damn expensive though---but it is a wonderful product.

I'd like to try the Alima brand of make-up. (Another good Skin Deep choice---and they will take back their original containers and refill them for you----so zero waste there.)

I suppose that's is my biggest beef with so many products---even the good ones---is the packaging.

I want to minimize packaging (preferably something refillable), and find a product that does what I need for it to.

Jenn said...

I only wear makeup for special occasions, which means once or twice a year. I was lucky enough to get the "looks a decade younger than actual age" genes on both sides and always thought makeup made me look older. Plus, I never liked the feel of it on my skin. I did move from a cheap skin care regime (Noxzema & Oil of Olay) in my late twenties to using Clinique (winter) and Origins (summer). I haven't looked at the ingredients yet out of fear of what I'll find.

I know I want to move to something natural, I haven't made the leap yet. I have extremely oily skin, which I claim is the key to looking young, along with pudgy cheeks! By noon in the summer it feels like I've been cooking over a vat fryer!

Now that summer is here and my supplies are low, its time to investigate alternatives. Any suggestions from Oily People welcome!

Ecodea said...

I never cared that much about make up - I just borrow some when I have to go to a wedding or something.

Anonymous said...

good for you! glad to hear you are getting rid of it. I myself switched to Arbonne skin care and cosmetics. they are certified organic, vegan certified,contain no mineral oils phalates or petroleum products. and use only plant oils (which for the skin care, etc are steam distilled and for the healthy living products, like vitamins, are cold pressed) hope this helps! good luck!