It seems a little backward, but I started thinking consciously about what I was putting in my body long before what I was putting on my body. So it’s sort of ridiculous that I would ask myself: “I’m eating so many freakin’ avocados, WHY does my skin not look like I just spent a weekend in Miami?!”
Uh, because your beauty products are crappy, that’s why. We can eat all the healthy fats and anti-inflammatory foods we want, and don’t get me wrong, that’s the first step toward healthy skin, but there’s more to it than that.
Our skin is the largest organ we have, and we absorb about 80 percent of what goes on it. That means all the lotion, cream, gel, spray, and makeup we apply externally directly affects us internally. That’s not rocket science, yet somehow most of us go a long time without considering the potential risk of toxic products. There’s a number of different reasons: the marketing behind powerhouse beauty companies is a biggie, economics and what we can and cannot afford is another, and perhaps the most important, is general awareness.
My mom is pretty frugal, but makeup is something she’ll spend on. That has always stuck with me, and it’s something I think is worth spending on, too. But this is only part of the equation. We all know how easy it is to drop a few Ben Franklins in Sephora. Clinique this, Dior that … we spend SO MUCH MONEY on this stuff every year. And yet, are they actually quality products? Depends on how you define quality, I suppose.
For me it was simply a lack of awareness around potential toxins. I never knew about the artificial chemicals in conventional makeup, or how many companies test on animals. I never knew that petroleum and parabens clog pores. Also, what are parabens? (Scientific explanation right this way, if you’re curious.) Turns out there are some serious health concerns associated with these guys, namely hormone disruption and a possible link to cancer. Don’t go running into your bathroom to dump out your makeup bag, that’s not meant to scare you. But what I’ve learned after a bit of digging, is that one: I define “quality” different than I used to; and two: the money I so swiftly spend on beauty products may not be worth it. Designer ≠ quality, at least not necessarily.
Okay, so toxic beauty products aren’t great, got it. But what am I supposed to buy?
There are no designated “natural makeup” sections at Sephora or CVS. For a while I’d wander aimlessly around the beauty section at Whole Foods, or browse some beauty blogs in search of a brand that resonated with me. Everything seemed a little too green if you know what I mean.
Then I found W3LL PEOPLE. Created by an elite makeup artist, a cosmetic dermatologist and a “treehugging entrepreneur,” this stuff is legit. I had read about the brand a few times, and finally decided to give it a try when I saw they were having a sale. The products are minimalist, and really beautiful. Infused with aloe, chamomile and green tea, they feel so nourishing, and last longer than anything I’ve tried before. They’re made in the U.S., and yes, they’re organic, all-natural and cruelty-free. I’m also a sucker for good branding and packaging … look how pretty!
Here’s the best part: my skin has never looked or felt better.
Again, there are a few other factors involved. I drink a shit-ton of water. I eat a lot of healthy fats/anti-inflammatory foods and get my daily greens, plus I douse myself in S.W. Basics. If I drink a few too many beers or stray too far from my regular diet, I immediately notice it on my skin. There are no miracle workers. No matter what products you use, you have to take care of your skin and eat well. But if you’re not feeding yourself a ton of chemicals, why put them all over your face? I’ve noticed a huge difference since starting to use this stuff a few weeks ago and I gotta say, I’m converted.
Do you have to make the switch right this second?
Nope. Try a few samples at $1.50 each, and gradually make some changes. We all have a few products we’re loyal to, but with a few swaps you may start to notice big changes. Worried it’ll cost you? It probably will. But not more than what you’re already paying at Sephora, maybe even less, and I’d argue if you’re going to put any money into your appearance, this is the first place to start.
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Also published on Medium.