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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Grieving Your Lip Gloss

A couple months ago I started eating more 'clean'. Bagel breakfasts gave way to green smoothies. I cut down on dairy and sugar. A friend said, "you have such discipline". I responded, "it's not discipline - this is fun!". Well detoxing my beauty regimen has proven much more emotionally draining and stressful. That being said, I didn't give up dark chocolate. Now that would have gotten ugly.

How did this all start? I heard about the famous 'Lipstick Lead List'. This is a list compiled by the FDA of over 400 lipsticks that contain lead. Click here to see The Lipstick Lead List. Number 2 worst offender? L'Oreal lipstick in Volcanic. I had this lipstick. I remember it well; it was a gorgeous tangerine color with just the right amount of punch. Of course I threw it out - but not without a sigh.

Soon after that I began educating myself by doing research online and following all the brave and smart ladies on Twitter who are pioneering this movement towards safer cosmetics. I'm reading a great book called 'No More Dirty Looks', which I recommend. I'm only halfway through the book (hey I'm a slow reader), but already a type of paradigm shift is occurring. I'm looking at all the products I use every day with weariness and suspicion. The book suggests making a slow transition, but every morning I eye my little Ikea basket of lipsticks with both disdain and longing. How could my friends, like Revlon-In The Red have betrayed me so?

In the old days (ie: three weeks ago), I would lie in bed in the morning and decide my outfit for the day based on which makeup look I would go for. Would it be a smoky eye with dark clothes and edgy jewelry? Or maybe liquid eyeliner with a red lip and a more retro look. But now, it's not fun anymore. All I can think about is parabens, propylene glycol, and sulfates (oh my). The red lipstick just doesn't hold the same allure. The truth had been revealed: my red lipstick that felt glamorous is really, well, junk. Yes it's junk. It's the cosmetic equivalent of McDonald's. It's filled with mystery products, preservatives, and basically the cheapest and easiest ingredients for mass production and general appeal. But there's a major difference between McDonald's and the cosmetics companies: the FDA regulates the food we eat. It does not, I repeat does not regulate the beauty products we put on our faces, our bodies and in our hair. Cosmetic companies are responsible for doing their own product testing, product recalls, and reporting of any adverse effects their products have caused. Europe has banned over 1000 ingredients from being used in beauty products. The U.S. has banned 9.

So here we are, in the oh so uncomfortable transition phase. I want to believe I can still enjoy makeup just as much, if not more. Already, as I research and contact these smaller companies who truly have our beauty and health in mind, I feel a sense of community and (fun) subversion that I never felt in the fluorescent-lit aisles of my local CVS. But is it possible to be both glam and safe? I'm convinced that it is. I'm determined. I'm driven. I've already found some gems... and I'm on the hunt for more.

Dear Rimmel Lipgloss: We had a lot of good times. Wearing you was wrong, but it felt oh so right. You were bad for me, but you treated me real good. All the same, I'm moving on to greener pastures (so to speak). I know at the end of the day, you don't have my best interests at heart. You seduced me with your sheen and cheaper price tag. But I know better now.

             (lead-free) *kisses*,

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