Thursday, July 21, 2011

#44... Reduce or eliminate cosmetics

Wikipedia says this about cosmetics:
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body... A subset of cosmetics is called "make-up," which refers primarily to colored products intended to alter the user’s appearance.... The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which regulates cosmetics in the United States[3] defines cosmetics as: "intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body's structure or functions."  
And I have to wonder, why all that fuss? Why are we so worried about our appearance? What's wrong with having an imperfect human body? If we get some pleasure out of applying a bit of lipstick once in a while, that's one thing, but if we're obsessing about having eyes that make everyone else jealous, that's another. Especially since a lot of the chemicals in our cosmetics are highly questionable when it comes to not "affecting the body's structure or functions."

Lately, there have been more than a few news items about personal care/cosmetic products and their potential health risks as well as the lack of attention that has been paid to their ingredients, some of which can possess low levels of toxicity that no one bothers to think about. Remember the Brazilian Blow Out? It had fairly high levels of toxins, if I'm not mistaken...


As someone who subscribes to the David Suzuki Foundation's emails, I received a request to participate in a personal care survey a few months ago. So I rounded up a few products from our cupboards, and sat at the computer checking the survey boxes that correlated to the ingredient lists on my bottles. I was somewhat appalled when I realized that each product had one or more questionable ingredients listed.

After compiling the information offered by survey participants, the Suzuki Foundation came up with its Dirty Dozen list of toxic ingredients in personal care products. It also advised that we contact our Minister of Health and other politicians who have the power to get cosmetic corporations to publish the not so pretty details about some of their products. So I did. Haven't heard a word back, unfortunately.

There are those who dismiss the concerns about cosmetic ingredients as just so much scare-mongering, but my philosophy is this: if I'm not 100% sure it's good for me, why bother using it? So I have wrinkles, lumps, and the odd acne outbreak. I've given up on supermodel glossy hair and my husband has a perfume allergy. Living simply, I don't need to fuss about any of it, because when I get to those pearly gates, St. Peter won't be questioning me on whether I remembered my daily moisturizer. It's okay to live without buying into the world of cosmetics, really! As Kermit the Frog sings at the end of his famous solo about being green (with a slight adaptation):
I'm me,
and it'll do fine,
I'm beautiful,
and I'm what I want to be.

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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