Thursday, July 28, 2005

Beauty, Mad Natural

At the beginning of the year it became furiously important to me to buy food as organically as possible. The more I read about what The Man is lacing food with -- chemicals and pesticides -- the more it made my skin crawl, and in turn transformed me into some kind of paranoid conspiracy theorist about how they are trying to kill us off via "unexplainable" cancers (caused my The Man's chemicals and pesticides).

The more I scrutinized my food, the more I realized I couldn't deny what everything else is made with too. More specifically, my beauty products. I am a wannabe Earth Mother even if I cage her inside a vain casing. The casing is fun and decorative to me and as far as I'm concerned, cultures from the beginning of time have made efforts to make themselves pretty. I don't feel bad about that in the least. But the chemically, environmentally unsound products to support this quest began plucking at my Earth Mother guilt and paranoia. Does it have to be Glamour vs. Earth?

Last year, I started experimenting with different, natural beauty lines because I was determined to switch everything over 100% to natural, chemical-free products. As my experiment still continues, I have found many natural products that have worked and many, many that have not.

Nails: When you smell nail polish remover and it singes the nostril hairs, I think that's a good indication that many chemicals are used. Formaldehyde is one of them. Wha--? I found a nail-care line called Firoze that is formaldehyde-free and made with natural products and extracts. I ordered the starter kit which included polish, polish remover and cuticle cream. The polish is actually fantastic and the bottle comes with this ornament; I'm still not sure if it's only a bottle accessory or an elastic toe ring. Either way, I love a good accessory. The cuticle cream is cool; soothing my errant cuticles with horsetail and sandalwood extract. And it doesn't smell like poison. But the nail polish remover who's first ingredient is cornflower oil . . . let's just say that I am realizing with horror that there's a reason strong chemicals are needed to remove pigment. You figure painters get paint off their brushes with turpentine which is pretty much gasoline. So, I rubbed the corn oil on my painted nails and the only reason any polish came off at all is because I physically rubbed it off. Lately, I haven't been painting my fingernails at all; just keeping them vogue-y short and au natural. My toe nails I paint Firoze red and use nature's best polish remover, time. I let them chip and then I just apply another coat of red.

Hair: Health stores carry a few brands of hair color beyond henna that are Chemical Light, but not necessarily Chemical Free. More herbal extracts are used, but the developer, the stuff that allows the color to actually stay on the hair seems to need a chemical bondant. I decided to go beyond the Chemical Light and I found a "permanent" hair color manufacturer in Sweden that is completely chemical free. I ordered dark brown, and I received a box with a big bag of brown powder packaged like I had just bought bulk flour. The instructions were in Swedish though there was a small column of roughly translated English. What I understood was that I was to boil water, add black tea (huh?), add the pound of brown flour, slather it all on my hair like I'm building an adobe hut on my head and leave it on for . . . 2 hours. Did I really need to buy this product because I could've boiled used coffee grounds, black tea with cranberry juice and left that on my head for 2 hours and got SOME color out of it too. (Btw, used coffee grounds works as a great temporary "lift" to the skin. Maybe it's a good self tanner too; gotta experiment there.) I was overwhelmed by the Swedish instructions and the brown powder still sits under my sink. I am not interested in NOT coloring my hair considering I haven't seen my real color since I was 19. My first color was Flame Red . The real color is light brown now highlighted with gray and it's difficult to choose that over lustrous Espresso Brown #89A. Natural hair is a work in progress.

Body: I use Jason products now for my body: Tea Tree Body Wash and Vanilla Body Moisturizer. I love these better than any product I've used before and it is 70% organic, no animal testing, recycled and recyclable, no mineral oil or waxes and nothing synthetic. Finding a natural deodorant on the other hand was a tough, near painful experiment. I am convinced the crystal rock is a hocus pocus placebo and since I love Jason I decided to get their Tea Tree deodorant. My inner hippie was soon trying to escape through my armpits. Terrible. I thought buying a natural deodorant, even though I hate the metallic-y smell of regular deodorannt, was a lost cause and considering I sweat like a pig, I knew I couldn't subject others to that.

Then I was told about Alvera's Aloe and Almonds Roll On. It's the greatest ever and it's 85% aloe with no alcohol or chemicals. It doesn't stop me from sweating -- but neither could metal armpit plates -- but I smell great all day!

Face: Anyone that knows me well knows that I love me some magic eye creams. Anything for lifting, erasing, depuffing, smoothing, refining, I am all over it. If it burns to give me better texture, then that's the way it has to be. I'm also all about some anti-blemish product. And though I have not given up my salicylic acid soap to burn off impurities nor my Serum C by DDF, or Perricone eyes creams, I'd say the majority of my stuff is by Zia Natural Skincare. I use their daily moisturizer and sea weed eye lift and clay & enzyme masks and spray toner. Awesome line. Now, I also love make up and this had been a natural challenge too. I still use Vincent Longo foundation and MAC stuff, but what I have converted to is Dr. Hauschka's line of organic mascara and eye liner, Jason lip gloss (sometimes)and I experiment with natural shadows that I find at the health food store. I used to use Burt Bee's stuff -- until I became a vegan. I find a lot of their stuff greasy anyway. A lot of natural make up seems to slide off my face or simply evaporate only seconds after application.

This Natural Product experiment does continue because I love believing that I can have it all. That I can be a Fabulous Earth Mother that struts in organic make up while throwing over my shoulder a boa - that is if the feathers are fake and it doesn't shed these feathers to eventually choke and kill wildlife.


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White Trasherati said...

MO, have you tried the id Bare Essentuals line? Very good - my skin has never looked better and I'm fighting the "I'm 41, how can I be breaking out AND have wrinkles?" syndrome. Here's a link - they're available at Sephora.
Got here via marigoldie and I enjoy your blog.