Friday, July 27, 2007


Feeling like we need to wear makeup, like we don't look good without it, is a horrible feeling. And it's a feeling that is instilled in us so that we will spend our money trying to feel better. I commend and envy all the women out there who feel great without wearing makeup and choose not to. I wish I could say I was one of these women, but I'm not...yet. It's definitely a goal of mine and I'm getting there. When I was in my teens I felt uncomfortable leaving the house without using what added up to be 8 or 9 cosmetic products. I have since learned to appreciate the way I look with a minimal amount (a little powder and bronzer and a sweep of mascara) and that's a big achievement for me! And it literally took just scaling it down over time and learning to accept what my face actually looks like, and disregarding the fact that I seemed out of place in some beauty companies that valued fully made up faces walking around the office. Both of those things were really unpleasant at first. I hope to get to the point where I feel great with a totally bare face, but I'm still self-conscious enough that it needs to be a gradual process. I know that a lot of women feel the same way and wish they felt better about what their faces look like without all the paints and powders and all the time and money these entail.

So the next several posts will be devoted to 1) why most cosmetics are actually bad for our health, 2) some companies that are trying to make healthier makeup (while we still wear it), and 3) things we can do to look and feel amazing without makeup.

The next post will be full of scary info about why cosmetics are physically bad for our health. But almost more important are the effects that they have on us mentally and emotionally. We should never feel inadequate or unattractive or embarrassed by our real faces, but many of us do. And this is not our fault. Our society has raised woman to believe that our job is to be beautiful and attractive to men at all costs starting from very young. This is ultimately so that a bit later on we can be sure to fulfill our true role in life: to get married and have children and keep husbands happy. And if our looks are lacking compared to made-up, airbrushed, photoshopped, surgically altered, perfectly lit models, actresses, and pornstars, then we could lose all that, and that is supposed to terrify us. On top of that, it forces us to constantly compare ourselves to the competition, other women. So we have been taught to obsess over our looks rather than focus on living the lives we really want for ourselves; and this all helps jeopardize our ability to have a totally healthy perspective of and relationships with other women-our true allies.

And if the psychological issues resulting from the motivations of the cosmetic industry aren’t bad enough, the dangers of the ingredients to our health are…

Monday, July 23, 2007


Despite my involvement in the beauty industry, I have what can only be described (cliche as it may be) as a love/hate feeling for it. I still find myself getting caught up in what feels like the fun of cosmetics and beauty tips, etc. But I also realize now (as I wish I had in my teen years and early twenties) that the effects of western attitudes toward women, how we are portrayed, what we are expected to look and act like, and what we are constantly being sold on is unbelievably unhealthy and destructive to our self-worth and to our relationships with other women.

Learning more about feminism shed a lot of light on why I was constantly feeling insecure about my appearance and my role in the world. I learned that several industries thrive off of making women feel concerned about how we look starting from when we are very young. I still ocassionally struggle with this feeling (as a 25 year old woman) and have to look it square in the face sometimes, which is scary.

A book called The Truth About Beauty by Kat James addresses the motivations of the beauty, medical, and food industries and their effects on us. In addition, James shows us a better approach to beauty that is actually good for us and respects that we are not simply walking collections of flaws that need fixing and covering up. There is so much information in her book and yet it is a joy to read. I frequently return to it when I need extra inspiration or reminders about great advice. I urge all women, especially those who have ever felt insecure or uncomfortable in their own skin, to read this book asap.

Here's a little excerpt that I always feel empowered by (and it is applicable to the beauty industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, and our government):

"Do your body and your beauty a serious favor: Don't put your unquestioning trust in professions and industries, brand names, number-one recommended products or treatments, industry stamps of approval, or guidelines, no matter how respectable they seem. The only people you ever needed to trust entirely were your parents, and just as every parent has very human weaknesses and personal agendas, so does every regulatory agency and authority figure that influences your living choices. The sooner you let go of any blind faith you have in the government's ability or incentive to protect you, the sooner you can put that faith and the role of the protector where it belongs: with you."