A makeup-related post on Tiny Choices, along with a recent survey on another site, made me aware that my makeup-free face is an exception in our culture, not the norm. Not by a long shot.
I did wear makeup in the past, but never much, as explained in part of my comment on Tiny Choices:
“My mother was/is a wonderful role model for natural beauty with minimal or no makeup, and I have happily followed in her footsteps. At my most ‘makeup heavy’ (high school and college), I wore mascara, concealer, and powder (so my face wouldn’t be ‘shiny’), and possibly a bit of eye shadow. I never could stand how either foundation or lipstick felt, and I’m glad I listened to my body’s cues and minimized the chemical exposure.”
So what about that chemical exposure? Most cosmetics are made of a combination of chemicals, most of which are probably NOT safe, it’s just that, at least in some cases, no one has proved them 100% unsafe, so we naively slather them all over our skin. Unfortunately, our bodies absorb a lot of those chemicals.
What about “safer” mineral based makeup? The truth is, I don’t know, because I don’t WANT to wear makeup, so I haven’t bothered to waste my energy investigating (although it seems like the book No More Dirty Looks might be a decent place to start, assuming your library has a copy).
The thing is, in addition to the negative health effects, wearing makeup (mineral-based or no) does not rank high on the green list. Small containers mean lots of packaging and waste. I still have little plastic containers from my makeup days sitting around in my Caboodle carrying case, deep in the storage area of our basement. It’s pretty much all trash, but since I hate making trash, I haven’t managed to throw it out yet. The reality of course, is that the trash was already made the second I purchased that thing of eyeshadow, which is less than half gone. Talk about wasteful!
So we’ve covered health and one type of green, lets talk about the other type of green: $$$. Any guesses what the average [North American, I’m assuming] woman will spend on cosmetics in her lifetime?
The shocking figure quoted in the Tiny Choices post is $13,000.
I look at that number and see lots of things I would rather do than slather my face with potentially toxic, over-packaged substances.