Last week when I was searching for recipes to make my own household cleaning products I happened across quite a few recipes for home made beauty and hygiene products. I have to admit that while making my own household cleaners had been a casual ambition of mine for a while it had never occurred to me to try my hand at grooming products. Perhaps this is because I don’t wear make up, or use hair products other than shampoo, and I am not really all that into body washes, or lotions, or perfumes, or shaving creams, or bath bombs. I am low maintenance girl, saver of time and money and expert ignorer of the commercial beauty standard! I would wear a cape but then I’d have to dry-clean it.
At this point you’re probably asking yourself what I DO use if I don’t use any of that stuff. Well, I have shampoo. I have conditioner for special occasions. I have soap, I have toothpaste and I have deodorant. That is all I feel I need and as it turns out each of these products has an eco-friendly and/or natural and/or home made alternative and this week I am going to try them out.
I know simple isn’t really for everyone when it comes to grooming for a number of reasons and I really want to make sure that this challenge applies in some small way to everyone out there so bare with me. I am not asking everyone reading this to throw their make-up-bags to the curb but I am going to ask that we all take this week to think about what’s in them.
I remember reading an article about toxics in cosmetic products a few years back that estimated the U.S beauty industry rakes in about fifty billion dollars per year. Fifty billion dollars in revenue selling mostly unnecessary items containing countless chemicals packaged in shiny disposable plastic containers. Environmentally speaking the whole thing is rather concerning so it really does deserve a bit of reflection on our parts.
Reduce your media: I am low maintenance girl, and yet every time I pick up a beauty magazine I find myself lusting after ‘fun colours’ and ‘hot shades’, wondering if the skin cream on page 6 really could lessen the look of my cellulite and if my scars and stretch marks are really that noticeable. This happens because that is what those magazines are designed to do and the industry puts a lot of money into figuring out how to do it well. So stop reading them. Problem solved.
Well, at least part of the problem anyways. Who ever you are, male or female, young or old, there is media out there that would have you believing that the way you are simply isn’t good enough. That media is everywhere. You can’t exactly close your eyes every time you drive by a billboard but you can choose to limit all the other ways this media makes it into your life.
Simplify: Once you’re done exposing yourself to media designed to tell you how much help you need to be presentable it doesn’t take long for you to stop being critical of yourself and start being critical of the cosmetics you may not actually need. If you take a look at all the things in your cosmetics case and decide that you really do need all of them, skip to the last suggestion here and think about making a few items instead of buying them.
Hygiene v beauty: Good Hygiene is important. I am not by any means denying this fact. There is without a doubt a minimum standard that must be met for hygiene out of respect for yourself and those around you. But there are some things we think of as hygiene necessities that are actually beauty standards and in my opinion commercial beauty standards are not so important. Example: Whitening toothpaste and other products. Clean teeth are important for your health, unnaturally white teeth are not. Another example: Shampoo and conditioner. Your scalp is technically self cleaning, and while regularly washing away dirt and debris is good hygiene, chemically stripping away your hair’s natural oils and then replacing them with chemicals to make it shiny and smooth is not.
If you are looking for ways to simplify and are having trouble deciding what is necessary; write down your daily grooming routine and sort each item into either ‘hygiene’ or ‘beauty’ which list is longer?
Make it: Just like last week the main reason I want to make my own grooming products is to avoid the nasty ingredients that seem down right impossible to avoid in commercial beauty products. Check out David Suzuki’s Dirty Dozen and the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to learn more about what can be found in common store bought products.
What are your thoughts on beauty and cosmetics? What steps could you take to clean up your hygiene routine?