I didn’t grow up with makeup and, traditionally, I would only wear mascara and tinted lip balm at the weekend. At college, I started experimenting with colours and wearing the palest foundation I could afford, but was still a tad orange for me.
A love of make up
I was twenty and in my second job when I visited a Lancome counter for the first time. The woman did my make-up and I was amazed at the transformation. I promptly bought as much as I could and vowed to return. Their foundation was the closest match to pale skin and their skincare felt amazing; plus, they had deals giving away free stuff with purchases or big discounts.
For years, Lancome was my counter of choice and occasionally I would try other brands like Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown or YSL.
I read an article about an ingredient in lipstick that causes cancer. I checked my tubes of Lancome and discovered it was present. I searched for reassurance that in small amounts it would cause no harm – this was the start of me questioning my products.
The next occasion was a girl at work who was very vocal on raising awareness of animal cruelty. She’d share horrific pictures and stories of what the beauty industry and meat industry does to animals. I started paying attention to whether brands I bought were cruelty-free and discovered many leading brands sell in China – they have a law enforcing products must be tested on animals. Sadly, many of my favourite brands were trading in China and I realized they must have allowed this to happen in order to sell there.
The final change was when I discovered my toddler sitting among a cracked pallet of eyeshadow by Pixi Beauty, finger holes in my Bobbi Brown foundation and a red-smeared face covered in Benefit’s Benetint (I suspect he had tried eating it). I was in a blind panic that he could be poisoned by my make up. I cleaned him up and realised it was time to clean up my beauty choices.
Hanging onto the baddies
Changing to clean beauty products wasn’t going to be an overnight transformation. On maternity pay (then returning to work on part-time hours), I didn’t have the funds to overhaul my makeup or skincare in one go. It was a slow gradual process.
To start, I held onto all my products. There was some trial and error in finding what worked for me as many brands are online so ordering them was a gamble. More brands are now offering affordable samples making it more cost effective to experiment. With my successes, my old brands started to get replace and the old products relocated to a box for emergencies – I was still scared to throw them out.
We recently got our bathroom refitted. I had to clear everything out for the workmen to rip out our old suite and put in our new bathroom.
This finally gave me the push to say goodbye to my baddies that we’re gathering dust and out of date. I only put back the products I use that are cruelty-free and most are chemical free too.
Now, I open my bathroom cabinet and smile…