The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Overhauling My Beauty Routine July 11, 2010

This post is about cancer sticks.

No, not cigarettes. Yup, there’s a different type of cancer stick, and you just don’t know it yet. It’s your mascara, your lipstick, your chapstick….. From EcoSalon:

To date, the EU has banned 1,100 chemicals in cosmetics; the Food and Drug Administration in America has banned only ten. In fact, Cover Girl waterproof mascara contains the same ingredient (petroleum distillates, an oil by-product) as Dr. Scholl’s Wart Remover—both of which are illegal in Europe…. When I realized that many of the chemicals banned in the EU—but found in FDA-approved beauty products—cause cancer, birth defects, genetic mutation, and organ damage, I wondered: why is our regulation system so different from (and, dare I say, less effectual than) that of our European neighbors?

(Read more here)

More and more people are ascribing to the beauty mantra, “I only put on my skin what I can eat.” After all, you’re not a barbie doll. Your skin absorbs whatever you put on it. So when you smooth lipstick with mercury on your lips or put hair products with formaldehyde in your hair, that’s going to end up in your system. With how absorbent ourAztec Secret Mud, Almond Oil, Pangea Organic face products, pure aloe gel, coconut oil, burts bees chapstick, skin is, why even put petroleum products (Vaseline) or other crazy ingredients on it. Would you eat Vaseline? No. (Unless you’re a beauty queen who smears it on her teeth. If so, you are beyond help sister.)

Scary stuff right? I know I run the risk of sounding a little paranoid, but don’t worry, you can still look beautiful without setting yourself up for some serious medical bills later on. As an advertising person myself, I can tell you most commercials with pretty molecules spinning around on the screen are a really far stretch of the imagination. Has your hair every REALLY looked less frizzy after using that super fancy Pantene Pro-V? Thought so.

Start at the Natural Homemade Beauty blog. It might seem a little bizarre that you can get the same effects from simple stuff like coconut oil, lemon, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, almond oil, and other things you seem more commonly in the kitchen, but it’s totally true! I can attest from personal experience that the tips on her blog has reduced my breakouts and made my skin silky and smooth. And there’s scientific evidence to prove it. Here’s what I’ve overhauled in the past year in my beauty routine:

  • Replaced my foamy pink shave lotion with olive oil. Smoothest. Legs. Ever. Plus it’s cheap and creates less waste.
  • Threw out my Proactiv and bought Pangea Organics. I augment that with weekly facial masks of Aztec Secret mud masks. I’m broken out at the moment, but I attribute that to too much sugar, as usual, and missing my weekly mud mask.
  • Got rid of my fancy lotion and started using coconut oil. I smell really good.
  • Replaced my mascara and eyeliners with brands from Whole Foods.
  • Stopped shelling out for fancy Trish McEvoy makeup and got Bare Minerals instead.
  • Got normal, everyday organic shampoo and conditioner. I tried the no ‘poo method here but it didn’t work because I have insanely thick hair. But even though I don’t have a shampoo that is specially formulated for thick, brown-with-highlights, sorta wavy, 20-something hair, my hair is still silky and shiny.
  • Stopped using gooey $1 lip gloss and started using tinted Burt’s Bees lip stuff .
  • Replaced my deodorant with Avalon Organics spray and Tom’s of Maine Crystal Deodorant. I switch off between the two, but so far both work great.

In summary? I smell delicious, I look at least as good as I did a year ago if not better, I’m creating less waste, spending less money, and taking proactive steps to limit my exposure to carcinogens and other nasty stuff. That’s a win.


What promotes beautiful skin? March 31, 2010

Filed under: Beauty,Products,Tips — Alden @ 7:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

My skin is gorgeous today. Flawless. Beautiful. This is a rare occurrence for me, so I would like to figure out what I’m doing right and keep doing it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of variables that come into play:

The Clean Program: You may know that I am doing a cleanse, and have been doing it for three weeks. Members of the program report clearer skin, so I’m tempted to think all those supplements and shakes have successfully cleared out my system of toxins. After all, what we put in our bodies shows up on our skin all the time, either in pimples from stuffing ourselves with carbohydrates, alcohol, and sugar, or in glowing skin from nourishing ourselves with nutritious, whole foods.

My sister once told me about a home visit she made during Social Work school to a young woman with a mental disability and her mother. “She has the most beautiful, glowing skin I’ve ever seen.” Colby told me. She suspects it was a result of a lifetime of eating nothing but pure baby foods. That’s right, baby foods. No carbs, no refined sugars, no junk food or fast food. Just pureed fruits and veggies.

There’s only one problem with this theory: I haven’t been sticking to the cleanse very well. I had a pint of beer last night with chorizo for dinner with my friend Lindsay, and this weekend I drank a ton of Blue Moon at the bar, topping it off with a decadent dessert from my corner grocery store. I shouldn’t be having any of that! So either the cleanse is still working even though I’m being terrible about it, or it’s something else. Perhaps it’s that…

I go easy on cleaning my face: I used to be almost religious about cleaning my face morning and night, morning and night. Hot water, harsh facial cleanser that I would grind into my pores, lotions and astringents. I declared war on my face. ProActive helped somewhat, but it didn’t clear up my blemishes completely.

There are people out there who claim soap is the reason for all of our skin’s ills in the first place. While I’m not going to stop washing my hair anytime soon, it’s a compelling argument. Why would our skin evolve away from the ability to regulate itself? It’s only when we scrub away all the oil, that it kicks into overtime to produce more oil. The whole system gets thrown off balance and you are left with either dry skin, blemished skin, or oily skin, instead of skin the way it is supposed to be.

So I stopped washing my face twice a day. I take a shower every morning, but don’t use any products on my face. When I get home at night I wash with Pangea organic facewash to get all that New York city grit and grime off.

So is it this winning method? I can’t say. I’ve been doing this for more than a couple months now, and I didn’t really notice a difference up until today. It wasn’t worse or better. So maybe not. But perhaps it’s because…

I use rosehip seed oil instead of a fancy moisturizer. I scraped the last of my fancy moisturizer out of the pot a few days ago, and decided to break out the rosehip seed oil. It comes in a roll-on glass tube which I roll on my hands and then massage into my skin. You would think it would leave my face feeling…well, oily. But in fact my skin just feels lovely. I think the simpler your ingredients in your products, the better it is for your skin, health, and peace of mind. You don’t have to google every ingredient and see things like “Has been linked to cancer,” or “estrogen disruptor.” It’s just one, simple, delicious-smelling ingredient.

I’m betting it’s the roseship seed oil, but it could also be that…

Once a week I slather on a mud mask: Looks boring doesn’t it? Not like the beautiful products you see carefully arrayed in your local department store. Well, it may not cost $300 like La Mer, but I suspect it works just as well.

I first read about Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay here, and read some more reviews on Amazon. There were nothing but happy customers.

Every time I slather it on, I swear my face is much clearer for a few days afterward. It’s a completely natural and wonderful treatment that goes back thousands of years. Mud has lots of minerals and good stuff in it. Just as long as that comes from far, far away, not from the toxic pits around NYC!

So there you have it, all my theories about why my face is so freakin’ awesome today. Hopefully it stays that way!