Cosmetics: The Illustrated Edition

Have you heard of the Story of Stuff project with Annie Leonard?

I came a little late to the Story of Stuff train, but recently heard of it after finding the book that came after the popular blog and online video took off. In The Story of Stuff, simple illustrations are used to explain how STUFF (tshirts, packaging, things for the home, etc…) is made, marketed, used and then disposed of.

Last month, the project took it a step further and released a new video along the same lines with a focus on cosmetics.

I can go on and on about why women don’t need makeup, you should feel good on your own skin, natural is beautiful, etc… But for me, makeup is an extension of self expression. I feel most confident in my big ole’ hair and eyeliner and bright colored high heels – not because I feel oppressed by gender norms, but because I like playing dress up – always have, always will.

(Me, age 5-ish. A billion accessories, blue eyeshadow, pink lipgloss. Hugging a dog.)

While I’d bet there are makeup users across the world with MUCH more makeup than me, I do have a fair amount accumulated and the subject of makeup is one I’ve always investigated at arms length. As in: I don’t want someone to tell me I’m eating chemicals in my lipstick, or that my mascara is hurting the environment. Ignorance is bliss, right?

Except when it’s not. With animal friendly and eco-friendly lines coming out all the time, a girl can have her lipgloss and eat it too (literally)! This is a huge topic that has entire blogs and books devoted just to finding the best companies and products that rank high in the area of ethics, but if you are someone that never looked into it much, take a gander at The Story of Cosmetics.

This is great not just for glamour girls and drag queens – products we all use every day like shampoo and toothpaste can be swapped out for products better for the environment and animals (human and otherwise).  I’d have to think that somewhere in your heart, you have compassion for any of the above things. And even if you couldn’t care less about the latter, get selfish and think about yourself – do you want to slather your skin, the largest and very porous organ, with CRAP?

Why do we freak out if we get splashed with a mud puddle, but think nothing of applying, say, a moisturizer full of a billion chemicals we can’t pronounce? If we strive to eat less processed food, shouldn’t we also care about using more natural products on the outsides of our bodies, too?

Need resources for what companies and brands are ok, or improving? Check out:

5 thoughts on “Cosmetics: The Illustrated Edition

  1. My favorite place, The Body Shop, who also just premiered eco-conscious hair care and natural deodorant:

    “The Body Shop® believes that there is only one way to beautiful — Nature’s Way.

    For many years, The Body Shop has constantly sought out wonderful natural ingredients from all four corners of the globe, and brings you products bursting with effectiveness to enhance your natural beauty. While doing all of this The Body Shop also strives to protect this beautiful planet and the people who depend on it — not because it’s fashionable, but based on the belief that it’s the only way to do business.”

  2. If you’re a cheapskate hippie like me, you can also opt for washing your hair with baking soda. A big ol’ box of sodium bicarbonate costs less than a dollar and goes a lot farther than a bottle of shampoo. And all that’s in it is…sodium bicarbonate.

    Bonus! You can use it to bake (duh), clean other things besides hair, deodorize stinky places, and settle your tummy after really bad heartburn/acid indigestion. Baking soda saved my guts—back before I took into account things like “fats” and “fiber” when I ate—long before I used it on my hair. is the most comprehensive guide imaginable on the subject.

    • I recently washed my hair with an apple cider vinegar rinse, which helped get rid of product buildup, but made my hair smell like… vinegar. I’ll have to try the baking soda. I know some people brush their teeth with it, though I don’t know how because I would be gagging 😦 Effective, but gross tasting.

      • If you liked the apple cider vinegar otherwise (for me, vinegar rinses leave my hair looking awful), consider adding a nice-smelling essential oil to the mix. I’m told that masks the scent nicely.

        I’m not hardcore enough to brush my teeth with it. I have used Dr. Bronner’s on my teeth in times of desperation, though! And it’s all surfactants anyway…

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