What is your beauty story? We all have one. Were you raised by a mother who didn’t wear makeup or one that had a favorite department store line, and never left home without freshly applied lipstick? Perhaps she was somewhere in between. Was the natural look popular in your youth or are you a blue eyeshadow baby? Our female role models (family, friend or fiction) have a definite impact on the physical image we choose to project.
Story is important to me. Maybe it is because I am a librarian or maybe because connecting with a story ties us all together in one big, messy, wonderful humanity. Either way, that is why, when I choose products for myself and my family, I like to consider the stories behind them. Several of the people or companies behind the cosmetics I share today have great stories. Sure, we have to be careful of green washing, but I think we usually know the difference behind a heartfelt mission and a marketing ploy.
With your story and your goals in mind, let’s take a look at our everyday cosmetics to make sure we are focused on simplifying and detoxifying.
When it comes to cosmetics, I truly believe less is more, but I love a polished look. It can be achieved in a short amount of time with the right products. Just let the real you shine through!
I’ve used EWG’s Skin Deep Database for a while now, but Phyllis’ comment prompted me to download the app. What a great tool to use while shopping. I love the convenience. When you search an item in the database the app gives you a score and even certifies products based on EWG’s safety criteria. I found the quickest way to use it, is to type in the kind of product you want. For instance, type in mascara rather than a brand, and then see what is listed as certified or top rated.
Now Let’s talk routines and products:
I start each morning with a moisturizer. It is usually my whipped shea/coconut butter. But if I want something lighter, I like the Paraben and fragrance free Nourish Moisturizer from Trader Joe’s (Thanks Meghan). Trader Joe’s story started way back in the 1950’s. Check it out here.
Next, I apply the Boom Stick Glow from the Boom Stick Trio to my lips and around my eyes. Then I sweep the Boom Stick Color on my forehead, cheeks and lips.
A couple of years ago, I stumbled on Boom Sticks. The founder, Cindy Joseph, is a “mature” model and makeup artist. You can read her story here. I’ve been using the trio for a while now and love it! The products are natural, Phthalate and Paraben free. And, they are specially designed for folks who want to skip foundation. Skipping foundation was a huge leap for me. Joseph makes the point that as we age many products, such as foundation, draw attention to or highlight texture. Made sense to me so I took the plunge. haven’t looked back since!
Next is concealer. This is a product I currently need to switch out. I think I will go with Beauty Counter’s Touch Up Skin Concealer Pen. This company provides high quality makeup products that perfectly align with my natural-is-better philosophy. The mission statement is simply “to get safer products into the hands of everyone”. Read their story here. If I am going out on the town and want a little more coverage, I use their Dew Skin tinted moisturizer. I’ve got my eye on the Flawless in Five set too! Origins is another company that I have used and trusted for years. I like the Planscriptions while my daughter uses the Quick, Hide!
Mascara- I’m Currently using Tarte’s Cosmetics Lights, Camera, Lashes. It scores a 4 in the yellow zone of SD Database for safety. It is Paraben and Phthalate free but I could do better. I think I smell a hint of green washing here. My friend Lisa is my go-to when it comes to natural cosmetics and she suggested Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length and Strength Mascara. This set includes an eye pencil which I definitely need (for eyebrow filler) and is brown, my favorite mascara color. I just hit buy on Amazon! So excited to make this purchase. You can read Pacifica’s story here.
In my purse, I carry the watermelon shade of Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer . My friend C-W turned me on to it years ago with the declaration that it looks good with any skin tone. I was skeptical, but she was right! I am never without it. I’ve linked a four-pack here because you will want to have one at home, in your purse, in your car, in your other purse….You get the picture. Burt’s Bees’ philosophy is “What you put on your body should be from the best that nature has to offer.” That works for me!
I received a comment on an earlier post requesting a natural whitening toothpaste. I made one recently and am pleased with the results. I mixed up a batch and then divided it among small lip balm containers. Each family member gets their own to keep it more hygienic. I’m happy to share the recipe and directions. Just e-mail me here and I’ll get it the download right out to you! Don’t be alarmed. Natural whitening toothpaste is actually black!
And lastly today, let’s talk about something nobody wants to discuss: body odor! Antiperspirant and deodorant have long been concerns for those who want to use natural products. It really makes sense to consider ingredients when you think about the lymph nodes that are located under our arms. Actually, our skin is an organ, so anything we put on it is absorbed into our systems.
Finding the right product was a struggle. Some natural deodorants were ineffective while others caused irritation (arrowroot can be the root of this ; ).
Finally, this summer while at the farmers’ market, I came across The Farm Life, a self-described “local movement”. A Beauty Counter representative that was at the market recommended their products. That’s synergy. I tried the Mineral Deodorant and was very happy with the results. It is “Formulated by a functional medicine practitioner as a vegan natural deodorant made with magnesium oil. This chemical-free solution re-mineralize your body while neutralizing underarm body odor. The essential oils promote daily detox and skin pH balancing. Safe for sensitive skin.” The arrowroot in this product did not bother me,and it is effective, so it’s a keeper! Of course there is a great story here too!
To the simplifying end, here is my vanity drawer before I started the detox reboot. Oh my!
And here it is after I discarded what I don’t (or shouldn’t) use. So much better.
Consider, that as you declutter all the physical spaces in your life, you are also clearing your mind and heart. St. Anthony the Great said, “The more man uses moderation in his life, the more he is at peace, for he is not full of cares for many things.“
Amen and Pax,
The purpose of this blog is to connect with other (wiser than me) women, who are also attempting to live their best (not perfect, not one size fits all) life, and share the journey. I am a planner. Perhaps you’ve noticed. So, the concept of living intentionally is affirming for me. I can say, “See, I told you we needed a plan!” The plan part I’ve got. It’s the actual purpose, I’m still working on. Oh, I get “The” purpose (at least for me). First Corinthians has that covered. “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
But, how do we simplify living intentionally and infuse it into our daily lives? How do we shift our focus back to the important relationships in our lives rather than the functions of the day?
For me the key is the simplify part. That is why I’m hell-bent on decluttering every aspect of my life. When daily life and routines are simplified, then the mind can rest and the heart can be free to be more generous. Does that make sense? Marie Kondo could not have sold millions of books across the globe if she hadn’t struck a chord with so many.
So, we’ll talk about technology, shoes, pantries, photo storage and free time. But let’s start with the idea of detoxing and what it means in our homes and habits. I hope we can agree that it is one of the essential simplification processes that will help our state of body and mind.
Ten years ago, I read a book (Mr. Man finds reading to be a very dangerous habit for me ; ) about the health impacts of bioaccumulation, also referred to as “body burden”. Fancy words to describe the layering of toxins in our bodies, too great for our natural detox system to handle. Our bodies are amazing and they filter toxins in a variety of ways. They are equipped to handle a reasonable level of toxins. They are not equipped to handle the enormous amount of man-made chemicals entering our systems through the soap, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, makeup, we put on our skin…..or the chemicals we inhale while cleaning our homes or doing something crazy like sitting on the couch or laying our head on our pillow….or the chemicals we ingest when we eat processed food. Shall I continue? I think you get the point.
So, I read some more. What struck me about each study I read, was that the two main issues, as a result of personal bioaccumulation were hormone disruption with relation to infertility and carcinogens linked to breast cancer. Well let’s see, I spent the better part of my twenties and thirties being treated for infertility issues and my mother is a breast cancer survivor. Fast forward 8 years to when I am diagnosed with breast cancer and go through significant genetic testing to learn that I do not carry a gene for breast cancer. It is my belief that environmental factors adversely impacted my health and still do. As these toxins are linked to many more issues that just these two.
Now, I am part of what I like to call the “P” generation. I grew up with polyester, pesticides, petroleum-based products, perfume, plastics and processed foods. To summarize: The Poison generation. Nobody set out to poison America, but just watch the movie, The Human Experiment, and you will see that once some folks realized they were, they didn’t see fit to stop. I can’t completely reverse my own body burden, but I can absolutely do better for my children. I am not a doctor, a scientist, a researcher, or a dietician. I AM a woman, wife, mother and a reader. Here was my initial take-away.
Um, this all just makes sense. Why overload our systems with toxins they can’t handle?
So let’s talk solutions. I initially attacked the issue in three steps:
- read labels and purge
- read/confer (regarding replacement)
I did this in three areas:
- cleaning/home care,
- personal care/beauty
I do enjoy a good forward-slash, don’t I?
Lately, I’ve noticed some bad habits resuming (I act as if I have no control over my habits. Oy vey!) and less than natural products sneaking back into my home. (Are you picturing a bottle of Lysol hiding under my porch waiting for a chance to get into my house?) . So as I “reboot the detox”, I will share my process, tips, products and resources. Then, I would love to hear your detox success stories or issues.
To avoid, information overload, I will break it into multiple posts. So if you would like to join me, we can do this one step at a time. Trust me, no judging here. Any step to detoxify your home or habits is a victory for you and your family.
*To get you pumped and ready to take your personal environment back, consider reading (Click the Actionista button) about one of the amazing women highlighted by Women’s Voices for the Environment, for their work to make our world safer. Then take a look at your calendar and intentionally set some time aside in the near future to make a positive change in your life.
WVE is an outstanding organization whose mission is to amplify women’s voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities.
Toxic Free Future is also a great organization established to help ignite change.
*If you are ready to be your own Actionista, and you are a DIY’er, here is a list of some of the ingredients I will be using to make natural homemade products. You probably have the most important ones in your pantry right now. I get almost all of my products locally from the grocery store or I order from Amazon. I will make all these products on a regular basis, so I have all the ingredients. It may seem like a lot but it is far more economical (and safer-that’s the point) than purchasing commercial products. If you aren’t all in yet, I highly recommend at least making the spray cleaner. There are other (non homemade) options that I will share too, so don’t panic. Lots more specifics to come!
Green Cleaning Product Shopping List:
- white vinegar
- spray bottle (I prefer glass)
- essential oils (optional)
- liquid castile soap (citrus-but any scent will do)
- vegetable glycerin
- soap flakes
- Castile bar soap
- washing soda
- oxygenated bleach (optional)
Wonderful Whipped Body Lotion:
- pure unrefined coconut oil
- pure unrefined shea butter
- pure unrefined mango butter (optional)
- carrier oil (almond or grape seed)
All Purpose Spray Cleaner: white vinegar, spray bottle, essential oils (optional-lavender or lemon)
Soft Scrub: baking soda, liquid Castile soap, vegetable glycerin(works as a preservative)
Dishwashing Soap: Borax, soap flakes or grated Castile bar soap, essential oil of choice (optional)
Laundry Detergent: Borax or baking soda, soap flakes or grated Castile bar soap, washing soda
Dishwashing Detergent: Borax, washing soda, citric acid, kosher salt
Body Lotion: Pure unrefined Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Carrier Oil (almond or grape seed work great)
Many of you are probably way ahead of me, so I look forward to hearing from you along the way!
I am a big fan of Marie Kondo and the Konmari method of organizing. I have to be honest though, I am only halfway there when it comes to my whole house declutter.
I did great through the clothing portion, with the help of Jennifer Scott (The Daily Connoisseur) and her Ten Item Wardrobe and Madame Chic books. I’ll share my current 20 item wardrobe (not down to 10 yet) in upcoming posts.
Next, I moved on to books. That was a huge hurdle in my house, as I am a librarian and we (hubby and kids) are all avid readers. But I followed the rule of bringing every book together, considering each and only keeping those that “spark joy”. I think you would be impressed as I purged a lot. I have a Little Free Library in my yard, so many titles rotated into that.
That’s when I got a little off track, but in a good way. With the help of my brilliant and creative friend Emily of @yourhome-girl I took out my massive dining room furniture (that was way to bulky for the space) and did an update that makes me smile every time I walk past.
The Next step was CD’s and DVD’s. we don’t have a large DVD selection but lots of CD’s (the music of my past-think Rod Stewart and The Big Chill) and it just overwhelmed me. I tried to move on from there but I struggled.
Now, I did continue to declutter closets here and there but got behind as I wasn’t staying true to the original system. A few weeks ago you might say I was at Def-Com (insert large number here), as this was one of my kitchen cabinets. I only feel comfortable showing you this picture because we are friends and I feel safe. No need to look closely. It is as bad as you think.
So, being so close to a new year, I vowed to do better! I decided to go off script a little and dive in to the kitchen declutter. It is truly the heart of our house and I couldn’t go another day with it in such disarray.
My process was one of “direction” rather than item analysis. I merely started at the most horrendous cabinet and worked my way over and down. Many people who live in a truly minimal home have completely clear counter tops. I prefer areas that serve different functions and like to design vignettes that support and “beautify” those areas. This is my baking area.
That horrendous cabinet that I chose to start with houses items used for packing lunches and preparing breakfasts. The first thing I did was throw out, donate and recycle all unused items (how do we accumulate these so quickly?) Next I gathered all the tools and items needed for these purposes to this corner of the kitchen.
- small plates
- coffee maker
- dried and fresh fruit
- water bottles and lunch boxes
- paper sandwich wraps
- syrup, honey and butter
I did a couple of transitions, putting items into prettier or more efficient containers. As soon as we purchase cereal, we transfer it to glass jars, recycle the boxes and store any excess in the red tin.
Next, considered what I had on hand to store items. I decided to reuse as much as possible, rather than purchasing new storage solutions.
My tea and cocoa were a mess so I reorganized, using some of my favorite little Pyrex containers and mason jars.
Here is the completed corner. It includes the upper corner cabinet which contains mostly lunch preparation items. Under that cabinet is a lazy Susan with cereals, syrup, honey and my favorite bowls. the large red tin. Our mini Shulux coffee maker is next to a tin containing compostable coffee pods. The toaster is actually up in the cabinet as we don’t use it as often. I love that everything is located to help make morning routines more efficient.
In an upcoming post, I’ll share the rest of my decluttering efforts, including my pantry. I hope this inspires you to consider whatever minimizing efforts appeal to you. I actually feel a sense of relief that at least one routine is simplified. Now that sparks joy!