Makeup Bag Overhaul Part One: Despair, then hope.

Whew. What began as a search to find some contact friendly, natural mascara has turned into a full-blown overhaul of my toiletries collection, and let me tell you, it is overwhelming.

I recently got an eye infection, and decided that I should replace my eye makeup with something natural. I started doing some research, and yikes! Many large makeup brands use potentially harmful chemicals in their makeup products, and often test these products on animals. These chemicals are not very strictly regulated. Moreover, the packaging that our makeup comes in can be extremely wasteful. And, the same goes for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant… in short, everything that I use on a daily basis.

So what’s a girl to do? (Especially a girl who uses Neutrogena foundation, a CoverGirl compact, and Loreal mascara…?!)

My first answer was: I’ll just switch to Burt’s Bees, duhhh.

Um. Turns out Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox. While nearly all of Burt’s Bees’ ingredients are natural, they are not consistently organic, and the ownership makes me question how ethical their business practices are. This is not to say that I think Burt’s Bees products are bad! It’s totally possible that, even under the new ownership, the company has stayed true to its roots. The problem is, it’s impossible to know from the outside looking in!

This is where the process starts to get overwhelming. If I can’t trust Burt’s Bees, who CAN I trust?!

Second answer: I’ll just never shower and wear no makeup. But it’s okay because Tom’s of Maine toothpaste will give me fresh breath and sparkly white teeth.


… Too bad Tom’s of Maine is owned by Colgate. Again, while this doesn’t mean that Tom’s of Maine is morally bankrupt, it’s just difficult to know what their business practices are like.

Well. This leaves us in a bad spot- in a pickle, one might say! 

But don’t worry! I came up with a set of suggestions- sort of like a step-by-step guide- to eliminate most of the harmful chemicals from your makeup bag and toiletries, to reduce waste and damage to the environment, and to support ethical business practices.

Here are the steps:

1)   Reduce the total number of products that you use. Consolidate where you can. (Think tossing your lipstick and blush and using that lip-and-cheek stain).

2)   Finish your old products before you go out and buy new ones (exception: if you have eye makeup that’s more than a few months old, or anything that is irritating your skin). Chances are you’ve been using these products for years, and there’s no need to run to the store this very second! Plus, we’re trying to reduce waste, not create more of it.

3)   When it comes time to replace your essentials, switch to products that are natural, organic, and free of chemicals, and buy from companies that have ethical business practices. Easier said than done, but I more details are on the way!

Obviously, each of these steps is more complicated than it might seem. So, I have decided to address each step in a separate blog post. First up will be suggestions for reducing the number of products that you use. Please stay tuned!


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