Apparently it’s National Lipstick Day.
Which means it’s time to think about the goo we’re smearing onto our faces in the name of beauty.
Lipstick makes us feel fancy. And pretty. And dressed up. And Special.
It gives us confidence when we’re feeling like Bloated Dog-face Girl. Sometimes it’s just the right splash of color we need when we’ve got the infamous PMS pasty-cheeks.
I love wearing makeup. Unfortunately, it could be exposing me—and you—to serious health risks.
When I wear and buy makeup, I do a simple cost/sustainability analysis. Whatever I’m buying has to be earth-friendly, but it’s also got to make sense from a value standpoint.
Unfortunately, most earth-friendly beauty products tend to be expensive. So rather than dropping an entire paycheck on one of the sure-fire, completely organic, certified brands, I usually opt for something in the middle, which is somewhat toxin-free but also affordable.
As such, there’s no particular brand I favor over another, and this post isn’t going to include any subliminal advertising, so I urge you choose the brand you’re comfortable buying.
But to make that choice a little easier and arm you with all the info you need to make a wise one, check out Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Guide to Lipstick.
EWG is a nonprofit advocacy group and a leader in the business of evaluating thousands of products for their safety with regard to human health and effects on the environment. They hire scientists to test ingredients and determine toxicity levels of each. Then they list everything in these very easy-to-navigate resource guides. They’re my go-to when I need to look up a product I’m not so sure about.
They even have an app you can use when you’re roaming the aisles of stores and want to know whether something’s safe or not. Swipe the bar code and you get instant info. Amazing!
Their Skin Deep program rates tons of cosmetics, including lipstick, lip gloss, lip balm and more, to tell you which are safest and which are the most poisonous for your body.
No matter which brand you settle on, it’s essential to avoid lipsticks that contain the following ingredients:
Industry, are you listening?
The other heavy metals listed are deemed to be toxic, too, and while they may appear in relatively small amounts in your tube of Cinnamon Spice lipstick, continued exposure to them over a long period of time elevates your risk of illness.
I know how we ladies sure love to reapply several times a day. It just makes me queasy to even think about the amount of toxic heavy metals that are probably floating around in our systems.
As such, it’s probably safest to follow the scientific guidance provided by the folks over at EWG. But as my friend tells her kids, “Your body; your choice.”
Instead of throwing a damp towel over National Lipstick Day, maybe we could celebrate...the Reductionist way.
How’s that, you ask?
We celebrate by making our own lip balm!
So, to honor natural beauty today, I’m passing on my special lip balm recipe to you. Because there’s nothing more fun than getting your girlfriends together on National Lipstick Day for wine and craft-making to create some of your very own toxin-free lip balm!
First you need a kitchen scale because the amounts you will need to measure are ridic. Then you need quality ingredients. If you choose the pure stuff that’s organic, you can rest assured your DIY lip balm would meet EWG’s gold standard.
For packaging, I once visited a wholesale container store online and purchased a package of 250 lip balm tubes for super cheap. I still have a few left after all these years.
*We can have a talk about all that plastic someday. But let’s just say I’ve been saving the old ones and plan on sanitizing them to reuse in the future.
These make great stocking stuffers. I keep them stashed around the house and in all my purses. They’re also great for school craft fairs or party favors. Added bonus: they make kissing sooo ver-ver-niceJ
You can change up the essential oil flavors—we’ve made it with grapefruit and vanilla in the past. But I stick with the tried-and-true rosemary and peppermint. It’s not as tingly-harsh as the Burt’s Bees version but it’s quite similar. It lasts a loooong time, always soothes and refreshes, and mine has never gone rancid. *I still have tubes I made over a year ago and they’re still fresh as ever.
Start with clean hands and a sanitized work space and you’re about an hour away from applying The World’s Best Lip Balm!
1.5 oz. beeswax (I buy the block from Joann’s and chop it with a super-sharp knife. You can use pearls or beads if you prefer.)
1 oz. coconut oil
0.8 oz. sunflower oil
0.3 oz. shea butter
10-20 drops Vitamin E oil
8-10 drops rosemary essential oil
8-10 drops peppermint essential oil
Add all ingredients, except for the essential oils, to a microwave-safe bowl or jar. Melt it slowly in your microwave at low heat, maybe 30 seconds at a time, stirring occasionally. When all the chunky bits turn to liquid, add your essential oils. Stir. Carefully pour into tubes or tubs. Allow to cool until solid. Apply lids, add cute labels if you want, and, as my son says, “Ya done!”
Perhaps it's necessary for someone to push the dial ever farther, if only to pull back a little when there's an outcry, just to convince the masses to join those of us hanging in the middle. Or, perhaps this is just Industry actually listening to our pleas to lead the charge on establishing sustainable practices. If that's the case, then thank you, Industry.
But I worry all this radical eco-warrior stuff is turning off regular folks who maybe are just considering an introductory dabble into more earth-friendly practices. Please, regular folks, stick with us! I'm here for you!
In my 20-year journey to becoming a Reductionist, I've found it's best to bite off all this green business in small chunks. Like you do with a bar of 70 percent dark chocolate;)
Trying to do 100 new, green things all in one week will make you revert right back to where you started, which was probably when you were saying to yourself, "Why bother? We're screwed."
But we're not screwed. Yet.
If each of us puts in a little effort, if each of us starts somewhere, together we can make a huge difference to clean up this planet. Are you with me?
Great! Then allow me to introduce you to my new series. I call it 4 Easy Fixes.
Each installment contains a list of four household products--really common stuff we all have and use regularly. But it explains why each of these products is problematic, from a Reductionist health and environmental standpoint. And it gives you cleaner, safer, greener alternatives.
And for all of you eco-warriors out there, there's a hardcore option just for you!
Check it out! Feel free to download it or share it with your friends. And please, for the love, if there's a product you're wondering about, give me a holler and let me know what it is. I'll look into it, maybe feature it on the next 4 Easy Fixes installment, and hopefully find you a cleaner, safer solution!
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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