Beauty Products – Chemicals, Money and Socialization

Let us start this post with a few questions. For those of you wearing makeup right now- why are you wearing it? Is it because you woke up this morning and your first thought was “I cannot wait to be creative with my makeup today?” Is it “ugh shit I look tired I better spruce things up?” Somewhere in between those two thoughts maybe? Are you putting it on for you or is it so the people around you think you are performing your role as a put together human correctly?

This is by no means to shame those of you who wear makeup or use any beauty/body products – it is to start a conversation about why.


In middle school when my parents started to allow me to wear makeup I was so excited. I picked out the most hideous light pink sparkly eye shadow (do not judge me it was middle school) and boom I felt grown up.

For me bursting into puberty meant bursting into the health and beauty aisle of target. My love for eyeliner, cover up and terrible smelling body spray grew exponentially.

I started to get up earlier to fit in my new routine of beauty prep. It became mechanical –no thought as to what I was doing – just sure to do it…morning after morning.

Withy my rising feminist consciousness I began to question this routine. At this point I was really only wearing mascara, cover-up for pesky pimples and some occasional lipstick or sparkly eye shadow (not as bad as the stuff from middle school thank you very much).

During my gap year in Grand Marais I decided to challenge myself. At the beginning of last summer I decided I was going to be make up free. For those of you who have never cared about makeup this sounds like no big deal but trust me it is a true test when you have been socialized to find this a requirement to be a woman.

After a few uncomfortable first days I realized how happy it made me. I was so empowered. To work, the gym, the bar – weeks and weeks of no make up and I had never felt better.

Now the times I’m feeling extra sassy and throw on some red lipstick I feel I am doing it because I made a conscious effort to put on makeup that day.

We treat women that do not wear makeup as if they are just having a rough day. How sad is it that for women who just decided to go natural that day we wonder why? We have created a norm that includes at least half an hour on makeup and hair. Think of the covers of trashy magazines and how often headlines include pictures of big celebrities caught without makeup. Why do we care?


Some of you are probably thinking at this point, well I do not give a crap about that socialization bologna but here is another point to think about – chemicals.

During my year off I took time to learn about my body. What I put on it and in it.

When we think of (at least for me) chemicals we talk about food but turns out all the stuff we put on our body is just as harmful.

Take a look at the ingredients in your body lotion, nail polish, eyeliner, shampoo, lipstick, toothpaste, body spray, and basically anything in your bathroom.

There is research to show how chemicals in these products are linked to problems in our hormone systems, reduce sperm counts, cause reproductive malformation, and are often linked to breast cancer, neurological disorders and more.

There are natural things in your house that can replace so many of the things in your bathroom. (This goes for cleaning products as well!) Half the fun is getting to experiment with new mixes and combinations!

One of my favorites is coconut oil, I know coconut oil is trendy and many online acted like they had discovered gold when they started using but honestly it does rock. I keep a jar in my bathroom for lotion, face wash, mouthwash, and a jar in my kitchen for cooking. One of my current favorite uses is grabbing a tablespoon of coconut oil and some used coffee grounds from that morning for a weekly body scrub in the shower. Check out this ultimate guide to using coconut oil from Balance Me Beautiful!
Another great natural alternative for is apple cider vinegar! One great way to use this natural product is to help with acne. Another great way, and next on my list to try, is as a shampoo rinse. Apple cider vinegar and plain white vinegar can be used in just short of a million ways beyond body products as well. Check out this list of over 50 ways to use vinegar around the house. I use it for cleaning and as fabric softener every week!

If you have not tried using essential oils yet I would definitely give it a shot. A few great versatile ones to try are lemon, lavender, and peppermint*. I have used them to make mouthwash, perfume, homemade Vicks for when I’m sick, dusting spray, the list in infinite.

If using natural ingredients is too far out for you have no fear, there are lots of great naturally made beauty and body products! When I do decide to throw on some make up my favorite brands are Honeybee Gardens, Burt’s Bees, and Mineral Fusion. Many of which can now be found at local co-ops, online or even at Target.


Now if you still aren’t convinced to start questioning the world of beauty products yet let us consider money. Consider all the beauty and body products you buy on a regular basis and how much you spend – probably a lot right? Especially if you’re a woman.

Not only are women expected to buy more beauty and body products but their products are on average way more expensive. Not fair!

This phenomenon is often referred to as the pink tax. Many estimate that women spend an average of over $1300 more on products than men do every year. Immediately I think of how many months of rent that would pay or how many countries I could travel to – either way it’s a lot!

Many have begun calling out companies and store that charge more for the exact same products; razors and deodorant are classic examples.

The only difference being they are packed in pink and purple – obviously designating them for females (my annoyance with color expectations and gender is a topic for another post). Check out this post for some examples and then check out this post for ways to avoid it if you still need/wish to buy many of these products.

So now what?

Everyday we see and hear advertisements showing us if we buy that hair spray and this hair gel, that nail polish and this face wash we will look a super model whose hair is somehow always blowing despite there being no wind. Hate to burst anyone’s bubble but those products do not do that, and often times they are just hurting your body and your wallet.

Like I said in the beginning of my post – I by no means share my thoughts on this to shame those who use products I discussed. My goal is to make you curious, spark some new interest, read a label or two, and be confident in yourself without slathering on makeup and inhaling hairspray. Make decisions for your body because they are healthy and BECAUSE YOU WANT TO.



*Make sure do research the brand you buy. Some companies will cut their oils with other ingredients to save money- how rude!

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