“Enter the goddesses fresh from their long sleep. We get so off track sometimes. We get so off track sometimes.” Ani DiFranco, Woe Be Gone
Last winter, I stopped myself before buying a lip balm. I put a container on my kitchen counter to capture all the balms and glosses I found in my purses, knapsacks, and pockets. The count was around 20. Each one might not cost much, but it all adds up in the list of underappreciated and unused STUFF.
Four years ago, I started getting advice from an aesthetician and using products that greatly improved the appearance of my skin. Then last spring, I had an allergic reaction to a sample – giving me a rash of red, burning bumps over my entire face and neck.
After first going to a GP and five days with no improvement, I scuffled to the spa doctor (in my mind, my nemesis*) and was grateful for the prescription for a gooey ointment that finally made the rash go away. While physically a reaction to a perfume, coloUr, or preservative in the sample, it provided an opportunity to wake up.
It made me look at what I was putting on my face (and why) and at the companies I was supporting. Generally, I had been mindful of the products I bought since the 1980’s when I first learned about animal testing. But in this case, because I was so pleased with the results, I selfishly chose to assume those high-end products would be cruelty-free. Through online research and email inquiries, I learned that none of those companies do animal testing now. But I also learned:
- The largest cosmetic company in the world only stopped all animal testing in March 2013. This is about mascara and hand cream, people! I can’t believe this wasn’t eliminated 30 years ago!
- Some companies may say they don’t directly test on animals, but buy ingredients from companies that do.
- Companies wanting to sell in China (that big new market) may be required by Chinese regulations to have their products tested on animals. There are companies refusing to sell in China for that reason.
- There are lots of online sites that provide details on which companies are truly cruelty-free.
- These products as well as some cruelty-free products labelled “natural” may still contain a lot of shit for ingredients that is not healthy for us or the environment.
- One of the companies I was buying products from also produces injectables – and I don’t want to support that.
I stopped using the products and started buying from a company that focuses on organic, naturopathic formulas even if the outward results may not be as good (TBD). As part of this switch and the great uncluttering towards a simpler life, I cleaned out all the drawers, shelves, and cabinets in my bathrooms.
Like with the lip balm, I was blown away by how many partially-used products, samples and other STUFF had accumulated! While the rash was inconvenient, it served as a reminder to bring mindfulness to every body care purchase – and to buy fewer and better quality items to help ensure they are all appreciated and all used up. I know I can make even better choices to reduce my impact on the environment, improve my health, and ensure my attachment to physical appearance doesn’t contribute to the suffering of bunnies and other precious beings.
- GP = General Practitioner, a family doctor
- TBD = To Be Determined
- Injectables: toxins injected in the face that reduce mobility in order to lessen the appearance of wrinkles
- *More on this in a future post on our society’s pervasive anti-aging mentality
- Woe Be Gone by Ani DiFranco