Back when I was a ‘hippie traveler’ working on farms around the world, I very eagerly embraced the Low-Tox/Low-Waste movement. Especially for my beauty regiment.
It’s easier to do when you care less about the way you look as a young backpacker.
Going make-up free didn’t just become a personal preference, it was genuinely praised among the fellow travelers I’d meet.
And being limited to how much ‘stuff’ I could carry, having one small pot of balm (that did the job for everything) just made good sense.
Due to the logistical advantages of being surrounded by nature and eating organically from the land, the actual concept of putting commercially manufactured chemicals on ones skin would have been a complete contradiction.
Plus it just felt wrong.
However, life changed.
I married, moved to the big smoke (Sydney), had a child, grew older and moved further away from the wholly ‘organic’ way of living that I had once lived as a twenty-something year old.
Suddenly there were roots to lay down, space to settle into, more money to spend and generally less time to DIY all aspects of life.
Gradually that one pot of balm turned into store-bought facial cleansers, a tonic spray, daily moisturizers and night-time masks.
Oh, and not to mention the foundations, concealers, mascaras, eye-shadows, eye-shimmers, eye-liners, eyebrow fillers, contour powders, setting powders and if there’s time a shimmer highlighter.
Yes, the once organically liberated ‘hippie’ me had gradually re-applied a thick layer of chemical products back into my life.
And truth be told, I was looking good.
Because not only did my skin have less elasticity than it once did, but ANY mother will tell you that having a child magically depletes any sign of youth on your face and body (whilst filling you up with bountiful love and joy on the inside).
So, reaching for the concealer after a sleepless night with my 3-month-old was curiously natural.
Seeing the life come back to my face after massaging foundation into it, or miraculously looking ‘awake’ once applying mascara, is something a lot of us mums need to do FOR OURSELVES.
Running back to ‘scientifically proven result’ products to turn back the hands of time happened organically, so to speak.
So then, what changed?
Well, it hasn’t. Not entirely.
It’s still a process because I’m not ready to give up mascara or concealer. I love being able to transform myself from ‘tired mum’ to ‘I’ve still got it’ (just barely) with the help from a few clever items in my make-up bag.
But it wasn’t until I started to take a closer look at just HOW MUCH packaged, plastic, chemical-riddled, environmentally unfriendly junk I’d acquired, that made me question it all.
Not just that, but when my daughter of age 4 walks into the bathroom and watches me cake on the same ill-considered, unnatural, excess then asks if she can do the same something had to change.
If I want to be a model for my child, I don’t need to look like one…I have to start ACTING like one.
The next day I went through all the cabinets, drawers and handbags and culled until I could cull no more. When the ridding was finally done it looked like Marie Kondo had taken hold of a hoarder’s bathroom and made a pile of the leftover junk on the floor.
Then it was time to fill in the gaps.
Remembering what I’d learned from green-fingered naturalists on my travels, I opened my pantry and took out the olive oil, honey, coconut oil, cocoa butter, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, lavender oil, leftover coffee granules and beeswax (once bought for making wraps) and got to work.
It’s pretty miraculous that using simple, EDIBLE ingredients that almost everyone has in their kitchen, one can make deodorant, facial tonic, body/face balm and a scrub.
Having my daughter Acacia help me on the other side of the kitchen counter was an added bonus. Where she learned how using what we already have, what is already nutrient dense for inside our bodies, can be just as nutritious for our outsides.
The cabinets were looking cleaner, happier and child-friendlier. Plus my conscience was able to rest a little more.
I was making a conscious effort to lower the waste and toxic levels of my beauty regime and started to feel pretty good about it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve still held onto a few of my make-up favourites, but moving forward I’ll be making more of an effort to choose natural, ethical and environmentally friendly products.
In the same way that we KNOW eating healthier makes us look and feel better, it’s not insane to assume the same for what we put on top of our skin.
So, if you’re somewhat inspired to head into your bathroom and start your culling session, here are a few Low-Tox/Low-Waste DIY replacements to get you started:
1. MAGIC BALM
INGREDIENTS: Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax, Essential Oil (whatever you have)
2. FACIAL TONIC
Apple Cider Vinegar OR Green Tea and Water
3. COFFEE SCRUB
Used Coffee Granules, Coconut Oil (sugar if you keep it)
Baking Soda, Coconut Oil, Essential Oil (lavender or eucalyptus) Arrowroot flour
In addition, a great book to get you in the spirit of things is Low Tox Life by Alexx Stuart.
Whatever change you decide to make (or not) don’t try to be perfect about it. This is about what looks and feels right for YOU. And there’s always going to be room for improvement.
Lastly, and here comes the ultimate cliche,…
…it’s what’s on the INSIDE that truly counts.
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