A number of events over the past few days have given me the drive to rant again. While I often go on about food or fitness, today's topic is beauty. My first point: Beauty is not vanity if it is pursued with self-love and care.
I've talked about skin and "beauty regimens" before, but I'll stress again that if I learned one lesson from my mom (though I promise I've learned many), it's that your skin is your biggest organ and because it's on the outside, it deserves a lot of care. The problem is that most of us believe that taking care of our skin is a vanity. We have equated getting a botox treatment or splurging on some wrinkle cream with getting a natural exfoliation treatment or putting organic lotion on every night. To me, the first is unhealthy, while the latter is totally healthy, and is just basic health and wellness care.
I've been made to feel that going for a facial was like I was going to commit a crime, that I was being overly self-indulgent, or that I was wasting my money and resources. But why? Is it such a crime to want one of my major organs to be in peek health? No one questions if you are following treatments to detox your liver or clean out your bowels? So why hate on skin? Because most people don't see the difference between proper skin maintenance and the "glamour" of the beauty industry.
Glamour literally used to mean "an enchantment or spell", and that's what its industry tries to achieve. "Beauty products" in the most basic sense are glamour: they try to make you something you are not. They make your hair straight when it's frizzy, make your skin tan when it's pale. What I'm talking about is basic maintenance, like taking a shower or using soap. Those activities aren't seen as indulgent, neither is brushing your teeth! So why isn't keeping your skin healthy and hydrated with some help from lotions and cleaners from some reliable companies that use organic plant-based products?
Of course I believe that the number one way to stay beautiful on the inside and out is through diet (aka. raw food) and by maintaining a healthy attitude about yourself, there is nothing wrong (and I in fact advise) that you help keep your skin smooth and aglow by using lotion (or coconut butter) and other things like weekly (or monthly) masks. The reason I love going for facials (something I only do whenever I can, which ends up being about twice a year) is to have my pores totally cleaned out with the little extractor thing they use to clear out the stuff that accumulates as a result of our polluted world. Like I said, it's maintenance. A proper skin care regimen is like keeping your car properly oiled, while freaking out by getting neck tucks or using collagen is like putting chrome rims on a neglected vehicle.
If that's inspired you, my favourites are the products made by Pangea Organics. If you buy stuff from them online, they always have some sort of deal going on. Yes, some people might say it's expensive, but they are one of the only brands that are legit in terms of how they source their ingredients (and if you read their label, you can actually recognize all of the contents!). Also, Dr. Bronner's is super for basics like soap, lip balm, and lotion. I also used to use Jurilique products before I found Pangea, but I switched over because Jurilique is made in Australia (you can actually visit their herb farm) and so my "beauty miles" were higher than Pangea's stuff which comes from the U.S. But for all the Aussies out there, go for it! Finally, if you really do care, the one thing that isn't skin care related that I actually use is eyeliner. That's it. So at least, I do try to live up to what I say!
If that's not enough, here's more for today's food for thought:
Also, for the more activist perspective, check out the Organic Consumers Association's campaign to create standards for beauty products and cosmetics!