Should You Throw All Your Makeup Away? Yes. Will You? Probably Not.

Illustration for article titled Should You Throw All Your Makeup Away? Yes. Will You? Probably Not.

Like a lot of small business owners, Ann Garrity founded hers -Organic Divas - in response to her own lifestyle needs. Specifically her decision, at a dermatologist's advice, to eliminate toxins from her beauty routine. Effectively, this meant tossing "every lotion, soap and cosmetic she used" to try to curb the excess estrogen in her system that caused Garrity's painful thyroids. The reason is that cosmetics, unregulated by the FDA, frequently contain "certain synthetic chemicals that can mimic estrogen in the body." And exposure to estrogen can - wah wah* - increase cancer risk.While the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics seeks to address the issue by getting companies to "pledge to phase out the use of chemicals linked to health problems and replace them with safer ingredients," Garrity developed Organic Diva as a direct resource for products that are not only safe, but vetted - she's extensively tested all of them - and without the confusing jargon, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "She's wary of marketing terms such as "natural," "pure," "clean," "green" and "organic" because there are no standards for such adjectives." As Garrity puts it, "If you have a vat of uranium and throw in an organic flower, you still have a vat of uranium...We really need to be thinking nontoxic." Accordingly, any company she promotes on her site have "signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics; they rate well on the Skin Deep Report developed by the Environmental Working Group (, they fully disclose their ingredient list," and it has to meet her standards. Both sunscreen and mascara are apparently problematic. Now, all this is awesome. And I'm sure if I had health problems like Garrity's - or, for that matter, kids - I'd run home right now and toss all my products (many of which have probably fooled me with buzzwords like "pure" and "organic.") Will I? No. I don't smoke and I eat organic and I try to be responsible for my bit of planet but at some point I give into fatalism and stop worrying. Because I'm still stupid enough that I want my sunscreen to glide on - I don't want to rub it between my hands to soften it - and I want my mascara to not clump, damn it! And maybe this is reckless and foolhardy and a product of being young, but I'm always left thinking: what is this Rousseauian purity we're in search of, in which everyone lives forever and never gets cancer? When humans were at their purest - in some pre-historic age, surely, when everything was certainly organic and the air was nothing if not pollution-free - the life-expectancy was probably something like forty. Was there some magical period when purity and hardship didn't overlap? With no scientific or historical backing, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say, no. This site sounds awesome, don't get me wrong, and the more resources we have, the better. But from a personal and philosophical perspective, I have to stop worrying about the small-scale things at some point; there are few enough things in this world that only effect you without larger ramifications. *Debbie Downer sound effect Beauty Without Toxins[Star Tribune]



Painful thyroids? Do you mean fibroids?