Are there toxins in your make up bag?

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natural make upI must admit, I’m more of an au naturelle bod when it comes to make up, but every so often a girl likes to glam herself up.

Research shows that we are exposed to around 200 chemicals almost non stop, every moment of every day through beauty and cleaning products.

It’s easy to recognise some of the short term effects such as skin rashes, breathing difficulties and watery eyes. Some effects are cumulative, however, and impact our long term health in far more serious ways.

It is estimated that women absorb up to 2kg of chemicals through toiletries and cosmetics every year. For a woman wearing lipstick, she can consume nearly 2lb of it in her lifetime! It’s worth bearing in mind that up to 60% of what you put on skin can get absorbed by the body.natural beauty - toxin free make up

It makes sense then to only put on your skin the things you would be prepared to eat; although this might be a little hard to achieve in reality.

As taking responsibility for our health and the demand for environmentally friendly products grows, it’s good to see some companies making genuinely natural and / or organic cosmetics.

In future posts, I’ll share some of my favourite eco brands and I’d love to hear about the companies you like too so that we can build up a useful UK-based database for eco brands and places to buy 🙂


  1. Anna-Lisa on March 17, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Great post!

    About 10 months ago I started going au naturelle, prior to that I was in a vicious circle as I suffered from spots on my face so used make up to cover it up, which just made it even worse.

    I decided to go au naturelle after reading many reports about the problems of putting cocktails of products on my skin. I think that a lot of the products that I used in the past did cause problems including acne and perhaps ezcema.

    The first time I socialised without make up on I felt naked however now I have no problem at all and feel more naturally pretty. Real beauty comes from within – a kind personality, a healthy diet, fresh air, exercise and a big smile is the path to true beauty.

  2. Peter on March 18, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Hi Mrs Green,
    Sorry to be so late re this but life has been rather hectic at Chez Recycling of late. First of all I would like it known that I don’t wear make up! Having made that point there is however a problem that concerns me with it.

    Nano Technology uses science to reduce particles of matter to a nanometre, a unit of measurement one billionth of a metre. Put it this way, all the DNA in your body would fill a space the size of an ice-cube, but DNA has such a small diameter that unwound and joined it would stretch to the sun and back… more than 400 times. The diameter of DNA is 2.5 times greater than a nanometre. At this scale you tear up the materials rule book.

    Pilkington self cleaning glass is coated with titanum dioxide nanoparticles. At normal levels this material is not see through, but at this level it is, and when dirt settles there sunlight burns it off and rain washes it off as the glass does not streak like conventional glass.

    So what’s the problem? Easy, same material is in sunscreens. It reflects sunlight and is clear, but is also, at this level, very, very easily absorbed by the skin and guess what sunscreens and make up, not being medicines’ do not need to be tested.

    Swiss Re, the worlds second largest insurer has compared nanoparticle production to that of asbestos and at the moment, like GM seed companies, there is little or no regulation regarding production or use.

    Au Natural sounds great to me…

  3. Anna-Lisa on March 18, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Peter, that’s really interesting – I have heard that sunscreen can be bad for you, but not read further into it. I did a quick search and found what could be a healthier more natural sunscreen

    I think that the best sun protection is to avoid being outside during intense heat and if it cant be avoided cover up completely using white clothing which reflects rather than absorbs heats.

  4. Mrs Green on March 23, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    hello, hello
    I’ve been very remiss with answering the lovely comments people have taken the time and energy to leave. 🙁

    Anna-Lisa, I love your ‘natural beauty’ epiphany. You are so right with this. Natural beauty shines from within and especially with an open smile. It’s great to hear how your skin has benefited from your new regime.

    Peter, lovely to see you here. You have so much knowledge and information to impart and I thank you for sharing it so freely.

    I never use sunscreen and I have never let Little Miss Green wear it. We have gone for the gentle exposure to sun route, along with common sense. No playing in the direct sun when it is at its strongest, finding shade to play in under the trees and, like Anna-Lisa mentioned loose, white cotton clothing with long sleeves and hats when it’s really intense out there.

    I have a particular ‘thing’ about sunscreen, which I have written about extensively in the past and shall no doubt share bits of it here, towards the summer months.

    Good to see you both.
    Wishing you a wonderful Easter Weekend 🙂

    Mrs G x

  5. Melissa McCann on March 31, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Mrs. Green,
    What a fab article! I was shocked to read that we’re exposed to 200 chemicals a day – that’s a sobering number.
    As you know, I go au naturelle as a general rule. After reading this I think I’ll continue that.
    A little disconcerting about the sunscreen. It makes sense, and i’ll have to think twice about using it this summer.
    Cheers to you !

  6. Mrs Green on March 31, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Melissa,

    I got that statistic from a TV series over here called ‘How toxic are you’. I was furiously writing notes and I saw it………..

    Oooo, have I got things to write about sunscreen later in the year. Watch this space 😉

    Love to you,
    Mrs G x

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