Hey lovelies, hope everyone has had a fab weekend. The sun has been shining and I had a lovely meal / baby shower with friends yesterday. Now i'm feeling great!
Here is the third post in the series #MyNaturalBeautyJourney told by the lovely Laura from Beauty Beyond Cruelty...
Hello, I am Laura. I’m a mother, psychology student, residential child worker, teaching assistant and I am a makeup and beauty addict.
I was ‘that girl’ completely obsessed with makeup. My makeup obsession started at a young age, my role model was my Mum; a very glamorous hairdresser who always.wore.heels. Every birthday and Christmas since I can remember my presents would be mainly makeup and beauty products. I was of the white musk generation so the Body Shop featured massively in my younger years. An early memory was one Christmas I had my very own white musk candle melts and tea lights; how very grown up I felt! I was also of the generation that wore foundation two shades too light and used it as lipstick…moving on quickly.
Image wise, I don’t know if anyone can relate to this but I have always had massive inner conflict whether I wanted to be an elegant, chic Marilyn Monroe type or a hippie with flowers in my hair and let my natural beach type waves flow in all directions. I try for both, no doubt completely missing both as I go but somehow I feel more comfortable in my own skin now I’m in my (early) 30’s (even if my chest area is already heading South).
I had lots of the ‘top’ brands, all of the bargains and all of the dupes. My makeup bags were overflowing and I had to buy a large professional makeup artist box to hold the overflow of my stash. When I first became a mum, my beauty routine was brushing my hair (sometimes) but I still had the makeup itch and still asked for the latest trends for presents. I hadn’t really ever thought of how these products were made or what happened as a result of the process.
Then came veganism. I had been vegetarian for five years when I was younger but went rogue during my late teens when hormones and an active social life took over. I found my way back to vegetarianism eventually and then veganism and that was that. Complete game changer. When you start looking into what happens to animals, the environment and even your health, it is hard to ignore. Social media and Netflix documentaries have played a massive part in raising my awareness of the goings on in the world and again my Mum was my role model by constantly sending me emails directing me to literature, YouTube videos and Facebook posts. The wealth of information out there is enormous.
Without wishing to sound completely corny, the two main reasons for going natural are my daughters and animals. I can’t bring children into this world without being responsible for my actions and the way I want to leave the world for them. I want to be their role model just like my Mum is mine.
So starting with animal testing. If you are like I was you would be thinking that the EU introduced a full ban on animal testing for cosmetic reasons; you would be right. However, some countries i.e. China do require by law that products are tested on animals if produced outside of China. So a lot of the big brands still do test on animals and are not cruelty free. Thankfully there are more humane ways to test now that do not harm animals or humans but with such large countries requiring testing by law the financial lure appears too tempting to resist. I’m looking at you NARS! For anyone that has not heard, NARS were well known for being a cruelty free brand but have recently decided to sell to China giving up the right to be classed as cruelty free. This is heartbreaking for me as I feel it is a huge step backwards. The only way to end the cruelty is for the big brands to stand together and say ‘No, we will not sell to you under these conditions’. Therefore, I have made the decision to boycott any company that sell to China. I feel more at ease supporting smaller, more ethical companies at the moment, although my views on parent companies may be a subject for another blog.
Environment. This is a big topic. Companies are aware that ‘natural’ products are becoming increasingly popular, however, they are mass producing vast quantities and is not always done sustainably (mining and pesticides). When buying products from smaller businesses, you may pay more but the chances are the ingredients are sourced sustainably and less or minimal environmental impact. There is also the plastic packaging argument. We can not go on producing this much plastic waste. There is literally nowhere to put it. I have switched to natural deodorant which comes in a tin and I am building up to using a soap shampoo. I need to be brave and pick one soon, I also have a bamboo toothbrush on order. Other things we can do is switch to muslin cloths and reusable cotton pads instead of cotton wool and there are even biodegradable makeup wipes on the market now.
The health issue…scientific studies have been establishing a link between deodorant and breast cancer; the concern being parabens. One scientific study (Dabre, 2004) found parabens present in 18 out of 20 tumour biopsies. Parabens are chemicals used as anti-fungal and antibacterial properties in many cosmetics such as makeup, deodorants, moisturiser, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, fake tan…just about any cosmetic you can think of. Great you may be thinking - I do not want bacteria growing in my foundation. However, parabens mimic oestrogen and oestrogen mimicking can lead to breast cancer. Health watchdogs are also concerned about over-exposure causing other health problems.
If you are still with me, the transformation for me is not yet fully complete and I am sadly not in the position to replace my haul over night. I am definitely getting there and I have changed my buying habits massively. This is now my life, I am vegan. I recently read a post on a Facebook group asking for a link to scientific research on the benefits of juicing. The answer was - there aren’t any. There won’t be because who would fund it? Like juicing (which I also do), cruelty free, natural, vegan and organic are things to try for yourself to see the benefits first hand. I often come across people who want to do it, yet are reluctant for one reason or another. There will always be people (mainly people who stand to gain financially) who will give you reasons not to do something but follow your heart and your gut; you won’t regret it.
As a result of my lifestyle change and how all consuming it is, I started a vegan and cruelty free makeup and beauty Facebook group called ‘Beauty Beyond Cruelty’. You do not have to be vegan to join, just have an interest in ethical beauty and putting an end to animal testing. We include the word vegan in our group title as we do not believe any product is cruelty free if it contains any animal products. I started the group to ease my vegan guilt (which thankfully took over from my dated Catholic guilt). It has taken off quicker than expected and is such a fantastic group. The other admins on the group are amazing ladies who help me endlessly research and are very quick to notice non-vegan products popping up. We aim to provide correct and up-to-date information so our members can make informed decisions. We also welcome vegan and cruelty free companies / bloggers to share with us as it is all about awareness. I also have an Instagram account (link to feed here) with the same name which showcases amazing natural, cruelty free and vegan products that are available to replace not-so-kind products. Watch this space for more (potentially shorter) blogs.
Thank you to Emma at The Natural Beauty Box for asking me to write this blog. I love what you do Emma. One very inspirational lady.
Thank you so much Laura, that was a great read and one I can really relate to as I was very similar to you in my younger years. These days I hardly wear any make up though...(or have time to!)...oh how times change! I definitely recommend joining the Facebook group - it's a lovely little community where everyone is made to feel welcome. Looking forward to more blog posts from you! Finally... thanks your kind words, it's stories like yours that will inspire others xxx