A Different Kind of Toxic Shock: a photodiary

I have heard that many beauty products contain toxic ingredients, but I never paid attention to it. Tonight, in over 3 hours of work, I put my products to the test. I compiled a list of things to avoid from a few sources, like this one from Natural Solutions. Then I piled my personal care items on the bed, an embarrassing amount of “stuff,” much of it things I don’t use and LOTS of things purchased in bulk for discount prices. Here’s the before shot (as always, click photos to enlarge):

See? NOBODY needs that much stuff! Here’s a closer shot, not including everything but giving a better idea of what duplicates I have:

And then was the daunting task of looking at everything. I started by putting “bad” things into a bag

and questionable things (those with no ingredient list) in a black train case for later inspection

but by the time I had cleared the bed to this point…

the bag was full and I had to start filling another!

I finally had to take everything out of the train case and put it into a bigger storage bin:

After looking up ingredient lists online and checking the Cosmetics Database, I was left with very few “safe” items (there were actually two lip glosses by Burt’s Bees as well, not shown)

And a TON of items with toxic ingredients:

So now what do I do with all that crap? I don’t want to throw it out, because it’s a lot of stuff, but I don’t want to give anyone else toxic makeup. I suppose that for what it’s worth I can empty liquids down the drain and recycle the bottles, as a start.

Update April 26, 2010: After further consideration and research, such as starting to read the amazing Not Just a Pretty Face, which should be required reading for everyone, I’ve made my decision. As much as it pains me to simply dispose of the toxic products, which literally cost hundreds of dollars in total, I can’t justify giving or reselling these products. Even if I have family and/or friends who would love freebies, and even if strangers on the Internet would love cheaper prices than stores, I don’t want to be responsible for that. I also don’t want to be tempted to go back!

So when I go home from work today, I am going to do the unthinkable. I am going to empty out bottle after bottle into the garbage to limit contamination of the water supply. (See this article under “Flushing Cosmetics” for my reasons why.) Of course I will be recycling as many containers as I can. I know I will be essentially throwing out money, but as far as I am concerned it is dirty money and I don’t want it anyway.

And what do I do with myself? I have two bars of Burt’s Bees soap, so I can definitely clean my body. I don’t have toothpaste until Tuesday (I ordered some on Amazon). I don’t yet have shampoo, because I have to find an alternative… I guess I could try the soap??? Or just water? And I don’t have any makeup, beyond the lip gloss. So either I skip it until I can replace a couple of things, mainly shampoo, or I use my old stuff that is full of dangerous ingredients. Update continued: I am not using my old stuff at all, I would rather go without for now than use toxic products.

Meanwhile, the bigger issue is… wow! When I decided to do this I thought, “This will take forever, I have a lot of shit.” But I used “shit” as a synonym for “stuff,” and now I find out it really is all shit, as in toxic crap. It’s definitely been an eye-opening night, and I have a lot of companies on my new “Do Not Buy” list. I know there are lots of people out there who are way ahead of me in this game, but I’m eager to catch up and start discovering more natural, healthy alternatives.

I am too tired from this whole thing to write more, but I wanted to get down a few immediate thoughts before I have time to process everything, and before I forget to post it. So hopefully the pictures speak the volumes I haven’t written.

Next in my Amazon shopping cart? This book:

Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry
This entry was posted on April 18, 2010, in beauty. Bookmark the permalink.