By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Women are waking up to the fact that something they use every day to make themselves pretty may not be so good for them.
There’s an increasing awareness that from fluoride in toothpaste to aluminium in anti-perspirant, the chemicals in our skincare and makeup can cause us physical harm. And what’s more, we are learning that the companies that make them often hide this fact, and governments do little to protect us. For example, despite the fact that the Pink Ribbon Campaign says its goal is to help put an end to breast cancer, the fact remains that many of the products that carry the iconic ribbon during October (Breast Cancer Awareness month) actually contain ingredients that cause cancer themselves.
Moreover, some governments (especially the American government) are pretty slack about approving the very grooming products we use on our bodies daily. ‘Generally recognised as safe’ (GRAS) is the term used for chemicals found in everything from lipstick to hairspray, but it seems to be a synonym for ‘we’re not really sure how bad this may be yet.’ Indeed, Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder was GRAS for many decades – until a judge confirmed what many suspected all along: prolonged use of talcum powder in your nether regions can cause cancer. When you consider that it is has historically been linked to a cancer risk in some studies, it’s shocking the government hasn’t banned it yet.
A few women who suffered from health problems of their own recognised that what they were using to make themselves look better was actually making them feel worse, and decided to do something about it – they created their own all – natural skincare and makeup lines. In fact, most of the truly wonderful organic and natural beauty brands on the market are made by women, for women. How wonderful is that?
Here, we share the stories of 5 women who took their health -and their beauty – into their own hands and created natural beauty brands by women, for women.
Cancer survivor Kelly isn’t a doctor, but she believes in taking control over our own health. After all, if she had listened to her doctor – the head of the board of endocrinology at a very reputable hospital – she may not be here today.
Kelly found lumps in her neck and got them screened. After six months of screenings and 18 thyroid nodule biopsies, her doctor still overlooked a life threatening tumour that was attached to her windpipe. But Kelly knew something was wrong, and eventually, it was discovered she had cancer.
She is well today, but is suspects that her chemical load may have caused her cancer. She describes herself as “an average person that has discovered many scientifically proven facts to staying healthy and remaining cancer free,” and some of those facts include the reality that cosmetics are loaded with carcinogens. Teegarden just finished her book titled “Cancer Doesn’t Just Happen,” due to launch soon, where she explains how and why you should take responsibility for your own health and well being by being proactive and implementing changes in your choices.
The Brand: After surviving stage III Thyroid Cancer, Kelly became passionate about organic living, and has formulated a skincare and cosmetics brand with no known cancer causing or endocrine disrupting ingredients. KTO is the first brand in the USA to be scientifically certified to be free of carcinogenic elements. KTO also fills the void in the skincare industry by catering to the discriminating cancer prevention consumer looking for a natural, non toxic way to enhance their beauty.
Not only is KTO made with organic and all-natural ingredients, but the company also gives back, by donating to charities, including St. Jude Children’s research hospital.
My favourite picks: Intense Tightening Serum, Radiant Anti-Aging Facial Cream, Vitality Natural Eye Cream rose and cucumber.
Ever since her teenage years, Britanie King has suffered from a range of illness, including endometriosis, fibromyalgia, GERD, and anxiety disorder issues. She also has a compromised digestive system that doesn’t allow her body to detox properly, so Britanie decided the best way forward would be to live a clean, green holistic lifestyle and limiting exposure to as many toxins as possible to heal herself.
This sparked a passion for helping others deal positively and proactively with their own health concerns. After launching a beauty blog, Beauty by Britanie, to inform others about the benefits of natural beauty, she partnered with Diane Read to create a modern non-toxic makeup range that is designed to evoke positivity and protect health. The resulting collaboration between Modern Minerals, Lotus Wei and BeautybyBritanie produced a collection that incorporates the emotive properties of gemstones and flower essences to uplift the spirit.
The Brand: Modern Minerals Makeup’s Beauty by Britanie Bohemian Collection is 100% cruelty-free, natural and vegan friendly. Britanie King’s grandmother is a breast cancer survivor of 36 years and in her honour, a portion of the proceeds for the Beauty By Britanie Bohemian Collection is donated to the American Cancer Society.
My favourite picks: B of Love Lip Gloss, Sweet Thing Blush.
Tara Mackey certainly knows the dangers of Big Pharma: she suffered from a dependency on pharmaceutical medication for various ailments when she was growing up in New York, and eventually she’d just had enough. Reaching rock bottom in terms of physical and mental health, she found the strength to begin a natural wellness journey to give her body the break it was desperately craving and she completely quit all pharmaceuticals, cold turkey. In fact, she refused to take aspirin or cold remedies when ill and even shunned anaesthetic and painkillers when she had her wisdom teeth removed! Taking her health into her own hands, she moved to the sunnier climes of Southern California and began eating organic whole foods and using only natural cosmetics.
Today, she shares what she has learned through her blog The Organic Life, which educates readers about health, wellness and natural alternatives to conventional products, diets and health care. A singer and model, Tara also writes on these themes for Popsugar, Mind Body Green, Lucky Magazine, H&W Magazine and is the author of Cured by Nature.
The Brand: Cosmetics company Gia Minerals shares the same nature-focused values as Tara and collaborated with her to create their Siren Collection. Tara has given names to the colours and matched them with the plant based ingredients, which are all organic, vegan, non-toxic and gluten-free. To help educate people about the links between the food and cosmetics we consume and cancer, every year the label donates 5% of profits to cancer research and education.
My favourite picks: Waxelene peppermint lip balm, Gia Minerals Under the Sea lipstick (totally lead free!), Gia Minerals Venice eye shadow.
As a qualified nutritional therapist, Jennifer Young met with many women suffering from the extreme side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. She saw that these women were suffering from damaged hair and nails, dry and itchy skin and chapped lips and were also very sensitive to harsh ingredients in their cosmetics and needed gentler, effective alternatives. Not satisfied with any she found on the market, Jennifer decided to create a beauty range herself and Beauty Despite Cancer was born.
The Brand: Paraffin, mineral oil and glycerin block pores and prevent the body from detoxing – something that is essential for cancer patients. Keeping this in mind, Jennifer’s formulations for her Defiant Beauty range are based on 100% pure vegetable oils that are cold pressed and need no preservatives. Ten percent of the brand’s online profits are donated to the Fresh Hair and Beauty Charity to aid cancer survivors in their quest to look good.
My favourite pick: Defiant Beauty Cleansing Balm, as well as the Smooth Skin Balm – perfect for extra dry areas.
Margaret Weed’s Story
Eczema runs in Margaret Weed’s family, and as anyone who suffers from this skin condition knows, it is notoriously difficult to treat. Normally, doctors prescribe harsh medical creams that initially provide some relief but eventually thin the skin.
Desperate to find a remedy for her family’s eczema problems, Margaret armed herself with qualifications in herbal medicine and aromatherapy and set about creating truly effective formulations, based on only organic herbs, plant oils and natural active ingredients that are compatible with the most sensitive skin. Soon after, Odylique was born.
The Brand: Odylique’s products are handmade in a Suffolk workshop owned by Margaret, her husband and daughter. Their philosophy is simple: all ingredients must have therapeutic value, and the product must be a joy to use. They use herbs and essential oils in therapeutic concentrations for optimum benefits: plant oils must be virgin and cold-pressed so that they have their full antioxidant vitamin-content intact to actively nourish the skin and protect it from premature ageing. All of the brand’s products are free from synthetic chemicals and are certified to Soil Association organic standards. This brand has won numerous awards and commendations including the Natural Products Europe/Soil Association award for Best Organic Body care Product in 2009, TIPS Midwife-tested awards for best organic baby care, Green Beauty Bible awards, three silver medals in the UK Beauty Awards, and the 2006 RSCPA Good Business Award for Cosmetics. The brand is best known for their skincare range, which caters to those with not only eczema, but psoriasis, dermatitis, acne and other conditions. The Odylique website is full of great information on caring for each of those conditions.
My favourite picks: Ultra Rich Balm, Rose Velvet Body Lotion