I used to be the biggest beauty product junkie, especially when it came to big brands like Shiseido, SK-II, Channel, and later on Josie Maran, Peter Thomas Roth, and SkinCeuticals. On top of that, being an ultimate girly girl, I was a huge sucker for pretty little packages of anything, particularly skincare and makeup. And like many of us, I trusted the well-known prestigious brands with all my heart. The more high-end they were, the bigger believer I became. I was also obsessed with anti-aging, and I felt that the more I spent on anti-aging products, the more likely I would stay young longer (I was in my early 20's back then). Retinol, AHA, BHA, Glycolic Acid, Co-Q10, topical Vitamin C + E, snail cream, MitoQ: I have used them all.
Then about eight years ago, I came across a couple articles by the Environmental Working Group, which changed my life forever. This was right around when I started to care more about what I ate and realized that what goes on our skin and surrounds our living environment affects our body and health just as much as food does. Since then, I have been constantly reading up on the topic and (obnoxiously) sending articles to friends and family to warn them of the poisons they might be consuming. The article "What's on Your Face? Ten Most Toxic Cosmetics" by Bloomberg published in December 2011 and an article by Ecowatch published in January 2014 about popular brands filing for "trade secret status" to hide toxin usage were among some of those.
Following this life-changing discovery, I became cautious about every single personal product I consumed. Before buying anything, I plugged it into the SkinDeep database to make sure it didn't contain hazardous ingredients. And to my surprise, none of my favorites passed the test. Reluctantly, I realized it was time to part ways with my beloved brands and start finding safer alternatives. Since then, I have been enthusiastically reading books, joining online and offline groups, and taking courses on medicinal herbs, natural skincare and all things related to clean living. I have been diligently making my own products, experimenting on my own and my friends' skin (with no reported disastrous reactions) and giving them away as gifts.
Old habits die hard. It admittedly took me a good couple of years to completely getting rid of old beauty favorites, but it was worth the switch. After almost four years of using nothing but my own blends, I'm happy to report, my skin has never felt better and my bank account is happy too.
Talk to you again soon!
(photo credit: Trang Tran)