Conversations and Ideologies

This is not exactly a perfume post in a ‘sort of perfume blog’, so I hope you will forgive me and allow me to pull you into a discussion of a different sort.

I’ve never written about beauty products on this blog before. Somehow I’ve never felt comfortable doing so. Until now. You could point out that perfume is a beauty product. However, I have to admit, that for me perfume kind of transcends that category and worms its way into art. I do know that many of you (whether or not you talk about it on your own blogs) could be called skincare and makeup enthusiasts as well.

discussionI would also hazard a guess that for most of you the words ‘green beauty’ do not mean much. Having been part of several online communities, I find that, often, each community, has such a different viewpoint on things, and often these viewpoints are completely irreconcilable. While I personally prefer to use beauty products that would be labeled ‘green’ or ‘clean’ or ‘not-toxic’, I hate being an ideologue simply because I am quite agnostic about most things. Which makes it impossible for me to impose any viewpoint on anybody because it is easy enough to agree or disagree with either viewpoints. However, since I did create a company that does curate ‘green’ beauty products, I have realized I need to figure out a way of describing these products that actually does them justice. So what I do like to do is focus on what is IN rather than what is NOT in these products. While this approach could end up being unappealing to many people (as moderate approaches can often be), it kind of allows me to be me.

To cut this rambling short, what I am trying to say is I would really appreciate it if you could head on over to the Boxwalla blog to read my post and tell me what your own take/stand is on this. How do you choose your beauty products and are there certain standards you require? You could either join the discussion there or we could start our own discussion here. Friendly disagreements are encouraged!

For more reading I highly recommend this post by the Hermes Hippie who manages to say everything that I didn’t quite manage to articulate in my already long post including how the words ‘toxic’ and ‘non-toxic’ can often take away from the gorgeous products themselves.

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  1. It’s an absolute minefield and one I have been slightly dipping my toe into lately. I think I am coming at the topic from the point of view more of ‘what might irritate my skin’ rather than green credentials in the fullest sense, so avoiding things like the ‘wrong kind’ of alcohol, and parabens and sodium lauryl sulphate (I think that’s the one). I believe mineral oil is more harmless than it is given credit for, and tend to be guided by the triumvirate of Sali, Lisa E and Paula on all these matters. Efficacy is more important to me than green and I certainly find some green products a bit underpowered, though I am drawn to the idea of them in principle eg the Organic Surge range over here. Then I have a vegan friend who has sent me some skincare products that are free from this and that but don’t seem to have really top notch anti-ageing ingredients in. But that is not a scientific sample. I guess all things being equal, I’d happily go green, but performance comes first, and price can also not be disregarded – in my own case, I mean.

    • Hi V – Thanks so much for chiming in. I think your point of view of ‘what might irritate your skin’ makes complete sense.
      “Efficacy is more important to me than green” – this is an excellent point and I think some of the ‘green marketing’ actually alienates exactly the people who think this. In recent years there has been an avalanche of products that are filled with actives and top notch ingredients but because they come under the umbrella of green or organic, many people automatically think that they are probably not as effective. Which again makes sense because it is probably based on their own experience of ineffective products and there are definitely many of them. There has been a lot of talk of this in the green beauty world lately, that ‘green/non-toxic companies’ might be doing themselves more of a service by focussing on the efficacy of their products rather than on the greenness.

      “Then I have a vegan friend who has sent me some skincare products that are free from this and that but don’t seem to have really top notch anti-ageing ingredients in.” LOL. Thanks for saying this. It helps reinforce my view that perhaps marketing language should focus on what is in, rather than what is not in products.

      As for mineral oil – I agree that it is harmless. But as I say, just because something is harmless or non-toxic doesn’t mean it is actually the most effective product or that it is doing anything much for the skin. Often mineral oil seems to be used as a filler in lieu of more effective and nourishing (and more expensive) oils. But I could be wrong..:-)

      Have you tried the zenmed line? Their philosophy and products remind me of Paula’s. They are fragrance free and quite gentle. Not all of their products would satisfy the ‘green purist’ but some of the ones I tried really worked well for me (Especially their hyaluronic plumping serum which I loved. I originally bought it for my mom but ended up ‘sharing’ it with her..haha). Let me see if I can send you some – any plans of being stateside?

  2. Since I do not believe that any beauty products (other than maybe sunscreens) can really change to what we are genetically predisposed, I do not care much for any “green”, “natural”, etc. beauty products. I want whatever I put on my skin to smell and feel good. To achieve that I just go with one of the bigger brands: I do not expect either much benefits or harm from them.
    Currently most of my skincare products are from either Shiseido or Laura Mercier.

    • Thanks for commenting Undina!! I kind of know that that’s your viewpoint..:) And that the way a product smells and feels is of utmost importance to you. You wouldn’t believe it but in the initial stages of creating the first beauty box, packaging etc, and selecting products for it, I had an internal ‘meter’ that would keep checking : “Would Undina like this?” since I wanted to choose products that would feel great, work beautifully and appeal to both me and you (since we have sometimes similar, yet other times vastly differing tastes).LOL

  3. So I have been geeking out on this whole topic lately. I have been sorting what I will/wont use based on ingredients I am trying to avoid. Take silicones for instance, they are not that readily absorbed but they really are just a mask to cover unhealthy hair or skin. So my thought process is to avoid them and focus on making my hair/skin healthy….

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