The Elegant Art Of Falling Apart

By Jessica Jones

Sometimes we have to lose everything to understand this moment is all we have

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Good Glamour

After being diagnosed with breast cancer almost three years ago I began to hear disquieting murmurs about links between breast tumours and many substances that are found in everyday beauty products.

At first I did not want to know. What with the horrible surgery, losing my hair and feeling sick all the time I felt disinclined to start worrying about whether or not my moisturiser might be killing me. And, now that I was bald, I needed my lippy more than ever. Besides which the whole topic threw up so many difficult questions. For example:

A. exactly which substances are dangerous?

B. what are the alternatives?

C. are they any good?

D. where do I get them?

E. what time is the X Factor on?

But as the months crawled by and I staggered through the worst of it, I found myself with rather a lot of unfilled hours on my hands. One day I decided to begin a forensic investigation of all the beauty products in my bathroom. 

My lashless eyes widened as I discovered that almost every one of them contained either neurotoxins, carcinogens or hormone disruptors. Many contained a hazardous cocktail of substances.

Things had to change! Following chemotherapy and radiotherapy I embarked on an even more radical ‘Product Replacement Therapy’, that is to say, replacing every single item in my beauty cabinet with an equivalent or better, non-toxic alternative.

I cannot even begin to calculate how much those products have cost me over the years – financially and, more critically, in terms of my health. Not that safer, greener, products are necessarily any cheaper. In fact they tend to be pricier than their mass-market counterparts - but that is because they genuinely contain superior and more expensive ingredients.

Since that first foray into cosmetic invesigatology I have learned plenty – and almost landed myself on the steps of the local doss house for the stylishly destitute in the process. Picture me slumped on the footpath outside Selfridges - I clutch a torn cardboard sign felt-tipped with the words: “Broke but Chemo Chic. Need money for organic lipstick and face cream” Please don’t shed tears for me – it’s a sacrifice that I am prepared to make in order to save your life.

To kick you off on the road to Good Glamour I am assembling a goody bag of divine natural make-up and skincare cosmetics. The contents are top secret, for now. But I can promise that every product is one that I couldn't live without.

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