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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