Natural Beauty: Why You Should Switch to a Cleaner and Kinder Beauty Routine

Briahna LeFave, Staff Writer

You get out your favorite felt tip eyeliner to draw a sultry, fierce cat eye-only to find you left the cap off the night before and you are in desperate need of a new one-like, now.

We’ve all been there, I assure you.

Going to the drugstore and grabbing the first L’Oreal eyeliner or Maybelline foundation you see is a mundane yet necessary activity for many of us, but have you ever stopped to think what’s in them and how they’re tested?

Something we may forget to consider is what we are really paying for when buying these products. Both of the afore mentioned cosmetic companies test their products on animals. The idea of utilizing organic, natural, vegan and cruelty free products might not be something we readily consider, however it’s time that we start.

According to the FDA, there are no regulations requiring specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients in makeup products. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA.

The FDA also does not require any pre-market testing of products before they’re released onto shelves. This is alarming to say the least.

Living a healthier lifestyle starts with learning to “undo” what has become habitual for us. Think about it: if you’ve ever tried to eat healthier, what’s the first thing you do while at the grocery store? You probably start reading labels, looking at nutrition facts and ingredient lists. But why limit your selectiveness to only what you put in your body? What about the things you put on it?

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, an average of 64 percent of the contents of what a person puts on their skin is absorbed.

According to an article published in the Huffington Post, the European Union bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects.  

In comparison, the U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics. In addition, researchers at the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health reports that after testing 32 commonly sold lipsticks and lip glosses, it was found that many contain lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals — some at potentially toxic levels.

My personal favorite brands of cruelty free, natural and vegan beauty products include 100 percent Pure and Aveda, both focusing on being plant based, natural and cruelty free. Wanting to get a professional opinion on all of this, I sought out hair stylist and nail technician Autumn Schwane at Anton’s Salon and Spa in Delafield, Wisconsin.

Royal Purple: What does it mean for a beauty product to be natural, vegan and cruelty free?

Autumn Schwane: “Natural to me means as many organic ingredients as possible, an absence of fillers (such as plastics you could find in a drug/grocery store) and free of man-made fragrances or dyes. Cruelty free to a lot of people means that it was not tested on animals, however that does NOT mean it is free of animal byproducts such as honey, beeswax, milk proteins, etc. Cruelty free to me means that there are absolutely no traces of animal byproducts and it was never in contact with an animal during the testing phase.

RP: As a hair stylist, why do you feel it’s important for people to use natural/vegan products vs. alternatives?

Schwane: “Products that are natural will not have any fillers. Fillers coat the hair and scalp and can lead to product build up, which looks a lot like dandruff. They also make it difficult for color services to penetrate into the cuticle and cortex of the shaft (which is where the color lives). As far as using cruelty free products, we are the reason that these even exist, we should be the ones they are tested on.”

RP: What are some brands you’d recommend?

Schwane: The hair care line I would recommend is REF. The products contain a substantial amount of organic ingredients and the entire line is vegan and cruelty free. For skin care I would recommend Elate, it’s free from fillers and is a mineral makeup. You can also plant their packaging to grow wildflowers and herbs!