Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Simplifying cosmetics

I'm revising my array of cosmetics to deal with two problems. First, I'm concerned about harmful synthetic chemicals in mass-market cosmetics. There's debate over whether this is a grave concern or not, but then again I apply this stuff to my skin every single day. Second, I find choosing cosmetics to be annoying and have been frustrated with my favorite products becoming unavailable at my local stores for one reason or another.

Accordingly, I'm shaking up the line of cosmetics I use. My preferred disposition for any given product is, in order of preference:
  1. Eliminate my need for it
  2. Use a homemade version
  3. Find an "all natural" product that's likely to endure
  4. Find a "mass market" product that's as safe as possible
Eliminating something is the ultimate simplification, of course. "Homemade" ranks highly because I like the idea of knowing all the ingredients in this stuff, and staying stocked in raw materials is simpler than tracking various brands and products when they're changing all the time.

I've replaced shampoo, body wash, and even shaving cream with Dr Bronner's liquid soap. It's affordable and readily available at health food stores and the internet. It's a real win to replace the need for three separate packaged products with one substance that's sold in bulk.

Method seems to be a decent compromise for hand soap and dish soap. It's also affordable and easy to find.

I've never been convinced that conditioner does anything, so I don't buy that.

Replacing deodorant has been difficult. None of the "all natural" products have really worked at all. For now I'm using unscented Sure, which, according to the Skin Deep cosmetics database, is just as safe as "all natural" stuff.

I'm still working on face scrub, aftershave, toothpaste, and mouth wash. Face scrub and toothpaste are prime candidates for making at home, but I haven't found the right recipes yet.


Rose S. said...

Conditioner is not an unnecessary product; however, it may be for you. It's possible that your type of hair--length and texture--allows you to comb your hair after you get out of the shower without the comb getting stuck and breaking in half.

Though I like your suggestion about Dr Bronner's liquid soap (and think I'm going to purchase this as soon as my body soap and shampoo run out), I think you'll have to rethink your conditioner comment. Obviously you are writing from your own experience and about what works for you, but I dig your blog and your revelations about inexpensive, yet good quality products. So,...I guess I'm inciting a conditioner challenge.

Kevin said...

My stance on conditioner seems to be provocative so I'm not surprised it's taking some heat.

I'm sure you're right that conditioner offers a substantial benefit for some hair types. But it's never had a significant effect for me. I have short, straight hair, so maybe that's why. I'm approaching this from a minimalist perspective so anything that has no appreciable benefit gets eliminated.

I'm glad you appreciate the blog. If you're going to get some Dr. Bronner's I'd recommend buying the smallest size first. I had to try a few flavors before I found my favorite.

Amanda said...

Rose- It's true, I give Kevin flack for the conditioner thing as well. Because I know I certainly need it! He is able to simplify his cosmetics need much more than I am.

I do highly recommend the Dr. Bronner's soap, as well as the SkinDeep website. I find some of the natural products to be too expensive for my tastes, so the SkinDeep website helps us make informed decisions about purchasing products that are more mass-produced, and thus cheaper.