Healthy Skin Care Swaps

As the new year approaches, you may be thinking about positive changes you can make for yourself. One change that is positive and healthy is swapping out animal tested, toxic products wrapped in plastic for ones that are non-toxic, cruelty-free, healthy and sustainable. This can certainly be simple to do and so should be high up on your list.

When you think of which products should be first, some use the replacement as they run out concept. This is certainly a viable concept as you are able to avoid a large expenditure as well as a waste of your current products. I have always appreciated this approach and encourage others to do the same, however if you are vulnerable to immune disorders, have reactive or sensitive skin, and or cancer is prevalent in your family you may consider switching products that are more readily absorbed sooner. These products would include anything that can be ingested, or is more likely to sit on your skin longer and so have a higher chance of being absorbed.

These products include lip balms, facial lotions and serums, and body balms and lotions. Not that soaps and cleansers aren’t important, however they will be on your skin for only a few minutes at best and then will be rinsed down the drain. With that being said, to switch from a bottled product such as shampoo or body wash to a solid bar form may be a simple switch just to avoid adding plastics to your home and potentially to the landfill.

Lip balms are on the top of this list for clean swap as it is more likely to be applied and reapplied throughout the day as well as partially ingested as you eat or drink food. Using the EWG Skindeep database, toxicity data has been pulled for a few commonly used lip balms to compare their ratings based on their published ingredient lists. For those of you who haven’t discovered them yet, EWG (Environmental Working Group) is a non profit that uses information gathered from current research and ranks products based on their ingredient list on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the most hazardous. They are a fabulous wealth of information.

ChapstickBlistexEOSChagrin ValleyLittle Seed
EWG rating 3-5EWG rating 5-7EWG rating 1-4EWG rating 1EWG rating 1
EWG = 8
Retinyl palmitate
EWG = 9
EWG = 8
Castor Seed Oil EWG = 2Castor Seed Oil EWG = 2
EWG = 8
EWG = 8
EWG = 4
All else were 1All else were 1
Propylparaben EWG = 7Phenol
EWG = 7
EWG = 3
EWG = 6
EWG = 6
EWG = 4
EWG = 4
EWG = 4
Not Cruelty-Free
Owned by Pfizer which does animal testing.
Not Cruelty-Free
Sells in countries that require animal testing.
Not Cruelty-Free
Sells in countries that require animal testing.
Packaged in glass with metal cap.
Packaged in aluminum tin.

EWG rates all products with the word fragrance in their ingredient list a bit more harshly because there is no way to know what is being referred to by this word. The biggest concern here is that there is no transparency when that word is used. Both chapstick and EOS used this word. While most of the ingredients in EOS brand are on the low end of the concern spectrum, depending on which of the lip balms you chose, you may get a dose of fragrance as well which is likely part of the allure of the product. The least these makers could do is be transparent about what the “fragrance” is so that those with sensitivities can avoid products that may contain them.

Parabens such as propylparaben and methylparaben are suspected endocrine disruptors and are added to products for their preservative qualities. This is what gives many commercially available products including food their longer shelf life. There have been numerous studies that compare the effects of parabens to natural estradiol and determined that parabens can be used within a margin of safety (MOS).
Examples of effects from endocrine disruption can be birth defects, developmental defects, and tumors. While use of parabens has been deemed safe under “specific margins of safety”, it is difficult to determine what the effects might be when when we layer product after product onto ourselves each with the minimal amount of any given number of parabens or paraben derivative products added “within the margin of safety.”

According to Kavlock from the EPA, ‘Such effects may have an endocrine-related basis, which has led to speculation about the possibility that these endocrine effects may have environmental causes. However, considerable scientific uncertainty remains regarding the actual causes of such effects. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that small disturbances in endocrine function, particularly during certain highly sensitive stages of the life cycle (e.g., development, pregnancy, lactation) can lead to profound and lasting effects’ (Kavlock et al., 1996. EPA, 1997).

Oxybenzone is used as a penetration enhancer and allow ingredients to absorb into the skin more quickly. EWG sites a study by Hanson KM, Gratton E, and Bardeen CJ in 2006 which states that oxybenzone produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease. There is another study cited that contradicts this. Other human case studies supported a concern that the ingredient may cause possible immune system or allergenic effects. In simple terms, the ingredient may cause a person to develop a more sensitive and reactive immune system.

The cumulative effect of ingredients such as these combined with our genetic predisposition may be a cause for the rise in autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes, arthritis, lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome. A study in 2010 by Prof. Ehrenfeld singles out hairspray as well as lipstick as known occasional triggers. “Environmental pollution is also a cause for concern to those genetically predisposed to an autoimmune disease. Second-hand smoke, food chemicals or chemicals in the air, jet fuel fumes, UV exposure and other forms of environmental pollution are amongst the triggers considered to provoke the onset of autoimmune diseases. Industrial regions, particularly in Northern Europe and North America, still exhibit the highest rates of most autoimmune diseases. But on a much more local scale, Prof. Ehrenfeld also singles out hairspray as well as lipstick as known occasional triggers.”

‘…prevalence rates for some of these illnesses are rising for what Miller says must largely be environmental reasons. “Our gene sequences aren’t changing fast enough to account for the increases,” Miller says. “Yet our environment is—we’ve got 80,000 chemicals approved for use in commerce, but we know very little about their immune effects.’

The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption says there is strong evidence to support that octinoxate is an endocrine disruptor on humans as well as significant wildlife and environment disruption. One or more human case studies show possible photoallergic or allergenic effects and lastly, it has been shown to accumulate in people. Bioaccumulation alone makes this a problematic ingredient, due to the likely build up of these ingredients in wildlife as well as potentially in our food supplies.

There are other chemicals listed, but the main concerns have been covered with the exception of petroleum. Now, we all know that petroleum was used by most everyone in the U.S. as a salve for burns and scrapes and has been generally accepted as safe and is not bioaccumulative, however there are better options than substances derived from fossil fuels for our personal needs.

Lastly, each of the major brands insists on packaging in plastic due to its availability and shelf life potential. Plastics are another issue and even if they are recyclable, should be avoided since most times recyclable packaging still ends up in the land fill and I wonder about the release of micro plastics into the environment during production or during processing into recycled material. Beyond this there is potential for the plastic ingredients to leach into the product over time.

This would be an excessively long “rant” and pointless if positive options were not listed. Two are listed above in the table. Both are cruelty-free, packaged without plastic, sustainably produced, and the only ingredient that is not listed with a hazard of 1 by EWG is castor seed oil.

Tel Aviv University. “Arthritis: Environmental exposure to hairspray, lipstick, pollution, can trigger autoimmune diseases.” ScienceDaily. (accessed December 18, 2019).

Source: Autoimmune Disease Rates Increasing

Source: Trigger for autoimmune disease identified: Newly identified cells help explain why women suffer autoimmune disease more often — ScienceDaily

Source: Questions Persist: Environmental Factors in Autoimmune Disease

Source: Long-Term Effects of Environmental Endocrine Disruptors on Reproductive Physiology and Behavior

Source: What is Endocrine Disruption? | Endocrine Disruption | US EPA

Sun Protection 101- What you need to know about the ingredients in your Sun Protection Product

There’s been a lot of discussion lately as to terminology for sun protection products. I saw a news broadcast the other day where the news anchors all discussed what terms were currently in use today. The question posed was what term do you use to refer to your sun protection product. The three options given were Tan Lotion, Sun Screen and Sun Block. This type of discussion trivializes the importance of understanding the risks of sun exposure as well as the risks of the products used to mitigate sun exposure. What they did not seem to realize was that these three terms do not refer to the same thing and are not simply a colloquialism indicating the times.

Suntan lotion is a generic term that was used when the sun protection products such as Coppertone were marketed. It refers to a lotion with a small SPF measure usually no more than 8, often times closer to 2, that is used to block UVB rays, but not UVA. The intent is to moisturize the skin and allow a longer amount of time in the sun before burning.

Sunscreen is a chemical product that penetrates into the skin and absorbs UVA rays. UVA rays are responsible for oxidation and skin damage, but do not cause a sunburn.

Sunblock is a physical barrier that shields against UV rays including UVA and UVB. The FDA no longer allows the term to be used commercially as it can be misconstrued to cause the user to believe they are getting more protection than they actually are.

A small explanation about UV. There are three kinds of UV (ultraviolet) light that comes from the sun. UVA has longer wavelengths and penetrates further into the dermis which is why it can cause DNA damage. UVB has shorter wavelengths and is responsible for sunburns. UVC has an even shorter wavelength, but is absorbed by our ozone layer so is not a cause for concern.

The types of chemical sunscreens are octyl methoxycinnamate also known as octinoxide, octyl salicylate aka octisalate and octocrylene. According to the Environmental Working Group all of these have potential issues with endocrine disruption, bioaccumulation, and are allergenic. While it has been known for some time that these ingredients may have potential impacts as endocrine disruptors or allergens, it was not known that they are persisting in the skin longer than just during general use.

Since we are all becoming more aware of the risks of skin cancer due to sun exposure on a daily basis people are using these these products on a daily basis instead of just during longer durations of exposure. The persistence of these chemicals in our systems is more like a few weeks and the impact of these chemicals was likely not assessed for this type of exposure. Because of this we should all be cautious.

The most widely known physical sunblocks are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are widely used and can generally be recognized by the whitish cast left on the skin. This is because they sit on top of the skin rather than penetrating. While these are more effective in preventing skin damage from UVB rays they are less popular due to the heavier nature of the product. Manufacturers are getting better at formulating this in a lighter consistency.

According to a 1997 study conducted by the Federation of European Biochemical Societies titanium dioxide (TiO2) absorbs about 70% of incident UV, and in aqueous environments this leads to the generation of hydroxyl radicals which can initiate oxidations. These oxidations are known as free radicals. “Free radicals seek to bond with other molecules, but in the process, they can damage cells or the DNA contained within those cells. This in turn could increase the risk of skin cancer.”

These studies have shown that in shorter duration these physical sunblocks are effective but in longer duration there is potential for them to oxidize and release free radicals. Free radicals are the bane of our skin’s existence by causing damage to the skin’s ability to function normally which in turn cause premature aging and inflammation and potentially cancer.

So what is a person supposed to do? Ultimately we should all avoid spending longer amounts of time in direct sun. Shade is an effective way to avoid getting burned, but it is not able to prevent all sun damage. This is because the sun’s rays get reflected off of surfaces which means you are still getting UV indirect exposure and potentially oxidation.

Can we feel confident just finding a tree to hide under? Not really. “Factors that increase the amount of scattered or indirect UVB, such as reflective surfaces, will decrease the protection trees can provide. The same tree actually gives less protection earlier and later in the day, when the proportion of diffuse UV is high, than it does in the middle of the day when the sun is more directly overhead. Similarly, someone sitting under a tree on a sunny day with little indirect UV is better protected than someone sitting under the same tree on a cloudy day, when there is more indirect sunlight.15 However, any tree cover is better than none.” (

Since we all live in the real world and can’t always plan the time of day or the type of tree, we seek shade from, we should seek to mitigate the risk of exposure by pairing the sunblock products with antioxidants.

Antioxidants counteract free radicals because they’re essentially “self-sacrificing soldiers.” … they donate an electron to free radicals to “calm” them down and are consumed in the process. (Dr. Axe)

There are many antioxidants, but some of the most widely used and stable are carrot seed oil, vitamin E, vitamin C, grape seed which includes both vitamins E and C. Vitamin C is also an effective collagen booster which is why you will find it used in many facial serums.

Many sunblock products formulated today have already taken these steps and included carrot seed oil, myrrh, lemongrass, lavender, chamomile…

Please feel free to check out some of my hand-picked sun protection products.

Source: If You Can See Sunlight, Seek the Shade –

Source: Chemical oxidation and DNA damage catalysed by inorganic sunscreen ingredients – Dunford – 1997 – FEBS Letters – Wiley Online Library

Source: Sunscreen Chemicals Soak All the Way Into Your Bloodstream | WIRED

Source: Causes of Aging Skin: Free Radical Damage

Source: Free Radicals and Extrinsic Skin AgingSource: OncoSec – Sunscreen vs. Sunblock, What’s the Difference?

Source: 9 Antioxidants That Can Help Prevent Premature Skin Aging | HuffPost Life

Source: Chemical oxidation and DNA damage catalysed by inorganic sunscreen ingredients – Dunford – 1997 – FEBS Letters – Wiley Online Library

Source: UVA radiation damages DNA in human melanocyte skin cells and can lead to melanoma — ScienceDaily

Source: Sunscreen ingredient may increase skin cancer risk -- ScienceDaily

Source: Sunscreen vs. Sunblock – There’s A Difference | The Block Island Organics Blog

Source: UVA radiation damages DNA in human melanocyte skin cells and can lead to melanoma — ScienceDaily

Source: Fighting Free Radicals & Free Radical Damage – Dr. Axe

Source: 10 Pre-Sunscreen Methods for Dealing with the Sun | Mental Floss

Source: From Ancient Greece to Modern Times: A History of Sunscreen

Source: Photosensitization of the Sunscreen Octyl p‐Dimethylaminobenzoate by UVA in Human Melanocytes but not in Keratinocytes¶ – Xu – 2001 – Photochemistry and Photobiology – Wiley Online Library

Source: An in vitro systematic spectroscopic examination of the photostabilities of a random set of commercial sunscreen lotions and their chemical UVB/UVA active agents – Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences (RSC Publishing)

Source: Photosensitization of Guanine-Specific DNA Damage by 2-Phenylbenzimidazole and the Sunscreen Agent 2-Phenylbenzimidazole-5-sulfonic Acid – Chemical Research in Toxicology (ACS Publications)

Source: Characterization of DNA Damage Inflicted by Free Radicals from a Mutagenic Sunscreen Ingredient and Its Location Using an in vitro Genetic Reversion Assay – McHugh – 1997 – Photochemistry and Photobiology – Wiley Online Library

Source: A Review of Sunscreen Safety and Efficacy – Gasparro – 1998 – Photochemistry and Photobiology – Wiley Online Library

Source: Photochemical behavior of nanoscale TiO2 and ZnO sunscreen ingredients – ScienceDirect

Source: Effective sunscreen ingredients and cutaneous irritation in patients with rosacea. – Abstract – Europe PMC

Source: Microfine Zinc Oxide is a Superior Sunscreen Ingredient to Microfine Titanium Dioxide – Pinnell – 2000 – Dermatologic Surgery – Wiley Online Library

Source: Performance of Six Sunscreen Formulations on Human Skin: A Comparison | JAMA Dermatology | JAMA Network

Source: Photochemical Formation of Singlet Molecular Oxygen in Illuminated Aqueous Solutions of Several Commercially Available Sunscreen Active Ingredients – Chemical Research in Toxicology (ACS Publications)

Source: Development of assays for the detection of photomutagenicity of chemicals during exposure to UV light. II. Results of testing three sunscreen ingredients | Mutagenesis | Oxford AcademicSource: Sunscreen May Not Have It Made in the Shade | Flashback | OZY

Carrot Seed Oil Uses and Benefits for Your Skin

Carrot seed oil, or daucus carota has characteristics that make it a good addition to your skin care regimen.  It is included in many high quality botanical based products already.

While this ingredient has great potential for positive effects, it is also lauded for some that may not be quite accurate.

First let’s ensure we understand what it is that is being discussed.  Carrot seed oil is not the same as carrot oil.

There are four types of “carrot oil”:

  • carrot seed essential oil – a concentrated essential oil got through steam distillation of carrot seeds from the plant Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace).
  • carrot seed carrier oil – a carrier oil (or vegetable oil) got through cold pressing of carrot seeds of Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace).
  • wild carrot carrier oil or carrot root oil – infusing wild carrot root from the plant Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) in vegetable oil for a number of weeks, then strained to get the infused oil.
  • ‘domestic’ carrot oil – produced at home by infusing domestic carrot (the orange one we all know) from the plant Daucus carota subsp. sativus.

** Definitions provided by Beauty Munsta

Carrot seed essential oil would be considered the oil that has the most densely concentrated phytonutrients.  While the other oils are also considered beneficial they are generally best used as a carrier oil instead of a key ingredient.

Notice in the definitions above that the ‘domestic’ carrot oil is distinguised by the subspecies sativus.  According to The Carrot Museum in the UK, “Both the wild and the cultivated carrots belong to the species Daucus carota. Wild carrot is distinguished by the name Daucus carota, Carota, whereas domesticated carrot belongs to  Daucus carota, sativus.”  Queen Anne’s Lace originated on the Iranian Plateau (an area which now includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran).  One cool fact is that the plateau is home of the Damarand Peak which is listed as #22 of the World Country High Points and is one of the Seven Volcanic Summits according to  It was initially introduced as a medicinal herb and later domesticated as a food.

The two plants are sexually compatible, and can be cross bred, however if you pull up the root, you will see an obvious difference in the structure as the wild variety is very fibrous.  The domesticated variety has been bred to be smoother and less bitter.

Carrot seed oil has been added to skin care products with claims of adding moisture, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and brightening the complexion.  Which of these claims are accurate is up for debate, but there are peer reviewed studies which do show important benefits.

Powerful Antioxidant

Like many oils and essential oils, carrot seed oil contains powerful antioxidants that can help to protect against disease. (Food Chemistry Volume 91, Issue 4, August 2005, Pages 723-729)

An antioxidant is a substance that helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are made during normal cell metabolism (chemical changes that take place in a cell).  They are electrically charged molecules in the cells, that can react with other molecules (like DNA) and damage them.

They can even form chain reactions, where the molecules they damage also turn into free radicals.

This is where antioxidants come in… if a molecule loses an electron and turns into a free radical, the antioxidant molecule steps in and “gives” the free radical an electron, effectively neutralizing it. Antioxidants Explained in Human Terms

This does not mean that we should aim to remove all free radicals from our systems.  Free radicals are also used to kill harmful bacteria in our systems.  It is about having balance of free radicals and antioxidants.

According to, when externally applied, carrot seed oil can cure infections on the skin and in open wounds. It is extremely effective in curing sores, gangrene, psoriasis, ulcers, rashes, carbuncles, and other such problems.

There are a number of sources such as that claim carrot seed essential oil stimulates the growth of new cells and tissues.  Though I found no scientific articles supporting this, it is likely possible due to the antioxidant effects as well as its ability to ward off skin infections that would otherwise take the energy away from producing new cells.

An animal study was conducted to investigate the effect of carrot seed oil on skin cancer (namely, squamous cell carcinoma) in rats and found it to be particularly potent. Topical treatment was shown to delay tumor appearance on these rats.

It also may be an effective treatment for some forms of acne.  This makes sense as it has been shown to have an antibacterial and antifungal effect.  Some acne is known to be caused by bacteria.   Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes) is the relatively slow-growing, typically aerotolerant anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium (rod).  But there is another less known cause of skin eruptions that is often also diagnosed as acne.

Pityrosporum is a type of yeast that is naturally occuring on the skin.  In the case that the normal balance of the skin is disrupted, an overgrowth of this organism can result in a condition known as pityrosporum folliculitis. The yeast overgrowth may be encouraged by external factors and/or by reduced resistance on the part of the host.

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, “the reasons why a particular patient develops pityrosporum folliculitis are not fully understood but the following are believed to be important: “

  • The yeast favors hot, humid, sweaty environments.  Wearing fabrics that trap moisture are conducive to setting up these conditions.
  • Application of greasy sunscreens and oily emollients such as coconut oil.
  • An oily-skin tendency – the yeast feeds on skin oil.
  • Decreased resistance to microorganisms (immunity).
  • Stress or fatigue.
  • Diabetes.
  • Oral steroids such as prednisone.
  • Oral contraceptive pill.
  • Being overweight, resulting in more sweating and tighter clothing.

I am not a doctor nor am I advocating any specific treatment for either acne or pityrosporum folliculitis, but I do speculate that it is possible for carrot seed oil to be of benefit for these conditions due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which may help to balance out the oil production and immune response.  It is also likely to be an effective treatment for rosacea due to its anti-inflammatory effects.

There have been claims that carrot seed oil as well as other essential oils have great SPF or Sun Protection Factor ability.  I have not seen any credible evidence that this is true.  Most of the reports cite a 2009 article that found an SPF factor of 38 – 40, however I would not call this article as a credible source.  To my knowledge, it has not been peer reviewed.  If it had, the methods would have been questioned due to the fact that the other ingredients that were in the mixture that was tested would have to have been identified and analyzed individually to determine each ingredients’ SPF.

That is not to say that carrot seed oil is not useful for sun protection.  While I doubt it offers much in the SPF realm, it may offer support to the skin in combating the free radicals that occur due to sun exposure.

Below is a table of herbal plants and their role in photo protection from the Indo Americal Journal of Pharmaceutical Research from 2014.  Among many active agents listed,  Apigenin is listed for its prevention of UVA and UVB skin carcinogenesis.   Apigenin is a compound present in carrot seed oil.  According to this paper, the carrot is the “most important root vegetable plant in the world.”  The constituents included in the UV protective nature of the carrot.  They specifically mention “campesterol which effectively enhance body’s immune response to U.V radiation, nourishes, rejuvenate skin and shows cytotoxicity against mutagens”


In short, the compounds found in carrot seed oil are effective in repairing damage to the skin caused by the sun or other factors.  It is not recommended, however as a sun protection to replace sunblocks.  A responsible company may include it in their formulation for anti-aging, or cellular repair.  It is not the only effective ingredient but should not be ignored.

As I believe sun protection to be a very important aspect of skin care, it would be thoughtless of me to not include some good options from the Earthly Beauty collection.


Graydon Elements


Blissoma Amend



Source: Carrot Seed Oil Uses and Benefits | GuruNanda

Source: Carrot Seed Oil Skin Care Uses + Other Benefits – Dr. Axe

Source: Top 10 Benefits of Carrot Seed Essential Oil | Organic Facts

Source: Natural Oil Sunscreens: What You Need to Know & Badger Balm for Fool Proof Sun Protection – Living Pretty, Naturally

Source: Queen Anne’s Lace – The Wild Carrot

Source: Antioxidant properties of cold-pressed black caraway, carrot, cranberry, and hemp seed oils – ScienceDirect

Source: Definition of free radical scavenger – NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms – National Cancer Institute

Source: Antioxidants Explained in Human Terms

Source: Definition of free radical scavenger – NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms – National Cancer Institute

Source: Health benefits of carrot seed essential oil |

Source: Chemopreventive effects of wild carrot oil against 7,12-dimethyl benz(a)anthracene-induced squamous cell carcinoma in mice. – PubMed – NCBI

Source: Pityrosporum Folliculitis – American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD)

Source:  Research Gate Prakash_Kendr

Source: Can Raspberry and Carrot seed oils really protect your skin from the s – MASLA Skincare

Iceland’s Christmas Advert Has Been Banned From TV But They Want You To See It Anyway

Abbreviated reproduction of post on Unilad webthumbnew_iceland

Click here to view the original.

Iceland’s 2018 Christmas advert has been banned from TV for being political, but the company still wants viewers to see it.

Source: Iceland’s Christmas Advert Has Been Banned From TV But They Want You To See It Anyway
The 90-second feature, titled Rang-Tan, featured an animated orangutan causing havoc in a little girl’s bedroom until she orders her to leave. Before she does, she explains to the girl how a digger was ripping up trees in her forest.

The orangutan says:

There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do. He destroyed all of our forest for your food and your shampoo.

There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do.  He took away my mother and I’m scared he’ll take me too.

There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do. They’re burning it for palm oil so I thought I’d stay with you.


The frozen-food supermarket created the advert to campaign against the use of palm oil in the production of food and cosmetics, which in turn is driving rainforest destruction.

The advert ends with the words:

Dedicated to the 25 orangutans we lose every day.

Earlier this year, Iceland committed to remove palm oil from all its own label food by the end of 2018 in response to continued deforestation in South East Asia.

The company are now reaching the completion of their project, which will offer consumers the option of having of an orangutan friendly Christmas.

World’s Most Endangered Species video by Unilad

Iceland hoped to use the advert to improve shoppers’ understanding of the widespread rainforest destruction for palm oil production, which appears in more than 50 per cent of all supermarket products.

However, the feature has been banned by advertising regulators on the grounds it was seen to support a political issue.

In response to the ban, Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland, said:

Throughout 2018 we have led the retail industry to take action in areas such as rainforest destruction for palm oil and plastic pollution of our oceans.

This year we were keen to do something different with our much anticipated Christmas advert.

The culmination of our palm oil project is offering our customers the choice of an orangutan friendly Christmas, and we wanted to reflect this in our advertising.

Whilst our advert sadly never made it to TV screens, we are hopeful that consumers will take to social media to view the film, which raises awareness of an important global issue.

Our commitment to help protect the home of orangutans remains extremely close to our hearts.

We are proud to be encouraging consumers to make more sustainable choices, even without the support of TV advertising, ahead of the Christmas shopping season.

Iceland have released the video online to make sure their message is still seen by many consumers, even if it’s not on television.

The advert raises important environmental issues which are important to keep in mind when shopping.

Psychology of Makeup

Believe it or not, but the faces of all people have pores (gasp), and freckles (NO!), and even blemishes (oh, the humanity)!

Many people are not willing to accept this so Makeup to the rescue!


It starts at an early age and depending on the rules of the house a child may be allowed to wear makeup at varying ages.

It generally starts with wanting to copy Mommy, or a friend from school, or to look like a favorite entertainer.  Historically this was mostly girls, but today includes both boys and girls and is starting much younger.


Starting so young it is possible to understand how this becomes such an important part of an individual’s identity and why it becomes difficult to go without.

In an article on, Bree Lopes wrote that a professor once told her “Gender is something we put on every morning. We are who we dress ourselves to be before leaving our homes. This is how we identify; this is how we want the world to see us.”

The Culture

There is a television series on Amazon Prime called “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” that depicts a woman who every night when she goes to bed she has her full makeup on, but then after her husband has gone to sleep she gets up and takes off her makeup.  Then she positions the window shade so that the light from it wakes her up in the morning.  This is done so that she can wake up before her husband and put on makeup then get back into bed before his alarm clock goes off.  In this way she can have the illusion of always looking “perfect”.

Initially this seems like a practice of our previous generations, however according to Zack Walkter  “A recent survey found that one-third of women get up before their partner to apply makeup in secret, while 3 percent would never let a man see them au naturel at all.”

How does it all start?  Notwithstanding the current addition of boys or grade school girls, it generally starts with the onset of puberty and sudden onslaught of blemishes.  Wanting to hide the blemish a cover-up or foundation is purchased.  Likely due to cheap products, ineffective or inconsistent facial cleansing routines and lack of appropriate guidance the cycle begins and more blemishes arise causing a desire to use more makeup.

Of course using foundation alone can cause the skin to look pale and featureless, so additional techniques are needed to add a flush of color on the cheeks and lips.  This then needs to be balanced out with eye liner and mascara.  Then as the expertise of peers grows so does the arsenal of products needed to achieve comparative looks.  Today women of all ages attempt to make their livelihood off of their vlogging of makeup reviews and tutorials on Youtube.

Among those who are makeup devotees there are specific protocols as to what is worn for  different occasions.  One such devotee on Elite Daily exclaims that makeup is her “f*cking war paint” and asks how she can negotiate a raise without lipstick or headline a meeting without power brows.  She calls it ‘sharing the very best version of herself.’

The Department of Fashion Design refers to this as “clothing for the face”.  They found that there was a correlation between higher self-esteem and following makeup trends.  On the flip-side however there was a correlation of lower self-esteem and makeup involvement in general.  Lastly there was a inverse correlation of self-esteem and satisfaction with makeup usage.  In other words, if the self-esteem is low, the individual may not feel satisfied with the results obtained by using makeup.  Their conclusion follows. ‘Positive self-esteem tends to lead to a strong desire to follow leading makeup trend, whereas negative self-esteem seeks pleasure through makeups and transform one’s feelings of inferiority and depression into positive emotions. Thus, rather than treating makeup as an act of following a trend or mass media, deep consideration of “how to develop proper makeup involvement and satisfaction could affect elementary students” is necessary for desirable values.’  

The goal of using makeup is to achieve appearances that meet cultural standards  by enhancing or hiding features.  The evolutionary perspective is that certain physical features indicate signs of reproductive fitness, health and youthfulness.  There is a perception that people who have skillfully applied makeup are healthier, more confident, have greater earning potential and more prestigious jobs.  We can understand then the strong incentive to use makeup and why it is difficult to go without, though I do not understand how a grade school child needs to look healthier, more fit for reproduction, or more youthful.

The Stats

Studies regarding self-esteem and makeup usage are inconsistent most likely depending on the methods used to collect the data as well as the variability of the subjects in the surveys.

Alexis Sclamberg (2012) reported on a survey conducted by the Renfrew Center which found that 44 percent of women felt more unattractive and uncomfortable when they didn’t wear makeup than when they did; 16 percent reported feeling unattractive; 14 percent reported feeling self-conscious and 14 percent reported feeling naked without makeup (Renfrew Center Foundation, 2012). This study also found that only 3 percent of women reported that going without makeup made them feel more attractive.

Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 3.45.45 PM

The results from Robertson and colleagues (2008) found the trends to be reversed with a positive correlation between frequent use of cosmetics and anxiety, self-consciousness, and conformity. Women who reported wearing makeup less frequently tended to have higher social confidence, emotional stability, and self-esteem.

The Natural Look

While the 80’s had more bold and dramatic looks, the 90’s ushered in looks that are less vibrant.  Natural, effortless beauty was the goal.  The ironic and almost comical idea is that the “natural look” that we so often see is “effortless”.  An awful lot of time is spent trying to achieve an “effortless” appearance. It may be more difficult to successfully create the natural look than a dramatic look. The natural look has been enduring and successful, though.  It has been so successful that there are many people who can’t tell the difference between the natural look and what it looks like to have no makeup on at all.  These are likely those who’ve never used makeup.

An article on Buzzfeed showcases six women who have decided to show the difference.  They were inspired by some twitter posts that indicated men stating they preferred Taylor Swift with no makeup.  What was obvious to these women was that Taylor Swift was wearing makeup, but that it was a natural look that was depicted in the photo that was referenced.


Here is one of the women’s before and after picture.  Notice the definition of the eye brows, the color of the lips and the pop of the eyes from the mascara.  All six women showed the same types of embellishments with their natural look makeup which had been done by a professional makeup artist taking approximately an hour per face.

In 2016 Alicia Keys came to a realization that she had been writing a lot of songs about masks and metaphors about hiding.  In an article in Keys writes

‘In one song I wrote, called “When a Girl Can’t Be Herself,” it says,

In the morning from the minute that I wake up
What if I don’t want to put on all that makeup
Who says I must conceal what I’m made of
Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem

She goes on to say “No disrespect to Maybelline, the word just worked after the maybe. But the truth is … I was really starting to feel like that — that, as I am, I was not good enough for the world to see.  This started manifesting on many levels, and it was not healthy.”‘


With this self-realization she decides to do a photo shoot without any makeup.  This took a lot of bravery.  She had to confront the bare and honest look of freckles, and unadorned eyes and lips. She says it was the strongest, most empowered and most beautiful she had ever felt. She says ‘(…) I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.’


This raw image inspired other well known artists to follow suit.  Cameron Diaz, Christie Brinkley, Drew Barrymore and others started to share their images as well.

This was revolutionary.  Not only do we get to see that their faces are truly transformed when their makeup is applied, but that their faces are not that different from our own.  What a boost to women’s and girls’ self esteem to know that what they are comparing themselves to is not “natural”.  Of course we all know this, but deep down the comparisons are still made and self judgments are still harsh.

When one comes to a realization of how much money and time and effort is involved in applying makeup every day, multiple times every day depending on situations, it shines a light on the overwhelming affect it has on a person’s life.  Depending on the person and the situation, someone can spend anywhere from five minutes to an hour daily.  At five minutes per day a person would spend 30 hours per year.  Most people spend more than that.  At 20 minutes per day a person would spend 121 hours per year or over 5 days.  There are those who spend an hour each day and then more time goes in to reapplication and touch ups throughout the day.  The time really starts to add up.

The cost adds up as well.  The average spend is $30 to $100 per month depending on the individual habits and income.

Even with the lack of satisfaction of their results from makeup reported by most people as well as the cost and time, why do most people continue?

It appears that there is a self-conscious perception that they would be treated differently without makeup.  Two different women decided to find out what it would be like to go out with varying levels of makeup including no makeup.  Their results varied depending on the situation.  One of the videos was trying to figure out if people treat you differently based on the makeup you wear.  The other video is trying to see what reactions you get from coworkers and friends when you stop wearing makeup.

There were varying opinions from the first video.  The opinions from those who saw her in “full” makeup thought she was concerned about what people thought of her and that she likely spent a lot of time getting ready. They mostly wondered if she was on her way to an event and if so, where was she going? The most frequently used words were confident, intimidating, and party girl.

When the same women wearing the same clothes and hairstyle went out with her “normal” look most people thought she likely was headed for work, that she was professional and did not seem to judge her too much.  When she went out with no makeup most people didn’t make much of it even though initially she was quite stressed at the idea of no makeup.  Until she mentioned it they said they didn’t even notice that she wasn’t wearing any.


The second video was a person who has always worn makeup since her teen years and decided to go a week without.  This scared her as well.  She was relieved when people said she looked good without it, however was skeptical and didn’t really believe them.  As time wore on she became more comfortable with her own unique features.  She happens to have freckles and had been covering them for years.  Her final thoughts were that the effect of makeup is subjective.  While she likes to wear it and it makes her feel good, there is really no effect on the other people.


There are mindfulness techniques that help to not only allow a person to become comfortable with their naked face, but it also serves as way to develop a kinder self-awareness.  The way it works is to observe yourself in a mirror for a set period of time on a daily basis.  Generally for ten minutes at a time when you’re doing this on your own.  There are also group sessions that you can attend.  The intent is to look at oneself with “openness, kindness, and compassion.”  We tend to objectify ourselves and if you find that you are being self-critical, look into your eyes and see yourself as the person being criticized.  You will potentially feel compassion and empathy rather than the hyper-critical self-loathing we tend to slip into.  I have never tried this though I may some day.

I myself have gone through a great change over the past few years and have not only stopped wearing makeup on a daily basis, but I started by letting my hair go gray.  I had been coloring it brunette most of my adult life.  I found my first gray hairs when I was quite young in my early twenties.  Since my hair grows rather quickly, it became a ritual I performed every 10 days toward the end.  Some people refer to this as chasing the skunk. I was tired of the expense, the wasted time and the concern for what effect the chemicals were having on my health overall.  I was becoming concerned they were causing my hair to thin.  But the worst was the time, oh so time consuming.  I stopped wearing makeup simply out of a desire to simplify my daily routine.  The freckles were never quite natural looking underneath foundation anyway.

I now have more time for other priorities.  My skin is healthier than before and I have come to enjoy the varying steely colors in my hair.  I do still enjoy makeup on occasion such as when I go out for the evening, but I am no longer self-conscious and I don’t think anybody treats me any differently one way or the other.  Below is a no-makeup, natural makeup collage.  The hair needs a bit of work, but it wasn’t the point of the pictures anyhow.  My opinion is that if more people went without makeup then less people would feel self conscious about following suit.  It would become more of a norm instead of the exception.



Alicia Keys: Time to Uncover – Lenny Letter

Diseases My Male Coworkers Diagnosed Me With On The One Day I Didn’t Wear Make Up

Why Women Waste Time on Makeup – Jessie Char – Medium

8 Surprising Things That Happen When You Stop Wearing Makeup Every Day

Put Your Makeup On So They’ll Like You – Substance

Kids and makeup: Is there a “right” age to start using beauty products? – FASHION Magazine

Too Much Makeup: The Psychology of Cosmetics – One Mind Therapy

7 Need-to-know Facts about Facial Dysmorphia …

New study says men like women who wear less makeup | Time

Half of Women Won’t Let Partners See Them Without Makeup for a Year. Really?


Makeup and its Affect on Self Esteem | SiOWfa15: Science in Our World: Certainty and Controversy

How It Works | Mirror Meditation

Confidence Self-Awareness Mirror Meditation For Anxiety

Marvelous Mrs Maisel Pilot 1950s Housewife Double Life

Eye Makeup Trends Through History

There’s a bigger problem with young boys wearing makeup.

Women Admit Their Husbands Have Never Seen Them Without Makeup | Do You Remember?

The Connection Between Makeup and Mental Health

The Surprising Psychology Behind Makeup | Psychology Today

I Will Never Let A Man See Me Without Makeup On

The Beauty Industry’s Influence on Women in Society

Why More Women Are Happily Going Without Makeup | Psychology Today

Why Women Feel Bad About Their Appearance | Psychology Today

The Effects of Self-Esteem on Makeup Involvement and Makeup Satisfaction among Elementary Students

15 Real Women on Why They Go Barefaced | Byrdie

What Men Really Think About Women’s Makeup | Shape Magazine

Honestly, do boys prefer girls with or without makeup? – Quora

We Tried Natural Makeup Looks To Show Men What “No Makeup” Looks Like

Psychology Says Makeup Is Cheaper Than Therapy but Just as Effective | Byrdie AU

Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Passes in California Senate

SB 1249 makes it illegal for cosmetics manufacturers to sell any finished product or component that was knowingly tested on animals after January 1, 2020.  The bill states that “Existing law prohibits manufacturers and contract testing facilities from using traditional animal testing methods within this state when an appropriate alternative test method has been scientifically validated and recommended by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) or other specified agencies.”

The current law left a huge loophole regarding the import of products that violate the existing anti-cruelty laws.  This next step by California law-makers which was backed by organizations such as  Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL) and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) will serve as an example for legislation in other states or for the country as a whole.

The battle is not over yet.  It is still yet to pass the state’s appropriation committee.  PETA is calling for support fom the California residents to urge their legislators to pass the appropriations necessary to make this bill effective.  A link is provided below to contact the appropriate individuals for appropriations.  This link is limited to California residents. If you are a resident of California, please take action or share with a California resident to take action.

The sale of beauty products and ingredients that are tested on animals may soon be banned in California.

Source: Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Passes in California Senate

California residents, please urge your state assembly member to vote YES on S.B. 1249.

Source: Help California Go Cruelty-Free! | PETA

SB 1249 (Galgiani), the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, passed by a vote of 21 to 9 on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Source: SB 1249 California’s Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Passes Senate with 21-9 Vote | The Physicians Committee

The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act (SB1249) just passed in the California Senate yesterday. The proposed bill would ban the sale of all cosmetics tested on animals by 2020, making the state a leader in the movement for vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics.

Source: Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Passes in California Senate

Legislative Information header image: click to go to the home page

Source: Bill Text – SB-1249 Animal testing: cosmetics.

Source: California Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act passes the Senate | Cruelty Free International