One of the first reports I wrote as a kid in school was in the mid 80’s, it was about the horrors of animal testing. Images and information about the unethical and cruel practices were coming out of the wood work. The animal rights movement had been active for about 10 years already. In high school I wrote an essay on the devastating impact of pesticides on wildlife and insects after being introduced to the book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson in 11th grade. I remember my friends and I being devastated, angry and sooo ready to make changes.
image courtesy of maxpixel.comSo what happened? How did I go from being that caring, motivated young human to one of the people promoting and selling the very things I was so upset about?For me is was a combination of distraction, denial and misguided trust. The plain truth?I was distracted by the promise of happiness and success locked in luxury purchases. I was simply too busy being self absorbed to look outside myself to the truth. In the times when brands of employment or preference came under scrutiny, I either chose to sit in the sweet denial that the brands I was choosing would never participate in such practices or trust their misleading statements regarding their practices.
Cleaning up the Beauty Industry
Ok it’s absolutely no secret that many of our personal care and beauty products are full of ingredients that are dangerous for our health and our planets ability to sustain life. We’ve all seen horrifying images of piles of plastics, tortured animals and read articles about women and children in life threatening, exploitative situations as part of the creation of our beauty/luxury products. The modern age of the internet and social communications has made it impossible for companies to continue hiding their dirty secrets.
photo courtesy maxpixel.comSo… why ARE we still buying their products? My experience as a facilitator of change says that for many people it simply comes down to all this knowledge (and all the emotions that go with it) being overwhelming. We can’t see through brands deceptive shrouds, or dig through the ingredient labeling loop holes. Many of us feel purchasing products for our beauty ritual feels more like a political move than a self care experience. It doesn’t take long for us to start to look at the global picture and feel defeated. Add all this to the purchases of our past that we regret making and we sit and stare at (or hide under the sink “to use later” or “donate”). Soon we are in a tough emotional space that includes shame, regret and even guilt. In these moments, so many of us start feeling like our changes won’t make any difference. It’s no wonder that apathy has become the biggest hurdle of the clean beauty movement.I need you to hear this…. hard love my friends…Feeling overwhelmed can no longer be an excuse for apathy. The clean beauty movement has removed the barriers that prevented us from making the transition.Take a moment with that. “Today, the “clean” banner is carried by a small (for now) but vocal group of individual brands, dedicated retailers, platforms and activists that have taken it upon themselves to define and uphold the strict guidelines around clean products, from personal care and cosmetics to household cleaning items.”– Sarah Brown , Business of FashionIts been 50 years since the animal rights movement started.Almost 70 years since we identified that our choices our devastating the planet we have been blessed to inhabit.Our bodies are sick from toxins and stressTime to stop &*%@ing around.
How to Stay On Track with the Clean Beauty Movement
Stay on track by remembering:1. It may take a few years to clean up your makeup bag and vanity. Even with a good plan, many of my clients require up to 3 years. It’s not sustainable for us all to throw everything away and start over. Here are some tips to help you get started2. There is no shame. We are all learning together. Knowing better and doing better is hard! Being accountable for the choices you made before you knew better is part of the process.3. Establish your hard lines of what practices, ingredients and social expectations you will and won’t tolerate from brands and their product. Then stick to them. If a company can’t (or won’t) ensure you their products are safe and hold to your values, tell them that, and move on. The most powerful weapon in this movement is where we place our dollars. Be accountable.Your choices DO have an impact. You are NOT just one person. Reach to your community to find like-minded people to help you with resources, safe spaces and inspiration to push forward.Need a community to help you follow through or make a plan? Join ours.