In past posts I have touched on the debate about harmful ingredients in cosmetics and beauty products. I say ‘touched on’ because this is still not something that I feel I can discuss with any confidence. Every time I try to gen up on the subject I find myself being sucked into a labyrinth of complex chemical names, difficult to read research papers, claims and counter claims. Whenever I pick up a bottle in the chemist or department store I first fish around in my handbag for my spectacles then pretend to study the lengthy list of ingredients written in ant-writing. At that point it becomes apparent that I have no idea what any of them are nor can I remember which ones I am meant to steer clear of. Generally I end up either A: buying it anyway and then not using it because I later discover that it is chock full of of mutoid toxic waste that will shortly have me sprouting an extra head, or B: putting it back in confusion and then going home to take a couple of Asprin and lie down in a darkened room.
Chemo Chic is all about maintaining one's feminine identity in the face of the physical and emotional ravages of breast cancer. I know that most beauty products are overpriced and probably ineffective. But they're fun and they make me feel lovely. I recoil from the idea of living out my days as a hemp-clad, sweat-stained, bare-faced troll. Yet neither do I wish to be blasé about factors that may encourage the growth of malignant tumours. I genuinely want to learn how to avoid loading my body with possible carcinogens and endocrine disruptors such as: Parabens; Phthalates; Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and 1,4-Dioxane, to name but a few.
Of course most of us lack the wherewithal to race out and buy a whole new stock of these expensive goodies. I have put in place a regime of replacing them over time. So whenever I run out of, say, body lotion or shower gel, I look around for a more innocuous product to take its place on my bathroom shelf.
I have come to the conclusion that the best approach is to keep it simple. Now I look for products that contain only natural substances (whatever that actually means).
In the hope that my endeavours may save you some time and energy I will begin reviewing some of the beauty products that I have tried.
Product: REN Rose 012 Ultra-Moisture Serum (30ml £40)
REN state that their products contain ‘NO Petrochemicals, Sulfates, Parabens, Synthetic fragrance, Synthetic colours, T.E.A., DEA, Glycols, Silicones, PEGS.’ So that’s a good starting point. Then again, neither does fish paste but I wouldn’t necessarily put it on my face.
This luxurious facial oil is light and absorbs into my skin without leaving any sticky or oily residue. It leaves my face feeling soft and wonderfully hydrated. I’ve been using it for six months now and can honestly say that my skin looks bright and supple. Best of all it smells utterly divine.
Ingredients (as listed on the REN website): Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Source Coconut Oil), Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Macademia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Ximenia Americana Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol, Linalool, Citral, Farnesol, Limonene, Phospholipid (source Soybean), Oryzanol (Source Rice), Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Berry Oil, Omega 6 Ceramide (source Carthame), Tocopherol (Vitamin E).