Richmond, VA, USA

GLAM Artistry by Shawna





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Think Dirty

March 7, 2018


How many times have you heard "something is going to give you cancer anyways"?  I don't know about you but I certainly want to live a long healthy life.  I see so many young people at my hospital where I work being diagnosed with cancer.  Some of them otherwise healthy as can be.  The other day a woman's husband had to have an intense surgery to have his "voice box" removed due to cancer.  She said her husband was a very healthy and active man and she truly believed he got cancer from all of the chemicals he was exposed to when he was fighting in war.  It was so sad seeing tears run down this man’s life as he was trying to communicate with me but no longer had a voice. Cancer sucks! Our environment plays such a huge role in our health.  I am motivated to make changes in mine.


Since I recently had my breast implants removed after learning about the dangers of breast implants, as well as a specific lymphoma cancer that is linked to the implants, I have become more and more aware of environmental hazards that I can control.  I am starting to look more at the ingredients in my personal care products including makeup, lotions, shampoos, deodorant, etc.  As I mentioned in my previous blog Are Your Beauty Products Giving You Cancer or Hormone Imbalances, your skin is the largest organ in the body.  So what we use on the skin is just as important as what we put in the body.


Did you know that an estimated 1 in every 100 personal care products on the market contains known or probable carcinogens and 89 percent of ingredients in products have not even been assessed for safety. I have been amazed to find how many of my "natural-based" products still rate high on the toxicity rating on my "Think Dirty" app. This is a great app which looks at the ingredients impact on carcinogenicity (cancer-causing),  developmental and reproductive toxicity, and allergenicity and immunotoxicity. On a "Dirty Meter" scale of 0 to 10, anything rated 4 or over indicates that the product's ingredients have potential moderate to serious negative long term health effects.  When I think of how many years ago I started to wear makeup (probably as soon as I was walking and could steal my mom's haha), I realize how many years I have most likely been putting highly toxic and carcinogenic products on the largest organ of my body!  Once I started to plug my different health and household products and brands into the Think Dirty app, I was actually rather astonished at the toxicity rating even when I thought I was using something natural and healthy.  I have used Baby Shampoo to clean my makeup brushes for several years. You would think that baby shampoo is healthy and non-toxic for our kiddos but it actually rates higher on the toxicity scale. So I made a switch to Pure Castile Soap which works great at cleaning makeup brushes as well as it being a good body/face wash and everyday cleaner. It has been making my skin much softer and moisturized since it does not use "any harsh detergents that strip away skin's natural moisture."  



I was really surprised to see even higher-end, more expensive cosmetic products such as Bare Minerals, Tarte, Too Faced, Lancome, Mac, Urban Decay, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Dior, etc to have high toxic and carcinogenic levels. If you are like me, you may spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on beauty products a year just to realize that you are spending possibly a whole paycheck (or two or three) on products that could be hazardous to your health and even contain cancer-causing ingredients. Why compromise your health and safety in the name of beauty and vanity?


Since starting my research on healthier and safer cosmetics, I have heard some great things about Beautycounter and have started to test out some of their makeup and skincare products. As a makeup artist it is important to me to have good quality products that give a nice clean canvas, deliver long-lasting results with good staying power, have high pigmentation, and not cause breakouts or poorly textured skin. So far I am actually quite impressed. I have used some "natural-based" and "organic" products in the past that just did not give me that flawless look nor did it stay put throughout the day. With the Beautycounter products, not only do I feel my skin is more moisturized and glowing, but the texture has improved and the makeup was able to hold up all day while working in the hospital.  And as an extra bonus I got several compliments on how good my skin and makeup looked!  It's only been a few days of testing out these products but I will continue to do so because I really want to transition to using safer skincare products since I wear makeup on a daily basis and long-term use is what makes you more susceptible to the toxic effects. I also really like that the company's founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew states "This is not a beauty company. It's a movement." Gregg is dedicated to making a positive change in the world by developing and selling safer, less toxic beauty products. Beautycounter prohibits the use of over 1,500 harmful or questionable ingredients.  It's crazy that the U.S. has not passed a major federal law regulating the cosmetics industry since 1938.  Europe has banned roughly 1,400 ingredients from cosmetics while the U.S. has only banned around 30.  I am intrigued by Beautycounter’s advocacy that they are doing in Washington, D.C., trying to get Congress to pass more health protective beauty/personal care laws. (This is not me trying to promote this company as I am not currently a consultant for Beautycounter, just testing out their products.)


So as you can see, I am on a mission to start using safer products on a daily basis.  If I can choose safer products that I use in my daily life, then why not?  Having my breast implants removed 6 weeks ago has been life changing in all honesty.  I am regaining my health and life back. I have always found it so rewarding to motivate and inspire others, from being a doctor of physical therapy to assisting others with nutrition and exercise, and also making women feel beautiful through my makeup artistry.  I am even more motivated now to continue to raise awareness and educate other women about their health because there is no better feeling than waking up another day!


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