Illustrated by Isabelle Rancier.
As a beauty writer, I test-drive my fair share of products. They range from tried-and-true drugstore scores to gorgeous, luxury cosmetics. I have my favorites, and, truth be told, plenty of them are made with chemicals, preservatives, and other ingredients that aren't natural. But, here's the thing: I don’t really care. So, can everyone please stop yelling at me?
On the spectrum of health consciousness, I’d say I land somewhere in the middle. When it comes to what I eat and how I take care of myself and even the skin care I use, I try to be mindful. I check labels. But, I don't check labels on my makeup. That my eyeliner contains parabens concerns me much less than whether it will slide halfway down my face by lunchtime.
Yet, whenever I sit down and wax poetic about my adoration for a certain eye cream or blush, there will always be someone who volleys back with “Ugh, these have sooooo many chemicals in them! I’m disappointed in you.” Cue a Liz Lemon-worthy eye roll.
More and more, I see similar, shaming comments from supporters of green makeup who are up in arms over the fact that some of the products recommended may not be so eco-minded. But, I want to know: When did it become okay for us to shame people from using — or suggesting — makeup with synthetic materials in it?
One of the things I love about makeup is that it’s so personal and individual. And, thanks to the good ol' Internet, we’re exposed to many different ways to experiment with our cosmetics, whether it be through an inspiring photo or with a series of new-to-market shadows. But, every time someone is berated for loving a product that includes, say, parabens, we’re losing a little bit of what makes the beauty community so great.
Just to be clear here, some of the products I use are, in fact, "healthy." I love pure argan and coconut oils as moisturizers, and most of my skin care is chemical-free. But, even having to justify my chemical dependency with some green options reveals a serious wrinkle in the whole situation.
At the end of the day, makeup is about choice. And, while I applaud those who can take the time to read every ingredient on every tube and do the research to learn every component and what each actually does, that’s just not my bag. I opt for my lipsticks for their color payoff, my bronzer because it makes my cheekbones look cut, and my mascara for applying completely clump-free.
What I put on my body is my choice, and it's no one's right, duty, or privilege to tell me this is wrong. It is my job to inform others about the products I use and love and then for others to decide if those wares are right for their lifestyle and preferences. While everyone is entitled to voice their opinion, we also need to realize that not everyone shares the same priorities — and that's okay.
Scolding someone for what they choose to put on their body is detrimental and completely against what the whole lovely, worldwide beauty community is about. Let's quit the green-shaming and instead engage in thoughtful, inspiring, spirited debates about what it is we use and why we use it. After all, education and discussion can be inspiring and lead us all to new ideas and philosophies. So, rather than focusing so much on wagging our fingers, let's make it our goal to share our own experiences and knowledge — and let people make their decisions for themselves.
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