Believe it or not, I started thinking about organic make-up when I was training to become a professional make-up artist in London. Every day my skin was being subjected to a whole plethora of stage, fashion and film cosmetics. I’ve always been lucky, I’ve always had great skin (don’t hate me), but all of a sudden I noticed I was getting more and more spots and the surface of my skin was beginning to look irritated and sore. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the connection and it got me thinking ‘what the hell is in this stuff that I’m putting on my skin?’.

I started researching and the more I looked into it, the more of a ‘Whisky Tango Foxtrot’ moment I had. I read books like Clean by Dr Junger, which despite scaring me senseless, made me look at the whole cosmetics world in a totally different light. I’d always been so careful about what I put into my body – fastidious to the point of boring about buying organic veg and meat, keeping my consumption of processed food to a minimum – but I’d never really given a second though to what I was putting into my body, through its biggest organ, my skin!

“Human skin has the remarkable ability to absorb applied products, partially or completely, into the bloodstream. In fact up to 60% of the products we use on our skin are absorbed and deposited into the circulatory system” (Josephine Fairley, 2001).

Now you’d need to be a scientist to understand the list as long as your arm of gobbledygook ingredients on the side of your beautifully presented foundation bottle and it’s something you might not even care about. But the truth of the matter is that the cocktail of chemicals used in popular, common, everyday cosmetics are known irritants, carcinogens and hormone disruptors of which the long term effects are unknown.

Of course it depends on how much you believe what you read and whether you give two hoots as long as your make-up gives you the desired look. My initial reaction was a similar one, faced with a life without my cosmetic staples and as a professional make-up artist judged on the quality of my work and the effectiveness of the products I use. So what I guess it comes down to is perspective.

“The average woman absorbs 30 pounds of the ingredients contained in moisturisers over sixty years” (Dr.Hauschka)..

Take a look into the organic skin care market and you’ll soon realise that a whole new world is open to you. Gone are the days of funny smelling products offering fake promises. This vastly evolving market is not only growing in popularity and delivering fantastic, effective products, it’s packing a punch and attracting the attention of many high profile celebrities such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Christina Ricci to name but a few.

So is my kit made up completely of organic make-up? Well, I have to be honest, actually no. Unashamedly about 60 percent isn’t, the main reason being that a large part of my job is being prepared for whatever’s going to be thrown at me. I have to carry a range of products that can cope with every eventuality. Organic make-up is fantastic for daily wear but harsh studio lights and demanding camera angles often call for heavy duty products that deliver the desired, albeit manufactured, look. That’s not to say that I’m not constantly on the look out for a worthy substitute though.

“Lipstick wearers consume 1.5 to 4 tubes in a lifetime” (Aveda).

It’s rewarding to be able to offer clients a choice but although I’m a passionate advocate of organic make-up I’ll never force a product on someone. Organic make-up is a healthy lifestyle choice and one that I’ll always strive for whenever possible. There’s never been a better time to start experimenting in such a varied market.

If you’d like to find out more about the ingredients to watch out for, here’s a starting point: -

The Organic Pharmacy – list of ingredients
Beauty Truth
The Story of Stuff – Cosmetics

And if you’re up for a bit of a dabble, here are a few organic make-up/cosmetic brands that I cannot not live without: -

The Organic Pharmacy
Dr Haushka