Beauty at Any Cost – Helping Young Women Avoid This Dangerous Trap

It’s no secret that our society and the media have established and continue to promote an idyllic, almost impossible, standard of beauty that women consistently judge themselves against and are always aspiring to achieve.

With the advent of readily available cosmetic surgery and treatments, this quest has reached a new fever pitch. By one estimate, American women spend almost $7 billion dollars a year on products used in the pursuit of beauty.

And we’ve all seen or heard stories of women addicted to Botox or plastic surgery -some have had so many nips and tucks that their faces resemble cartoon characters and still they want more! These extreme cases are the casualties of a popular culture that is saturated with images of airbrushed, over sexualized, and perfectly coiffed celebrities and models that can make even the most confident of us feel a little insecure or inadequate at times.

The extent of this problem was documented in a 2008 report released by the YWCA called “Beauty At Any Cost”. The report underscores the substantial health implications for women on the endless treadmill of “unrealistic beauty attainment.” Through chronic and unhealthy dieting, using smoking as a weight-loss aide, taking unnecessary risks during cosmetic surgical procedures, and absorbing unsafe chemicals through cosmetics, women are placing themselves in precarious health situations to maintain some semblance of their idealized physical selves. Women and girls are at risk for lifelong health problems – and the problems start at an early age.

Add to the mix a $50 billion a year unregulated cosmetics industry that puts unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products with no required testing or monitoring of health effects, ready to profit from these narrow beauty standards to convert women and girls into life-long customers. Many of these companies go to great lengths to market to teens and “tweens” (8 to 12 year olds) as part of this goal. Their emphasis is on creating cheap products that appeal to this demographic with little or no regard for the potential health or environmental impact of the chemicals used to produce them.

Clearly, young girls and teens are more vulnerable and susceptible to harm than ever before. However, with a little guidance they can learn to make safer, healthier choices for themselves and set an example for their peers.

What can you do to help the young girls and teens you know avoid falling into this trap? Here are some guidelines that you can use:

1. The Buck Starts and Stops with You

Most children are influenced by the behaviors and attitudes of their parents and caretakers. So it’s up to you to set the bar for what’s acceptable. If you want your daughters, nieces, or younger sisters to adopt healthy habits then make sure you are doing the same. Take a look at your inventory of cosmetics and personal care products and eliminate those that contain ingredients that are known to be harmful. If you’re not sure where to start, check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database available online.

Their comprehensive database contains over 25,000 cosmetics and skin care products from both major companies and smaller ones you may not even know. The products have all been researched, catalogued, and ranked for safety concerns based on currently available data on toxicity of their ingredients. The database also provides lists of the Top 10 Worst and Best Products and Companies based on their ratings.

Show them how to use the database and make it clear that you will not fund the purchase of products that have been ranked with high safety concerns.

2. Turn Them Into Smart Shoppers

Share your concerns with them about the safety of many beauty products on the market and how even small amounts of repeated exposure to certain ingredients can cause harm. Teach them how to read product labels and look for problem ingredients to avoid.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires ingredients to be listed in descending order of concentration. So ingredients listed at the top are the most prevalent and the ones to pay more attention to.

Teens Turning Green (formerly Teens for Safe Cosmetics) has compiled a list of chemicals in personal care products to avoid called the Dirty Thirty. You can download it at their site. Review the list together, then use it as a guide for reading labels and ruling out the products that contain them.

3. Encourage Them to Take Action

There’s nothing more powerful than kids and teens united and engaged in action to promote a worthy cause, and what could be a worthier cause than their health and safety? Encourage them to learn more about this issue and how they can get involved to make a difference.

Whether it’s action to pressure the government to regulate cosmetics, or participating in consumer boycotts that force companies to change in response to trends in the marketplace, or joining groups that teach and promote self-esteem and healthy body images — all of these activities serve to enlighten them and reinforce the positive messages that will ultimately lead them to make better choices and influence their friends to do the same.

4. Turn Them On To Greener Alternatives and Make it Fun

Throw a spa party at your home for your daughters and their friends and introduce them to the ever-growing variety of safe and healthy skin care products, natural scents, and cosmetics available, and make it “cool” for them to explore and indulge their senses. Make it a recurring event so that they have a chance to be constantly exposed to a lot of new and different products.

Or take them to the local health food store for a shopping spree where you can review and compare the products together and make it a contest to see who picks the best ones first. Remember, just because a product is sold in a health food or natural product store, it doesn’t mean that product is safe or natural. It can be an excellent teaching moment to help them (and you) become a truly discerning shopper.

5. Reward Them for Making Good Choices

Focus your efforts on helping them make the best possible choices and then reward them for it. Make sure that the rewards you give them are in line with what you are trying to teach them. In other words, don’t reward good choices in one arena with bad choices in another (i.e. taking them out for junk food or offering them candy).

If you succeed in convincing them that personal care products made with organic ingredients are better, there’s a good chance you can convince them that organic foods and foods made without chemicals and additives are also better for them!

Copyright 2009 Dropwise Essentials

Make Your Makeup Last All Day

What’s worse than having spent hours on doing your makeup, knowing that it will only be able to last for a few hours? Many of us have struggled with keeping our makeup last longer. Below are a few pointers and tips for keeping your makeup last longer.

Take care of your skin

A painter always chooses a smooth clean new canvas for his paintings. Likewise, before applying makeup, it important that our skin is clean, Moisturized and hydrated. If your skin isn’t healthy and clean, then your makeup wouldn’t look good and neither will it stay for long. Drinking lots of water are essential for good healthy skin. For the outside, we need to choose the right products that address our concerns.

Cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing are essential steps towards the great skin. These steps should be included in everyone’s skincare regime for obtaining clear and healthy skin.

Primer

Primer is a base coat for all your makeup. Use primer on both your face and eyes. It helps prevent creasing of makeup and is a great way of making your makeup last longer. There are many primers out there depending on your requirements and preferences. Whether you want one with shine or a matte one, all sorts of primers are there for different skin types.

Always apply foundation first

Many women tend to apply concealer first and then their foundation. This is a wrong approach, reason being, how both of them are applied. Concealer is applied in dabbing motion, while the foundation is dragged and blended on the entire face. Also Use an oil-free foundation. If you apply concealer first then, the whole concealer will be dragged with the foundation which will result in uneven makeup application.

Remove excess oil

Even though extra oily and moisturized skin has its benefits of reduced wrinkles and fine lines, but they give the appearance of greasy skin. No makeup looks good or lasts long if your skin is oily; it only results in the makeup smudging. Always keep face powder and blotting paper with you so that you can keep removing oil and shine off from your skin. This step will not only will your makeup last longer but will also ensure that your makeup looks good.

Avoid touching your face

We literally use our hands all the time because of which a lot of dirt and oil gets accumulated on our hands. If you have a habit of touching your face a lot then you are transferring those oil and dirt onto your face. By avoiding touching your face you get to minimize the oil on your face and keep your makeup intact. The more you touch your face, the more the makeup will come off, resulting in ruined makeup and makeup coming off sooner. If you have a habit of touching your face then you can use a setting spray, this will decrease your urge to touch your face also keep your makeup in place.

Using the right tools

If you think that having all the best products will result in great long lasting makeup then you are mistaken. Makeup tools are equally important as makeup products that affect the duration of your makeup. Using quality brushes and sponges will ensure good coverage and blended makeup.

Loose powder

Using loose powder for setting makeup is a great option when you don’t want to feel like you’ve added something extra to your skin. A small amount of loose powder goes a long way with a brush and reduces oil and shine on your skin. Also you can Layer your cream or liquid based products with a matching powder.

DIY Face Masks Feed Your Face

A great way to pamper yourself is to treat your face with ingredients that will bring it back to life. Masks are a nice and quick way of achieving and maintaining good skin. You can also make DIY masks at home with ingredients at home. They are cheaper, easier and simple to make. Here are a few DIY face masks that you can try for different skin problems:

1. Hydrating Honey Mask

If your skin has been feeling dry and dull from overworking or harsh weather all you need is something that will moisturize your skin.

Ingredients You Need:

Honey

Rosewater

Avocado

Mix these ingredients well and leave it on your face for 15-30 minutes. Let the ingredients soak into your skin well. Wash it off and you will see noticeably smooth and bright skin.

2. Fight That Acne

Acne can result from pollution that can clog your pores, therefore, triggering your skin to breakout. Don’t worry because you can easily dry them off within days.

Ingredients You Need:

Yogurt

Turmeric

Lemon

This is one of the oldest DIY secrets in history for clear skin. If you have acne prone or oily skin, this face pack will take care of it. Yogurt has anti-bacterial properties whereas turmeric dries out acne thus eliminating them. On the other hand, lemon will lighten any previous acne scars and make your skin look bright and fair.

3. Tighten Those Pores

Pores can be a real source of distress. They are difficult to hide even with makeup on because your make will start to look flaky after a while if you have big pores on your skin. You can try a DIY Mask to tighten them and restore baby-soft skin.

Ingredients You Need

Egg White

Lemon

Mix these ingredients well and leave them on your face until they dry. Then you can either wash it off or peel it off depending on the consistency of the mask. Egg white will tighten pores as well as remove impurities and blackheads that will give you a naturally flawless glow up!

4. Congested Skin

Congested skin can result in acne breakouts consistently. It can be caused due to an unhealthy diet, improper sleeping pattern or warm weather. But there is a face mask for everything when you DIY it.

Ingredients You Need

Rose Water

Aloe Vera

Cucumber

Mix these ingredients and after washing your face with your usual cleanser put the mixture on your face. Leave it on your face for 15-20 minutes. Wash it off. Do this every other day if your skin is very problematic otherwise you can do this every once in a week. It will allow your skin to cool down and release toxins that are causing congestion.

5. Brighten It Up

Dull skin can be caused by sleeplessness, overworking and not take sufficient care of your skin. You can brighten up and remove dead cells with help of the most basic ingredients in your kitchen.

Ingredients You Need

Brown Sugar

Honey

Virgin Olive Oil

Mix these ingredients in amounts that you have scrub-like consistency. Apply it on your face and gently rub it all over. Wash off the face afterward to reveal the magic of this simple hydrating mask. Extra perk: You can also use it on your lips.

6. Reverse Aging

If you have fine lines or wrinkles on your face it is because of the lack of hydration and moisture. However, there are specific ingredients that will help you slow down the process and remove fine lines.

Ingredients You Need

Cocoa Powder

Cream

Honey

Mix these ingredients and leave the mixture on your face for 20-30 minutes. By applying this face mask on your face frequently you will notice a huge difference in your appearance. This face mask is packed with anti-oxidants and is known for collagen boosting mechanism.

For every skin problem, there is a mask. You can also play around with different ingredients on your own to suit the specific needs of your skin. Healthy skin is a result of consistent habits so it is important you follow a Facemask routine along with a healthy lifestyle.