Makeup to Die For

“I love this! You can barely see my scar!” I remember my twelve year old cousin Bailey exclaiming as I taught her the art of applying foundation. Just two years earlier, she had been a part of a serious three-car accident, which left a large two-inch scar on her right cheek. Yet as I was showing her, with just the right amount of Covergirl and a bit of blush, it was almost impossible to tell that she even had a scar at all. Cosmetic makeup is commonly used worldwide with the intent of helping women improve their outward appearances. People use makeup for many different reasons. Some may simply apply a bit of mascara and lip gloss to help boost their self confidence. Others may use heavy foundation to even out their skin tone or to cover blemishes, as Bailey did. Even more may use eyeliner, brow liner, and bronzer to further highlight and define their facial features. With a large majority of cosmetic advertisements focusing on a demographic of young girls, makeup is intended to help women raise their self-esteem by looking and feeling prettier. What many cosmetic-indulgers may not realize is that while their faces may appear more attractive, recent research is now suggesting that women who use makeup on a regular basis can actually “be flooding their bodies with as much as five pounds of chemicals a year” (Chainey).

Many cosmetic companies include harmful chemicals in the ingredients of their products. For instance, several brands of bright red, long lasting lipstick use “lead in the composition of their product to help the bold color stay longer” (Villa). Traces of chemicals known as parables and athletes, which have been “linked with the development of some types of cancer” can also be found in several cosmetics (Brentley). Parables are preservatives that can disrupt steady hormone function while athletes have been proven to cause a large array of birth defects and impairments. One recent study found that “nearly half of the personal care products tested contained at least one ingredient that is known to be a possible human carcinogen” (Epstein). Many cosmetic companies have assured consumers that there could not be any harmful effects of using their product since they are used only on the skin and not ingested. The companies also have insisted that the mere amount of a potentially damaging chemical in one item of makeup “cannot be enough to cause a person any harm” (Brentley). Still, with diseases such as cancer and asthma on the rise, there is much concern that a constant exposure to numerous beauty products over an extended period of time could be to blame.

Extensive use of makeup can also be responsible for premature facial wrinkles and creases. If you have color-treated hair, think of how fast the color fades if you wash your hair everyday. The enhanced color quickly washes out because of the harsh, constant usage of shampoo and conditioner. The same concept applies to your skin and makeup, especially foundation. Daily application of heavy, pore-clogging foundation may seem to make your skin-tone look smoother and more even, but you will ultimately need more and more makeup to cover your “makeup sags”. A solution to this could be to use organic makeup, which is becoming more common than ever. Organic cosmetics use “natural substances when creating their products” (Johnston), which are easier and softer on your skin. Though commonly thought to be caused by heavy application of eyeliner, bags under the eyes can actually be a result of not removing your makeup properly. The skin directly below your eyes is “the thinnest layer of outer skin on your body” (Pugliese). When taking off eye makeup, it is vital to use a cosmetic removal pad and gently wipe the area clean. Never use regular soap, for it can be very damaging to your skin and dry it out. There are many simple ways to preserve the youth of your skin, as long as you take proper precautions.

It is important to remember that most companies are working diligently to find ways to remove the harmful elements in their products. This is why it is beneficiary to review the labels on an item before purchasing it. Thoroughly examining which chemicals are in the makeup you use can be a great advantage to both you and the manufacturing company, because some producers may not be aware of unsafe elements in their products. By informing them of your discoveries, they can begin to change their formulation to help keep consumers safe. The use of cosmetics is intended to help you look and feel your best. However, wearing too much makeup can look very unnatural. In the cosmetic world, the saying ‘less is more’ is followed consistently. Applying too much makeup when it is not needed can age your skin dramatically. Now there are many brands that offer different ingredients in their makeup for different skin-types, to help keep your skin in better shape. Several stores now even employ aestheticians for the sole reason to help you find the right cosmetic brands for you. Making sure to purchase makeup that is suitable for your skin type is one of the most important steps in the art of cosmetology.