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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bluegrass PRIDE: Even when it comes to our makeup, we can be environmentally friendly

By Amy Sohner
KyForward columnist

I just spent $40 on makeup. Forty dollars! And it was on only one thing – Lancôme Dual Finish Powder to be exact. I have been buying the same makeup since my mom took me to get a makeover my sophomore or junior year of high school. I obviously don’t like change, because that was more than 20 years ago, but I also don’t like spending $40 on makeup!

If you know me, you have probably guessed that I have never been very interested in fashion and definitely not very interested in makeup. I was too busy running around the park behind my house and riding horses to play dressup or style my doll’s hair (actually I banned dolls as gifts after about age 5). However, as an adult, I understand that looking professional usually includes nice clothes, styled hair and, especially at my age, makeup.

So after the recent $40 affront to my wallet, I figured that it was about time for a change in makeup strategy (clothes will have to wait until I get rid of this “baby” weight). I have to admit that the idea of changing something I have been doing for such a long time is a bit intimidating, but I am pretty sure it is time. I was recently in a social situation with someone I vaguely knew and even she pointed out that my skin and complexion were probably not the same as they were in high school, which I took to mean “your makeup is terrible.”

As with any change I make, I try to find the most environmentally responsible choice possible. I remember a long time ago the big makeup controversy was animal testing and the visions of bunnies with lipstick shoved in their eye still haunt me. Now, after doing a bit of research, it seems that reducing the chemicals in makeup is all of the rage, and even big box stores are jumping on the bandwagon.

In researching my next makeup purchase, I came across a great guide produced by the national Sierra Club (available here) which I have summarized below.

1. Use less. I have this one covered! Now that I am 575 days away from 40, I will feel much better with at least a little powder, if nothing else.

2. Make your own. I will not do this – it is just not my style, but I do know very crafty local people who I can support by buying their homemade body scrubs and lip gloss (check this out).

3. Know what you are buying. Check labels to see if you understand and can pronounce the ingredients.

4. Buy products with environmentally friendly packaging. Look for items made out of recycled materials or packaging that can be recycled locally.

5. Avoid harmful chemicals. Not only can these be absorbed by your skin, they can also wash off down the drain where they are most likely not treated by local wastewater treatment plants and end up in our streams. (The Sierra Club site lists the chemicals and why they should be avoided in detail.)

After following all of that advice, I am sure I can find something that is comparable to my current makeup and maybe even save some money. Now I just have to find a way to help my 6-year-old understand that she is too young for makeup. If I can accomplish that, it will give a bit of time to find someone to help teach her how to use it when she is.

Amy Sohner is executive director of Bluegrass PRIDE and a graduate of the University of Kentucky in Natural Resource Conservation and Management. Sohner has worked with PRIDE since its inception in 2002 and is a Certified Environmental Educator. She is involved with the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Alliance, the Bluegrass Rain Garden Alliance, the Licking and Kentucky River Basin Teams, and serves as vice-chair of the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission. Sohner lives near the Kentucky River palisades with her husband, two daughters and a multitude of pets.

To read more Bluegrass PRIDE columns, click here.



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