Monday, February 2, 2009

Mercury Poisoning – from My Mascara?

Lead poisoning from my lipstick? Eye infection from my eyeshadow? What's going on?

You've probably read the warnings about fish being contaminated with mercury, and that's bad enough – all those good omega 3 fats and we don't dare eat them! – but more reports are coming out every day on the heavy metals used in most over-the-counter make-ups. It didn't concern me too much until I developed a red, scaly, itchy rash on my eyelids and the only possible cause seemed to be my new mineral eyeshadow. I hadn't changed eye creams or soaps or used a new detergent to wash my towels. What else was left? Well, I had tried a different mascara, too.

I immediately did some research (it's what most writers do when confronted with a puzzle) and learned that a heavy metal called bismuth oxychloride is used to give many mineral lines that pearlescent shimmer and can cause reactions in some people. (I'm always one of those "some people"). I thought I had my culprit until I looked up my mascara on a website devoted to rating the safety of all make-up brands ( FYI it's . You might want to bookmark it) and discovered, to my dismay, that my new and improved mascara is one of the worst, as far as safety ratings go. "Hello, Big Make-Up Companies? It only takes a minute amount of mercury to poison us. Why would we want that seeping into our eyes?"

My next problem was how to find a natural make-up that was REALLY natural, as in safe.
Then, in one of those "when you need it, it will appear" moments, as I dashed through Walgreens before heading for the airport, I stopped to pick up a magazine to read on the plane, and right in front of me was the premier issue of "Organic Beauty" magazine, devoted to green, natural, eco-friendly products and reviews covering a wide variety of topics.

I devoured every page and now have a mission – to replace each item in my make-up bag with green, SAFE products, probably one at a time, as they are more expensive. But I'm worth it, right? My headstone is NOT going to read: Her skin done her in.
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