Friday, 16 August 2013

Beneath The Varnish

Warm weather and days spent at the beach invite the inevitable desire to gloss on a bright summer nail polish. But before you open up that bottle of 'Bermuda Blue' consider the common chemicals found in nail polish.

The Problem

There are three big 'Uh Oh' ingredients commonly found in nail polish: formaldehyde- a known carcinogen, dibutyl phthalate- a suspected reproductive toxin, and toluene- known for skin and respiratory irritation. In addition, to remove the polish you need to use a remover containing a new chemical cocktail.

What Can I Use Instead?

A variety of companies have begun to formulate polish without these three chemicals. Avoiding these chemicals doesn't mean you have to skimp on colour options or quality- I recommend Cheeky Monkey polish, which is formulated without formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, camphor and parabens. Natural removers can be difficult to find, but I recommend Suncoat's Natural Nail Polish Remover Gel. 

I suggest taking a look at the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to find more products and options to make your manicure worry-free.

Sunday, 4 August 2013


There has recently been an increase in news coverage on an important environmental concern in regards to an ingredient commonly found in our daily beauty products- microbeads. Otherwise known on ingredient lists as polyethylene or polypropylene. These minuscule plastic beads are often found in facial cleansing and body scrub products to exfoliate, however they have also been known to occur in products such as toothpaste.

What's the problem?

Upon rinsing off our products, these tiny beads enter our water system. These beads can be smaller than a single millimeter in size. Most water treatment systems are unable to filter out these small beads, and they enter our natural water system. One of the highest concentration of microbeads was found in the Great Lakes. These beads pose an environmental threat as increasing numbers of them are expelled into the environment.

It's possible fish are eating the pellets, believing them to be eggs, he added. That's worrisome, because plastics tend to absorb pollutants such as PCBs, pesticides and motor oil. The pellets could therefore be poisoning the small fish that larger fish then prey on, and the larger fish are consumed by humans, posing a human health risk.
-CBC News, Facial scrubs polluting Great Lakes with plastic

What can you do?

While several companies such as Johnson & Johnson, L'Oreal, and the Body Shop have agreed to phase out microbeads in their products by 2015, there are other options in the meantime. Read the ingredient list on all your products and avoid those that contain microbeads. 

There are many alternatives to products that contain microbeads. To get your exfoliation fix try a DIY treatment. 

  • Add a teaspoon of sugar, rolled oats, or ground almonds (you can do it yourself in a food processor) to your favourite body wash or to a few teaspoons of your favourite oil (olive, almond, coconut).
  • Add a pinch of ground rolled oats, finely ground almonds, or brown sugar to a small amount of oil- jojoba, coconut and almond are especially good carriers for this treatment. 
  • Alternately, try exfoliating through the use of fruit enzymes. These are available commercially, or make your own by mashing up some strawberries or pineapple, applying them with a bit of honey as a treatment (let sit about 5 minuites and rinse well- rinse off if any burning or irritation occurs). 

For more information on microbeads there are some great news stories and resources available to learn more. 

(CBC News- Facial scrubs polluting Great Lakes with plastic)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Review: Earth Paste

 I've never been a fan of super natural toothpaste. After an unfortunate chalky-tasting-gag-fest as a child I've stayed in the realm of natural, but not too far from traditional toothpaste. However, after reading the ingredients in Earthpaste and picking up a few samples I figured I would give it a try.

Earthpaste contains only food grade clay, essential oils, salt, and xylitol. Not being one for cinnamon flavouring I tried peppermint first. My initial impression was that I did not want to taste this mushy grey stuff- they clay giving the paste a natural colour. I worked up my nerve and though the texture was initially difficult to get used to, I found that I liked the results. Though it does not foam, it has a pleasant minty taste, though there was still a dry/clay-like aftertaste. It left me feeling like I had just gone to the dentist- what more can you want from a toothpaste? 

Though I don't think I would replace my current toothpaste with Earthpaste I think it would be a great product for anyone looking for a truly natural toothpaste who is not attached to the common ideas of smooth and foamy toothpaste.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Friday, 5 April 2013

Earth Day Countdown

The latest in my #EarthDayCountdown series. Follow me on Twitter to see the series as I continue the countdown with natural beauty tips. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


The following is a snapshot of a good conversation we recently had on the #greenbblogger Google+ forum. I thought I would share. What do you think? 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Earth Day Countdown: 19

Check out my resource page with a link to the EWC Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, here. 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Earth Day Countdown

Though Earth Day seems very far away I've decided to do a "20 tips to Earth Day" countdown, sharing  some of my favourite green beauty tips.


What will your plans be on April 22nd? Let me know how you celebrate Earth Day in the comments below or on Twitter, @Droppingthemask

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine's Treat: Chocolate Face Mask

It's Valentine's Day which means its time to show your skin some love. Here is a festive face mask to get glowing skin.

1tbsp Grey Clay
1tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 green tea bag
1 1/2 tbsp Aloe Vera Gel
Optional: 5 drops Calendula Oil

Combine all dry ingredients and apply to face and neck for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. 

Cocoa and green tea have great antioxidant properties to make your skin feel smooth and revitalized. If you'r struggling with redness due to acne calendula oil will help to reduce this. As with any face mask make sure to tone and moisturize after using this treatment. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Makeup Diet Challenge: Day 8

Day: 8
Challenge Rules: The Makeup Diet 
Today's Choice: Makeup Free!

My Experience:

Yikes, sorry to leave the end of the challenge hanging, every time I sat down to write this post it seems something else got in the way. 

I'm done! The last day of the challenge, and a day without makeup. In fact, two days without makeup. I had already planned not to wear makeup the first day, as I embarked on a visit my grandparents. But it appears that the challenge has me out of the habit of wearing makeup before I head out the house- and I forgot my makeup bag. It wasn't a conscious choice, I just noticed the next day that I had no makeup with me. It was a busy day in public, but I didn't seem to care that I didn't have any makeup on. Success? I think so.

Thanks to all those who have followed the challenge, I hope its inspired you to try going makeup free yourself. 

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Makeup Diet: Day 7

Day: 7
Challenge Rules: The Makeup Diet 
Today's Choice: Origins Eyeshadow in Baby Blue (photo coming soon)

My Experience: 

Once again I'm behind on posting, sorry!

Origins is one of my favourite,
more natural eyeshadow brands
Day seven of the challenge and I find I'm really enjoying that it takes me less time to get ready in the morning. Wearing less face makeup has given my skin a chance to breath, and I've been even more conscious of my skin care routine. As a result my skin is the clearest its been in a long time and I don't worry about covering it up in my routine. To truly test my 'bare skin' confidence I decided to choose eyeshadow as my cosmetic for the day. I chose a summery metallic blue sweep across my lids to combat the winter blahs.

Tomorrow I will post my experience of a day without makeup- I'm excited to see how it goes!

Friday, 1 February 2013

The Makeup Diet Challenge: Day 6

Day: 6
Challenge Rules: The Makeup Diet 
Today's Choice: Concealer

My Experience: 

Oops, a bit of a belated post. Yesterday I was rather unexciting again and chose concealer as my cosmetic for the day. After very little sleep I had dark circles that a bag of green tea just couldn't cure. It appears as though my concealer consumption is the product I use the most often, so tomorrow (today) I'm going to try to go without and see how I do. Tiredness has left my skin looking tired too, but hopefully all will be back in order in time for the makeup free day and conclusion to my challenge. 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Makeup Diet Challenge: Day 5

Day: 5
Challenge Rules: The Makeup Diet 
Today's Choice: Concealer

My Experience: 

Today's big challenge was the fact that I will be performing in a coffee house tonight. Today I chose to wear concealer, however I will apply my normal makeup before the event. Though this might seem like cheating I figure that I wen't most of the day with just concealer. As well, makeup is one of those 'special event' things thats all part of the experience. As for the rest of the day, I entirely forgot about the challenge. Looking around my yoga class I was surprised that not one girl, myself included, was entirely makeup free. More than that, there were several girls with a full face of 'clubbing' makeup. Not a good sign if yoga is about letting yourself relax and personal growth. 

Even though I cheated by wearing makeup for the performance I did keep it using natural products:
-Zuii eyeshadow in Sunflower
-Kiss Me Mascara (review to come soon)
-Bare Minerals Loose Powder Foundation

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Makeup Diet Challenge: Day 4

Day: 4
Challenge Rules: The Makeup Diet 
Today's Choice: Lavera Tinted Moisturizer 

My Experience:

After yesterday's detour I'm back on track with the challenge today. Because today was just a regular weekday, I decided to go for a fast swipe of tinted moisturizer for a bit of coverage without the heavy look of concealer. My skin has been very good lately, so I was happy that I could go out feeling confident and like I was wearing far more makeup than I actually was.
 I'm also a bit nervous for tomorrow, where I will be performing at a coffee house. Being in front of a small crowd with only one cosmetic is a bit intimidating when I would usually do a full face of makeup. I think my experimenting skills will once again be put to the test, we'll see how it goes!
I've begun to miss eye-makeup, if I had perfect skin I would be wearing eyeshadow as my choice cosmetic each day. Once the challenge is over I'll be very happy to try out some of the ideas that have been coming to me during this hiatus.

If you were doing the makeup diet, what cosmetic would you miss the most?

Monday, 28 January 2013

The Makeup Diet Challenge: Day 3

Today I didn't leave the house... I'm sad to admit that all I did was sit at my desk in pyjama pants with a large cup of tea to slave away the day amongst papers, readings, and my great enemy Microsoft Excel. As a result I was decidedly makeup free, dropping all pretences of appearing presentable in favour of looking like one of those little troll dolls with the crazy hair. My usual skincare routine stayed in place but because I feel like today was cheating I've  decided to extend my challenge to a length of eight days, I promise to be back on track to the challenge tomorrow to face my first real weekday of the Makeup Diet.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Makeup Diet Challenge: Day 2

Day: 2
Challenge Rules: The Makeup Diet 
Today's Choice: Loose Mineral Powder Foundation

My Experience:

Today I felt the first pang of apprehension during this challenge, with a family gathering being the focal point of my day. Though your family loves you for who you are I always want to put my best face forward when we get together.

Today I chose a loose mineral powder foundation as my cosmetic for the day, and thus the experimenting began. First, I combined some powder with a touch of aloe-vera gel to make a concealer like consistency which I applied to problem areas for more coverage. Then, using a fluffy kabuki brush I applied a light dusting of powder as usual- focusing on my T-zone. I used a wet eyeshadow brush in some powder on my eyelids to brighten that area. I curled my lashes and once again used my favourite ingredient: aloe-vera gel, on an empty mascara wand as my own variation of clear mascara. Taking a bit of coconut oil on my hands I lightly dabbed my cheekbones, cupids bow, and brow bone as an impromptu highlighter to remove the matte look of powder.

Though it took a bit of MacGyver-ing I was happy with the results of today's experimentation. Usually I would use several products to create a look like this, but the challenge provided me with the opportunity to find new uses and ways of applying a product. All this mad-scientist mixing got me in a creative mood and after two days without eyeshadow I was itching for some colour, so I took it out on a face chart! I use these charts to experiment with different colours and shapes before I tone them down to try on myself. To me makeup is art- something we should always be experimenting and having fun with. To take a page from a cartoon of my childhood "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy"- Miss Frizzle, The Magic School Bus . 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Makeup Diet Challenge: Day 1

Day: 1
Challenge Rules: The Makeup Diet 
Today's Choice: Concealer

My Experience:
Today was the perfect day to start this challenge; a low-key weekend day with a bit of running around for errands. Less fortunate is the breakout my skin decided to have just in time to toss away my usual concealing routine and use only one product.

Today I chose to use concealer as my one cosmetic. I'll admit I probably applied it with a heavier hand today knowing I wouldn't have the additional coverage of powder. Surprisingly I had no qualms about using only concealer today, possibly because I wasn't going to be seeing anyone other than the cashier at the grocery store. It just goes to show me that I don't need to wear as much makeup as I sometimes do; in the past I would have set my concealer with a bit of powder and would likely have used eyeshadow or eyeliner for definition.

With the upcoming week and at least one day of no makeup looming ahead, I decided to give myself a bit of a skincare bootcamp.

  • Exfoliate: today I used a sample of Jurlique's Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator  
  • Mask: 1tsp grey clay, 1tsp aloe vera gel, 5 drops calendula oil
  • Cleanse: Simply Natural Cleansing Milk (review coming soon) 
  • Tone: mist with rose floral water
  • Moisturize: Simply Natural Blemish Formula 
  • Spot Treatment: 1-2 drops Tea-tree essential oil
  • Finished with all-over application of aloe vera gel 
Even though I've just started I'm enjoying how this 'diet' has me challenging my own perceptions of beauty and makeup. 

If you undertake the 'Makeup Diet Challenge' let me know how it goes on Twitter @Droppingthemask or by email 

Friday, 25 January 2013

The Makeup Diet

Hi all, sorry for the lack of posting recently. I promise that there are some new DIY recipes, videos, and  more posts are coming soon!

Today I'll discuss a bit of a project I'm starting. I recently realized that its easy to get in the habit of feeling like I 'have to' wear makeup before leaving the house. While I'm usually good at wearing makeup simply because I enjoy it and have fun playing around with different styles, ingredients, and colours; I found that my morning makeup routine had come to feel like a barrage of a million different products. I think women should wear makeup because they want to, not because of the perceived societal norm that they must have a full face on before they head to the grocery store if they wish to be considered beautiful.

In an effort to break some of my own perceptions surrounding beauty and confidence, this coming week I will try to stick to the regime I've dubbed 'The Makeup Diet'.

  • Each day I am only allowed to use one cosmetic (for example just concealer, or just lipstick). 
  • My usual skin care routine will remain in place.
  • Towards the end of the week I will go at least one day without wearing any makeup- something I unfortunately haven't done in a long while! 

All too often we (myself included) succumb to the idea of the 'natural beauty makeup look' but if we use concealer, powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara and to create this look- it fails to be natural. Hopefully this coming week will help me reduce the number of products I use on a daily basis, and gain further confidence.

    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    The Story of Cosmetics

    Good viewing to make you think a little more about the products you use everyday. Critics of this video say that its impossible to avoid these toxins if you wish to use any commercial product. However my rebuttal is that we should all try to make a positive change in our own habits at the very least. Even if we can only convert one of our daily products to a more natural option, its a start.

    Thursday, 3 January 2013

    Review: Earth Safe Hand and Body Lotion

    The holiday season provided many new natural beauty goodies, now its time to review! To begin; Earth Safe Hand and Body Lotion in Fresh Water.
    • Paraben Free
    • Biodegradable
    • Not tested on animals
    • Made in Canada
    • Product absorbs quickly and does not leave a greasy residue
    • Effective packaging (bonus: its recyclable) 
    • Has a clean fresh scent
    I received this product as a gift and had not encountered this brand before, after using this lotion I will not only be re-purchasing, but I will be looking to try their other products. Looking at the ingredient list, there is nothing I can't pronounce and not one ingredient I object to. Its plant-derived formula, great scent, and my skin results thus far leave me with no qualms about using the product several times a day. 

    More christmas product reviews to follow...