The Feminist Beauty Project

YOUR FEMINIST GUIDE TO LOVING AND CRITIQUING ALL THINGS BEAUTY SINCE 2015

WHY ARE THERE NO CHAMPIONS FOR ETHICS IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?

BEAUTY, LIFESTYLEElizabeth NichinComment

Consuming less, living more intentionally, being more mindful, and curating higher quality, well-made goods.

Call it what you want: ethical, sustainable, conscious consumerism, minimalism, fewer better things. There are plenty of terms that we use.

I've sort of gotten swept up into this slow living movement. I have to admit--it's a really popular topic on blogs and You Tube as of late...and it is pretty addicting. Thanks, Marie Kondo! (This is an affiliate link; see below for more information.) And I've even talked a little bit about how this has seeped into my beauty routine lately.

Still, I think there has been a lot of focus on our clothing, on fast fashion, and on how we can be more ethical, sustainable, and conscious consumers when it comes to fashion.

I get it--we all need to wear clothes. Makeup and beauty products are more of an elective for some people. Changing how we buy our clothes can have a huge impact on the world if everyone listens. But the beauty industry is a major global force, too--and we shouldn't ignore that. In 2014, the global cosmetic market was valued at 460 billion (in USD).

That's huge.

We can't say that changing how we think about cosmetics and the beauty industry won't have an impact on the world--on labor, on the environment, and on our well-beings.

The bottom line is that with documentaries like The True Cost and blogging fads like minimalism and capsule wardrobes (I have to admit--my personal favorite is Capsules by Cladwell), people are paying more attention to the fashion industry. And consumers are asking more questions about fast fashion companies and the implications that fast fashion has on our lifestyles, on the planet, and on the people who are making our clothing.

This is a good thing.

And I'm all for it. I've been changing the way I consume clothing and think about my wardrobe, too.


BUT I'M STILL WONDERING: WHY DOESN'T THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY HAVE CHAMPIONS FOR ETHICS JUST LIKE THE FASHION INDUSTRY DOES?


Why is there no "true cost" of beauty? Why aren't there thousands of posts on beauty blogs about creating a capsule cosmetic collection? Why aren't we asking questions about who is making our mascara, and under what conditions? Why aren't we talking about how to make the beauty industry more sustainable for the environment? Why aren't we asking these questions and so many more?

It's time for us to start asking, and to start demanding the answers.

If we care about the food we eat and the clothes we wear, we should care just as much about what we put on our bodies. That means we need to ask questions about our mascara, our shampoo, and our toothpaste. Our nail polish and our cleaning products. Our deodorant and our lipstick. (Yes! Even our lipstick!)

I'm committed to being a champion for ethics in the beauty industry. Are you? Let me know down below!

 

in lipstick & solidarity,

e

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Disclaimer: Some links included are affiliate links, meaning I receive a small percentage of sales made if you use the link and make a purchase. Affiliate links in no way change the price of the item. If you choose to shop through the affiliate link, you help to support my blog (so thank you if you do!) However, you do not have to use affiliate links. Any items I link to can also be found via a quick internet search if you would prefer not to use the affiliate link. I only link to products that I enjoy and stand behind--promise. Not sure? Send me an email if you want to hear my thoughts on the product!

BEAUTY FOR THE CONSCIOUS CONSUMER

BEAUTY, LIFESTYLEElizabeth NichinComment

I love makeup. I am also someone who believes that we deserve to know more about how our beauty products are made, who is making them, what is in them, where those ingredients are sourced from, and how those ingredients are being sourced. It’s hard out here for a beauty lover who wants to shop ethically.

So you’ve made the conscious decision to stop buying clothing from fast fashion retailers. You’re hip to the damage that the fast fashion industry has on garment workers and the environment. You’ve seen The True Cost. You’re well on your way, eco-babe! But what about your makeup? Finding ethical makeup products can seem like a daunting task. Here are some roadblocks and tips to beauty for the conscious consumer.

ORGANIC, GREEN, NATURAL

Cosmetics companies often use these words to sell products. It’s called greenwashing—a powerful and deceitful tactic. The truth is that there is no regulation of what these terms actually mean within the beauty industry. However, there are many resources for consumers to learn more about what is really in our products.

Check it out! Beauty Lies Truth – they have a “Clean List” of products and a “Dirty List” of ingredients to look out for

 

CRUELTY FREE AND VEGAN

Many beauty and cosmetics brands are considered cruelty free, which means that they do not test or allow testing on their ingredients and their finished products. No animals harmed! Vegan products are not tested on animals and also don’t contain any animal by-products (ingredients such as beeswax, carmine, and lanolin). Some companies are completely vegan and others are cruelty free with vegan options.

Careful! Some companies claim to be cruelty free, but really aren’t. Always be sure to do your research. PETA and The Leaping Bunny both have cruelty free certifications that companies can apply for. Keep an eye out for their logos on your beauty products.

Check it out! Logical Harmony – Justin and Tashina have great lists for Cruelty Free and Vegan makeup option, and their certification process is very trustworthy and thorough.

 

I’m waiting for the day that I can buy mascara from a company that ethically sources organic ingredients, pays fair living wages to its workers throughout the supply chain, that can trace its products through the supply chain from ingredient to store shelf, that does not test on animals or use animal ingredients and by-products, that cares deeply for the earth, and all living creatures who dwell here, and that is committed to sustainability. We haven’t gotten to that point yet, and the beauty industry is a complex place that we must learn to navigate.

MY TIPS?

1.       Buy Small.

It’s easy to rely on Sephora and Ulta to meet our beauty needs, but next time you run out of something, try purchasing from an independent creator on Etsy or in a local boutique. Artisans around the world are hand crafting natural and organic skin care, soaps, facial oils, and even makeup! I am totally pro supporting small businesses!

2.      Keep on reading.

Read ingredient labels. When the ingredients don’t look familiar to you, read up about what they are. Do as much research as you can. The internet is full of beauty bloggers asking questions about ingredients and products.

3.      Contact your favorite companies.

If a company you love tests on animals, write them an email explaining why ending animal testing is so important to you! Tell your favorite companies what kind of things matter to you. After all, the consumers do have the power!


Have you been trying to shop more consciously? What are your tips, or things that you've been thinking about?

Let me know in the comments below!

lipstick & solidarity,

e

p.s. what is slow beauty?

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HOW I WENT CRUELTY FREE (AND HOW YOU CAN, TOO)

BEAUTY, EDUCATION, GUIDES, LIFESTYLEElizabeth NichinComment

I've been following a cruelty free beauty routine for about two years now. Since then, cruelty free has permeated into my lifestyle, and I now do my best to make sure that my house is as cruelty free as it can be. Keep reading to find out more about why and how I made the switch to cruelty free, and how you can too!

FBP_crueltyfree

HOW AND WHY I MADE THE SWITCH TO CRUELTY FREE

I had known about cruelty free makeup for a few years before I formally made the switch. I had a few guides saved on my phone that listed cruelty free brands, and I mostly stuck to purchasing from them (e.l.f. products ruled supreme on my college student budget). Aside from a few Maybelline, Sephora and Mac products, my collection was mostly cruelty free already.

In June 2014, I went through allergy patch testing with my dermatologist. We discovered that I suffer from allergic contact dermatitis, and am allergic to 4 different ingredients, all commonly found in beauty and personal care products: methylisothiazolinone, lanolin, disperse orange-3, and ylang ylang oil.

Many of my beauty products contained one or more of those ingredients, so I was forced to toss a good chunk of my collection. I took the opportunity to clear out products that I was no longer using as well. When I took a trip to Ulta to replace all my everyday basics (and a few new treats!) I committed to only purchasing cruelty free. It was that simple! I just decided that it was time to actually commit, and to start being accountable. I haven't looked back since!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade + Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, a few of my favorite cruelty free products!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade + Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, a few of my favorite cruelty free products!

SIMPLE TIPS FOR TRANSITIONING YOUR BEAUTY STASH TO CRUELTY FREE

1. RESEARCH!

Step one is to research as much as you can and want about cruelty free. There is so much to know--I am still learning new things about being cruelty free every day. Learn about what brands and companies are cruelty free, and which are not. You might be surprised!

Here are a few resources that I personally love and recommend:

Logical Harmony (Instagram + YouTube), created by Tashina

Leaping Bunny

*I trust the lists of cruelty free brands on Logical Harmony and Leaping Bunny most!

Rhian (wifelife on Instagram and YouTube)

Leticia (xoloveleti on Instagram and YouTube)

Cruelty Free Kitty

2. JUST TRY IT

Challenge yourself. Try to use only the cruelty free products that you have for one day. One week. One month. You won't know if it's possible if you don't ever try. You may have more cruelty free items in your collection than you think. Challenge yourself to go cruelty free for a set period of time and see how it works out for you. Chances are, you may realize it's not as hard as you thought it might be!

3. DON'T FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO THROW EVERYTHING AWAY

I'm never going to be one to promote wasteful practices. When I decided to switch to cruelty free, I had to get rid of many products because of my allergies. Still, there were a few Mac lipsticks that I wasn't allergic to that I didn't get rid of. I made the resolution to no longer purchase makeup from companies that test on animals. I didn't feel like I needed to throw away a full tube of lipstick that my mom got for me as a Christmas gift. To me, that would have been wasteful and wasn't going to change the fact that I already had the product.

There are benefits to keeping your favorite non cruelty free products as well. Want to find the perfect cruelty free dupe for your favorite lipstick? How will you know how the cruelty free alternatives stack up without the original to compare? It can be useful to have the product so that once you have the cruelty free alternative, you know if it totally lives up or not.

4. WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF A PRODUCT, REPLACE IT WITH A CRUELTY FREE ITEM

This is the easiest and most efficient way to weed out all the non cruelty free products from your collection. Make the commitment to only purchase cruelty free from now on. Like I said above, you don't have to throw everything in the trash, but commit to finding cruelty free alternatives so that once you run out of something, you can replace it with a cruelty free version.

5. UN FOLLOW AND UNSUBSCRIBE FROM NON CRUELTY FREE BRANDS IN YOUR EMAIL AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA

While some people might be able to resist, temptation, sometimes it can be easier to resist if you just don't know what's going on at all. It's pretty simple: you can't be tempted by what you don't know. Removing non cruelty free brands from your email inbox and Instagram feed can help fight off the temptation to buy their products--especially when there is something new and pretty released just about every day.

6. CONTACT NON CRUELTY FREE COMPANIES

Have you found out that your favorite beauty company tests on animals? Write to them! Send them an email and let them know that you are transitioning to cruelty free. Tell them how much you love their products, but wish that they would stop testing on animals. Consumer voices do matter, and if companies don't know that consumers care about whether they animal test, they won't feel the pressure to change their practices. Wouldn't it be great if all cosmetic companies were cruelty free?

7. STAY IN THE LOOP AND KEEP LEARNING

There's always more to know, and since the world moves fast--things in the beauty industry are always changing.

Companies change their stance on animal testing. Sometimes that means a victory for the cruelty free community when a company commits to end testing. And sometimes it's a loss--big companies like L'Oreal and Estee Lauder (both who test on animals) buy out smaller, cruelty free companies. Some companies decide to sell products in China, where animal testing is still required by law.

Find new bloggers to follow that promote cruelty free lifestyles. There is a great community of cruelty free bloggers and beauty lovers who share lots of information with one another.

8. DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP

I think this is the most important tip of all.

Did you get a birthday gift that isn't cruelty free? Buy something from a company you swear was on a cruelty free list only to find out you were wrong?

It's okay.

We all make mistakes. Going cruelty free won't be a perfect journey, so you shouldn't go into it expecting perfection. It isn't easy to make this this switch, so don't be hard on yourself when you buy something and find out it wasn't actually cruelty free. Be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you are taking the right steps. Try not to get bogged down in concepts of "perfection." 

Have I made mistakes? Absolutely! Have I knowingly bought from companies that aren't cruelty free? Totally. There have been times where I am in need of something (like cotton balls or razors) and I feel like I don't have the time or energy to keep looking for a cruelty free alternative. It's okay not to be perfect--and the occasional mistake is going to happen. It's how we move forward and keep trying that matters. No one should be shamed for trying to do better in life. None of us are perfect, and we are all doing the best that we can. Be proud of every little step that you take. Celebrate the small victories as well as the big ones!


Have you been thinking about making the switch to cruelty free but don't think it's for you? Are you thinking about trying out one or more of these tips?

Are you cruelty free? What are your tips for making the switch?

Let me know in the comments below!

lipstick & solidarity,

e

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SLOW BEAUTY

BEAUTY, LIFESTYLEElizabeth Nichin2 Comments

Things have been pretty slow around here. I'm back and I want to talk about living slowly.

FBP_slowbeauty

WHAT DOES 'SLOW' MEAN?

I've seen this word popping up often lately. I'm not sure if that means it's becoming a trend, or that I'm paying closer attention to a slower lifestyle, but it's a term that has left me thinking.

Slow living. Slow beauty. Slow fashion.

I first saw "slow" being used to describe a movement to combat fast fashion. And let's face it--much like the fashion industry, the beauty industry moves fast. Every day, there's a new product, a new company, a new collection, a new collaboration, a new trend, or a new shade of your favorite lipstick.

I've been committing to slower, more sustainable steps in my lifestyle, including the clothing I purchase, the food I eat, the waste I create, and my beauty routine. I have to admit, slow beauty is the newest concept for me, and it's something I've struggled with the most.

More than any part of my life, my consumerism runs most rampant when it comes to the beauty industry, and makeup in particular.

I think I've been avoiding admitting that for some time.

I created this website and blog to encourage accountability in the beauty industry, but I haven't been entirely accountable myself. I've always been hesitant to post beauty hauls on my blog--I've always been hesitant to create posts just talking about new, more, better, cheaper, prettier products, period. It has never felt right to focus on constantly buying and having more and new things. But the truth is that even though I don't blog about it, I do buy more and new things--often. So how can I begin to live more slowly? And how does this relate to my beauty routine? Where are my politics?

Let's make slow beauty a thing.


WHAT CAN WE DO?

COMMIT TO COMPLETELY FINISHING A PRODUCT BEFORE BUYING ANOTHER NEW ONE.

BUDGET A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF FUNDS FOR MAKEUP EACH MONTH. AND DON'T GO OVER THAT AMOUNT.

SPEND TIME RESEARCHING NEW PRODUCTS. LOOK UP SWATCHES. WATCH YOU TUBE VIDEOS. IS IT REALLY SOMETHING YOU NEED? SOMETHING YOU WILL USE? SOMETHING THAT WILL ADD VALUE INTO YOUR COLLECTION? DOES IT FILL A MISSING GAP IN YOUR BEAUTY ROUTINE? OR DOES IT FILL A VOID?

RESIST IMPULSE PURCHASES.

HIT UNSUBSCRIBE FROM EMAIL LISTS.

SPEND A DAY AWAY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA BEAUTY ACCOUNTS.

SHOP YOUR CURRENT BEAUTY STASH.

SHOP YOUR FRIENDS' BEAUTY STASHES. SET UP A SWAP OR TRADE WITH A FEW OF YOUR FRIENDS.


How do you plan to practice slow beauty?

in lipstick & solidarity,

e

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on cultural appropriation (free printables!)

EDUCATION, BEAUTY, FEMINISMElizabeth NichinComment

Halloween is just one day away, and in the last few weeks, something has been on my mind. As I see photos and videos of Halloween makeup tutorials and costumes dominating the conversation within the beauty community, I can't help but feel inclined to talk about cultural appropriation.


WHAT IS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION?

I think this quote from Everyday Feminism does a great job at synthesizing it:

In short: Cultural appropriation is when somebody adopts aspects of a culture that’s not their own. But that’s only the most basic definition. A deeper understanding of cultural appropriation also refers to a particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group. That’s why cultural appropriation is not the same as cultural exchange, when people share mutually with each other – because cultural exchange lacks that systemic power dynamic. It’s also not the same as assimilation, when marginalized people adopt elements of the dominant culture in order to survive conditions that make life more of a struggle if they don’t.

So now that we know what cultural appropriation is, what the f!^% does it have to do with beauty?

CULTURAL APPROPRIATION & THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY

You may be wondering why my beauty blog has a post about cultural appropriation and what that could possibly have to do with makeup, beauty or the beauty industry. 

Honestly, I don't see how makeup, beauty and the beauty industry can be separated from cultural appropriation since oftentimes, the ways in which we see cultural appropriation perpetuated is via beauty culture (think Miley Cyrus [here and here] and Kylie Jenner, for example). Halloween isn't the only time of year where the beauty industry is implicated in this issue. But it does stay stuck on my mind when I see costumes that appropriate cultures constantly each day.

This has been a trying few weeks leading up to Halloween. I have seen makeup artists and Instagram/YouTube beauty bloggers make themselves up as a calavera or sugar skull, an African American (yep), Gypsys/"Demented Fortune Tellers" (also an ableist slur), and Indians, all as "costumes."

This is precisely the type of issue that shows the ways that the beauty industry and beauty culture are inexplicably intertwined with white supremacy, and shows how they reinforce one another. This is why I feel cultural appropriation is important to highlight on this particular beauty blog. The appropriation of the cultures of marginalized peoples by the beauty community (as well as the general population) for the purposes of a "fun" costume shows the real life implications of white supremacist culture ingrained within the beauty industry. And it's a major problem.

LEARN MORE

I'm not an expert on cultural appropriation. And given the privileges that I have based on my identities (particularly as a white person), I acknowledge that my voice should by no means be heard louder than communities who experience direct harm from this issue. That is why I'm going to encourage you to focus your attention on a number of really great and educational resources I've collected that focus on cultural appropriation, white supremacy and racism.

Kat Blaque on Everyday Feminism, "Don't Be a Racist for Halloween"

Leticia, Halloween & Cultural Appropriation

Marina Watanabe, "What Is Cultural Appropriation?"

Amandla Stenberg, "Don't Cash Crop On My Corn Rows"

Everyday Feminism, "Is Your Halloween Costume Racist?"

This is definitely not everything that exists out there, but I wanted to list a few resources that I have enjoyed. By no means should people of color be expected to be a bridge to critical consciousness regarding racism or cultural appropriation. If you have questions about cultural appropriation or want to chat, please send me an email at feministbeautyproject@gmail.com

COSTUME IDEAS

And just in case you or someone you know need some ideas, here is a list of easy (and totally creative and original...) costumes.

  • Cat/Tiger/Leopard
  • Vampire
  • Zombie
  • Deer
  • Skeleton
  • Ghost
  • Pumpkin
  • Spider
  • Pop Art Cartoon
  • Unicorn

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Are you heading out to a Halloween party this weekend? Will you be out Trick or Treating? Spending time with friends or family that you value?

Click here for free printable note cards.

These are inspired largely by Adrian Piper's Calling Card project as well as work done with Ann Russo called the Note Card Revolution. I invite you to print these note cards and keep them with you in case you experience any instances of harm this weekend.

This first note card is a message of support and affirmation meant for anyone who may experience the harm of offensive Halloween costumes or who might be confronted when pointing out a costume as offensive.

The second note card is an invitation message meant to call in anyone who may be wearing a culturally appropriating costume. This card invites the person to consider their costume within a larger context.

I deeply appreciate those who consider using these note cards this weekend! I believe using these note cards is a non violent and transformative act.


Image found on Google.

Image found on Google.

as always, in lipstick & solidarity,

e