I’ve always loved beauty products. When I was a tweenager, I would go into a Victoria’s Secret, or a Bath and Body Works, and come out smelling like a very cheap, very young hooker. Rude, but true. I mean, what thirteen-year-old girl can resist rubbing something called “Amber Romance” into her skin and topping it off with a Strawberries and Champagne body spray? Not this one. My father spent years making it very well known that I smelled like an unbearable chemical hooker bomb. Every morning after my daily lotioning and spritzing routine, he would remark in a disgusted voice, “Oh, GOD, Have you been creaming again?” As a teenager, I thought he was being a real oversensitive Daddy Doofus, but as an adult, and as someone who’s struggled with chronic illness and chemical sensitivity (and, honestly, as someone who has inherited that same very sensitive Italian Dad Nose), I can tell you that stuff was simply no good. Have you ever tried to walk into one of those lotion-y, cream-y stores as a sensible Italian-nosed adult? Not to be dramatic, but it’s essentially like walking into chemical cupcake hell. Okay, that was dramatic — but, like, totally correct.

Psst. By the way, at the end of this post, I’m going to offer you a free gift. If you’re not into reading–scroll down. But, like…I wouldn’t be mad at you if you read my words. Love you. K. Moving on.

As a young adult I took my love for beauty products to the next level. After college, I enrolled in a Makeup and Special FX school in Burbank, California. For months, I would drive into the valley every day and sit in a hot room with a bunch of other ladies who were also into lipstick and getting the perfect eyebrows. We learned the ins and outs of how to make someone look flawless and glow-y — we also learned how to apply prosthetics to make someone look like their face was falling off. Yeah, I would say my skills are pretty dynamic and wide-ranging. Need some make-up for your wedding? I’m your girl. Need me to make you look like you got shot in the face and have been laying face down in a pool of water for roughly two weeks? Yes, I am also your girl. My kit was filled with anything and everything that would get the job done. I was stocked up with professional, very expensive brands. I never thought about what was in them, I was purely obsessed with function. I mean, it’s not like I was eating these things, right? It’s not like I was sitting around and biting into a juicy lipstick like it were a hot dog on the Fourth of July. I used them like they were supposed to be used. So, that’s safe, right?

Gross, but true.
Did you know that about 60% of what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream? Yeah, neither did I.
Did you know that this process only takes TWENTY SIX SECONDS?

Yeah, our bodies are efficient. Also, what the heck is in your beauty products? I’m not a genius, but I know I wouldn’t want to actually pour a bottle of Strawberries & Champagne lotion into my blood. I would not want to become blood brothers with a MAC lipstick. Lord knows all that pigment looks fly on your lips, but what the heck is in there? I’m not blood confident. Don’t worry, I have answers. We can become more blood confident together. I’m going to also stop using the term blood confident right about here. How does NON-TOXIC sound? Better. Less vampire-y.

In my late twenties, I found myself dealing with chronic illness. Between dealing with Lyme Disease and a bunch of other infections, I found myself overloaded with toxins. Detoxing became a part of my everyday life. This is how my liver would be able to clean house essentially, and process all of the infections as I killed them off. As it turns out, I’m genetically not a great detox-er. This is more common than you’d think, but a real bummer when it comes to dealing with a high toxic load in your system. Needless to say, I had to get very real and very strict about what I put inside of my body. I switched up my diet and ate very cleanly. I used better cleaning products in my house, or made my own out of essential oils. I also had to think about what I was putting on the largest organ of my body, MY SKIN! I knew in order to heal, I had to eliminate as many toxic chemicals out of my life as possible. This included my beloved beauty products–which, by this time, were useless as they made my skin feel like it was on fire. I basically spent several years not wearing makeup, or suffering through the pain for the odd special occasion.

NO MORE, you guys.
Skincare isn’t supposed to hurt.
Makeup isn’t supposed to add to your toxic load.
You shouldn’t have to worry about “getting gluten-ed” when you wanna rock some lipgloss!
You shouldn’t have to honestly worry if your sunscreen is actually contributing to your cancer risk.
There is a better way.

Let me introduce you to Beautycounter!

They’ve taken the antiquated, unregulated beauty industry and turned it on its head. Their mission is to make skincare safe. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our health just to feel pretty or have clean skin. Our congress hasn’t passed any regulatory laws for the cosmetics industry in the good ol’ USA since 1938. Like, really, guys? You can do better. Luckily, we don’t have to wait for them to. Beautycounter has made this their mission

Wait, wait, wait. I firstly want to openly acknowledge that I FEAR CHANGE. Like, you know that zen friend you have that is awesome at meditation and seamlessly flies by the seat of her pants? Yeah, I’m not her. I am a creature of habit. I am also fiercely and stubbornly skeptical. If you tell me to do something, I most likely won’t. Not because it wasn’t a great idea, but because YOU told me to do it. Yeah, I’m a piece of work. I get it. But, I’m telling you this because I understand your hesitation. I understand if you’re like, “Girl, please! How bad can my face lotion really be?” because, I AM you. I think at least four of my friends sent me samples of Beautycounter products before I even tried them. I kind of just rolled my eyes at this whole thing. And, you’re talking to a girl whose skin was so sensitive that my beauty routine consisted of rosehip oil and an eyelash curler. Did I tell you I’m stubborn? Yeah, that.

The thing is, when I actually tried the products, not only did they perform up to my makeup artist standards, but they didn’t make my face burn, itch, or feel like hot garbage. This is a win. No one wants to feel like a flaming-hot, garbage face. In fact, my skin felt smooth. The foundation glided on beautifully. The cleansing balm was super moisturizing. I got some hormonal breakouts around my jawline and busted out a sample of the charcoal mask — lo and behold, the stuff pretty much knocked it out in two days. I’m not lying. I’m a makeup artist. You can trust me. I’m a professional.

Do you want a safer beauty routine? Here’s what to do…

I know it can feel very overwhelming to replace everything in your arsenal at once, not to mention it can be pricey. I get it. Remember? I FEAR CHANGE. If you are not a change fearer, then take your badass self, charge on ahead and replace it all in one shot! You are basically Beyonce, and I admire the eff out of you. If you are not Beyonce, that’s fine too. I would recommend going to this website and search the products in your beauty routine. Each of them will come up with a score. The higher the score, the more toxic the product. These are the one’s you’ll want to replace first. Then, head on over to Beautycounter and find what you need!

Wanna see something cool? These things will NEVER be in your products. It’s called the NEVER LIST

Need some help? Here’s what’s currently in my shopping cart:

Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer ($45)– This tinted moisturizer kinda sorta makes my skin look like I’m the glowing spawn of Aphrodite. It also has SPF in it, which makes me feel like a much more responsible spawn of Aphrodite. The coverage on this one is pretty sheer, which I like. If you like a little more coverage, I’d go with this product here.
Touchup Skin Concealer Pen ($32)–I am Italian. I was blessed with olive skin. I was also blessed with the under-eye bags of my great great great Nona.
Charcoal Cleansing Bar ($24)–Yes, this bar might look like a lump of coal, but it’s much more like Santa thinks you’re his favorite and brings you a soap that zaps both face and body zits in a hurry. Yeah, I said it…body zits. Don’t pretend like you’ve never gotten a pimple on your butt. You haven’t? This is awkward.
Protect All Over Sunscreen ($24)–It’s summer, and I have a Dutch husband who plays soccer on Sundays (ie. HOMIE IS WHITE, AND HE BURNS LIKE A LOBSTAH IF I DON’T RUB HIM DOWN). We like to keep our skin protected, but without all the icky junk in conventional sunscreen. Pssst, it also comes in STICK FORM! Huzzah.
Protect Stick Sunscreen for Face ($18)–This is in stick form. It is easy. It helps protect Dutch Lobster Husband.
Lengthening Mascara ($29)–Because, I have serious eye lash extension envy, but I don’t have the patience to sit there for five million hours to get them. Also, this stuff is BOMB, and makes my lashes so long! This was my first Beautycounter love. If this was a script, me putting on this mascara would be the scene where we started an adorable courtship. Our meet cute.
Cleansing Balm ($80)–My skin is on the drier side, and this stuff is mother truckin’ ridiculous. It cleans your face, make-up and all, without stripping moisture. I actually sometimes use it as a night balm as well. I know it seems pricey, but this stuff goes A LONG way. Lots of moisturizing bang for your buck.

Wait, there’s a way you can save some money doing this. I’ll tell you how. I’m not a monster…

Sign up to be a Band of Beauty Member! When you sign up, you can automatically start earning 15% of what you spend on product back to spend on your next order! Plus, there’s free shipping over any order of $100. Um, and there’s some super sexy welcome gift. It’s only $29 per year to sign up. It’s kinda like an Amazon Prime membership, but with makeup and that fun 15% back on each order! Who doesn’t want to save a little skrilla? I mean, I kind of bet even Beyonce would be like, “Girl, I am not above a coupon”. In my fantasy, Beyonce is like a really rich down to earth goddess human who isn’t afraid to pull out a very long CVS receipt for a discount. This might not be true. But, that is me. I like to save. Maybe, I am my own Beyonce. Too far? Agreed.

HOLD UP, I wanna give you a gift!

Yeah, I like prezzies. Who doesn’t like prezzies? I will send you a free sample with every $25 you spend with me, so you can check out some new products! Also, if you spend $125, I will send you either a full sized Charcoal Cleansing Bar OR a full sized Protect Yourself Sunscreen Face Stick! Sound good? Non-toxic skincare with a side of freebies? YASSSS QWEEEN.

Moved by the mission?

Take some time, try it out. But, if you’re moved by the mission to spread the word of safer beauty and skincare, consider becoming a consultant! Consultant’s can sell products, build a team, build a paycheck, and all while getting 25% off of products. Does this seem like something that would light your fire? I’d always love fellow passionate non-toxic warriors to be on my team! Check out what being a consultant entails here. Have questions about this? Shoot me an e-mail.

With Fierce Love + Skin That Is NOT on Fire,

Gina xoxox

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