In Stages

So, remember all that talk in the last blog about how food is medicine? Well, here comes this blog’s Debbie Downer: cosmetics and beauty products are toxic. I laugh as I write this because I know how ridiculous and definitive it sounds, but honestly it is the truth. You might ask, where does the insanity end? A few years ago, my former self probably would have thought my present self is a paranoid lunatic and/or a boring walking yoga stereotype. Now, it’s just how it is. It’s really hard to separate the mindfulness I practice on my mat with other aspects of my life.

We are all so concerned with how our heart is functioning or our lungs or really any organ, as long as it’s located inside the body. For some reason, we all seem to forget that our skin is the largest organ. And we’ve been smothering it with toxins since the day we were born. These chemicals seep into the rest of our bodies through our pores. Would you eat some of the ingredients found in cosmetics? Men, don’t throw your hands up and think this doesn’t apply to you. It’s not just lipstick or mascara or body lotion. It’s also shaving cream, body wash, soaps, shampoos.

I was also laughing as I wrote that inflammatory sentence about this stuff being toxic because I remember feeling completely overwhelmed with the “how-the-(expletive)-do-I-change-this?” thought. I wasn’t about to go make-up free and stop washing my hair and actually look like a real hippie — apparently, that is where I draw the line. After doing a little research on and, I realized I needed to make some changes, at least one. So I started slowly over the last year and a half and one by one I let go of my old trusty beauty products and made friends with new ones. Once again, my hero, Whole Foods, came to the rescue. Their Whole Living section of the store, which I used to blaze past thinking that Whole Foods should stick to foods, has become my new favorite place to be. It was a miracle. It’s all right there! Make-up, skin care, hair care, lotions, the list goes on.

I’ve noticed that the very ingredients that high-end beauty products boast of in their age-defying recipes are on the shelves of Whole Foods in their pure, unadulterated form, which means they’re more powerful. Forget the moisturizers that say they include vitamin C or Argan oil. Just buy vitamin C or vitamin E or Argan oil or whatever it is you need, and for way less money. They package these marvels in a cosmetic-friendly way. You don’t have to buy the vitamin E capsules and cut them open. If you’re the type who needs to pay a high price to be sure that you are getting the best of the best, they have super expensive products too, like Dr. Hauschka, which I now stare at longingly. Suki is not only on the higher-end, but it’s also local. (I’m sure I’ll get to the virtues of local in a later blog but for now I’ll just assume you all know how important that is.)

If you’re looking for some suggestions I like the Alba brand for haircare and body wash. Suki for facial cleansing and toning. It smells so good you’ll want to eat it. I use pure Argan Oil these days for moisturizer. Yes, I use oil on my face! That sounds cuckoo, but the very helpful lady at Whole Foods informed me that stripping our face of oils is what actually makes them more oily. (Duh.) I use the MineralFusion brand for make-up — not to be confused with BareMinerals, that would be toxic. There are so many brands to browse. It could actually be fun. Maybe just commit to trying out one new product.

I still haven’t experimented with all-natural deodorant or toothpaste, for obvious reasons. But I think I’ll try them out soon. Every time I deodorize I now wonder what toxins I am spreading on an exposed epidermis right near lymph nodes. Think about it. Still, what seemed daunting and impossible a year and half ago is now almost entirely possible. Like Desikachar says: in stages the impossible becomes possible. And there goes Yoga, infiltrating my life again.

(To learn how toxic the products you use are check out It has an easy 0 -10 rating system on almost all products out there. You can also learn more about this at

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