What you put in your body is important, no doubt. From avoiding foods treated with pesticides to minimizing added sugars, and instead cooking whole grains and leafy greens, we can choose to fuel our bodies with foods that will prolong our lives.
Generalities aside, the motivation behind this post is two-fold: one, cosmetics for cosmetic purposes, and two, cosmetics for compassionate purposes.
When I became vegan in 2010, I wore makeup: eyeliner, eyeshadow, nail polish, sunscreen, and lipstick.
From research and extending my vegetarian label-reading practices to my HBAs (Health and Beauty Aids), I learned that none of my products were animal-free. Sure, the St. Ives body wash was vegan and not tested on animals, but everything else was contained animal ingredients and was tested on animals. In my drive to extend compassion to myself and others, I came to the logical conclusion that I'd have to minimize my use of animal products from inside to outside. No wearing leather, wool, silk, pearls, fur...and no wearing makeup made with cochineal, charred animal bones, or lanolin (from sheep, FYI). I understood that many of these animal products were by-products of humans eating meat; after all, in a capitalist economy the best product you can sell is the one you didn't intend to sell. The "vote with your dollar" thinking is probably what gets vegans such a bad rap. Scratch that, it's telling people that you're consciously choosing how you spend your money in line with your ethics; that's what people hate about vegans. This being a vegan and gluten-free blog, however, there's going to be vegan talk.
I stopped wearing makeup then in February 2010. What little acne I had went away, and I just wore sunscreen (not having thought to buy vegan sunscreen at the Whole Earth Center co-op yet). I didn't wear makeup for a good three years. The one time I had makeup applied for a video shoot, my eyes got all teary because I became super-sensitive to stuff on my face.
Is this post just an excuse to share selfies? No... I didn't miss wearing makeup because I didn't have to do it, and I look better without it. I don't identify as feminine and avoiding makeup was a darn good way to stop following feminine norms.
In August 2013, one of my friends dared me to wear makeup and be feminine (in an attempt to "attract the right sort of people" and to be "normal"). However misguided the logic or intention was behind the dare, I followed through and bought the veg makeup from Whole Foods.
This is my makeup kit minus a tube of lipstick, which is also Zuzu brand.
Why this makeup? It was the cheapest ($14 eyeliner pencil, for starters!) set of vegan, gluten-free, and not tested on animals makeup I could get at WFM or other natural foods stores. Since I rarely wear makeup (two times a month, maybe?), the investment was worthwhile since I'll make it last.
That's Zuzu eyeliner, mascara, two eyeshadows, and lipstick (not pictured).
Philosophy Supernatural lipgloss (from years ago!)
Gabriel concealer (or "Gothinator"--no point in concealing my freckles)
Mirror from wherever
Kiss and Makeup brushes from Victoria's Secret (synthetic bristles, I do believe--be a good vegan and get some plant-based or synthetic bristles for sure)
Earth Science eye makeup remover
Everyday Coconut face lotion (SPF 15)
Kiss my Face Obsessively Natural Kids Natural Mineral Sunblock Lotion (SPF 30--there are no tans to be had with this stuff; road-tested on the Great Sand Dunes of southern Colorado and in Death Valley, California)
Everyday Shea body lotion
Resources for more vegan makeup:
PETA's list of cheaper vegan makeup
Lime Crime Makeup
Tarte Cosmetics Vegan Collection
Pink Sith's List of Eco-Friendly Cosmetics
Choosing to purchase earth-friendly and animal-friendly products is one of the ways I live my values. I'm not perfect, but at least I make an effort to do something in line with what I think is compassionate behaviour. Now, would I claim to be externally beautiful, especially by conventional feminine standards? Hell no. I know I look good when I'm content--or when I'm doing something I enjoy.
Case in point, getting dressed up in costumes for post-apocalyptic themed parties.