By Monique Dykstra
Originally printed in
the Montreal Gazette of September 3, 2001.
Reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.
woman without paint is like food without salt," wrote the
Roman philosopher Plautus. "Better dull than dead,"
the women of the day might have retorted, but didn't, nor did
the generations of women who followed. That's because, no matter
what they looked like, women have always wanted to look better,
regardless of the consequences.
women once darkened their teeth with a paste made from tea and
sake soaked in iron scraps. While jet black smiles were fashionable
in Asia, white skin was hot in Europe. To achieve that seductive
sickroom pallor, Edwardian women would power their faces with
white lead powder.
wanting a touch of colour to compliment their ashen cheeks, they'd
apply lip reddeners (containing mercuric sulfide) eye shadows
(containing lead and antimony sulfide), and a few drops of deadly
nighshade to make their eyes sparkle.
it's tempting to believe that the days of poisoned paint are
behind us, they're not, according to herbologist Karen Runnels.
A graduate Montreal's Natural Health Consultants (NHC) and Vancouver's
Dominion Herbal College (both schools of natural healing), Runnels
teaches classes at Vanier College on making natural cosmetics.
you knew what went into commercial cosmetics, you'd never buy
them. Some ingredients can irritate the skin, or dry it out,
or are basically carcinogenic. You don't get a label for whatever
you put on your face, but you should.
recently read a book called Beauty To Die For by Judi Vance.
This woman's body was a wreck, and the doctors couldn't pinpoint
why. So this woman changed her diet, got rid of the toxic substances
in her living environment and stopped using harmful cosmetics.
Today, she's completely recovered.
point is, with everything we ingest through our skin over 30-40-50
years, what's that doing to our immune system?
don't know, but I err on the prudent side. That's why I make
my own cosmetics. It's not difficult. It's like cooking-- you
just follow a recipe. You start with a good oil: almond oil,
apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, even olive oil. These go right
into the skin, rather than mineral oil, which just sits on top.
Then you add natural plants oils, which repair and regenerate
the skin tissues, reduces inflammation and irritation, and moisturise
not just that commercial cosmetics don't do much to heal and
nurture your skin, they're outrageously expensive as well. And
the packaging! We are sold down the garden path with that. Why
bother with any of that, when Mother Nature's got everything
* For more information on Runnel's natural
cosmetics classes, call (514) 630-1125
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