Pretty in Pink?

Looking a bit drab after our recent torrential rains and lack of sunshine lately, I reached for an almost-empty container of blush that has always been one of my favorite face “pick-me-ups.” I know they tell you not to keep makeup items too long due to spoilage, etc., but some of them are just like a favorite pair of jeans or a good marriage.  When you find something that works, you tend to keep it around after its expiration date.

Googling my favorite brand of blush to make sure it was still around (unlike one mascara company that let me down by discontinuing my favorite magic wand…Maybelline, why can’t ya be true….?), I wanted to make sure my little pink pick-me-up was still available before I trudged to the local drug store.  I don’t spend a lot on makeup, so avoiding the overpriced department store that promises that I’ll look like Jennifer Perky Anniston is really a no-brainer for me.  The way I look at it, I don’t ever envision anyone approaching me and saying, “Wow, you look sooo fabulous…that must be the new $430.00 blush from Nordstrom’s!” Ain’t gonna happen.

But as I was scouring the internet for cheap makeup dot coms, I fell upon some interesting statistics on the products used in cosmetics.  I typed in the exact name of my favorite little pink blush, and found a great resource at  On the site, the health, environmental and social performance of products and companies we use every day are rated to match your preferences for healthy, green or socially responsible products.  The ratings provide a credible way to easily rank products and companies, enabling you to pick the best in a category or identify alternative products you may want to use instead.  For instance, although the company that manufactures my favorite blush had an above average score in effects on climate change and ethical policies and performance, it rated my favorite product at only a medium level in the health concern portion. A little disconcerted, I clicked on the rating and found out that the product contains butylated hydroxytoluene, which is an additive used in many cosmetics (also in pharmaceuticals, jet fuel, rubber and petroleum products) which can cause respiratory immune toxicity.  Oh, yeah, it’s also used in embalming fluids, but by then it shouldn’t concern you.

The good news is that the site also indicated the ingredients in my item that are not concern for worry, i.e., talc, oat kernel flour, etc. Feeling all Daisy Dukey, I continued on the site which goes one step further to suggest alternative products one may want to consider once you’ve gotten up from the floor after reading all the scary things you just realized you’ve been slathering on your body. But it doesn’t stop there. The site contains ratings for just about everything − apparel, electronics, cars and all forms of personal care.

 I know better than to lose sleep and worry about every product that I bring into my home or rub on my skin. Although I will be more cautious, I recognize that even the most scientifically grounded assessment of environmental, health, or social performance requires value judgments about the relative importance of various issues. 

But, wait!  Is that the sun I see? As for reaching for that certain brand of sunscreen I usually use? Uh, no. Yikes. I think I’ll just re-invest in my little pink pick-me-up, use it more sparingly until I find a replacement made of corn starch and dead rose buds, and I’ll just add a little more blush rosé wine to my diet.

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Filed under Fear of the Day

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