Beauty Aboard

There are common questions that liveaboards are asked often. How do you stay warm? Do you have a television? Do you have a bathroom? How do you shower? What do you do during storms?

We do have a bathroom (er, head it's called on a boat) complete with toilet and shower.
Being a female, one of the other questions about boat life is things concerned with beauty, clothes, shoes, etc. There are considerations a working female has to make (in my opinion) when moving aboard that a male neccessarily does not. Keeping clean for my handsome husband really can be wet wipes, soap, and shampoo. That's it. If he skips a shower one day, I honestly can't tell. But with me, skipping a shower means that the oil well on the top of my head has exploded and I'm a greasy mess. I require a daily shower that includes multiple products.

On or off of a boat, when it comes to keeping up with beauty, beauty is not (nor has it ever been) my strong suit. I miss the mark on current fashion trends, my makeup is minimal even on date nights or work days, and my husband tells me I look cute when I'm in jeans and a fleece top.

I do try my best, though, to look nice. Being a thirty-something lady, I have entered the mysterious realm of anti-aging creams and potions. When we moved aboard last November, I hadn't realized when packing how many products I had collected. I had moisturizers, night creams, eye serums, masks, etc. I organized all of those "must-keeps" in the head; my husband asked if I really needed all of them, to which I replied, "yes". With those purchases I had secured promises that my skin would stay youthful and I would retain whatever beauty that I currently possessed.

Yet, as I've noticed how much space beauty items take up (and how many I actually use and like), I also started looking into what was in the products that promised forever beauty. Most of those that I was using for wrinkle prevention and correction contained an astounding amount of chemicals; many of which have been linked to really serious health issues. I realized that with the promise of beauty, there's a compromise of one's health. Maybe not immediately, but over time a build up of toxins can negatively affect the body.

One way I began to notice this was through using the EWG Cosmetics Database. This site allows a user to type in the name of a beauty product (shampoos, makeup, cleansers, etc.) and the database reveals it's level of toxicity (a green 0 means safe) and then one also sees a listing of the toxins included in the product and the associated effects on the body and its systems. With the EWG site, I found that my purchased anti-aging products smoothed wrinkles and also delivered: organ system toxicity, endocrine disruption, cellular level changes, cancer, and even something called, ecotoxicology (yikes). 

Most everything that is advertised on television, in print magazines, and worn by millions of women in our country, is toxic. Studies have been done and show that almost immediately, toxins absorbed through our skin by wearing makeup and beauty products find their way through our systems and pass through the body when we urinate. Think of the paths these chemicals take (and the interactions/effects they have) in order to make that complete journey. What we place on our skin (our largest organ) doesn't stay there - toxins are absorbed into our body.

I think back to watching the Michael Keaton Batman movie (note, the best Batman movie, I think) when the Joker was messing with cosmetics and making them deadly. I see in my memory the newscasters without makeup. Knowing how toxic common cosmetics and other products are doesn't quite make me want to stop using them altogether (it wouldn't be pretty, literally), but it make me want to think about how to make better choices.

I didn't have enough money to completely scrap everything and start over, but I was able to start looking for better alternatives (and for companies that more valuable receipients of my money).  Through the EWG site, I did find some great companies that offered non-toxic products, but I'm super excited about finding the Green Grab Bag .

The Green Grab Bag is a monthly box service that ships subscribers a variety of eco-friendly, organic, and non-toxic beauty products. Each month, I receive a little sample of products that I can try; and, for those that I like I can buy a full size supply from the website. In the boxes so far (I've subscribed for about four months) I've amassed a nice collection of soaps, shampoo, face moisturizer, masks, toner, makeup, and oils.

Each month I add what I receive to a collection that resides in my shower bag so they are always with me when I walk up to the marina shower house. I can reach in and decide which products I want to try that day. I believe that I've saved money by spending only the little bit it costs for the monthly box, in comparison to purchasing full size products. And, it's enjoyable to try something different each day if I choose to do so. And, getting a gift box in the mail each month - super fun!

Most importantly, I feel that I'm conciously making a healthy choice that is good for me, the planet, and grealty assists in devleoping small companies that are working hard to do good in our world. Good, non-toxic products may not fix all of my beauty blunders but they do leave me feeling incredibly beautiful on the outside. And, of course, that's more important.

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