ByJoanna Lacey

Sep 22, 2021
display of various makeup products

Back in the early 1900s when Grandma Jennie was young, “decent” girls never wore makeup. She was not even allowed to wear lipstick at her wedding. The only girls who wore rouge, face powder, or lipstick were “flappers.” My mom occasionally wore lipstick. She would rub some into her cheeks, too, for a little color. But the one tube was all that she needed; she never wore eye makeup.

I am more like Mom in my style of wearing makeup, with one difference. I like to define my brows and eyes with a little eyeliner pencil. Every day I wear makeup to work to “brighten my face.”

Because I am concerned about exposure to toxic ingredients, I tried the DYI route. I got natural makeup recipes from the internet using ingredients like cocoa and beetroot powder, beeswax, honey, and even charcoal powder for eyebrows. Unfortunately, I found it messy and the resulting products inconsistent in quality, application, and storage.

My solution to the problem of being exposed to toxins is to check out the EWG Skin Deep Database, which rates products on ingredient hazards like cancer, reproductive toxicity, and allergies. I can usually find a range of EWG verified products that suit my needs.

I purchased two products: Anastasia Eye Pencil (a virtually waste-free product) and an ILIA multi-stick, which is a blush and lip color all in one (just like Mom: one tube for two purposes!). They even have a recycling program for U.S. customers – up to five empty containers per month. It’s always worth the time to find safer makeup products and investigate recycling options.

I haven’t given up on DIY makeup yet, but it is definitely a weekend project! If it never pans out, I can always add the beetroot powder to my soup and use the cocoa powder in hot cocoa, so I won’t waste the ingredients.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.