Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Book That Changed It All: No More Dirty Looks

The funny thing about big changes is that when you're going through them, they rarely feel like a life-changing experience at all. It's not until you look back and can find the one thing, the defining moment, that you realize how epic the transformation has been. I've read countless beauty books and guides, and can say they had an impact on me, but in 2010, this one completely changed my life. 

No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products was the one beauty book that made me change the way I do everything. Unlike other 'what's in your makeup' books this one doesn't use scare tactics. That's a huge pet peeve of mine - when by trying to inform and reform, writers tell you all the bad stuff and leave you with no options - or ones that are hard to get excited about.

I actually bought this book when I was an intern at FASHION Magazine and introduced it to my editor. I would read it on my break and kept it close by for a few months. It sounded exciting and all but I was getting just the best products for beauty writing - I couldn't give all that up for just a couple of natural brands. Plus, I was opening my own shop - and there were not clean brands I was excited to carry.

But then my skin flared up. I know now that it was eczema breakout, but at the time I panicked. I couldn't put anything on my face at all. Recalling something about coconut oil, I went back to my shelf and spent a few nights reading this book again. It finally all made perfect sense. I decided then and there to change everything. I cancelled some of the suppliers I was going to carry in my shop, and decided only on clean and green brands. I wanted to sell only the best products that I believed in, and ones that I could use. I switched everything. I tried washing my hair with baking soda, moisturizing with coconut oil, and using every makeup brand I could find that was listed in the book.

When I opened my shop, I included this book as one of the ones to sell. It was a top seller and plenty of customers had already read it. It was kind of like we were all in a little green beauty club: We wanted makeup and products in pretty packages but we wanted to feel good about using them too. I was so delighted to find that my customers were as excited as I was about it, and that we felt this was a modern approach to beauty, we weren't scared of what was 'toxic' or terrible, but on a green beauty discovery mission.

The number one takeaway from this book is that you can have your cake and eat it too. The authors, Siobhan O'Connor & Alexandra Spunt, like having girl hair, they don't not dye it - they just do it less often. They are aware of harmful treatments and ingredients and make choices based on their needs and the options available. The MO is that it's all about educating yourself and making the choices you are comfortable with. It's not a be-all-end-all throw-it-all-away, but an empowering read to help guide you to making educated choices.

This book created a wave of smart-shoppers and clean and green-conscious women and I'm glad to be one of them.

If you don't currently have this book - you need to get it now!

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