FemmeToxic has a challenge for you! FemmeToxiz vous donne un défi!

FemmeToxic has a challenge for you! 

We want you to make one change to make your life less toxic and write to us!

This could be something as small as finding a safer alternative to your favourite lip gloss, sorting through your products and learning about what ingredients to watch out for, or talking to friends about toxins in cosmetics. You could also start something big like a letter campaign to the health minister!

FemmeToxic is behind you all the way and wants to hear all about your experiences.

Write in the blog post below!


FemmeToxiz vous donne un défi!

Nous aimerions que vous nous écriviez pour nous raconter un changement que vous fassiez dans votre vie pour le faire moins toxique!

Vous pourriez faire un petit quelque chose come remplacer votre brillant à lèvre préféré avec une marque plus saine, faire le triage de vos produits cosmétiques et évaluer les ingrédients qui nuisent à la santé, ou encore parler avec des amis à propos des toxines dont lesquelles il faut faire attention.  Vous pourriez aussi commencer quelque chose de grand comme envoyer des lettres au Ministre de la Santé!

FemmeToxic est avec vous à cent pour cent et veut savoir les propos de toutes vos expériences.

Écrivez-nous et nous afficherons vos expériences sur le blog de Femmetoxic!

From Hayley, an FemmeToxic Intern


For this challenge I have decided I would review the reasons that I wear makeup. As an intern with FemmeToxic you might expect me to have dreadlocks, bathe in goat’s milk, shake arm and hammer baking soda under my arms each morning as deodorant or chew on a stick to clean my teeth. Though these are all (mostly) great suggestions and may work for different individuals, for me this is not the case.


I have been wearing make up since I was 14. As is the case for many teenage girls my decision to start to wear makeup was part of the emergency response tactic I devised to combat the insurgence of pimples clouding my once dewy face. This tactic was a hurried one, without a moments pause to consider how these products might make my skin worse, or what was in the miracle potion I searched dozens of different make up stores to find. Soon enough I found a product I liked and began to feel more like myself as I looked at my carefully painted face in the mirror each morning.


It was at this point, when I had the secret potion in hand, that I began to consider the wonders other products namely mascara, blush and a glittery black eye liner could do for my image. Soon enough I was a full-blown addict. Rarely would a day go by where I would have the courage to go ‘au naturel.’ I wore it to the gym, to go grocery shopping with my mom, and can recall many times my sisters rolled their eyes as they waited for me to finish in the bathroom before heading out to take our dog to the gravel dog park down by the river, not exactly a place one goes to see and be seen!


I’d like to say that all this has changed 10 years later….but still no goats milk for me! Fortunately, since then I have become more critical of the brands that market their cosmetics products towards me. I have learned to say ‘no,’ I don’t need an artificial summer glow on my cheeks the second the temperature rises higher than 15 degrees! And I really do not need to smell like cake, or gingerbread, or oranges every morning. After all, I am a human that walks, runs, jumps for joy and sweats over essays at my desk, not a dessert. Because of this new awareness I now use fewer products and safer versions of the ones I wear daily. In working for FemmeToxic I have also learned that it is easy to spot toxins in products with the Toxic Twenty guide and safer alternatives can be found with a little bit of diligence.


So tell me why do you wear makeup? Where did your journey into the world of cosmetics begin?




When I started volunteering with BCAM and learning about toxins in cosmetics and the toxic brew that is otherwise known as perfume, the first concrete step I took was to stop using anything scented. It's important to know that unscented doesn't mean there's no perfume. You've got to go with fragrance free and thats exactly what I've done ever since and I feel like a smarty pants for making that decision for myself! Also I'm not having an adverse effect on people who have chemical sensitivities that are all around us but we may not know. This has become such a health issue that some states in the U.S are considering banning perfume in public places.

My New Scent

I was not graced with the natural ability to smell like I just chucked wood in the Apalachian mountains and bathed in the rivers that were once glaciers. Nope, I have the unique ability to smell like food and my other mundane surroundings. This means that on any given day, I smell like Chinese food or coffee beans. And it sucks. Girls don't always dig it when they lean in close and know what you had for dinner. Now before you accus me of not keeping proper hygiene, let me assure you that I bathe. Frequently. I love baths. And daily showers too. But by the time I get out the door in the morning, I smell like bacon. Mmmm bacon. I digress. The point is, to overcome my natural olfactory short-comings, I wear scents. I pick them out meticulously. GQ taught me that although D&G Light Blue was designed to be a ladies scent, that in Europe all "eau de parfum" are unisex. But you can't just go to the department store and fork over $100 for a scent. You have to commit to it. And I did, through months of discreetly spraying samples on myself or applying the rollerball to my wrists to let the scent mix with my own body smell. Turns out, me and D&G go together like ice cream and apple pie. But now, a year later, my bottle has run dry. I've already scoped out my next scent era: Burberry (not Brit, not Sport, not Weekend, but the original). Caveat: my girlfriend sneezes 10 times every minute when she's first near me. And she's not the only one, perfume allergies is the most common indoor allergen. So I gotta look out for her too. As self-conscious as I feel about how I smell, I have been trying to wane myself off the good stuff. I try other things too, like only eating in really well ventilated areas. The long and short of it: There are other people to consider when it comes toxicity. Perfume may not affect me, but it affects the people I care about. Many chemical agents may not affect you, but may affect your offspring later on through epigenetic changes. Food for thought.

From Howard

its a balance...

I have had a tumultuous history with the cosmetic industry. High school love affairs with Chanel perfect red lipstick. Manic panic hair dye to stand out from the rest. Urban decay nail polish for that extra touch. Then we broke up. I moved away. Found myself in other things. Questions of poverty and international trade, issues of displacement and making do with less. And the cosmetic industry seemed like in insidious cover for the problems inherent in capitalism. And I became a staunch organic granola. and I didn't shave. I didn't line my eyes, I didn't paint my nails. but neither did anyone around me. I've recently moved back to a large city. a large city with easy access to stores like Sephora, and the illusion that you are being watched at all times. I've started to frequent them all too often, and realize that I like it.. what is normal here? which brings me to my point... Context matters. Its not all or nothing. In general, we don't do well with absolutes. a funny anecdote can also illustrate my point: last week, my sister sent me a link to a terrific video which is on this website, made by Love the Label. I came away thinking about the feminization of environmental cancers and the gender exploitation used by the cosmetic industry. I vowed again to give it up. The following morning I receive a text from a good friend of mine who wants to give me a large gift basket to my cosmetic store of choice. Just to be nice. What do I say? Definitely yes. So. again. this is not about all or nothing. It is about understanding how important the environment you live in is to determining what you deem acceptable or normal, and then taking that extra step and questioning what you are using cosmetics for. and how many you really need to use. I would encourage anyone who reads this to seek out beauty in all forms. Go to the ocean, read beneath a tree, watch people laugh. These are the things that show us real beauty. We can line our eyes and plump our lips when needed, but will be better sustained by searching out the organic, the real, the natural beauty in our lives.

From Anthea

how the toxic twenty liberated my armpits

hello out there all you future FemmeToxic volunteers (oh, come on, it's so fun).

here's my story: being a little lazy, i like to keep things simple. i gave up make up, perfume and high maintenance hairdos a long time ago. this definitely helps reduce my chemical count, however being (just a little) lazy also means i don't like to spend a lot of time shopping and tend to grab the first product i see on the shelf. this means the products i do use--like deodorant, moisturizer, body wash, shampoo, conditioner--are chock full of all sorts of nasty toxins. (in fact, i recently discovered my face scrub contains seven of the toxic twenty!) until recently i didn't really care. ok, so, i cared, but not enough to change. i'm already make up free, isn't that half the battle? but now that i'm a proud member of the FemmeToxic volunteer committee it's time to set indolence aside and start practicing what i preach, innit?

so, last month, armed with my Toxic Twenty Pocket Guide and FemmeToxic challenge in mind, i set out to replace one of my cosmetics with a safer alternative. product of choice: deodorant. rather than popping into the drug store on my route home, i walked the extra two blocks out of my way and went to the local health food store. i studied the ingredients list on the back of each deodorant bottle, carefully referring to my handy Toxic Twenty Pocket Guide. (note: not all health food store products are necessarily toxin free. always check the label!) in no time at all, i found a product toxic twenty free with a hint of lavender, to boot! now my armpits and me are free, easy and lovin' life. oh ya.

now it's your turn, everybody! email us or come to an event to get a copy of our Toxic Twenty Pocket Guide (soon to be available online) and tell me how you used it!

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