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Ok, I’m now officially angry

March 3, 2011

It’s been a funny old week in beauty world and it’s only Thursday!   You see I’ve fallen into that old trap of reading and taking to heart the commentary on an article published in the Huffington Post last week about how our cosmetics are going to kill us.  The story didn’t uncover anything new, in fact rather than being ground-breaking it reminded me of a viral e-mail that came around back in 1998 talking about SLES being used to clean garage floors and therefore ‘what is it doing in my shampoo???  You get the drift……

Anyway, it usually doesn’t bother me too greatly when I read comments that read ‘oh, I agree. It’s awful what the cosmetics industry is doing’  and ‘how dare they pollute us and our environment like that’  and then ‘and they  are only interested in defending themselves and their precious industry’.  If only ‘they’  (I am not a fan of grouping or tagging people) knew.

Well, the last straw for me came when I decided to post a little response to these generalized accusations and pipe up with a ‘excuse me kind people,  I/ we are human, have children/ sisters/ brothers etc and live on the same planet that we are accused of wrecking’  only to find that I was unable.  Now call me a conspiracy theorist but I started to wonder if  I had been pro-actively banned from commenting ‘just in case’ as after all, I am a Personal Care Truth bod and that means that I must be evil……

So, after cooling off over a nice cup of tea and some chocolate I e-mailed a good friend of mine and asked his opinion of my state of mind.  Have I become a close relation of DR EVIL or am I just another girl in the world who is only motivated by the truth.  What he came back with was rather beautiful which is why I wanted to share it with you (with his permission of course):


– I don’t want an iPad – I want an iLand – my k(l)ingdom for a quiet place – far from the troubled, churning sea – to which I might return – remembered by a wordless world with time enough for wisdoms – in a wind unfurled – to look and see – first quietly – what has been how – and when in what’s to be – before I craft and whittle words – that writ on water waste our meaning – wanting shores – stood firm against the moonless tides – these widdershins that drive and draw – the shallows only – iLand visions hold – like roots – to beautied worlds – and grow a different sacred – tree –

Gavin also explained this to me as follows:

“It does bear analysis, that increasingly people are finding it difficult to actually connect with others as individual realities  – it is an equation: that you are a cosmetic chemist; part of the industry; therefore….. that you might be different and doing things on your own terms of integrity and good faith, – no. There is no time to engage with your individual reality, only with you as representative of a class, category, or club of human beings for which there is a generic description.
This does present an enormous challenge for any “online presence”. How you write, say, who you are, – your signature style and voice – is very important. It should give us pause, to walk and not run with our syllables, until we have mastered the walking part. I think you are doing very very well with this Amanda, but…. I read of a great metaphor the other day, looking at the difference between the speeding along the road at night with the headlights on full beam, with our vision confined by this cone of light beyond which everything is black, – fine.  But slowing down, turning the lights off, and slowly the eyes adjust and take in so very much more, necessary for a wise course.”
I won’t make apologies for my background or approach to life and am happy to defend my approach to my business, my personal life and myself but sometimes the confidence to do that does take a bit of a battering, especially when you are seemingly denied the right of reply.
So people,  I will just reconfirmed that while I am a cosmetic chemist as by default part of the ‘industry’  I am not paid to toe a company line, not defending any egotistical position of righteousness (I have no problem with being wrong), have no evil desire to kill anyone and am not about to waver from my inner mission to understand truth and beauty using science rather than fear  as my tool of choice.  You can read my thoughts on science here.
I no longer have a problem with that and I suggest that it may be helpful if you don’t either because long after I hang up my chemists lab coat I will remain someones daughter, sister, mother, wife and friend.  I don’t live on ‘chemists iLand’

Gavin Greenoak is the owner of the Australian Photobiology Testing Facility and is a leading expert in the relationship between our bodies and the sun but more importantly he is a free thinking friend.


PS: While the response to me from my friend was very lovely, printing this is not about me it is about YOU.  Do you live on that iLand?  Do you stop and slow down every once in a while?   That is why I shared 🙂

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