[Back to Beauty U] How Beauty School Changed My Look

Grasshoppers, get excited.

I’m back over on No More Dirty Looks this whole week, talking some nitty-gritty, never-before-reported details about Beauty U — and how shellacking ourselves in potions and lotions for sixteen hours every week translated to all manner of hair and skin behaving badly.

Generally, when I get riled up about toxic chemicals in personal care products, I’m thinking about the long con: Science can’t isolate any one chemical (hi, parabens) in your body lotion and say, definitively “This will give you breast cancer.” But we do know that all of our beauty stuff contains plenty of probable carcinogens (hi, formaldehyde), endocrine disruptors and other chemicals shown to have serious health effects. And we know we’re using teensy doses of this stuff, day in, day out, over the course of our lifetime, while also being exposed to a constant onslaught of other toxins in our air, water, food and other consumer goods. What we can’t know is when we’ll reach the tipping point of environmental toxin exposure, bypassing that hazy hey one cigarette doesn’t a lung cancer make zone and proceeding directly the dose that is, in fact, poison.

All this is to say, when I signed up for Beauty U, I didn’t worry overly muchly about what kinds of chemicals I’d be exposing myself to over the course of ten months. It’s not like I need a HazMat suit to go to there, I thought. How much damage can I do in less than a year?

And I still pretty much think that. Ten years of living in a highly polluted city (including two residing right next to the constantly traffic-clogged Midtown Tunnel) probably did me a lot worse in terms of cumulative environmental toxin exposure. But I also think — because everyone, from Beauty U, to actual doctors and scientists will tell you this — that the health of your hair and skin are often good indicators of your health overall. When we’re stressed and unhappy, we break out. When we’re sick, everything looks dull and lifeless. Etc.

And if you follow that logic, then all of the products and services I had to experiment with over the course of my ten months at Beauty U were not so good for my health — in the right here, right now — at all.

So click here for the scoop on how Beauty U messed up my hair. Coming later today will be the Skin Report, and then tomorrow, the Body. I’ll keep bringing you the links (via Twitter and Facebook — you’re on there with me, right?) but you should also be able to find the whole series here.


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Filed under Back to Beauty U, Beauty Labor

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