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Making Conscious Choices About My Cosmetics (+ $100 Giveaway for a Terra20 Gift Certificate! CAN, 07/16)

Choosing Healthier Cosmetics

This year, I started to be a little more conscious about my choices when it comes to what makeup I’m using (here are some of my posts about choosing safe cosmetics and body products: shampoos, winter skin creamhenna hair coloring, and makeup primer). I have not made a full switch-over to healthier cosmetics. Not even close, if I’m being honest. I am very attached, for example, to my Dior Mascara. But on the other hand, I adore using Burt’s Bees lip gloss. So right now, I’ve got a real mixed bag of products on my face.

I’ve drunk the kool-aid and definitely feel that I “need” makeup, so I’m not about to get into gender politics here. I wear makeup, I’m not going to stop wearing makeup. So it’s a matter of which cosmetics I will choose to buy and where to find safe cosmetics.

One of the greatest influencers on my “cosmetics quest” has been Canadian author Gillian Deacon and her book There’s Lead in Your Lipstick. In her introduction, she notes (bold emphasis is mine):

“Having bought into the image-conscious society around us, we’re sitting ducks. Marketers and manufacturers alike are highly skilled at taking advantage of our desire to look just so. Most North American consumers will buy and use a product without ever really knowing what’s inside it or how it will affect our health. Of course, we can be forgiven for assuming that a protective body out there somewhere is ensuring that products made available to us are, in fact, perfectly safe, since that’s a reasonable expectation in civilized society, right? Unfortunately, it just isn’t the case.

According to several researchers, between 85,000 and 100,000 chemicals are used in the marketplace today; 85 percent of those chemicals have never been tested for human health impacts. ” (p. 9) 

I’m not gonna lie to you. Trying to figure out which cosmetics are “clean” and do not include the toxins leading environmental activists say you should avoid is no easy feat. I do not enjoy having to do this research, nor do I enjoy having to read every label before buying. But with green-washing everywhere; an informed consumer must undertake these un-enjoyable and time-sucking tasks.

Or, you can just shop at Terra20. They do the hard work for you. Shopping at Terra20 does mean that I need to get to a store that is further away from my local drugstore (or that I shop online), but it makes choosing cosmetics that you know are safer, healthier, and better for the environment easy. Beyond easy, actually.

And right about now, I am in dire need of some cosmetics. When the seasons change, I need to change-out my makeup. In the summer, I’m looking for a lighter coverage foundation, mascara that is waterproof, and instead of rich-coloured lipstick, I usually opt for a gloss. Terra20 will be giving me the opportunity to pick up these summer treats for myself, and will share my finds with you in a future post.

But Terra20 wants you to have the opportunity to try their cosmetics as well! This giveaway is for a $100 gift certificate that you can use to buy anything you’d like …  but if you do opt to choose cosmetics, please come back and tell us what you picked and how they worked for you! Inquiring minds want to know!

Edited on July 12th to add: Please remember to answer the specific question posed in the rafflecopter form or your comment will be considered ineligible. Also, you will see that someone named Paula has provided answers to a number of your questions below. I contacted Paula and found out that she is a full-time sales associate at Terra20. Yes, people at Terra20 are that enthusiastic about the store that they respond to customer questions in their spare time. No joke. In fact, the last time I went into Terra20 and bought some shampoo, the associated asked me if I’d ever tried it before. I responded, “no, have you?” He then told me that he hadn’t, but that it’s quite new and as soon as it arrived, another associate dunked his head in the backroom sink to try it immediately and proceeded to give it a “thumbs up” review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I was at Terra 20 last week for a mini manicure, avoiding all the chemicals I usually put on my nails

  2. Pamalot says:

    my biggest question is it more expensive?

  3. Pamalot says:

    my second concern is do they feel differently when applied?

  4. I was skeptical of the healthier products that I switched too would provide me with the same results as the toxin laden products I have bought for years. I have been amazed that I get better then normal results, love the natural scents used and feel awesome for sporting a
    natural option for my body.

  5. My biggest question is how do I know what’s actually good for me and what’s not. While there are some obvious things to avoid (parabens, etc.) there are so many claims of “natural” products, without spending hours researching, its difficult to figure out who is using what and whether its actually good or bad for us!

  6. Do natural cosmetics have a short shelf life? I don’t use up my cosmetics very quickly..

  7. Do natural cosmetics clog pores or are the skin products fairly light weight/non-comedogenic?

    • Chemical and natural products unfortunately do clog pores, but the good side about natural alternatives, is that it will take less time to be eliminated from your body. This is because it is easier for your skin to break down naturally derived ingredients, rather than chemically based products. terra20 also carries a large variety of skin products that will suit your skin type; dry, normal, oily, acne prone, sensitive, and etc…

  8. Brenda A says:

    What toothbrush is the most earth friendly? I try very had to not buy disposable products but toothbrushes escape me. I hate throwing out the chunck of plastic every 3-4 months!

    • terra20 actually has a couple options for you to use from for toothbrushes. They have recyclable ones, made from yogurt containers, as well as ones where you can simply change the head of the tooth brush whenever needed.

  9. Brenda A says:

    Should I be choosing a toothpaste that contains fluoride? Ottawa water is fluoridated and I drink a lot of water.

  10. My biggest thing was learning what exactly went into my make up and how it may have impacted me in the long term. I have been wearing it regularly for 20+ years = what has it done to my skin/hair/health?

  11. Valerie says:

    I don’t wear much makeup, but am interested in unscented hair products and deoderant. Also interested in the cosmetics as my daughter approaches that age – if she wants to use them, I want to be sure they’re safe!

  12. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I haven’t been in yet. I’ll have to make a point of it!

  13. Stefanie says:

    I’ve been in for my mom with lots of allergies and sensitivities…. I really should look for me too…

  14. Does Terra 20 sell the base products to make your own skin care products? Do they sell books on this as well?

  15. Kayla Gilbert says:

    Are all natural cosmetics non-comeogenic?

  16. Wow, Julie, you have had some great giveaways lately! I love this one. My biggest question about natural cosmetics is, what are the potential allergic reactions like. It’s odd, but natural ingredients like almond oil or sunflower oil are actually very reactive for our family, so I’m wondering if non-allergenic natural products are available. I’m sure Terra20 knows, if anyone!

    • Unfortunately allergic reactions can be caused not only from chemicals, but natural ingredients as well. Such as the fact that your family is reactant to almond oil/sunflower oil. The reactions can be from mild to severe, such as itchiness, redness, flaking, etc… But sometimes if you’re switching from conventional to natural, there could be reactions. Since your body is getting used to natural products. There are some products that are hypoallergenic meaning “below normal” or “slightly” allergenic. All in all, if you ever stop by in store, don’t hesitate to ask the cosmeticians here at terra20 about the products, and make sure to include any sensitivities, since that will help with finding products that are right for you!

  17. My very sensitive face has reacted to natural products and I’m wondering what the top ingredients in natural cosmetics are to watch out for.

  18. How is this even allowed with all of the knowledge we have? Crazy.

  19. angela m says:

    My question is are they more expensive?

  20. blessedta says:

    Is the texture the same?

  21. Love the blog (& would love to win a gift card)!

  22. It is so hard to find a good mascara that would be the item I think would be hard for me to switch.

  23. do they have waterproof mascaras?

    • Unfortunately, natural mascaras can never be fully waterproof. However, we do carry some mascaras that are water resistant.

  24. roger simmons says:

    Is it safe for Children as my daughter would steal her mom’s makeup?

  25. roger simmons says:

    Is there a place in Surrey that sells this product line?

  26. I’m hoping to find a plastic bristle mascara! Know of any natural brands that offer the skinny wands?

  27. I already use lots of healthy cosmetics, mostly all from Terra20! I really like the mascara, from Pure Ananda. Fingers crossed I win so I can keep my Terra addiction going!

  28. Nadia Roy says:

    I would like to know how it’s preserved to maintain shelf life. I try to avoid parabens as I’m mildly allergic (been tested).

  29. Nadia Roy says:

    Also, if they carry foundation & powder products with SPF, what’s the active ingredient(s) in them? I’m extremely allergic to your usual oxybenzone & related crap…

  30. Heidi C. says:

    What is it that makes Terra 20 stand out amongst other organic cosmetic lines?

    • terra20 is an eco-friendly department store that carries natural cosmetic lines. Therefore they hold a variety of product lines that can accommodate your budget.

  31. Heidi C. says:

    Is this line of products generally more expensive?

  32. angela m says:

    Do they have under eye cream and does it work

  33. Angela Mitchell says:

    Is there a way to make shampoo suds up without sls? I cannot get sls free shampoo to spread throughout my hair without using a cupful it seems. I know it doesn’t need to get sudsy to clean but it just doesn’t spread through my hair easily.

    • SLS is on our banned list of chemicals, meaning none of our products will contain sodium laureth/laurel sulfate. Instead many of our shampoos, laundry detergents, dishwasher liquids, and many products that need a foaming agent will obtain the suds from naturally derived alternatives, for example; Decyl glucoside (from corn sugar) and coco glucoside (from coconut) are used for their excellent lathering ability while being extremely mild on the skin. terra20 offers a large variety of shampoos to choose from, some foam more than others. Don’t be afraid to ask one of our cosmeticians to refer you to the shampoos that have great foaming capabilities. Since they have all tried out many of the brands themselves.

  34. Angela Mitchell says:

    Are there options for people on a very limited budget?

    • Indeed there are! Every section of the store has options that fit everyone’s budget. We will never encourage you to buy more than you need or at more expense than you can afford.

  35. Glogirl says:

    Will these cosmetics have as long of a shelf-life as other cosmetics?

  36. Glogirl says:

    A second question is are these cosmetics tested on animals?

    • None of the personal care / cosmetics are tested on animals. It’s a strict guideline that the companies of the lines have to follow. In store each product also has a th that states the ethics. Such as if its organic, fair trade, not tested on animals, waste reducing and a couple more. So when you shop around it will help you see the difference between products and help you find whatever meets your standards.

  37. Kelly C says:

    I never really know what to look for on the label since I know some companies claim to be green or organic but then include ingredients that are harmful. What are the worst offenders to look for?

  38. Kelly C says:

    I’m vegan and I try my best to avoid all animal products in a product. If it has the cruelty free symbol on it like leaping bunny does that mean it doesn’t contain animal ingredients or just that it wasn’t tested on them?

  39. I find it so difficult to read the labels. Something that sounds so innocent can be so not innocent. I don’t know which is worse, putting on suntan lotion or not putting it on. And don’t get me started on shampoos.

    Are there any easy rules of thumb when looking at labels? Thanks for giving so generously.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

  40. I really rather enjoy their soaps.

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