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Bare Necessities

Taking It All Off


Bare Necessities

Here's the skinny on gentle, natural cleansers and makeup removers that won't strip you of your natural beauty.

Makeup artists, manicurists, and hair geniuses do a fabulous job dressing up our looks with the latest innovations in beauty products, but at some point it all has to come off. Here’s the skinny on gentle cleansers that won’t strip you of your natural beauty.

No matter how late the party or how tired the bones, makeup must come off at the end of the day–otherwise you could greet the morning with sore eyes and a few pimples.

Face off

To gently remove eye makeup (including mascara) from normal to dry skin, apply organic olive oil or jojoba oil to face, eye area, and lashes, being careful to avoid eyes (see sidebar for a remover you can make at home). Oily skin will benefit from soap-free cleansing milks containing natural fruit oils, rosemary, and lavender.

With an upward circular motion, use a cotton face cloth and warm water to easily remove the traces of the day. An added bonus? The cloth gently exfoliates, leaving skin glowing. Pat dry and follow with an appropriate moisturizer for your skin type.


Adding a tint to fingertips and toenails helps create a polished look, but chipped and fading colour spells neglect. To remove lacquer without stripping nails of precious moisture—and to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals—opt for polish removers created with nonpetroleum-based ingredients. Since polish remover is readily biodegradable, it won’t harm the environment.

Apply the remover and allow it to remain on nails for a few minutes before wiping it off. Be prepared to do a bit more scrubbing than you are used to with conventional removers.

To avoid damaging nails, wear polish no longer than a week and go polish-free for a few days to prevent yellowing. Some natural removers can remove conventional nail polish, but choosing water-based nail polishes will give you beautiful nails without potentially ugly health consequences.

Nail tip: A clear base coat helps prevent nail staining.

Tress relief

If you gel it, pomade it, or spritz it, you need to be sure to clean it. Product residue makes hair limp, lifeless, and prone to breakage. Buildup removers are key not only for those who use hair products but also for those who colour their hair, swim in chlorinated water, or don’t use shower filters.

Apply a product containing inosositol (not to be confused with inositol), a natural chelating agent derived from apple. Inosositol binds with chlorine and metals such as copper and iron that can cause split ends, dullness, and a shorter lifespan for colour-treated hair. Shampoo afterward to wash buildup down the drain. Follow with your favourite conditioner.

Revealing your natural beauty at day’s end is a breeze with safe alternatives that cleanse and nourish. 

Make your own safe remover

Keep a small spray bottle of olive or jojoba oil in the bathroom with some organic cotton pads. When it’s time to remove your eye makeup, simply spritz the cotton pad with some oil and dab gently onto eye area. Use a clean, dry cotton pad to dry off the area and remove eye makeup. Then use facial cleanser to wash your entire face and remove any final traces of oil.

Toxins in makeup removers

The Skin Deep Report, a safety review of cosmetics published annually by the Washingon-based Environmental Working Group, revealed the following:

  • 33% of personal care products were linked to cancer
  • 45% of personal care products were potentially harmful to the reproductive system or fetal development
  • 60% of personal care products could act like estrogens or disrupt hormones

Conventional makeup removers, for instance, can contain neurotoxins and carcinogens, such as propylene glycol, coal tar colours, and 1,4-dioxane. Use natural oils to take off your eye makeup instead.



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