Daily Archives: February 21, 2009

Skin Food – What’s in my beauty products? (alternative title: skin terrorists)

posted by ebean

I searched far and wide for skin care recipes that I could make at home and was totally overwhelmed.  From oat and honey this to egg whites that I had to wonder if someone was playing a practical joke on unsuspecting beauty tree huggers.  Until I was ready to pick my poison, I thought, why not go see what I can buy, figure out what they are putting in and why, and maybe this would give me a little direction.  Here is what I found.

Freeman’s Feeling Beautiful Facial Clay Mask Avocado & Oatmeal
At only $3.99, the price is right, but what about the ingredients?  The package boasts that the mask will “purge pores, firm and smooth skin” and that it “contains natural ingredients”.  The ripe avocado on the product’s front side lures me in…  But if I’ve learned anything from my adventures in eating it is this: natural doesn’t mean what we think it means.  As we will discover, yes, the product does contain natural ingredients, among other less friendly…stuff.

Note:  This is on my face as I write this.


  • Water
  • Hydroxyethyl cellulose:  A thickening agent derived from cellulose.  Seems to be plant-based.  Read more.
  • Tertra sodium edta:  A water softener.  Prolonged contact may cause irritation.  Tested on animals and in REALLY obscenely large doses, could kill you.
  • Bentonite:  Clay from volcanic ash.  Is sometimes eaten as a digestive cleanse.  Can block pores and cause other nasty stuff.
  • Glycerin:  Prevents dryness.  Can come from animal lard or plants. (The product did not specify!)
  • Propylene Glycol:  Alcohol.  Can cause allergic reactions, is “generally regarded as safe” because of its low levels of toxicity.  Hello – – that means it is still toxic!  Is also commonly used in antifreeze.  May cause backaches, among other physical reactionsOne site notes that “The Material Safety Data Sheet warns users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.”

Note: I’m going to wash this stuff off now…

  • Methylparaben:  antifungal and preservative used in food and cosmetics derived from Benzoin tree gum.  Parabens are being linked to cancer.
  • Titanium dioxide:  White pigment and sunscreen.  Possible link to cancer.
  • Kaolin:  Clay mineral.  Used in paint to extend titanium dioxide.  Astringent.

    Can I recycle this?

    Can I recycle this?

Let’s stop there. I’ve listed just 9 of 35 ingredients in this product and am completely disgusted.  Way to be sleazy Freeman!  Using the exquisite innocence of clay, oatmeal, and avocado to sell your foul product — you should be ashamed!

The Principal Teachings of Buddhism ~ Asian Classics Institute Course I

posted by seabean

Begins Wednesday, February 25th, 7:30-9pm, 12 weeks.

Je TsongkapaThis is the first in a series of Formal Study Courses that cover the basic core of information that a Geshe (Doctor of Philosophy) learns over 20 years at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.  The essence of the Six Great Books of Buddhism has been condensed into 18 ACI Formal Study Courses, which are designed as a a teacher training program.

Course 1:  The Principal Teachings of Buddhism, provides an overview of the entire Buddhist path and all subsequent Courses elaborate upon the ideas presented here.  It is based upon The Three Principal Paths (Lamtso Namsum) by Je Tsongkapa (1357-1419), with the commentary of Pabongka Rinpoche (1878-1941).  Topics  include: what is a qualified teacher, how to take a lama, what is Buddha nature, what is authentic Dharma, what are samsara and renunciation, the principles of karma, the problems of human life, bodhichitta and its benefits, how to generate bodhichitta, the two levels of reality, what is the correct view of emptiness according to each of the four schools of thought, and the relationship between karma and emptiness.

Teacher:  John Stilwell
Location:  The Three Jewels, NYC. 61 4th Avenue, 3rd Floor
Contact:  threejewels.nyc@gmail.com to register.  Registration is completely free, but donations are encouraged.

For more information about The Three Jewels NYC, visit www.threejewels.org.