Consumer products for hair, makeup, and personal care are surprisingly
toxic. The EPA only restricts those products that are proven harmful,
rather than require that the products be safe.*
While beauty enhancers and body lotions were for centuries made
from natural ingredients, they are now composed of chemicals and
synthetics that are potential irritants and even carcinogens. Further,
the packaging is often excessive. For most naturalistic films, the
makeup will be minimal; serving only to enhance the actor's features,
accent the eyes and lips and keep the hair in place. When this is
the case, you can use natural "cruelty free" makeups.
MAKEUP means that animals were not subjected
to tests that determine the safety of the product.
These tests, which most notoriously include the administering of
lipsticks and hair gels to rabbits' eyes to determine toxicity level,
are falling out of fashion due to public pressure. Still there are
companies that continue to use these tests, in' order to assure
legal protection against lawsuits. Avoid their products.
• Ask your current makeup dealer what they have heard about
cruelty free film-and TV makeup. Some Hollywood productions, notably
episodes of Columbo, have gone
• Eco-Heart is an L.A.-based organization
that has extensive information on: cruelty free professional makeup
for film, TV, and stage.
HAIR: Hairsprays contain plastics, formaldehyde,
and/artificial perfumes, and so should be used sparingly and kept
out of the eyes and face.
• Find hairsprays that come in pump-style dispensers. Avoid
aerosol spray cans. They are resource intensive.
• Hair gels are preferable to mousses because they come in
tubes or jars instead of aerosol cans.
• Dye hair with natural ingredients like
NATURAL SHAMPOOS AND CONDITIONERS: While national
brand name products continue to use chemicals and carcinogenic dyes
in their products, there are dozens of natural hair care products
on the market today that are not tested on animals and are better
SHAVING AND SHAVING CREAMS: Americans throw away
2 billion plastic razors each year. Try a-permanent
razor, and lather from a dish. Avoid aerosol shaving creams.
PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
There are a number of body lotions,' creams, soaps, shampoos that
are cruelty-free and use healthy 'and natural ingredients. All are
worth investigating. Some natural products contain animal ingredients
like musk and mink oils, collagen and placenta, and you may wish
to avoid these products, if you are trying the vegetarian approach
to personal care.
SUNSCREEN: There are sun screens made with natural
ingredients, and most are cruelty-free. If you are shooting outdoors
every day for five weeks, you will want to protect yourself from
the sun. The incidence, of skin cancer is expected to rise dramatically
in the coming years due to the hole in our protective ozone layer,
and even average exposure may eventually cause you trouble.
BUG SPRAYS: There are natural alternatives to insect
repellents; These products combine natural oils and garlic to repel
• Lethal to bugs are the sprays composed of natural herbs
• Be aware that some perfumes and scented lotions attract
SPECIAL MAKEUP AND EFFECTS
In the realm of special effects and horror makeup, there are few
environmental alternatives. The rubbers, resins, and solvents used
to make age effects, monster heads, exploding body parts, mutilations,
scars, deformities, and so on are highly toxic materials and should
be treated with care.
A WONDERFUL SOURCEBOOK on the subject is Special Makeup
Effects by Vincent J-R Kehoe (Boston, Focal Press: 1991). In it
he describes in detail the techniques, materials, and hazards of
film and TV makeup.