Wednesday, 13 March 2013

'Kitchen Cosmetics' project

Over the coming weeks, 3D Design and Sustainable Design graduate Lenya Paikkou will be sharing her past University projects with us.

Everyday we put toxins on our face... surely that's crazy?!

My 'Kitchen Cosmetics' project will enable you to enjoy the small luxury of putting make-up on whilst keeping you, your skin, planet and society healthy & happy. The project has two messages to deliver:

1. To make people think about the chemicals they put on their faces, skin and back into the environment;
2. To show that one does not have to sacrifice everything society classes as a ‘luxury’ in order to live a 'sustainable life'... the only change is in how one attains that luxury and what that luxury signifies.

Researching into the ingredients of the make-up products in common usage today seriously scared me. Some companies still use Mercury – but don't we shake our heads in wonder at ancient peoples for using something so foolishly dangerous?

Lead acetate, formaldehyde, petroleum distillates/ byproducts, coal tar, nano particles such as zinc oxide (particles so ‘nano’ they penetrate into your body and blood stream) ‘fragrance’ (i.e. camouflage) – a whole mixture of bad stuff. However, due to a loop hole somewhere, companies do not have to state what they include in this 'fragrance'- and this is just a small list that continued to scare me.
I found a database of the bad stuff – - and the fear increased. I looked into natural cosmetics and found there were too many instances where these materials were being used.  In fairness, many of them are natural ingredients – however, the fact remains that prolonged exposure to them could start to cause health problems.

So, after a few nightmares about my skin and eyes disintegrating (and I do not wear much make-up at all) I started experimenting with flour, oils, egg shells, fruit and vegetables, varying temperatures, refrigeration, infusions...

I finally came to the conclusion that pulped up vegetable peelings, with a drop of grapefruit seed extract whilst stored in the fridge, gave exceptional results. The oil kept the pulp as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Turkey and surrounding European countries appear to be the closest provider of this oil.

My finished project

The containers are turned wooden pots, from reclaimed wood, and hemp muslin bags are presented in an egg box. As the make-up needs to be kept in the fridge, putting it in an egg box gave it a sense of natural belonging tucked between cold meats and fruit corners. Putting vegetables on your cheeks is a new enough concept – let’s make the transition as easy as possible!

Beetroot, carrots, strawberries, spinach, blueberries and raspberries gave the best results for colours on the lips, eyelids and cheeks, acting as blusher, lipstick and eye shadow. Used tea bags provided good results for a foundation – the user must match the colour needed to the strength of the tea.

To find out how safe the products you use are, visit This database lists the ingredients and safety level of over 79,000 cosmetic products.

By Action 21 volunteer Lenya Paikkou