Makeup Artistry & Photography

Archive for February, 2011

The hard and dirty truth…

Today, I wanted to talk about something that I’ve recently discovered…well, let’s be honest, I always had a feeling that there were bad things in there…and the smell never made me think of holistic, natural ingredients…but I had NO idea how bad the ingredients actually are.  What am I ranting about, you ask?  Nail polish, cuticle oils and nail strengtheners.

I have always had weak, brittle nails, and was looking for a solution that would actually work (rather than all those partially-used bottles of crap I have clogging up my bathroom drawer).  I had noticed a friend’s nails, and asked her what she used to keep them so beautiful, long and natural.  She told me about a nail strengthener that she had been using, and she swore that it was responsible for helping her nails grow and stay in one piece. I was all ready to buy the product online, and then the little health freak deep down inside me told me to look up the ingredients before I clicked ‘checkout’.  WELL…let me tell you that I am really freakin’ glad I did!  The first thing listed was formaldehyde!  Seriously?  We are using this in health and beauty products now???  As far as I was aware, formaldehyde was for embalming dead bodies…flashbacks of my cadaver lab from university were swarming my head.  Yuck! Then I continued down the list and found many more chemicals that were supposedly really, REALLY bad for us.  The main culprits included the following.

  1. Formaldehyde – found to be a carcinogen and a common indoor air pollutant; caused cancer in the nose and throats of lab animals; used to help bond the layers of the nail plate together to increase overall strength of the nail.
  2. Toluene – found to be a human reproductive and developmental toxin, as well as cause liver damage and skin irritation; has been linked to birth defects in lab animals; it is a common solvent that is able to dissolve lacquers and helps to keep nail products from thickening.
  3. Dibutyl Phthalate – known to affect hormone function; has been linked to early puberty in girls and low sperm count in men; phthalates are considered harmful to a developing fetus and the male testes; its use in cosmetic products has been banned in the European Union and is listed as a suspected teratogen in the United States; it is used as a solvent for dyes and as a plasticizer that prevents nail polishes from becoming brittle

These are just the most common and most widely recognized toxic ingredients in nail products, but if you want to really freak yourself out, check out This site allows you to search your specific nail or cosmetic product, and it will list out all the bad and scary ingredients; it also rates the overall toxicity of the product on a 1-10 rating scale.

Now, before you go and throw out all your nail products, it’s always important to take information like this and decide what you’re going to do with it to fit into your own, personal lifestyle.  It is also important to remember the motto of “everything in moderation”; assuming you don’t bathe in your nail polishes, occasional use of a fabulous colour is most likely not going to result in all the awful outcomes listed above.

The main point I would like to make today is to be well educated when picking out your cosmetic products.  The world of cosmetics is still somewhat unregulated, especially in Canada, and we all need to be aware of the possible ingredients in these products, as well as the potential negative health effects.

As well, when you’re trying to decide whether to use a product you know has ‘bad’ ingredients in it, think about the routine of use.  For example, a once-monthly use of a colour polish for a night out is probably not going to lead to any long-term health problems; however, daily use of a nail strengthener full of formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalates is probably not the best idea.  A tip – daily application of a natural oil (almond, jojoba, Vitamin E, rice bran etc.) can significantly improve your overall cuticle and nail health.  I personally love Solar Oil; I keep it in my coffee table drawer, and apply it to my bare nails every time I’m being lazy on the couch.  So far so good!

Here’s to a happy and healthy March!


Aimee & Andrew. . . and their “bun”

London ONtario Maternity PhotographyEver since Andrew and Aimee found out that they were expecting, they have affectionately called the growing baby their “bun” (as in bun-in-the-oven!)  They have held out on finding out whether they are having a boy or a girl, so rather than saying “him” or “her,” the baby has remained “the bun!”  I think it’s absolutely adorable, and it is so amazing to see how unbelievably excited these two are to welcome their little one into the world. Only a few weeks away now!! 

I hope the photos help to capture all the emotions that these two are feeling in the few weeks left before the baby arrives; the excitment, the love, and even a little bit of awe. . .

Mary & Rob’s Downtown London Engagement Photos

Mary and Rob are a couple full of life and energy! These two are always smiling and laughing and are so much fun to be around!! When they first met, they instantly connected with eachother through their mutal love of being active! They love to run and play sports and nuture their child-like spirits!  Some of their first dates were on the skating rink, so they thought it would be fun to relive those memories and snap a few engagement shots on the ice at Victoria Park in downtown London.

Here are a few of my favourites from the day!