Makeup is all about enhancing beauty, and if it is a painting by beauty products, it is actually reflecting your beauty in its frame.
Many people ask me if it is safe to work with expired cosmetics. We usually don’t realize that it may cause many problems. If it is just one or two products to work with, the effects may be negligible, and of course, washing hands will prevent us from the possible irritations. But I get to work with huge amounts of discarded cosmetics, here I am talking about big boxes and bags of cosmetics weighing kilos, collected from individuals, beauticians, and small-scale cosmetic dealers, etc. Not all of that is clean, germ-free, and sorted.
After bulk collection, when I put it on the table, the discarded stock contains melting, sticky, broken products, with the cosmetic material oozing out of the mixed bottles, palettes, and tubes. According to recent researches, there are more than 126 types of chemicals released in waste due to the wrong disposal of cosmetics. BHA & BHT, DBP, Triclosan, Siloxanes are just a few of them. Many chemicals cause severe irritation to the skin and therefore, these waste products are needed to be used with great care. I try to make sure that while working for the safety of the planet, I also keep in mind the safety of my own self. Hence, I take several steps before working on my paintings:
- I wear my gloves and maintain a fair distance so that I don’t inhale any particles.
- I segregate the products. clean them and wipe off the unwanted material and discard it safely, making the process and the final product (i.e Artientifique painting) very safe and hazard-free.
- For creating environment-friendly and unique paintings, I have my own tools for extracting materials, upcycling the product, and I don’t mix them with my other sets of paintbrushes or other tools.
- The beauty waste products are kept in a dry place, away from direct sunlight and high temperatures, as they are suspected to produce bad smell or melt further, creating a mess in the box/bag where I keep them.
- After finishing my paintings, I clean the whole place to make sure there are no cosmetic residues/leftovers on the table.
Now you might be thinking, why am I still using discarded cosmetics as my paint medium, knowing the harmful effects of the chemicals? When I started makeup painting in my school days, the only aim was to figure out a way to solve the unseen challenge of cosmetic pollution, do whatever I can to save our oceans, even if it is something that sounds simple as a painting. If I am able to save even one fish from getting sick and dying, it will be an achievement for me.
I take all the necessary steps to stay safe while working, that doesn’t mean at all that the final product is not safe, or other artists can’t join me in makeup painting. If we ensure that the segregation is done properly, and the products are cleaned before use and within the conversion process, then you are good to go!”