Credit: Louise Lister
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From the times of ancient Egypt, when Cleopatra outlined her eyes with kohl, women have used make-up as a means of enhancing their features.
But where our ancestors once used natural ingredients such as herbs, roots, essential oils, flowers and minerals, today's cosmetics are often more likely to contain a cocktail of chemicals that sound like they'd be better suited to a plastics laboratory.
Unfortunately, you're just as likely to be putting petrochemicals, preservatives, parabens and paraffin on your face as you are to be putting them in your petrol tank - in fact, it's estimated that the average woman will swallow approximately two kilograms of petroleum in her lifetime just from wearing lipstick.
If that's not enough to make the cosmetics industry seem decidedly ugly, the list of environmentally hazardous ingredients certainly is.
Even the non-petrochemical components can have you reaching for the cleanser.
Palm oil for example, an ingredient you're likely to find in soap, moisturiser and lipstick, takes a significant toll on rainforest wildlife such as orang-utans in Borneo and Sumatra, while 'lanolin' and 'carmine' sound innocuous, but are actually animal by-products (of sheep and insects respectively).
Incredibly, the preservative BHA - which you'll find in many cosmetics, most commonly lipstick and eyeshadow - has not only been proven to bioaccumulate in the tissues of organisms and in aquatic ecosystems, but is, according to the US National Institute of Health, "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen".
Add in the still-common practice of animal testing and the use of crude oil derivatives in everything, and you've got yourself a devastating equation.
Thanks to a growing number of ethical cosmetics companies and a rising awareness of the need for sustainability, there is a middle ground between going au naturel and having a bathroom cabinet full of environmentally damaging products.
Mineral make-up is different from its conventional cousin for a number of reasons, but the most obvious is in its name - it's made entirely from crushed, sterilised minerals.