Healthy Homemade Makeup & Skin Care by Chryso D'Angelo, November 13 2013, 1 Comment

Face it. Choosing the wrong makeup or skin care product can cause breakouts, blotches, and dryness. But forget about what’s visible. If the beauty products you’re using are wreaking that much havoc on the surface, what could be happening beneath the skin? And how is it affecting your body?

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the federal Food and Drug Administration reports that, “1 in 5 cosmetic products contain a substance that generates formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.”

As early as November 8, 2013, the EWG also reported that, “two cosmetic industry giants put preservatives in products that have been linked to cancer and reproductive health problems.”

Linda Stein, owner of Zosimos Botanicals, knows a thing or two about harmful beauty products.

“My sister has always had a compromised immune system and had to have all of her personal care products made by a dermatologist,” says Stein, who has also had trouble with makeup.

“I couldn’t wear any eye pencil except kohl because it irritated my eyes,” she says. “I had really sensitive skin that would get crusty and swollen.”

In 2004, a friend taught the then-lawyer how to make her own eye pencils. “I learned how ingredients contribute to a product; what makes something harder or softer, etc.,” says Stein. “The first thing I made myself was an evergreen eye pencil.”

Eventually, Stein began sharing with her sister and her friends. “My colleagues wanted m
akeup to match their clothes so I started making pencils in different colors for them,” she says.

Before long, she converted her basement into a studio. “I left the law office for lipstick,” she jokes. And she hasn’t looked back. Stein is now the CEO/Formulator of Zosimos Botanicals LLC.

“I hold my products to a very high standard,” says Stein. “They contain only natural and organic ingredients and everything is made by hand when it’s ordered.”

Stein is as proud of the ingredients she doesn’t include in her products. “We don’t use any chemicals or irritants,” she says. “We don’t use titanium dioxide, petroleum derivatives, talc, bismuth oxychloride, triclosan, parabens, phthalates, FD and C colorants, or nano particles (those are so small, they can lodge into your DNA and not come out).”

Today, Zosimos Botanicals LLC sells a wide variety
of products, including facial creams and serums, face washes, lipsticks, eye shadows, shower gels and makeup remover (my fave).

The studio is chock full of raw materials like soy wax, organic jojoba oil and mica powder. “It’s all stored in mason jars so we have bookcases lining the walls like an apothecary,” says Stein.

But the business is not just about the products. “The life cycle of our operation is green,” says Stein. “We don’t use machinery; we make it all by hand. What goes down the drain doe
sn’t harm the ground water. All of the furniture in the studio is repurposed and the packing material is reused. We also teach people how to read labels and avoid toxins,” says Stein.

Zosimos Botanicals LLC also gives one percent of its gross profit away. The company helps support Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, which rescues abused farm animals, The Mid S
hore River Keepers Society, which aids Maryland Rivers, Citizens of Denali National Park, and Reef Check.

And Stein’s hard work has not gone unrecognized. As a result of her dedication to eco-friendly practices, Zosimos Botanicals LLC is a 2009 and 2010 Environmental Award winner and a Green America approved business. In 2010, she was one of the "Women in Green Technology" profiled b
y HerStartup in an e-book inspiring women to venture into the field.

“I’m really proud of the awards we’ve won,” Stein says. “I grew into this lifestyle. My view about life has definitely changed and I’m really happy about that. When I was a lawyer, people didn’t thank me for what I did. But now, we get letters with messages like, ‘I’m so glad I found you. I wasn’t able to wear lipstick because my lips would break out and now I can.’ That’s why I do this. If I wanted to make a lot of money, I would have just continued being a lawyer. It’s really not about that. I’m trying to build a community.”

And what a community it is. To date, Zosimos Botanicals LLC ships to every state in the U.S. and about sixty countries.