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This blogger’s birthday is September 1st! I’m turning 22, which is one of my favourite numbers, and is probably going to be one of my best birthdays *knock on wood* because it’s going to be spent with my beautiful Jaime, my first birthday spent with her! Happy day!

We’ve decided for my birthday weekend, we’re going to go to a spa together, indulge in a couple’s massage and pedicure, followed by facials, then go shopping in downtown Victoria and have dinner at Bon Rouge, which has a positively scrummy menu, including French onion soup, steak frites, apple tarte tatin and lemon cheesecake. I’m an extremely decadent person, in case you didn’t notice. When you have strong senses, you like to indulge them.

I am hoping that homophobia and transphobia will not rain on our parade, especially at the spa. I doubt it will though, for some reason, people in beauty-related fields have been the quickest to accept queer couples and trans people in my experience. But another issue is that Jaime and I are going to have a hard time reading a menu at a spa that includes “chakra healing”, “aura cleansing”, “reiki”, and “Ayurvedic medicine” without giggling. Woo, especially woo related to appropriating the traditions and practices of people in Asia, is quite popular at spas and beauty salons. I usually am willing to overlook it, because I love being pampered, and I think this particular woo is harmless, albeit it must sucker a lot of women with too much money and trust in Sanskrit terminology out of $200-$500. Jaime though, is a lot more skeptical, having never been to a spa. I am of the school that since we are not purchasing packages that include gem therapy or aura cleansing, I see no reason why we can’t frequent the spa, and stick to treatments which appeal to us. This particular spa looks the most professional, has a reasonable price range, glowing reviews, and strives to be as environmentally friendly as possible. That’s worth dealing with plugging things we do not believe in.

That pretty much characterizes my whole experience with synthesizing my skeptical outlook with practices in the beauty industry that I find woo-y or unscientific. A lot of beauty companies whose products I enjoy, for example, rely on gimmicks like being “chemical free!” (no such thing, everything is made of chemicals) or offering “cleansing” or “purifying from toxins” (You only really need that if you worked as a steelmill employee or were unfortunate enough to swim in Minamata Bay circa 1956) One of them, Korres, which makes a delightfully velvety yoghurt moisturizer perfect for winter, started out as a Greek homeopathic pharmacy. Snort.

I’m interested in what my fellow skeptical beauty lovers have to say about this subject. Do you have a system or a set of ground rules on what you will tolerate when it comes to woo in the beauty industry? Do you have any allergies, insensitivities, or sensory issues which you have to use the “natural” products for, and if so, which ones are your favourite? I am a big fan of LUSH of course, and I also love Jane Iredale’s make up, Gourmet Body Treats, Eminence, Korres, Juice Beauty, Pangea Organics, Raw Natural Beauty, Boscia, Kiss My Face, Alba, Dr.Hauschka, Avalon Organics, Alterna, and John Masters. I draw the line at ones which partake in Greenwashing, ones which promote dangerous woo, such as fad diets, or ones that participate in body shaming (Which is why I stopped using Bliss, even though their lemon sage shampoo was great, their “fat girl slim” anti-cellulite cream was a failure on so many levels) What about you?