take an exclusive look at 'riposte' #7, featuring an essay by sleigh bells’s alexis krauss

'Riposte' dedicated its seventh issue to “inspiring, badass women” and shining a spotlight on some of the world’s most critical issues. Here, Sleigh Bells's fearless frontwoman Alexis Krauss exclusively shares her essay 'Toxic Beauty,' a call to arms...

by i-D Staff
18 November 2016, 3:00pm

Riposte Magazine Riposte

— a self-described "smart magazine for women" — and its team, headed up by Editor-in-Chief Danielle Pender, is on the rise. hosts monthly talks in east London's Town Hall hotel to discuss everything from publishing, tech and, innovation to food and drink. In its three years on newsstands, the magazine has evolved into a must-have collection of diverse subjects and stories that perfectly encapsulate the narrative of modern women. Having already featured stylist Anna Trevelyan, designer and artist Claire Barrow, and makeup artist and illustrator Isamaya Ffrench on Riposte's cover, Pender enlisted the stunning cellist and singer Kelsey Lu to front the seventh issue. 

"Lu felt like the perfect cover star because not only is her music incredibly beautiful, her own story is really moving," says Pender. "In her interview she talks about growing up in what she describes as a religious cult and her experience as a black woman living in America. There's a lot of trauma in her past but she also has an amazingly positive outlook and lust for life." Elsewhere in the magazine, the issue delves into race, abortion, politics, addiction, and war; a decided response to a particularly volatile 2016. After becoming aware of Alexis Krauss' sustainable beauty blog, Pender reached out to the Sleigh Bells frontwoman to contribute an essay about the toxic products making the beauty industry millions. "It was a real light bulb moment for me. We're all so aware of what's in the food we eat and the need for greater sustainability in the fashion industry, but the contents of our beauty products very rarely come under scrutiny. We're more bothered about whether it'll actually make us look younger or more beautiful," she explains.

An exclusive first look of "Toxic Beauty," Krauss's essay from Riposte #7 can be found below. Interviews from the likes of Sophia Amoruso, Paloma Elsesser, Betty Reid Soskin, and the cover story featuring Kelsey Lu can are all in Riposte #7, available here.

Adrian Samson

Toxic Beauty by Alexis Krauss

This question changed my life:

"Can you name one ingredient in any of the cosmetics you use every day?"

I stopped. My mind went blank. Could I really not name a single ingredient? I started tallying up all the products I used on a daily basis, from my shampoo to my foundation. What was in my mascara? I had no clue. This couldn't be good. After all, I knew exactly what was in the food I ate. For years I had made a concerted effort to eat whole, healthy, dominantly plant-based foods, and I had no idea what I was putting on my skin everyday? I was a complete hypocrite. I had to get educated.

I started researching personal care product formulations and was shocked by what I learned. There were polluting petroleum-based microplastics in my face wash, hormone disrupting preservatives in my body lotion, heavy metals in my deodorant, sulfates in my shampoo. My fragrance was a proprietary blend of harsh synthetic chemicals protected by an outdated Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling loophole. It was insane!

I realized that if I knew so little about the toxins lurking behind my beauty routine, chances were that most women were also being duped by slick, cosmetic marketing masterminds. The multi-billion dollar conventional beauty industry spends a lot of time convincing you how well their products work, how young they'll make you look, how glamorous your life will be wearing them — but they rarely disclose information about the formulations behind their products. In the United States the FDA does little to regulate cosmetics. Only 11 chemicals have been banned from use in US cosmetics, over 1,000 have been banned in Europe. Chemicals including parabens and phthalates have been linked to cancer, hormone disorders, and fertility issues. The toxins have been found to accumulate in our bloodstream and body tissue, resulting in a worrying burden for women who use multiple skincare and beauty products each day.

Determined to educate consumers and makeover the beauty industry, I launched Beauty Lies Truth with my partner in clean beauty activism, Jessica Assaf. Clean beauty is about much more than just looking good. It's about understanding that our actions as consumers have consequences that impact our health and the health of our planet. Clean beauty is also a movement to empower women. Whether it's the women shea butter producers in Ghana working hard to produce one of the world's best natural moisturizers, or the innovative entrepreneurs discovering alternative cosmetic formulations in their kitchens — clean beauty is an industry run largely by women. These women are changing the way consumers think about beauty and exercising a tremendous influence on mainstream beauty corporations. They are also fighting for potentially transformational cosmetic safety legislation.

Over the years, followers of the blog have asked me about the best ways to clean up their beauty routine. There are many effective approaches, but I suggest starting one ingredient at a time. Thanks to organizations like the Environmental Working Group, brilliant companies like Beautycounter, and blogs like Well + Good, there is a wealth of information out there about which ingredients you should eliminate from your daily routine. Making the switch to a cleaner routine can feel overwhelming at first, but it needn't be. Taking back control of your body can be a powerful act for positive change.

Adrian Samson

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