Clean Beauty, My Way | Jennifer Torres

Clean, like natural, is sometimes a difficult word to define in the beauty industry. We know it means free of certain ingredients like parabens and phthalates, but to many of us, it means much more. To Jane, “clean beauty” encompasses more than just the ingredients she includes and does not include in the jane iredale products, it’s also about how our products help improve the health of your skin and how the company impacts our environment. 

In the series “Clean Beauty, My Way,” we speak with other people to understand what clean beauty means to them and how they include a clean lifestyle into their daily routines. Meet author Jennifer Torres, this is here clean beauty story.

A Clean Beauty Story

By Jennifer Torres

Author Jennifer Torres headshotI have an aunt, my Tía Tricia, who is not very much older than I am. Every now and then, when I was young, she would give me a ride to school, and on those lucky mornings, I got to watch her put on her makeup.

I remember her leaning over the bathroom sink in my grandma’s house, blinking as she swiped a layer of inky mascara over her eyelashes. I remember her dusting pink blush over her cheeks and nose. I remember passing her a Kleenex to blot her berry-stain lipstick.

And I remember wishing—as she zipped her makeup bag shut and nodded at the mirror with one last, confidently satisfied glance—that it wasn’t over so soon. That I could just keep watching her.

I was fascinated, of course, by my tía’s breezy sophistication. By all the little bottles and brushes that rattled around her bag like magical charms. But, even then, I think I understood that it wasn’t the makeup that made her beautiful. That, for all their shimmer, the lipstick and the blush, the eyeshadow and mascara, the powders and the creams had no magic on their own. They were simply the tools (albeit enchanting tools) of her own deliberate self-expression.

And so what really captivated my attention—what made me wish I could be just like her someday—was the way she invented herself every morning. The way she looked into that bathroom mirror and decided who she would be when she stepped out into the world. To me, that’s what clean beauty represents: A choice. Honest, unvarnished, and determined.

My new novel for young readers, The Fresh New Face of Griselda, opens with a quote from the late Lady Bird Johnson, 36th First Lady of the United States: “Beautification to my mind is far more than a matter of cosmetics.”

That’s a lesson my Tía Tricia taught me all those mornings before the drive to school. The memory of her making herself up, still sunny and vivid years and years later, inspired one of my favorite scenes in the book. In it, 12-year-old Griselda watches as her big sister Maribel, fierce and unstoppable, does her makeup in the foggy mirror of a hotel bathroom: “She dusts rosy blush over her cheeks and nose, then lines her eyelids with a charcoal-colored pencil.”

The moment reminds me—as I hope it will remind readers—that when we make ourselves up, we can do so in every sense of the phrase.

What’s Your Clean Beauty Story?

Tell us what clean beauty means to you in the comments below.


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