Could Your Makeup Be Causing

Makeup and Headaches, Part Two

A few years ago, I wrote a post about one of the headache triggers I had finally figured out. The culprit was my makeup. As I did more research, I found out that I wasn’t necessarily alone when it came to makeup and headaches going hand in hand, but it’s not something that gets talked about a lot. Still, even a few years later.

Normally, I’d link you to my original post, especially since it had a nifty recipe for making your own mineral foundation. But alas! The Great Data Loss of 2016 occurred, and there is no more link. But I still get a lot of search hits on the topic, so there are still folks affected by this.

makeup and headaches


So, What’s the Connection Between Makeup and Headaches?

Good question. It seems to vary from person to person. But here’s what I can tell you that I learned that worked for ME.

There’s a lot of crap in makeup. (Big secret, I know.) But there is. Unless you react to it, you probably don’t think about it.

The one ingredient that I found in common in forums and blog posts with people who had headaches and migraines when they used makeup, like I did, was bismuth oxychloride.

Bismuth oxychloride is really, really prevalent in makeup. Particularly in mineral makeup, oddly enough. Often people with sensitive skin react to bismuth oxychloride because it’s “poky,” according to Paula. Nobody seems to talk about the fact that it can be a migraine trigger. But Paula’s site *does* mention that “bismuth oxychloride nanoparticles appear to have a negative effect on human skin cells.” [from the link at the beginning of this paragraph.]

I narrowed it down to a cause of my own migraines by hunting down makeup that didn’t have it and putting it on. When I wore makeup that included bismuth oxychloride, I would get a migraine within an hour of putting it on. The headache would usually go away shortly after I would remove the makeup, even if the headache hadn’t responded to other solutions.

When I wore makeup that didn’t include bismuth oxychloride? No migraine. That’s scientific enough for me, honestly.

It’s clearly something that is a factor in my own migraines and headaches, so I have banished it from my makeup bag.

Is That It?

Yanno, it could be. It really could. But then there was that lawsuit involving Johnson & Johnson and talc and the fact that they’ve known for a long time that talc causes cervical cancer and other health problems.

Hmmm. There’s a crapload of talc in makeup.

Paula says that talc is groovy. In fact, a LOT of people say that talc is groovy. But I’m looking to take iffy stuff out of my life and, for me, talc is crazy iffy.

Plus, although it doesn’t seem to irritate lots of people, I have noticed that some eyeshadows are more irritating to me than others. So I recently went in search of talc-free versions, and guess what? No more sensitivity when I wear eyeshadow. How about that?

Again, I’m not saying that this is the same for everyone. It’s what’s worked for me. Your Mileage May Vary Significantly. Or this might help you narrow down some stuff that’s irritating you. Who knows, right?

Here’s another tidbit, though. I’ve heard several smaller manufacturers, who don’t use talc, talk about what they do use (mica) and the fact that in the quantities that they use, the two ingredients are similar in cost. So it’s not money that is keeping manufacturers using talc. If you’re sensitive, just find another brand. It sucks, I know, but it’s worth it.

What Solutions Exist if You Have Issues with Makeup and Headaches?

There are a lot of solutions, actually. The first is the easiest. You don’t have to wear makeup. Radical idea, I know, but hear me out.

Plenty of times I wander around all day without a stitch of makeup on and it doesn’t bother me one whit. Maybe this is due to my *cough* advanced age of soon-to-be 45, but it’s not a huge issue to me anymore. This is my face. It exists.

Another option is to make your own mineral makeup. I did this for a little while. But I’m impatient. And I’ll be honest: If I wanted to make makeup, that’s what I’d be doing with my life. Besides, there was the whole eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara problem to contend with.

The other option is to go with makeup that other people make. That is a little all-encompassing, isn’t it? It’s kind of meant to be, though, because if you have a problem with makeup and headaches, that’s how you need to start looking at your makeup bag. You have to be ruthless about hunting down ingredient lists and sticking to the ingredients and the brands that don’t give you a migraine, no matter what shiny, sparkly, super pretty makeup starts calling to you.

So what am I using now? Because yes, although there are plenty of days that I run around bare-faced, there are plenty of other days that I actually put on makeup for the day. Coming up next I’ll share what I’ve been using, why I like it, and what else I’ve been doing to avoid headaches from my makeup.

Could Your Makeup Be Causing

The Great Data Loss Episode of 2016

When I first started this site somewhere in April of 2011, it was supposed to be a place for my random thoughts. I was writing for some content mills at the time, churning out content. So having a spot where I could just be me really seemed like a good plan. And then the Great Data Loss Episode of 2016 struck.

The problem was, I didn’t have a lot of time. And that meant that I didn’t spend a lot of time over here. Bad writer.

Some things have changed for me in the last few months. One of the biggest is that I’ve had a mindset shift in regards to my work. I’ve always felt my weekends were supposed to be sacred, but it wasn’t easy to make that happen. Now that has fallen into place. My weekends are sacred. And, it turns out, my afternoons are becoming sacred. That leaves way more time for me.

NOT the right Mercury. But isn’t this a badass car?

Then I decided it was time to stop neglecting ISW so much. I decided this during the time that Mercury went into retrograde. Ahem. Not such a good plan. Almost 200 posts. 136 pictures. Gone. Gone, gone, gone.

It was a fight just to get WordPress operational again on the domain, only to find out that none of my backups work. At all. Nice. Thanks, Mercury. (By the way, if you don’t want to jot down the dates in your calendar, this site will tell you when Mercury is in retrograde and when it isn’t. So cool.)

The thing is, I believe that everything happens for a reason. And this time around, the data loss gave me a chance to start from scratch. Build ISW into whatever I want it to be. And the truth is, I’m not the same person that I was five years ago in a lot of ways.

I’m a lot more zen now. I’m a lot more relaxed now. And there are things that I think I’m supposed to talk about here that I might not have otherwise. I’m still finding my way, but it’s going to be an adventure.

Buckle up, Buttercup. 😉

Could Your Makeup Be Causing

How I Use Peppermint Oil

Oh, peppermint. Brings to mind crisp winter days, right? Particularly now, in the dog days of summer. So let’s talk about peppermint oil.

It’s an awesome essential oil beyond that, though. Here are some of its powerful benefits:

  • Excellent for digestive issues
  • Equally excellent for pest control
  • Refreshing
  • Stimulating
  • Expectorant
  • Painkiller
  • Antiseptic
  • Relieves itching
  • Has a cooling effect
  • Induces clarity of thought
  • Helpful for: bronchitis, colds, flu, acne
  • Good for toothaches, headaches, migraines
  • Freshens breath

Whew. Quite the list, eh? Peppermint can do a lot for you, that is for sure, but there are some caveats.

You can’t use peppermint oil neat. This means undiluted. Some oils, such as lavender and tea tree, are fine to use neat, but not peppermint.

You can’t use peppermint oil if you’re pregnant. It’s a stimulating oil, and that can spell trouble if you’re pregnant.

It’s best used in moderation. Overdoing it with peppermint oil can make a good thing icky.

And finally, as I’ve said in all my recent posts about essential oils, keep them away from cats. You can use peppermint oil on dogs, but really, truly, keep them away from your cats.


Use in an Inhalation

Since peppermint oil is so fantastic for respiratory issues, I like using it in an inhalation. To do this, boil a pot of water, drop in the oil, slap a towel around you and the pot, and breathe deeply for a couple of minutes. You should get some relief pretty soon. You can also put a few drops in your bath or on the shower floor if you like.

Use in a Foot Bath

There is nothing on earth like a cooling peppermint foot soak. There’s just something about it. And if my dogs are seriously barking (that’s a euphemism, whippersnappers), a peppermint foot bath can really do the trick. I used to do this when I had to wear uncomfortable (read: any) shoes back in my day gig days. Since I’m barefoot all the time now, it’s more of a pampering deal when I do it.

Use in a Muscle Massage Oil

Ever get those nasty leg cramps? Or have fallout after a Charlie horse hits your calf? Peppermint oil diluted in a carrier oil makes a fantastic muscle rub. You can do a fairly strong dilution for this if you can stand it, because the peppermint oil gets right down there into your muscle and helps to relax everything. Heaven.

Use as a Natural Pest Repellent

I’ve been battling ants lately. I hate ants. They’re sneaky as all get out and before you know it, they’ve invited their whole famdamly into YOUR house to carry stuff off. The good news? They really hate peppermint oil. Mix about a cup or so of water with a few drops of peppermint oil or up to a teaspoon in a spray bottle. Spray your exterior threshold and wall area with the mix. They won’t want to cross over anymore, no matter how great your pantry smells.

What do you do with peppermint oil?

Could Your Makeup Be Causing

How I Use Lavender Oil

Okay, so. Yesterday we established that tea tree oil is good stuff. I’ll save us all some time at this point and get out of the way my belief that pretty much all essential oils are good stuff, for the record.

Next up on the list is lavender essential oil. If I could only have ONE essential oil in my arsenal, it would be lavender EO. Why? For starters, lavender is an adaptogen. That means that it can pretty much do whatever needs to be done in order to reintroduce balance to the body. It’s in the word itself. Lavender adapts to be and to do whatever it has to do. Isn’t that cool? I think so.

Other nifty information about lavender essential oil:

  • It’s calming, soothing, and balancing.
  • It’s antiseptic, antibacterial, and can operate as a topical painkiller for cuts, wounds, and burns.
  • It has decongestant properties.
  • It can lower blood pressure.
  • It works for skin problems, nervous system problems, tension, depression, insomnia, headaches, stress, and a whole lot more.
  • It can be used neat (without dilution).

See what I mean? Cool stuff.


Alright. So if you’ve never used lavender oil before, my advice is just use it wherever and however you want to. But if you’re really new to essential oils, you may not really know what to do. Here are some of the ways I use lavender oil.

Use it for Skin Care

The most common use that I have for lavender oil is in skin care. If I have a cut, scrape, or just a pimple, I’ll put some lavender oil on it without diluting it. Another favorite use is to mix it with oil or with aloe vera and use it as my lotion. I used to mix up batches of oils and essential oils and then use those on my face. I’m finding that I like playing it by ear, though, so I’ll put some coconut oil, argan oil, or even aloe vera in my palm, drop in a few drops of EOs that I feel called to use that day and tada…skin care for the day. Yup, pretty random.

Use it for Dogs

Yes, I meant that emphasis. Cats cannot process essential oils, so please don’t use oils on them or diffuse essential oils in the house with cats around. I used to love diffusing oils, but then I was adopted by a few cats and that took care of that. 🙂 I don’t miss diffusing oils as much as I would miss my cats, though.

When we still had Clio, I would mix in some lavender oil now and again as a rinse after her bath. It made her fur smell so good and fleas hated it so it would help repel them. You can also use lavender oil on wounds or scratches on your dog to help them heal a little bit faster.

Use it for Stress or Headache Relief

Back when I didn’t work for myself, I went through a phase when I had migraines pretty much every single day. It sucked. One trick that I tried often was to use lavender oil on my temples. Sometimes it would help with a mild migraine, but it was far more effective on a headache. If you’re sensitive to smells when you have a headache, this option might not work for you.

For stress relief, I like to put a dab of lavender on my pulse points, like you would do for perfume. Your body heats up the oil in those spots and you’re surrounded by this lovely little cloud of lavender. Heavenly. Go easy if you work around a lot of people, though, because some are sensitive to smell and may have side effects from your heavenly stress relief.

Use it Just for an Emotional Boost

Outside of stress relief, lavender can give you a tremendous happiness boost. Well, if you have bad associations with lavender it might not do the same for you, but I don’t have that problem. When I’m feeling happy, I reach for lavender. When I’m feeling a little low, I still reach for lavender. Remember that adaptogen thing? It’s pretty cool.

What do you do with lavender oil?

Could Your Makeup Be Causing

How I Use Tea Tree Oil

Do you use tea tree oil much? I do, especially lately. There’s a lot that it can do for you. To wit:

  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • antiviral
  • expectorant
  • handles inflammation
  • helps to heal wounds
  • fights dandruff
  • cleanses
  • deodorizes
  • can kill fleas and lice – special note: ONLY use tea tree oil on dogs. Never use essential oils on cats because they can’t process them.
  • goes to work on skin problems
  • de-itches insect bites

That’s a lot, right? Yeah, it can do even more.


Use it Neat

I love to use tea tree oil neat, which means without diluting it, if you’re new to using essential oils. Tea tree is safe to use neat, although you might feel a little sting if you have sensitive skin. If you have really sensitive skin, you might want to always use it diluted. You can use tea tree neat on acne, cold sores, insect bites, or even scratches and other wounds. I do that sometimes when one of the cats has scratched me to make sure that the wound is cleaned out without dragging out peroxide or antibiotic creams.

Use it for Skin Care

Speaking of acne, I like to use tea tree oil when my skin is feeling or acting a little oilier or more finicky than usual. This summer, I’ve really enjoyed mixing a drop or two into some aloe vera or coconut oil. Then I slather the mixture all over and go about my business. Within a day or two, everything’s happy again. Some students of nail care also use tea tree oil to cure athlete’s foot and other nail fungus issues.

Use it in an Inhalation

Tea tree is really useful — and easy — in an inhalation. If you’ve got a sinus infection or you’re worried that you’re developing one, add a few drops of tea tree to a pan of boiled water. While the water is still hot and steamy, put a towel over your head and lean over the pot so that the towel blocks the steam in with you. Breathe deeply for a minute or two and then take a break. Repeat until you’re tired of hanging your face over a pot of water. 🙂

Kill Mold and Mildew

I hate mold and mildew, but in the humid south, they’re constant companions. Tea tree to the rescue. Add a couple of teaspoons of tea tree oil to a couple of cups of water in an empty spray bottle. Spray onto the mold or mildew and then wait a little bit. Really stubborn areas may need more than one treatment to see results. If you have cats, don’t do this unless you can kick them out of the room until the oil is fully rinsed away.

What do you do with tea tree oil?