Did you know you can absorb up to five lbs. of chemicals every year from make-up and other "beauty" products? Yikes.

A British paper presents that and other scary facts — "the average woman eats, albeit unwittingly, five lipsticks a year, which in her lifetime is the equivalent volume of 1.5 blocks of lard" — in a story about a pair of sisters who switch out all of their toxic cosmetics for chem-free versions and report on the differences.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations matched.

Although they said some of the natural products didn’t work quite as well (the mascara ran and the hairspray went dead), the sisters both reported brighter eyes, softer hair, and smoother skin.

In terms of quantitative differences, one sister’s levels of hormone-disrupting (and possibly cancer-causing) parabens dropped from 650 mg per liter of urine to just 21 mg, and her levels of the pesticide triclosan (found in toothpaste and body washes) fell from 490 mg to zero — after just eight days of following the chemical-free beauty routine.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Said one sister, "The ridiculous thing is that I’ve always tried to avoid chemicals whenever I can … I always buy organic food." Turns out she was applying the pesticides directly to her skin instead.