Two years ago, model and social media personality Elly Mayday moved from her hometown of Aylesbury, Saskatchewan, to pursue dreams of traveling the world. She was on the verge of a successful modeling career when a diagnosis of stage-three ovarian cancer and subsequent treatments changed everything.
Mayday experienced many physical and emotional challenges, but she was able to use her illness as a platform to speak about the power of natural beauty and self-acceptance all over the world.
“I wanted to show you can be beautiful when you are going through hell…” Mayday says on her website, “I worked really hard on all my shoots because I knew I was doing something that would help others facing cancer as well.”
Mayday’s determination to embody self-confidence and body-positivity even during the throes of chemotherapy catapulted her into international fame. Since then, she has been featured on Good Morning America, in Women’s Weekly Australia, in documentary-film “A Perfect 14,” and has modeled for Lane Bryant’s “I’m no Angel” campaign.
One unexpected thing that had to change during her treatment, says Mayday, was her beauty routine.
“I had liked to do my hair,” she says, ”but when I lost it, I had my wigs… I stopped getting my nails done, [because] I would get sick from all the fumes involved in the process and couldn’t keep them on if I had an operation.”
Mayday’s heightened sensitivity to smells and chemicals found in everyday cosmetics led her to seek out natural alternatives for her favourite beauty products. “I started to do a bit of research and realized there were so many unpronounceable ingredients in something as simple as makeup remover,” she says, “I have some close friends in the all-natural, clean-eating world and knew going that route would be better for me.”
According to a research survey conducted by the David Suzuki Association, 80% of beauty products possessed by participants contained at least one of twelve “dirty dozen” ingredients shown to have potentially harmful effects on the body. For some individuals, exposure to these ingredients can cause very serious health problems.
Consumers are advised by health experts to read cosmetic labels and steer clear of toxic ingredients (such as BHA, PEGs, parabens, parfum, petrolatum, sulfates and triclosan) that can be found lurking in many common cosmetic and beauty products.
For those wishing to try natural alternatives, Elly recommends her following top five favourite all-natural beauty items:
1. Coconut Oil.
“I use this for my makeup remover and moisturizer. I like it because it’s available everywhere, travels easily and you can pre-soak cotton swabs for when you’re on-the-go.”
2. Aluminum-free Deodorant.
“I use Green Beaver Natural Deodorant.”
“These are allergy-tested, hypoallergenic, not tested on animals and fragrance free. They have great pigment and last all day, plus have a subtle scent of vanilla. There are a ton of options for colors and I like to support Canadian-owned companies.”
“I use this as my face wash. If I’ve forgotten my coconut oil, I have no problem getting my makeup off just using this. It lathers well and gets the job done, and it’s mainly made out of oils that don’t dry my skin out afterwards like a regular bar soap. “
5. Activated Charcoal.
“I use this for a face mask as well as teeth whitener.”