CANCER WARRIOR & BEAUTY CEO SHARES HER INSIGHT
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and so we ask how can we best support women with cancer and prevent cancer? Many brands are sporting the pink ribbon to heighten awareness for breast cancer.
Pink branded products claim they give a percentage of profit to cancer research or outreach, but please note that not all of these corporations and nonprofits are giving much at all to breast cancer research.
Meanwhile, billions of dollars are being made with these pink products, and we are embracing some brands (that contain harmful chemicals) that cause the disease. Buyer beware, ladies! Support and use non toxic products. Check out the dirty truth behind our beauty products here.
So, how can we support women with cancer and the brands that care about helping women?
We are going to hear from cancer survivor and entrepreneur Cynthia Besteman as she offers her insight, advice and her personal journey. Her skincare product line is 100% non toxic- all clean!
Think before you Pink!
“Pinkwashing”, as defined by the Breast Cancer Consortium, is the act of supporting the breast cancer cause or promoting a pink ribbon product all while producing, manufacturing, or selling products linked to the disease.
In recent years, the definition has expanded to include a darker side of pinkwashing: companies and organizations that exploit breast cancer for profit or public relations. There are great companies that offer pink products but just “think before you pink.”
Within the sea of pink brands stands one unbelievable green (100% natural clean product) brand that uplifts and supports women undergoing cancer treatment every single day, all while helping women prevent disease by using skincare products that are natural and toxic-free. I am so thrilled to introduce you to Violets Are Blue Skincare out of New York.
I am obsessed! The product feels like heaven on your skin, literally! The skincare line is made from natural ingredients and of course non toxic
I am obsessed with this brand! The social-good company, Violets Are Blue, founded by Cynthia Besteman, is a force for good! Cynthia is a breast cancer survivor on a mission to support women who are in cancer treatment, all while providing a toxic-free skincare line to prevent disease in the first place.
Since its inception, Violets Are Blue has been awarded Best In Show by the Indie Beauty Expo, Best Brand With a Mission by Sophie Uliano’s Gorgeously Green Beauty Awards, and “Best Of” from The Beauty Shortlist. Cynthia has been featured in top magazines such as Women’s Day, Self, Allure, Organic Spa and Health Magazine, to name a few.
Besteman originally formulated the skincare line to provide the necessary moisture and healing for women going through radiation.
“When I was in radiation, I felt like every ounce of moisture had been sucked from my body,” Besteman says. “My nails were cracked and falling off. My hair was fried. It felt like I was stuck in the desert without water, SPF, or an umbrella. My skin hurt all over.”
She realized that women without a cancer diagnosis could also benefit from all-natural skincare products, and now Violets Are Blue offers a Signature line for those women and a Beloved line for women with cancer whose skin needs extra hydration and replenishment.
Here is the fun part! Cynthia and I grew up together in Bellevue, Washington! Cynthia studied theater at The University Of Oregon then relocated to New York City determined to find her way as an actress; She performed on Broadway for 10yrs before successfully working as one of the leading real estate brokers in the city. After receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in 2011, Cynthia’s lucrative career came to a screeching halt.
During her treatment, Cynthia vivaciously researched products that contained chemicals and synthetic fragrances that cause cancer. After she learned about the harmful ingredients, she tossed every single toxic product she had away. It disturbed her to ascertain how many brands falsely advertise their products as “natural” when, in fact, they contain parabens, sulfates, and other chemicals that cause cancer!
At that point, she plunged into the world of natural skincare that effectively work to nourish, cleanse, and heal the skin without harmful effects. With the help of a biochemist, an herb farmer, and a cancer researcher, Besteman has created a one-of-a-kind “Chemo Care” line. With an eye for sustainability, Violets are Blue uses only the best ingredients and never tests on animals.
TWO COLLECTIONS -With A Social-Good Twist!
Violets Are Blue has one skincare collection for all women, and another for cancer patients (the products help with chemotherapy and radiation dryness using gentle, extra-nourishing ingredients like calendula and carrot seed oils). And there’s a social-good twist to the brand: Besteman is partnered with Mount Sinai’s Dublin Breast Cancer Center in New York City, providing cancer patients going through chemotherapy a Violets Are Blue gift set on their first day of treatment. She personally delivers these gifts to patients and spends time talking and supporting each patient. There are big plans to have this program expand to other hospitals soon.
In addition to providing cancer patients with the product, Cynthia gives back 10% of every product sold. 10% is used to provide free skincare packages for women who need special pampering during cancer treatment.
What you should know about toxins & CHEMICALS in skincare products
When I did my own research on toxins and chemicals in skincare products, this is what I learned so I wanted to share it with you. It’s something we all should be aware of. More reason to buy clean, toxic free skincare and make-up!
- Studies have found that many chemicals in skincare products such as fragrances and sunscreens have been proven to be endocrine disruptors, interfere with hormone regulation, increase the risk of feminization’s of the male reproductive system, affect sperm count and low birth weight in girls as well as learning disabilities. They are also known to be carcinogenic and can cause skin and eye irritation.
- We absorb up to 60% of what we put on our skin. Children’s bodies absorb 40-50% more than adults. They are at higher risk for diseases later in life when exposed to toxins.
- Mineral oil is essentially the same substance that is used as car fuel, or oil. Mineral Oil is synthesized from crude oil. So the mineral oil is not really what we understand by the word “oil”, but is actually a plastic.
- Synthetic preservatives or parabens are used in shampoos, balms, shower gels, face and body lotions to prolong the shelf life of these products. Also, to inhibit the proliferation of bacteria, fungi and microorganisms in cosmetic products. The fact that the product does not decay is positive, but the fact that the body mixes parabens with hormones – can be very dangerous. Namely, when the parabens enter your body, the body thinks parabens are hormones. Mainly female sex hormones. And playing with a hormonal balance can have unexpected consequences that you would not expect when using cosmetic products.
- BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene – E321) and BTA (butylated hydroxyanisole (BTA – E320) are poisonous substances that are mainly used as moisturizers and preservatives. Lipsticks, hair care products, cosmetics, sunscreens, deodorants, creams and fragrances may all contain BHT or BTA.You should know, that the proper use of BHT in the food and cosmetics industries is still allowed. Although research has shown that this substance is carcinogenic and it has been linked to asthma and behavioral problems (hyperactivity and attention disorders). In addition, this substance is said to cause endocrine disruption.
- Aluminum is used in the composition of deodorants and sun creams. This metallic poison cannot leave the body and it can’t be excreted. So your body will store aluminium, mostly in the central nervous system and the brain. Aluminum is associated with memory-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other diseases of this type. But there is not enough evidence to support this claim.They say, that the amount of aluminum in deodorants is not sufficient to absorb into cells and cause damage for health. However, there is sufficient evidence that aluminum can cause hormonal imbalance and internal organ poisoning.
how can you help women in cancer care?
Let’s face we all have been there. Nervously waiting for our mammogram results. It happened to me last month. After a mammogram and an ultrasound, draped in a skimpy hospital gown, I nervously flipped through every single magazine in the clinic waiting room for approximately 3.5 hours. I was really scared.
It certainly makes your heart ache for woman diagnosed with the dreaded disease. We all know women who have cancer or have survived breast cancer. So, what can we do to support women with the dreaded disease? Cynthia Besterman offers Gal Pal’s several inspirational ideas on how to help women with the disease.
What Cynthia Has To Say:
How Did Your Gal Pals Support You Through Your Treatments and After?
“I have 2 girlfriends in particular who were AMAZING during my treatment. When I was in the process of waiting for test results, which is THE WORST part of getting cancer, they would email me every morning with a task to do. For instance, one email said “Go to the Frick Museum, spend 2hrs there. Choose your favorite and least favorite painting. Send us an email report on these 2 pieces and why you chose them” Or they would send me to some bizarre place to get a foot massage which would totally take me out of my head and the fear I was feeling.
I also had a girlfriend who was diagnosed a few months before me and her words were let me be your flashlight in this dark time” and in turn, I have chosen to be other people’s flashlights when they are diagnosed.
My girlfriends always kept things light and fun and we even joked about cancer which is what I needed. That told me I was going to be okay. They instinctively knew how I needed to be treated.
In fact, I played tennis with a friend right before my surgery and beat her and when I asked her if she let me win because I had cancer and she said “No, in fact I’m pissed that you have cancer and still beat me!” THAT was the humor I needed.”
What can women do to help those with cancer?
“The small things are what matter, the leaving messages saying you are thinking of them, the coming over with a bottle of wine, having normal conversations that don’t involve cancer. If they have kids, offer to pick the kids up or have them over to your place for a bit.
Offering to make dinner, or take them for a massage. Also, make sure to let them talk about their cancer if they want to, and if they do, listen and support.
Sometimes our fears are irrational, in fact I still get irrational if I have any health scares and they completely understand and let me talk it out. Just don’t disappear because you think they don’t want to be bothered.”
Indulge yourself with a spa day set that includes our White Tea Facial Cleanser, Carrot Seed Facial Serum, Face and Body Lotion, Foot Salve, and Lip Balm. It also makes a wonderful gift for someone you care about. Treat yourself and others – you’re worth it, and so are they!
The package includes, 200ml Body Lotion, 100ml White Tea Face Wash, 30 ml Carrot Seed Serum, 4 oz foot Salve and Lip Balm (Which I love!)
Luxurious Indulgence Package is the perfect way to have an in-home spa day or a great way to tell someone you care! This set includes our Body Cream, Body Scrub, Clay Facial Mask, and Lip Balm. You will feel revived, refreshed, and so very pampered.
This wonderful package is all you need for your face to feel fantastic and your mind relaxed. It is also a perfect introduction to our full line. You’ll be pampered from start to finish with these luxurious, clean products.
The set includes our White Tea Face Wash, Carrot Seed Serum, Smoothing Clay Mask with Powdered Coconut and Rockrose, and Lip Balm.
The package includes, 100ml White Tea Face Wash, 30 ml Carot Seed Serum, 50 ml Smoothing Clay Mask and Lip Balm.
What’s your goal for the next 10 years?
“I continue to want Violets Are Blue to become a global brand, which we are slowly becoming!
I also want to see the donation program in numerous hospitals throughout the US and our Warrior Revolution Retreat, which is our weekend retreat for women dealing with any type of cancer be global as well.
We have a deodorant launching in November of 2019and I want to see it on shelves in all stores and spas in the US as I feel natural deodorants are the single most effective way to be proactive in not getting breast cancer. Aluminum should not be in our deodorants!
I hope in 10yrs it is a household name right next to Dove, or better yet, it has completely replaced Dove! 🙂 Is is bad to say that I also see myself in my island house sitting on a rocking chair looking at the ocean? Because that is a big part of my 10yr plan as well.”
What is the best part of running a social-good business?
“Running a business is hard hard-hard! I sometimes think if I knew what I was getting into, I might not have done it to begin with! It is on those days that I inevitably receive and email from someone saying how much the products they received meant to them and how much they are helping them, that I know my purpose and why I am doing what I am doing.
Meeting women in person who have been through treatment or going through and hearing their stories and seeing where I am at is helping them get through, or even excited for a business idea they have gotten through their cancer journey makes me overjoyed.
I also drop off the packages to Mount Sinai myself and I chat with the women and hear their stories and leave feeling so energized and ready to make the business even bigger as these women are incredibly appreciative and are so in need of products to help them. Being able to have face-to-face contact with the people directly affected by my business is key! ”
I truly hope you learned something from this article. I love sharing stories about inspiring women!
I certainly didn’t know the term “pinkwashing” and what it meant. I have also taken a second look at all of the skin care products and make-up I have been using. Kinda scary really. Remember to check out the products that claim they support breast cancer research. Think before you pink!
I hope you try Violets Are Blue Skincare. I know you will love it as much as I do.