A lipstick story

KCPE results got released. That’s wonderful. The system is working. The children are learning. And memories of my age group’s KCPE results are here as well. We have heard of people’s dreams to be doctors, engineers and neurosurgeons. That’s good. Those are good goals. We don’t want a situation where children aspire to be drug lords, corrupt leaders or warmongers. The future needs its doctors, engineers and neurosurgeons as well.

It also needs drivers, plumbers and technicians but oh well. Those are jobs that most people get into when they are adults. It’s not a mistake. We later come to realize that they are not bad jobs and people actually make money from them. Our priorities change as we grow older and get more exposure. So let the kids dream. It’s part of growing up.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Learning is something that continues throughout life though. Whether we like it or not. And those who resist learning as adults end up suffering. There’s a lot more to life than academic conquests so we have to learn about life in general. That’s the necessity and opportunity that we have as adults. Freed from the education system, we can venture to learn anything and everything about how the world works. And there’s always a benefit to voluntary learning. At least you don’t learn the hard way.

Recently, there has been a move towards healthy living. People are starting to realize that there are things that we do that are actually detrimental to our health. And health is linked to so many things that we care about. Our families. Our finances. The absence of pain. Not having to take 6 pills daily. Those are things we care about. So naturally we gravitate towards healthy living because it affects those things.

There are things that we do every day and those are the things that we can seek to improve as we aim for a healthier life.For ladies one of those things is putting on make up. It’s good. When done well it has the potential to turn someone’s day around.

You know. Those days when you are having a dull day and on the streets you come across this lady who has turned make up into an art form, blending her natural look with elegant apparel and the enhancing effect of war paint(English is weird. War paint is actually an acceptable synonym for make up. The implications are amusing)to produce an image that pulls at your heartstrings. Enough to make you smile. And look, for those few moments you forgot about your unamusing day!Ain’t that something? It can enhance appearance and boost confidence in a lady as well. Some need that.

Photo by EVG Culture from Pexels

Combining the two subjects brings us to healthy make up. Most make up goes on the skin and it acts as a barrier to stop the make up from getting into the body. An exception is the lip gloss, lip balm and lipstick trio. They can and do get into the body. Albeit in very small quantities via swallowship. Church goers know that that word and fellowship can make a beautiful sentence. Anyway, very small amounts.

It just so happens that the bodies we have don’t need large amounts of something to get poisoned. When we start to talk of metals then a few grams are enough to cause toxicity. At this point, I would like to acknowledge that some of these metals are actually needed by the body, but in very small amounts which we usually get from food. Enzymes use these metals to work, as well as muscles, nerves and so on. So not all metals are bad.

Why are we talking about metals? Because they are a component of many lip products. They are used in making colour in the lip gloss/lipstick and making that colour stick. Some of these metals are not bad. The body uses them too. Some are bad. Like lead. Lead is not compatible with the body at any level. We don’t want that in our lipstick. And mostly we don’t have them in the lipstick because everyone knows lead is bad. However, we can never be too careful when it comes to lead and keeping it away from us. Intellectual disability, anemia, seizures, coma… you get the drift. Lead has earned its name as a villain. That’s why we have regulators who test these products to make sure that they are free from lead.

We have an incentive to improve our interactions with these metals to safer grounds because of the tiny amounts of metals required to change the workings in the body. Currently, tests conducted by world authorities show that metals are there in beauty products, but not in dangerous quantities. What excites me is the move to using more natural and beneficial plant products in making lipstick, lip gloss and the like. The plant pigments and oils offer the colours found in lipstick and lip gloss without the metal levels found in artificial pigments. Consequently, there’s a lower risk of ingesting too much of the metals when one eats food high in metals and also has lipstick on the whole day.

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Now, these are not thoughts that would come up easily in a KCPE graduate. But as adults, we have enough exposure and brain power to think about these things and how we can make them better. We don’t need to be accomplished scientists in order to innovate better health products. The internet has provided all the knowledge that humans have amassed within reach. All we have to do is read and then do something good with that knowledge. Even the scientists had to learn. And as a bonus, it’s learning without the pressure of exams.

Our career choices as children may be informed by prestige but as we grow older, we want to impact the world and make life better. Doing something like that makes us have a sense of accomplishment and meaning in life. Those two emotions are not easy to come by. But damn do we need them in this age of depression and general unhappiness.

So here’s a way to kill a group of birds with one stone. Think of how you can improve something that we interact with everyday. It doesn’t have to be lipstick, that has just been our focus for today. It’s not a merry journey full of roses but again who said humans need roses all the time to thrive in this world. Challenges build character. I know that sounded like a washed up motivational speaker and Esther (she knows herself) hates them with a passion but it’s actually true. We need to feel good about ourselves and overcoming challenges is part of how we get that good feeling.

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