Are we just paying lip-service to what true health means?

This Friday 20th September has been declared Bright Pink Lipstick Day.

Revlon has declared, “By slicking on your brightest pink Revlon lipstick, you are promoting the importance that all women everywhere should be proactive about their breast and ovarian health by investigating their family history.”

Well, no actually Revlon. By slicking on chemically-laden lipsticks, we’re chewing away on, and ingesting, a cocktail of toxins such as methylparaben, propylparaben and colourants (amongst other things) that are potentially linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and nervous system damage.

I’m done with this whole pinkwashing thing.

When are we going to stop buying into these “cancer awareness” marketing campaigns (with PINK everything by the way, as though women’s limited brains can only comprehend or relate to something if it’s pink)? I’m pretty sure most of us have heard of this little thing called cancer by now, and those of us women with a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer are, on the whole, fairly up with it.

And I don’t mean to tread on toes here, but it is really starting to grate on me. My own mum used to get furious when yet another “pink patient information folder” would be sent to her with reams of plastic and paper about how to self-care through breast cancer. I love the concept of self-care, I really do, but I really got where she was coming from.

Where in that manual does it mention that her hospital food will be fresh, organic, living, dynamic energy for her ravaged cells?

Where does it advise on xenoestrogens and the potential carcinogenic activity of leeched plastics that she may have been inadvertently cooking with?

Where does it educate her on psychoneuroimmunology and how her thoughts, beliefs, stress-management and visualisations – what anger or resentments or loving and beautiful thoughts she chooses to adopt – will have a marked impact on her chance of recovery (or development in the first place)?

When are we going to stop feeling good about ourselves for donating to cancer awareness causes while sipping on our champagne and canapés (or slathering on our “brightest pick toxic lipstick”) and start campaigning for real cancer preventative solutions, like supporting companies that are providing non-toxic cosmetics like Naturally Safe, or Shop Naturally, or Raw + Pure, or increasing our education around wholefood diets and nutrition (check out wonderful women such as Lou Edney from Nourishing Nosh or Georgia Lienemann from Stirring Change), or exercise and lifestyle factors, or setting up daily stress reduction practices and mindfulness education, or ridding the community of toxic beliefs and deep-seated anger, guilt, low self-esteem and shame?

How about we start addressing the real causes of disease and start changing our lives, our environments, our thoughts and our overall health instead of propping up multi-national advertising opportunities playing on the guilt of a well-meaning public?

Kate is a qualified naturopath who is passionate about helping women heal from hormonal havoc and inspiring women to know their own power, worth and wisdom.

Kate offers one-on-one Skype consults for irregular cycles, PMS and period pain, endometriosis, PCOS, peri-menopause, mood swings, fatigue and mental and emotional stress.

Simply drop me an email to see how I can help you!


0 thoughts on “Are we just paying lip-service to what true health means?”

  1. Amen Kate!!
    I’ve felt guilty over the years as I silently decided not to support charities that fight to raise awareness of cancer. It even feels bad typing it out loud. But I just dont feel it to be the answer. A foundation or charity that worked on getting living food to cancer patients or diet, lifestyle + mind body transformations? I’d back that 110% any day!!! Great words xo

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more Claire! I so hear you. It’s all just so wrong on so many levels. I honestly just don’t get it.. Thanks for speaking up!! xx

  2. Well said – whenever I see products that are Pink it not longer feels authentic, as was the plan when it first started, it is all about jumping on a band wagon for brands to try and increase sales. Pretty sad.

  3. Well said, Kate! The irony of it all is really quite painful (she says as she writes this comment on her radiation filled mobile)…here’s to more awareness and actively doing something about it!

    1. Thanks Dina, I know … I’m no better!! But you’re right, it’s all about becoming a little more aware / more conscious of what we’re actually doing. It’s making me rethink a few things! xx

  4. Great article Kate! Ive felt exactly the same but felt guilty about admitting it as people wouldn’t quite understand where i was coming from… So I’m defo sharing this xx thanks for expressing it so well

  5. My mum had stage 3 ovarian cancer 20 years ago so had very aggressive treatment. However, she decided to use faith healers, Chinese medicine, diet and visualisation whilst going through her chemo treatment .. She didn’t lose her hair and had minimal side affects. Still uses alternative medicine and is alive and well with no reaccuring tumours. Your article made me laugh because my mum refuses to donate to cancer research until people are educated about their lifestyles and how it can contribute to cancers – not always but some of the time. I know she was lucky but I do believe she helped herself aswell.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Jane, well said and good on your mum!! I agree totally, there are great medical interventions, and there are great causes to support charity. But when there’s a complete disconnect from either the charity or the medical world in creating an environment of optimal health, then it all gets a bit rich … (well they get a bit rich anyway!!) 🙂

  6. Awesome article Kate, i too have silently felt bad about not financially supporting the Pink campaigns….I so agree with the grass roots….more personal approaches, not pink giveaways… around nutrition and very much the raising of awareness around how our thoughts and energetics affect our health….when i explain this in group healing workshops, i can see the a-ha’s whirring …it all is so inter weaving, thoughts, emotions, chemical release, and nutrition…Blessings Shakti x

  7. Love it! Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been meaning to write something similar for a while and you’ve just given me the kick up the pants to do so. I’m going to plaster this all over Facebook too. Good on you. Only last week I turned down another cancer-support-campaign from somewhere, and had to explain my reasons the why. The woman had no clue what I was talking about. People have no clue that it’s all brain washing and that pharmaceutical companies are lost if a “cancer cure” came into play, as are the doctors getting hefty payments from putting their patients onto chemo. Little by little folks… I suppose some people are just not ready to hear the truth, and those that are are happily sharing it. Little by little… xxx

    1. Thankyou Christie! I know. But in general, the public think they’re doing something useful which is so heartbreaking. This is what gets me so fired up. There has to be a complete shift in consciousness and often times, those that speak up against what is seemingly a charitable and worthwhile cause are seen as conspiracy nuts. It’s the same with mainstream pharma. I’m all for great charities supporting great causes, or fabulous medical intervention when needed. But I get so frustrated at marketing machines or money-making corporates brainwashing the public into believing they’re doing good, and milking their empathy and desire to make a change, instead of being a true agent of change. There were cures at the turn of the century for cancer, yet here we are, giving giving giving to what end? No intention of curing cancer – where would the bucks be in that? Does my head in… Thanks for your support! x

  8. This article is pure diplomacy compared to my previous rantings. Thank you SO much for writing it, with your usual eloquence and spunk.

    Isn’t it satisfying to be part of the solution instead of the problem? The hypocrisy of these companies cashing in on the cause is laughable – the ‘beauty’ industry in particular. Pink-washing their carcinogenic wares..

    Here’s to truly making a difference. It starts with us. xx

    1. Ah, Georgia, I LOVE your rantings! They’re the best kind!! Thankyou for your comments … couldn’t agree more! xx

  9. I’m not sure that we should ignore public health campaigns, especially those about early detection, because that is the message that is most actionable for the public. We can live in a society with messages about both early detection awareness AND prevention – they aren’t mutually exclusive. There is a woman Gayle Sulik who has written a book on it, she writes:

    “…The pervasiveness of the pink ribbon campaign leads many people to believe that the fight against breast cancer is progressing, when in truth it’s barely begun…”

    And I think part of the problem with the public’s ‘pink-fatigue’ comes from the very nature of breast cancer itself. In Australia, nearly 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive up to 5 years. So many of the women who survive are able to champion for their cause (and, really, they can champion whatever cause they like)..the problem is if you get lung cancer, you’ll likely not be round a year later. Bowel cancer doesn’t isn’t ‘sexy’ enough (brown ribbon anyone?)…and we put other diseases in the too-hard basket – Alzheimer’s disease, motor neuron disease, mental health in the too hard basket.

    The trouble is, we still need money for research into cause so we can work out prevention AND public health & wellness education … not sure how to solve that problem!

    1. All valid points Sarah, and I agree, early detection is key. There is, however, an inherent disconnect in public perception around the whole thing. In this specific case, people get swept away with ‘ooohh, cute, I’ll wear pink lipstick and show my support,’ without ever piecing together the very company that’s hooking them in is a source of potential carcinogenic stubstances. And in general, the whole system seems imbalanced. Great, research cancer cures (actually, that’s another beef of mine which I won’t get into here) but in the interim, hospitals are serving the sick a diet of sugar-laden rubbish and “high protein liquid nutrition” that’s simply milk and sugar with a few B-vitamins thrown in that can do nothing to support those seriously ill in their recovery, and if anything, fuel inflammation and cancer growth. It’s a topic too wide to give justice to, but just feels like some deeper thought is required to what it is we’re actually contributing to. Thanks for your comments!

  10. The article has some extremely valid points, however I wonder how many of you have actually been diagnosed with breast cancer. It is easy to get on a high horse when you haven’t actually walked the walk. The pink charity groups help increase awareness of early detection and also help a lot of families who are going through treatment. Without the donations some people cannot afford the roof over their head or afford to feed their children. So please give these struggling people some thought before you jump on the slander wagon.

    1. Thanks for your reply Milly, totally understand that. I guess what doesn’t gel with me is our research and support dollars coming from companies who, essentially, are contributing to the problem. And if they’re the ones we need to target to get funding, then why aren’t we demanding they look at their own products and ethically make changes to become toxic-free? We can’t throw money at the problem whilst perpetuating it at the other end. It’s an emotive issue, I understand. So in answer to your question, I’ve had a number of family members go through cancer and cancer treatment. I was a full time, live in carer for my mum for 2 years as she went through not only cancer, but a number of other life-threatening conditions. I’ve spent a good half of the past 3 years sitting beside a hospital bed with her, in ICU, on life support, making it through, going back to hospital weekly. And I’m fed up with the “health” system, with the food, the treatment, the recommendations on health which, as mentioned in my post, don’t touch the sides of what recommendations she *should* be receiving to assist her. I get it, we need funding and we need to support families who are struggling and going through treatment. But can we not also start looking at *how* we’re going about this, should there not be some integrity and accountability from these companies who ‘support’ cancer?
      Appreciate your voice Milly, you have very valid points. I just think we shouldn’t get complacent and accept things as is. We can do better.

  11. I wonder if you might take a minute and type Revlon and Herceptin into your Google search. Revlon are the reason that millions of women are survivors of breast cancer. Revlon took a risk on a medical researcher when many wouldn’t and his discovery has increased the chances of the 20% of women who have this aggressive gene.

    Revlon continue to this day to raise money annually for the continued work of Dr Dennis Slamon. Yes I am a survivor and thankful for that huge horrible company that “contributes to the problem” everyday.

    I respect the comments of people who don’t wish to give to these companies for research…. I gave a breast, but I got my life, thanks to research xxx

    1. Thanks for your response Min, and yes, you’re right. Revlon were big sponsors to keep the Herceptin research afloat and I’m honestly so pleased you’ve benefited directly from its invention. But I’m sorry, I still *can’t* then think Revlon are off the hook. I demand more integrity from them. If they truly believe in finding a cure for cancer, why aren’t they busting their butts to make a true change in the world that could directly impact the toxic load on the body to start with? And being that cosmetics are their line of business, doesn’t it make sense to make a start there? It’s like saying McDonalds are fabulous because they created Ronald McDonald House (which IS a fabulous charity) while meanwhile they’re massively contributing to the world’s obesity epidemic. I’m just saying we should demand better. Just because they donate millions of dollars doesn’t mean they’re off the hook from all social responsibility in the health and wellbeing of this planet when they are the very ones that could have a direct impact.

      I apologise for my rant. I do understand and appreciate what you’re saying. I just think, as I’ve said before, that they/we/society can do better.

  12. Aside from all the pink and pretence around the true agenda of our sick care industry, it is so refreshing as a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach, to read more and more articles like yours, promoting conscious awareness, self-education and self-care… The big industries are not going to change, it is us “the power of the people” who need to start taking responsibility and returning to our basic instincts to guide us to the truth… love your work… thank you for sharing the LOVE x

  13. I made the decision years ago not to buy into pink products, having read an article that pointed out that most of the pink merchandise was just marketing and that funds raised didn’t always go to cancer research. On the other hand, no where have you mentioned the Pink Hope Community ( nor it’s founder, Krystal Barter, who set up the Pink Lipstick day last year (it went global in it’s first year, pretty impressive I think). I’ve spoken to Krystal and know that her charity gets no government funding for the work that they do, supporting those at high risk of breast and ovarian cancers. They provide a valuable service. The funds raised from this event will hopefully pay for an online genetic counsellor for those who are high risk, especially in rural areas. I know they have looked for funding from numerous places and at one point were close to shutting down the charity because there wasn’t enough money. Revelon has stepped up to support this charity and while I do not own any of their products (nor will I EVER buy any) I applaud them for supporting Pink Hope. I will wear my pink lipstick tomorrow – it’s made by Rhasdala (, using all natural products.

  14. With no prior concept I started out fundraising encouraging people to attend my high tea event that comprised of pink champagne, cupcakes, chocolate fountains and truffles – the day was a sea of pink with a couple hundred people all lead to believe we were doing all we could for breast cancer…and then I started asking questions…
    Why hadn’t the cure been found yet? what could be causing this cancer epidemic? Later a lady gave me some information on healing foods and curing disease and then my life completely changed…
    I realised how disconnected we all are…after all the money is raised and the last cupcake is eaten we then go back to our same lives using chemicals, eating processed foods, mass medicating, stressful lives – nothing is ever going to change. This is when I decided we must change tactics – out with pink, in with prevention and my new event Bloom was born – bringing together the very best guest speakers and business in natural wellbeing to share the message of prevention and simple steps we can take to prevent disease in the first place. Your article is exactly the message I aim to share at Bloom which hopefully will have a ripple effect amongst our community and further afield. Skincare, diet, lifestyle, mind plays such an important part in the message of prevention –



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