When I was working in cosmetic retail, it was required to wear a full face of makeup, always have our nails manicured, and have our hair nicely styled at all times. It was part of our job requirement, and I did what I needed to do to sell beauty products. Now having the knowledge that I do about what is in many store bought beauty products, I’m no longer interested to put any of those beautifying cosmetics anywhere near my skin, hair, or nails.
Although there isn’t the convenience of finding chemical free cosmetics as easily as all the rest, it is important to your health to make the effort.
My brother was telling me that he had referred a friend to my blog and that she thought that I was too “green” and pretty much that I used grass for beauty. I had to laugh. Although I do make a ton of my own beauty products, I also buy a good amount of wonderful chemical free cosmetics as well.
The truth is that ignorance is bliss. There are so many beautifully wrapped products for hair, skin, and nails that smell amazing! Although they may give the results that they advertise on the bottle, there is no fine print describing how your body absorbs these ingredients.
Many of the synthetically derived ingredients cause toxicity in the body with consistent use over time as well as illness.
I saw a prescription drug commercial last night that said near the end of the commercial that in some cases the medication may cause death. Well at least they were honest telling all of the side effects. The beauty industry doesn’t share the fine print, nor are they tested and approved like other industries or in other countries outside of the US. There are ingredients banned in Canada and Europe that still remain in cosmetics in the US.
Women use more cosmetics than men do on a daily basis, and throughout the day reapply lipstick and powder, while also spraying a light spritz of fragrance for that fresh scent.
We are conditioned to think from a young age that beauty products are one of the luxuries of growing up. For this new year let’s do three things that could really change our life for the better: educate ourselves on chemicals to avoid, clean out our cosmetics of with toxic ingredients, and replace them with truly organic natural products and simple DIY cosmetics. For starters take everything out from under your bathroom sink, displayed on the counter, and in your makeup bag, and put them on a clear surface. It is important to see exactly what are in each product. Don’t worry if you have a lot of cosmetics as most women do, just take everything out.
The general rule is that if you can’t pronounce the ingredient you don’t want it in your body.
There are a few chemicals that we have also become accustomed to seeing and we don’t worry about them. That’s not a good idea. I was shocked this month to discover a natural lipstick that I was using contained retinyl palmitate (vitamin A palmitate) that is rated as an 8 in toxicity on a scale of 0-10 on the Cosmetic Database. Even the cosmetics in natural grocery stores need to be fully checked, and I happened to miss this one myself.
According to Sophie Uliano in Gorgeously Green–8 Steps to an Earth Friendly Life there are “Red Alert” cosmetic ingredients and “Orange Alert” cosmetic ingredients. The “Red Alert” ingredients are coal tar used in dyes such as FD&C blue in many toothpastes and FD&C green 3 in mouthwash, fragrance including phthalates, hydroquinone in skin lightners and moisturizers, aluminum in eye shadows, nail polishes, and deoderants, triclosan in antibacterial products and often mixed with dioxins, p-phenylenediamine in regular hair dye, as well as lead and mercury which have shown up in lipstick, men’s hair dye and possibly a contaminant in hydrated silica. These ingredients should be avoided at all costs. Any cosmetic that have these ingredients should be tossed immediately.
The “Orange Alert” cosmetic ingredients that should be avoided are nitrosamines (cocomide DEH, lauramide DEA, Cocamide MEA, triethanolamine (TEA), diethanolamine (DEA)), mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium lauryl ether sulfate, polyethylene glycol (PEG), formaldehyde-producing preservatives such as hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea, talc, acrylates/methacrylates, isopropyl alcohol, tocopherol acetate, phenonip, quaternary ammonium compounds such as benzalkonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, quaternium-15, and quaternium 1-29, cationic surfactants such as stearalkonium chloride, benzalkonium chloride, cetrimonium cloride, cetalkonium chloride, and lauryl dimonium hydrolyzed collagen, benzyl alcohol, silicon derived emollients such as dimethicone, dimethicone copolyol, and cyclomethicone, and carbomer 934, 940, 941, 960, 961C.
In Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid, I not only list chemicals to avoid in cosmetics, yet also offer brands of cosmetics that I have found to have really good ingredients. I tried to give each chemical ingredient listed a link to the Cosmetic Database so that you could read what was scientifically found about each ingredient. Throughout this entire blog are also recipes for DIY skin and hair care that can replace the chemical products that you may have been currently using.
I am extremely passionate about educating women on chemical cosmetics and healthy alternatives to beauty. It is important to also have this information so that we are not applying these same chemicals to children because they are in baby geared cosmetic brands.
Switching over all of your beauty products may seem to be a complete hassle, expensive, and unnecessary, but it is not. Sophie Uliano suggests getting rid of products with “Red Alert” ingredients immediately and using up the products with “Orange Alert” ingredients to never buy them again. If your like me you just toss it all.
Your skin is your largest organ and it absorbs everything that you put on it. There are enough pollutants that are in our air and all around us for our body to process and try to discard. Let’s not add more work for it to do and protect our health by making conscious choices.
My research comes from different sources such as Gorgeously Green and The Cosmetic Database.
What we put on our body is just as important as what we eat.
(Image by D Sharon Pruitt)