Several years ago I learned about EWG’s Skindeep website, the cosmetic database listing health and beauty products along with their ingredient safety ratings and health information. I checked it out, looked up my shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and sunscreen. And I was shocked!
EWG had rated most of these as “high-hazard” in terms of the numbers of toxic chemicals they contained. These products contain chemical ingredients known to cause learning disabilities, cancer and birth defects. I tossed all mine and found new, natural or organic versions of everything.
But I didn’t look up my cosmetics. After all, finding that perfect eyeliner or mascara that won’t smudge, or a lip color that will last can take years. Once you find your favorites, you’re loath to let them go. But are your cosmetics killing you?
How Bad Can a Little Mascara, Eyeliner, or Lip Gloss Be?
Actually, they can be quite bad. After all, you put them on your lips and face. It’s a little known fact that over 1,300 toxic, carcinogenic chemicals are banned in all of Europe and many other countries as well. Yet the United States refuses to ban these chemicals.
In fact, American companies regularly use these deadly chemicals in many of our cosmetics and health and beauty products. One very shocking fact is that some of these chemicals are causing mutations to young girls eggs, which may show up as birth defects in babies born many years later. Ironically, when American companies sell products overseas they have to reformulate them with out using those same toxic chemicals.
So Are Your Cosmetics Killing You?
Courtesy of Natural Healthy Concepts: What Toxic Chemicals Is Your Body Absorbing?
What Are Some Safer Cosmetic Options?
After I saw this info-graphic last winter, I could no longer ignore my toxic cosmetics. I did a thorough cleaning out of my make-up bag, ditching all my old favorites. Then I went in search of some good organic or natural cosmetics. Unfortunately some of those nasty chemicals are what makes make-up stay on with out running or smudging.
I’ve tested a variety of natural and organic brands—some good, some not as good. Below is a list of the brands that I’ve found work very well for me. They are readily available at most natural food stores like Sprouts or Whole Foods. Though not as inexpensive as the drug store variety of make-up, they are generally comparable or less than most department store brands. And after all, isn’t using toxic-free products for your health worth spending a little more for?
- NYR Organic – lengthening mascara
- Gabriel – eyeliner pencil
- Mineral Fusion – bronzer and eye shadow
- Burts Bees – lip shimmers
Everyone looks for different things in make-up, so try these out, let me know what you think. Or leave a comment with your favorite natural or organic cosmetics.
Update: January 2015
Although EWG still has a great database for researching toxins in your personal care products, it’s worth noting that due to the way ingredients are mandated to be listed in the EU vs. the US, some products that are non-toxic get a bad rap from EWG. The EU mandates that all natural components of essential oils (such as eugenol) are listed separately in the ingredients list. Because these are natural, volatile compounds found in plants, EWG lists them as potentially harmful. However, in the US, a product can just list “lavender oil”, and EWG doesn’t list that a potentially harmful at all. So you do need to know what you are looking at and take it with a grain of salt if a product contains essential oils.
In my continual quest for safe, organic health and beauty products, I’ve just become a consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies. I’m SO EXCITED about this progressive UK-based company—offering certified organic, fair trade, and sustainable products with the highest business integrity and standards of any company I’ve looked into. In fact, it turns out that they are ranked #1 in the Good Shopping Guide to Ethical Skincare. You can read more about Neal’s Yard Remedies on this post or visit my website.
NYR Organic Products Include
- complete line of skin care/facial products for: normal, oily, dry, aging, men, and babies (their frankincense anti-aging products have won several awards)
- hand and body lotions
- shower gels and scrubs / bath oils and soaps
- mens shaving/facial products
- 100% natural fragrances
- aromatherapy and essential oils
- herbal teas