Natural Cosmetics – Why I Made the Change
A large part of ‘being well’ is having a healthy respect for your largest organ, your skin. Years ago, I began a journey toward more natural cosmetics. Here’s how my journey began…
Have you ever wondered about possible side effects of personal care products? Weird question, right? Right now you’re probably thinking… side effects? On personal care products? What are you talking about? Believe it or not you should be looking at the ingredients in personal care products more carefully.
Ingredients in personal care products are, generally speaking, not regulated. In fact, some ingredients that are in your personal care products are harmful. That might come as a surprise to you…. It was to me!
According to the Environmental Working Group, the average American women uses 12 personal care products per day. Those 12 products ultimately account for 168 chemical ingredients used daily!
When I read this, I started to think about all the products in my own bathroom… Facial serum, day cream, night cream, shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products…. The list goes on; it’s easy to come up with 12.
Our male counterparts have a similar, but not as detrimental a problem. Men use about 6 personal care products that add up to about 85 chemical ingredients used on a daily basis!
The Personal Care Safety Act
Two senators have tried to come to our rescue! In April, 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) came up with a plan. They proposed the Personal Care Products Safety Act. The basis of the proposal is to help the FDA ensure that personal care products are safer. In other words, if an ingredient poses a health risk, the FDA could ban it or at least restrict its use. I know….it’s hard to believe that this isn’t already in place, but it’s not.
The proposal states that the FDA would perform safety assessments on chemical ingredients. The ‘first safety assessment’ ingredient list are some pretty dangerous poisons. I have included the Environmental Working Group’s safety rating on each ingredient. Their cosmetic database; Skin Deep, rates cosmetics and their ingredients on a scale from 1 – 10. 1 being the most pure to 10 being the most dangerous.
• Methylene glycol (a form of formaldehyde). Recognized as a known human carcinogen and used in hair smoothing treatments. Skin Deep rating 10.
• Propylparaben. A preservative linked to endocrine disruption. Skin Deep rating: 7. To read more about parabens check out my article: Parabens – What Are They & Are They Harmful?
• Lead acetate. A potent neurotoxin used in men’s hair dyes. Skin Deep rating: 10
• Diazolidinyl urea. A preservative that releases formaldehyde. Skin Deep rating: 6
• Quaternium-15. This is another formaldehyde-releasing preservative. Skin Deep rating: 8
You can search for about any cosmetic or personal care product on Skin Deep; it’s a valuable resource! The database covers over 68,000 products!
As I write this article, this proposal was introduced to the Senate but not yet passed. If you’d like to keep up with it, you can do so at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1014
My Search for Natural Cosmetics
Learning about harmful ingredients is what led my search for more natural cosmetic options. It’s a continuing journey for me. When I find GREAT products that I use and love, I’ll be sure to share them with my readers!
There are more and more brands on the market with clean, pure ingredients. Many brands use flower extracts instead of chemical ‘fragrance’ and mineral pigments instead of synthetics. My goal was to clean up my medicine cabinet and make up drawer!
As I started my journey towards more the more natural, I began by reading the ingredient label of my dry shampoo. I LOVE dry shampoo! Dry shampoos are WONDERFUL. They can really save a a busy girl some time! A gym session is a daily must for me, and I often times have a meeting scheduled right afterward. There just isn’t the time for the wash and the blow dry every day. I began to wonder, are we, as women harming ourselves with what we are spraying in our hair?
When I read the ingredients on the bottle, my jaw dropped…. First ingredient: Isobutane. Isobutane is a hydrocarbon gas; used as a propellant in aerosolized products. Skin Deep rates isobutane a 7 out of 10 for toxicity. They consider isobutane a ‘high hazard’ chemical. There are concerns for skin, eye and lung irritation, as well as non-reproductive organ system toxicity…. WHAT???!!! All I could think was: ‘Are you kidding me? I’m spraying this on my scalp??!!’
My foundation wasn’t much better, either! I call it my ‘fancy lady’ foundation because I buy it at a beauty counter in a department store and it costs some bucks…. I came to to find out that I was paying to poison myself. Cosmetic ingredients list begin with the greatest percentage first…. The third ingredient on my foundation is a sunscreen – good, right? Well, not exactly…. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate has hazard rating of 6 on Skin Deep. The concerns for this chemical sunscreen include:
• Biochemical or cellular level changes
• Endocrine disruption
• Persistence and bioaccumulation
• Enhanced skin absorption
• Ecotoxicology (harmful to the environment)
• Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
This is upsetting. A woman pays $50 for an ounce of a product that has the above-listed concerns. I was more upset with myself for not paying attention than with the cosmetic company for not disclosing these concerns.
I LOVE waterproof mascara and eyeliner because I can wear it to the gym so it’s likely I won’t give that up. That said, I started switching out products and now my make up drawer is mostly organic products. A close second in my drawer and medicine cabinet are natural products. I do, however, own a couple of what I call my ‘cheat products’, like waterproof mascara and eyeliner.
I won’t bash my old loves, even though they contain harmful chemicals. It’s our responsibility as consumers to know what we are putting in and on our bodies. Here’s a list of a few personal care products I now use and love….
• Acure Dry Shampoo – It’s organic, vegan and cruelty-free
• Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream – Jane Iredale is a well-known line of mineral make up. You only need a very small dab to cover your entire face! I mix it with a spritz of Jane’s Pommist Hydration Spray and a little goes a long way!
• Anything Ecco Bella I bought the Revitalizing Skin Care Set for my trip to Italy this year. I loved it! I especially love the Mist On Toner; I was using it on my face AND body. It made all my creams feel as thought they were getting an extra moisture boost. Ecco Bella is organic, cruelty-free and woman-owned.
• Olive ‘A Sudden Blood Orange Olive Oil – Yes, you are reading that correctly! Who would have thought I would be mentioning olive oil in a blog post about natural cosmetics. The truth is that I have been taking off my make up with olive oil for years. Remember that waterproof mascara? Well it can stand up to a lot but it doesn’t stand a chance against olive oil and a warm wash cloth. Trust me on this one. It is pure, the blood orange scent is SO heavenly, and as an added bonus olive oil is also great for the skin.
Final Thoughts on Natural Cosmetics
It’s easy to get seduced by beautiful packaging and too good to be true claims in the world of cosmetics. I know, I have been a victim of that many times. Now I remember to use the acronym K.I.S.S. for my cosmetic and personal care products – keep it simple, stupid. Most systems work best if they are kept simple. Just remember, fewer ingredients + cleaner ingredients = happy, healthy skin!