Most of us folks on the health train know that chemicals aren’t good for us and have taken steps to reduce or eliminate them in our homes. But when it comes to the world of beauty, there are some insidious bad guys we don’t always know to look out for. Even so-called “natural” products could be fooling you, and may not actually be as natural as you’d hoped. Dare you enter the dark world of the beauty industry…? Your “beauty” cabinet could be costing you far more than the dollars you spent.
Toxins Hidden In Labels
Our problem starts with the labels on these products. Did you know that the FDA only has 3 sections on the regulation of production and sale of cosmetics? This means that there’s very little control over what is allowed to be printed on your shampoo or favorite lipstick. But what they do list is usually made up of unpronounceable ingredients, promoted to us by very clever psychological marketing tactics. These two combined create a recipe for successfully blindsiding an unaware population.
These days we care much more about our bodies and the planet, and yet we are being kept in the dark deliberately. And all for profits – so we can be sold products that pander to the deep desire every woman (or transgender man) holds in their heart to be beautiful and desireable. Many of us looking for the natural alternatives, only to be unknowingly sold more chemicals with clever labels.
In order for a cosmetic to be labelled as “natural” it only has to contain ingredients that once were derived from a natural substance – regardless of how much processing it goes through. It is an unregulated term and certainly does not mean the product is free of chemicals. So not fair to us seeking the good stuff! But that’s how it is… for now.
Also, when it comes to sensitive skin, you may see a note that sets you at ease: “Dermatologically Tested” or “Dermatologically Recommended”. Don’t be so easily swayed. If it claims to be “tested” that by no means is equal to being “approved”. And if it says it’s “recommended” it may have been endorsed by a non-board certified dermatologist who may even have received a handout for signing off on the product. Similar is true of the “Hypoallergenic” statement – it can mean whatever the company wants it to mean. It’s not regulated. As you can see, what they say rarely means any more than “Buy our stuff!”
Other buzzwords you should watch out for are:
You get the idea, yes?
What you can trust is when a product says Certified Organic, especially if it’s approved by a governing agency such as the USDA. In this case the product will contain no less than 95% natural materials grown without the use of chemicals. No wonder the organic “fad” is holding its own so well!
What To Avoid
The biggest baddies to avoid in the industry is still a long list to remember (and too long to cover here!). Generally, we’d recommend you read the labels and avoid any products with many-lettered ingredients, unless: A) you can pronounce it and know that it’s safe, B) you know that it’s from plant origin eg sodium cocoate which is saponified coconut oil and is perfectly safe, or C) the product is certified organic.
If you are uncertain about a particular brand you are looking at or using you can run it through the EWG’s Skin Deep website to check how the product is rated for safety. The website has over 64 thousand cosmetics listed, so you should be able to find the one you’re looking for. If not, you can email them. They are also starting to offer verification on products that meet their safety assessments, so you may be able to find an alternative product with their seal of approval on it.
For women of African heritage, there are even fewer healthy options amongst cosmetics. In fact, out of 1,177 products tested, one in 12 was ranked as “highly hazardous” in the EWG’s database. It also showed that only 25% of the products were ranked as “Low in potentially hazardous ingredients”.
Products We Recommend!
While it may feel at this point that there is nothing safe left that you can use, fret not! There are more and more companies making changes and producing safe, trustworthy products that good for you and good for the Earth. Check out this company Anne Marie Skincare that we love who are making honest cosmetics that are TRULY natural. They also offer sample kits of their products:
You can be armed with good knowledge about what you don’t want, you can make great decisions about what you do want!
Worth a mention too, is the DIY craze sweeping the cosmetics world! There are so many recipes online for all-natural, healthful and truly detoxifying cosmetics you can make at home, with a few simple ingredients you can find at your local health food store or online. Be sure to check that these ingredients are 100% natural and if a website doesn’t state the ingredients of a product do not buy from them.
With a little bit of courage to try it out, some organic ingredients and a few minutes of your time, you could reduce your chemical exposure considerably and craft a healthy life for you and your family.
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