Many 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, and 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 number 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? This short video on toxins in cosmetics is pretty eye-opening!
How bad can 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. Sadly for those in the US, only 11 out of the 1,300 toxic chemicals banned in the EU are banned in the US.
In fact, American companies regularly use these deadly chemicals in many of our cosmetics and health and beauty products. One frightening fact is that some of these chemicals have been shown to cause mutations to young girls’ eggs, which can show up as birth defects in babies born many years later. Ironically, when American companies sell products overseas they have to reformulate them without using those same toxic chemicals. So why do they continue to use toxic ingredients in the US? Because they are cheaper!
So are your cosmetics killing you?
What are some safer cosmetic options?
After I saw that infographic, 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 make make-up stay on without 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 to 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?
- Gabrial – Zuzu Luxe mascara
- Gabriel – eyeliner pencil
- Mineral Fusion – bronzer, blush, and eye shadow
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.
How EWG evaluates and scores ingredients
EWG has a great database for researching toxins in your personal care products. However, it’s worth noting how EWG evaluates the ingredients. And it’s not all apples to apples. Due to the way ingredients are mandated to be listed in the EU vs. the US, some non-toxic European products get a bad rap from EWG. The EU mandates that all-natural components in essential oils (like terpenes and eugenol) are listed separately in the ingredients list. Because these are natural, volatile compounds found in plants, EWG lists them as potentially harmful. But in the US a product can just list “lavender oil”, and EWG doesn’t list that as 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. Essential oils are not harmful if used correctly (always with a carrier oil, never directly on the skin except for lavender and tea tree oils.)
In my continual quest for safe, organic health and beauty products, I’ve been an Ambassador for Neal’s Yard Remedies for over 10 years. 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, they were the first health and beauty product company to score a 100% in the Good Shopping Guide to Ethical Skincare. Visit my Neal’s Yard Remedies shop online.
Neal’s Yard Remedies products
- award-winning skin care/facial products for: normal, oily, dry, anti-aging, men, and babies
- hand and body lotions
- shower gels and scrubs / bath oils and soaps
- mens shaving/facial products
- 100% natural fragrances
- aromatherapy and essential oils
- herbal remedies
- holistic wellness books
Organic and Fair-Trade personal care and beauty
Please leave a comment to let us know one takeaway you learned about your cosmetics today?