We are what we eat…and put on our faces. With the potential side effects of the chemicals in makeup including things like cancer, reproductive and hormonal problems, birth defects or brain damage, the more educated we are as consumers the better.
The first step is learning which chemicals to avoid. Check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics or the Environmental Working Group for up to date information on new studies. EWG’s Skin Deep database is also a great resource where you can enter the name of a product you use and search for both ingredients and associated health effects.
Looking for labels that explicitly state, paraben-, phthalate- or PCB-free are a good place to start. For products that contain food ingredients like avocado, honey or cinnamon, search for the USDA-organic certified label. Know your organic terms before you go. “100% organic” means the ingredients must be (you guessed it!) 100% organic, while a product with “organic ingredients” must only contain an organic ingredient here and there.
As with all advertising, watch phrasing carefully. Don’t be fooled by the words “green!” or “natural!” which, in some products has as much validity as saying a drink has “natural flavors!” when in fact chemicals outnumber them ten to one.
Your best bet for finding great natural products is to break up with your normal routine. If you can’t find any good products in the store, try a new one. A Facebook post is especially useful for this kind of project, and you’ll connect with other like-minded folks who are concerned with similar issues
The chemicals that make cameos in our beauty regimens are scary, but there are plenty of other great options if you know where to look!