If you are like me, you may have never really questioned what was in your beauty or hygiene products growing up. It just wasn't something I ever thought about. The most I ever really thought was "if it's sold in the store, it must be safe"... right? Wrong. Little did I know, the FDA allows many harmful chemicals to be used in our cosmetics, let alone our food and drugs. Many of them are banned in other countries but are continued to be allowed in the US despite mounting research showing the dangers to our health. The FDA has way more restrictions on food ingredients (albeit still not enough), but hardly regulate cosmetic ingredients. Aren't the things we put ON our bodies just as important as what we put IN our bodies? Considering our skin is the bodies largest organ in the human body, I'd say YES!
"According to data from the federal Food and Drug Administration, nearly 1 in 5 cosmetic products contains a substance that generates formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen."
There is a lot of arguing over whether or not we can trust many of the ingredients we put on our bodies, but for me the bottom line is, if it's even a slight possibility that it may be harmful to my health.. I'm not using it! Most of us only commit to using a certain product because it worked for us and we had no reason to change it. Factors in our choice may have included price, effectiveness, and other qualities like fragrance or the addition of a beneficial ingredient (like vitamin E, etc). Most of the time we don't include the safety of the ingredient list in our decision, because that information isn't staring us in the face at the market. If the bottles upon bottles of body wash on the store shelves were blatantly labeled for potential health risks, I certainly would make much different decision in choosing one.
The solution lies in having the resources to make an informed decision about the products we buy. And we can't depend on the packaging alone. There are many companies that claim to be "natural" and "pure" but still have nasty chemicals hiding in the ingredient list.
Luckily there are two great websites that offer safety and health information on the products you use. Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep, and Goodguide.com.
They research the ingredients and give you detailed information about them in a list, and an overall health rating on a scale of 0-10. They also give an environmental impact rating and an ethical rating. Of course this is based only on the amount of information they can get, and there is a lack of transparency in the cosmetics industry (at least with most companies), which is a whole other problem that I won't get into now. But the information provided by Skin Deep and Goodguide is definitely a huge improvement and a great tool! Skin Deep also has an app now, so you can scan a product's barcode on your phone and see its rating right at the store! AWESOME.
I don't use as many products as the average woman probably does, but even between the bare basics I have at least 5 things I use on my body every day (and that doesn't include exposure from household products like cleaners). I have recently overhauled my cosmetics and cleaning products to only include ones with the most green scores I could find, without losing quality. Here's a quick list of products I use and love (and that work great!).
Beauty and Personal Care:
For Household Cleaning Products:
There is so much more to say about this topic but I am trying to keep this post concise. I encourage you to green up your routine by going to Skindeep.com and doing a little research to see what is hiding in your personal care products. I will update periodically as I find better solutions and products, as well as post about individual companies and products I love. Stay tuned!