Cosmetic Consumers: Read Me

Have you ever thought about how makeup might affect your overall health? Well, lucky for you I have. :) And although I am not a physician, this is a subject which I have spent hours researching, reading about, and educating others on. I am excited to share what I know with you and I promise to keep it snappy!

The chemicals in cosmetic products have the potential to lead to serious health risks and concerns, like cancer, reproductive problems, respiratory issues, and many, many more. So you might think you are exempt because you use really expensive products or you have been using the same products for years and never had a problem but you are not. Sadly, although it seems unbelievable that no one is watching out for your safety when it comes to cosmetics, it is the truth.

Makeup, perfumes, and beauty products are manufactured and made available to consumers. At this time there is no governing entity dedicated to ensuring that all products sold are safe to use, apply, dab, pat, lather, spritz, rub, spray or smother onto your body. This is scary because women + men alike might use multiple products a day — think shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, lotion, powder, deodorant, hand cream, toner, hairspray, hair gel, makeup primers, foundation, powder, blush, concealer, eyeshadow, mascara, lip gloss, lipstick, etc. You are encountering chemicals on a daily basis. And so is your family, and your friends…

(Hopefully) I have scared you. But there is hope, which comes in the form of a website which rates products on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most toxic) and breaks down the potential “side effects” of use. You can search (by brand, type, category) for products and determine the overall safety of them here. For example, if you wear Britney Spears Curious perfume and wondering how safe the product actually is, you might be surprised to find on the website that it is incredibly harmful to your health. This particular perfume happens to get a 10, which means that it is has the potential to be very, very harmful and could lead to a wealth of diseases and health problems.

This fabulous website is: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ and I challenge you to research at least two or three products that you use (to start). Let me know what you research! Leave a comment, send me an email or a tweet. I have a feeling that you might be curious about other products you use too and make great use of this awesome tool. It is comforting to know that there is a community of people concerned about this issue too! Cosmetic safety is not something to be taken lightly.

However, learning about the risks of using conventional cosmetics can be daunting and disheartening. I often feel a tremendous sense of guilt when I purchase a product that I know is harmful to my health! But having knowledge about the topic enables me to make better decisions when I have the ability and inclination to. For example, if I have the option of organic or conventional toothpaste, I will opt for organic (same with soap, deodorant, etc.). Little changes can make a big difference. Some things I have found and done:

*use organic soap, my favorites: Dr.Bronner’s, LUSH

*use organic deodorant: LUSH (powder), Tom’s

*organic toothpaste

*organic conditioner (co-wash!!!)

Make sure you are not using “natural” products and thinking you are safe (think Burt’s Bees). Although these products are often a better option, they are not truly organic. Look for the USDA organic label!

Choose organic when you can and as often as you can. Use less products. Make a conscious effort to be safe with your cosmetics. Spread the word. Check the cosmetic database. Read about the issue. Donate to the Cosmetic Database, if you can (and to the Heifer Foundation while your at it because they are awesome, too). Sign petitions to get more legislation passed that requires manufacturers to create safe products! Look at the ingredients before you buy something. Make better choices. Little changes & substitutions make a difference. Relax, be informed but happy & enjoy your products because ultimately it is all about how you feel anyways.

x0 Katie

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