My own personal research into the effects of chemicals on our health–this is decades of research into effective methods to remove chemicals and address residual affects–has only strengthened my resolve to find pure, effective skincare products that are a good value for money. I’m tired of seeing $50 price tags on 2oz of “night serum” or “daily moisturizer” made from cheap and harmful chemicals just put in a pretty wrapper.
Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. government doesn’t regulate cosmetics for safety, long-term health impacts or environmental damage. Many common cosmetics ingredients are harmful to people and the environment.
Just like in our food supply, there are the pretenders: labels say “all natural”, “infused with herbs” or even “made with organic” or worse yet simply stating “organic” on the label when this is a figment of the manufacturer’s imagination but is an allowable marketing ploy because cosmetics labels are not regulated.
A little more ethical are those companies that do include small amounts of organic ingredients, just enough to legitimately say that on the label, but also use chemicals–most of which are harmful.
Then there are those excellent companies who look beyond the profit margin to earn bonafide certifications for being organic or free of animal cruelty or otherwise careful with their ingredients and manufacturing procedures.
There are two key ways to avoid toxic ingredients and other unethical practices: 1. read the ingredients labels; and 2. buy only those with the “badges” you find important, minimally the USDA Organic certification if you truly want to avoid chemicals. Only when a 3rd party governing body certifies the entire product, can you be sure of a genuine claim:
If it carries the USDA Organic badge then it meets those standards. Ingredients are grown in unadulterated soils, free of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, harvested cleanly, minimally processed without risk of contamination and stored correctly to maintain their nutrient value.
Some of the more reputable companies also refuse to test on animals. The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny Program administers an internationally recognized cruelty-free standard providing the best assurance of no animal testing used in any phase of product development.
The Recycled label ensures packaging is made with at least 25% post-consumer recycled content, and everything is recyclable. On a day-to-day basis, I hope everyone makes a conscious effort to recycle, re-use, and re-think the use of resources used in consumer products.
The gluten free label is important to those who have Celiac’s disease or other gluten sensitivities or allergies. Gluten-containing, grain-based products may react when used on your skin.
The “vegan” logo identifies products that do not contain animal products or byproducts and that have not been tested on animals.
As for the labels, everything that applies to your food applies here:
- The ingredients are listed by content: The first 3 to 4 ingredients listed on the ingredients label make up between 90% and 95% of the entire product. The last 3 to 5 ingredients on the label amount to approximately 1% to 3% of the entire product. Takes a little thinking though: if a (usually very concentrated) herbal infusion is the 2nd on the list, which is usual, after water, the product is probably 95% water.
- Can you even read the label? If you can’t, if it is a bunch of biochemistry mumbo jumbo–and especially those key first 3-4 ingredients, then skip it and buy something else. The organic primrose oil promoted on the pretty packaging is overshadowed by the PEG, parabens, pthalates and other harsh chemicals that make up the bulk of the ingredients.
With this in mind, you can choose a really great brand that works for you.
I don’t usually promote specific brands on this blog, but the one I use just went on sale–and who doesn’t love a sale? Thought you might like to know. Nourish Organic long ago met my standards including its high quality/low price; but now it’s 40% off. Plus, with any order over $50 and shipping is free.