First lipstick, then nail polish and now, hair dye; what is a girl to do when it comes to avoiding toxic chemicals and staying pretty? Several reports would have one believe that the toxic way is the only way when it comes to beauty products. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Skin is the body’s largest organ so it is important to take care of it.
The FDA doesn’t regulate the cosmetics industry closely, or some might say at all. The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow estimates that 89% of the 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been examined for safety by the FDA. Although they’ve prohibited the use of some chemicals, this doesn’t mean that harsh chemicals are absent from cosmetics and beauty products.
(Photo Credit: Matness, via PhotoPin)
Luckily, our partners have great advice and tools to make it easier to avoid harsh chemicals lurking in many popular beauty products.
Read Labels… Closely
Just because a product claims to be all-natural or organic does not mean it is. Read the ingredient label closely, this is a perk consumers have when looking for personal care products and cosmetics. The ingredients (with the exception of fragrances) are required to be on the label. This is different from say, other household products like laundry detergent, household cleaners, furniture which do not have to label ingredients and materials used to make the product
The fragrance loophole: citing “trade secrets” companies can omit toxic chemicals in fragrances at the expense of unsuspecting consumers. Trade secrets, are often just industry speak for parabens, triclosan, formaldehyde… etc. To be safe, the Skin Deep database will give you a good starting point for finding safer products.
For a list of chemicals to avoid when finding safer cosmetics and personal care products check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics list.
Is that your natural color?
Although permanent hair dyes contain toxic chemicals. That doesn’t mean you can’t play with your hair color. Henna dyes allow you the flexibility of switching up your look, without the chemical residue. Naturally, henna does not contain chemicals.
If you need to use permanent hair dye, when applying your color keep it away from your scalp and protect your scalp with oil before coloring. Always wear gloves when you apply color and while processing keep the hair away from your mouth, nose, and eyes. Many hair products targeted for Black women contain high levels of toxic chemicals including dyes and hair relaxers. Stay tuned for more information on this subject…
The smell of “clean”?
Our sense of smell plays a larger role than many think. To some, smelling clean is almost more important than actually being clean. The sweet smells of perfumes, cologne and scented body wash can be made with nasty chemicals, like the notorious hormone-disrupting phthalates.
Some companies took steps to reduce and eliminate phthalates from their products. But, there is little indication that this is a trend in the mainstream beauty industry. But as 2014, begins the market for organic beauty lines devoid of harsh toxic chemicals continues to grow rapidly. Mainstream retailers are beginning to carry less-toxic and chemical free products on their shelves.
Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to completely avoid phthalates and other toxic chemicals until Congress passes legislation that will require chemical manufacturers to demonstrate that their products are safe before they end up in our beauty products.
Here are two ways you can join the important fight: