Whether it’s toothpaste, deodorant, foundation, lipstick or perfume, there’s no denying that most of us have a go-to beauty routine than includes a lengthy list of various products aimed at improving our appearance and overall hygiene.
In fact, a typical American consumer uses an average of 10 different personal care products daily. Now, why should this statistic concern us? Surely, it’s not against the law to care about your appearance, right?
The unfortunate truth when it comes to your everyday beauty and personal care products is that those 10 different products will actually amount to approximately 130 various chemical ingredients daily.
Chemical and toxin exposure in our day and age is inevitable, however, you increase this exposure greatly with each unhealthy cosmetic product you use repeatedly.
Alone, that mascara might not have a high enough percentage of toxins to raise concern but once combined with a slew of other products, the dangers become quite real.
Cosmetics are largely unregulated
Consumers are often unaware of the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not required to test or approve self care products or their ingredients before they reach the shelves of your favorite stores.
In fact, with the exception of some color additives, no safety testing is required at all on these products in the US and natural and organic claims are not verified or legally defined under their jurisdiction.
What this essentially means for us as consumers is that it's more important than ever to do your own research and to take control of which products you choose to purchase.
There is never a bad time to begin educating yourself on the ingredients hidden in your daily beauty regimen, as well as the possible health concerns that have been linked to these chemicals.
Chemicals in cosmetics may be harming your health
Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to many chemicals and heavy metals in cosmetics such as coal tar, aluminum and lead can increase your risk for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, brain damage, hormone disruption, fertility issues, cancer and nervous system irregularities, just to name a few.
Luckily, our bodies have incredible healing abilities and often times, replacing toxic products for more natural, organic alternatives is truly all it takes to reverse any previous damage.
Although many consumers are at least partly aware that stricter regulation is needed in the cosmetics industry, the greatest obstacle seems to be knowing where and how to begin.
Switching to healthier cosmetics doesn't need to be overwhelming!
With clever marketing campaigns and an overwhelming amount of information and brands being hurled at consumers, we often feel defeated before even making the attempt at a healthier beauty routine.
If you're interested in beginning your journey into natural and organic cosmetics, makeup and skin care, the list below will give you a quick summary of the basic “Dos and Don'ts” when it comes to finding the healthiest cosmetics, makeup or skin care.
For more information, be sure to check out: “The Complete Guide To Natural and Organic Makeup, Cosmetics and Skin Care.”
Take it slow!Rome wasn’t built in one day and your natural and organic beauty collection won’t be either!
Replacing your old products will take time and it’s important to be patient throughout the process. Whether it’s replacing one product a week or one product a month, you’ll get there in time!
Look for certified logosSince any company can technically label their cosmetic products as “natural” or “organic,” its imperative to locate the correct logo to back up these claims.
Whether it’s the cruelty-free Leaping Bunny from PETA, the Vegan Society’s vegan logo, the USDA Organic Seal or the European EcoCert for natural products, independent certifications do hold value in the beauty industry and are worth your time to investigate.
The “The Complete Beginner's Guide to Vegan Makeup, Cosmetics and Skin Care” and “The Complete Guide To Natural and Organic Makeup, Cosmetics and Skin Care” will explain in further detail exactly what these certifications mean and how they differ from one another.
Find a favorite brand (or two!)
Just like we all have a favorite coffee shop or clothing store that never lets us down, it’s important to find your reliable natural and organic cosmetic brands that you can always fall back on. These will be the brands you’ve researched extensively, experimented with, and that you know stand up to the ethical and moral standards you are looking for.
Ask questionsKeep an inquisitive mindset and take marketing labels and packaging with a grain of salt. When it comes to cosmetics, everything is not always what it seems. For instance, a bottle that says “contains natural ingredients” may be exciting upon first glance but upon further investigation, may prove to hold little or no actual value.
Experiment with new productsOnce you’ve established your base, don’t be afraid to branch out and try some new natural and organic products. Whether it’s that natural mascara that keeps popping up online or an organic shampoo you stumble upon in a natural foods market, the process should be fun and you’ll likely discover some great, affordable additions for your collection!
Download helpful appsDownload “clean cosmetics” apps such as ThinkDirty, where you can search for or scan your item to get a health rating of 1-10 based on ingredients, specifically targeting carcinogens and allergenic skin irritants.
Check out credible online resourcesThere are so many credible resources to turn to when learning about natural and organic makeup, cosmetics and skin care. Some great places to get started include PETA’s website, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, especially the "Chemicals of Concern" list, and the online database SkinDeep.
Contact brands and manufacturers directlyWe’ve all heard the age-old saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!” In our digital world, it’s easier than ever to reach out to cosmetics companies and manufacturers directly with your questions, comments and concerns.
If something stands out or feels off to you, don’t hesitate to call or send an email. With the rising influence and power of social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram, there’s a high percentage that your concerns will be important to these brands.
Share your knowledgeIf switching to a natural, organic beauty routine has miraculously cleared your acne or improved your overall health in any way, let other beauty enthusiasts know!
Sharing your newfound knowledge on this topic can help shed light on issues many people are largely unaware of and can help improve the lives of others. Whether it’s getting involved on social media, on your blog, at the breakfast table or through non-profit organizations, your experiences and knowledge are a gift to be shared!
If you have a favorite brand that isn’t natural or organic just yet, be sure to contact them and encourage them to move in this direction!
By switching to natural and organic makeup, cosmetics and skin care, you are doing a great favor to your body. Not only this, but you will also be aiding in preserving the environment and lessening animal cruelty in the beauty industry. Be proud of your healthy choices and enjoy the many benefits!
Be a pessimistFinding our that your favorite foundation is full of potentially carcinogenic ingredients or that your best lipstick contains traces of lead can be extremely frustrating. It’s natural to feel let down by brands you have been loyal to and that you believed had your best interests in mind. However, this shouldn’t be reason to become pessimistic or to shame others who use these products. The journey towards natural, organic products is different for each individual!
Believe everything you readAs we mentioned, not all labels all created equally! Approach each product with an open mind and a bit of healthy caution.
Forget about your nailsNail products and treatments are often left by the wayside but actually contain some of the most potent chemicals. Be sure to add nail polish and other nail treatments to your list of considerations when making the transition to natural and organic products.
Throw out products without a natural or organic logoCompanies sometimes may choose not to include certified logos on all of their products. Therefore, if you thought a product was natural or organic but don’t see an official logo on the bottle, don’t toss it just yet! There’s still a chance it may have one but it hasn’t been included on the packaging. Contacting the manufacturer directly for further clarification may be needed in cases like this.
Confuse “natural,” “organic,” “vegan,” and cruelty-free”Believe it or not, each one of these terms has a different meaning and one does not necessarily guarantee the other. Each term also comes with its own set of possible certifications. For instance, an “organic” product is, by definition, “natural,” but a “natural” product may not necessarily be certified “organic.”
Throw everything out at onceStart with the products you use the most and the products you use daily. These will be the products that are currently having the biggest impact on your overall health.
Give up!You don’t have to stop using makeup and cosmetic products and go completely natural. High-quality, affordable natural and organic cosmetics do exist and there are many fantastic brands who have made it their mission to eradicate harmful chemicals and toxins from their products. It just takes a bit of research and experimentation to find the perfect options for your lifestyle.
Purchase any products that contain dangerous ingredient such as parabens, sulfates, aluminum, phltalates or coal tarThese have been considered most dangerous and are mostly banned in the EU for use in personal care products. (Search cosmetic ingredients banned in EU still used in US)