Imagine this- you are strolling through your local Target, CVS, WalGreens, etc looking for natural products. You go to the aisle where you see several items labeled “natural” and you feel pretty good about making a wise choice regarding your health and use of toxins. However, you don’t realize that any company can slap a label on their products that says “natural.” In other words, the makeup or skincare you are buying with the best of intentions may not even be good for you. In fact, its probably not.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website agrees, what is labeled “natural” may still contain harmful ingredients. Its truly a laborious process trying to read labels with the dedication of a scholar but its well worth your time and most of all, your health.
“Looking for the words “natural” or “safe” won’t guarantee that the product you buy really is safe.”
You really want to go beyond the label – a company can say anything it wants– and be sure what you are buying comes from nature, not just natural sounding ingredients. Sure the product in question may contain trace amounts of botanicals and herbs but you have to break down the ingredients to understand what’s really in there. You have to educate yourself.
Here is a list of natural chemicals, get used to seeing some of these on your labels. I found this advice via WebMD: “learn to read the labels of your beauty products — even those labeled “natural.” Environmental groups caution against ingredients such as parabens (which are used as preservatives); petrochemicals and their by-products (often found in skin creams, foundations, and lip balms); mercury (in mascara and eyedrops); lead (in lipsticks); dioxane (in shampoos and body washes); and phthalates in nail polishes and hair sprays.”
So what are we supposed to do? For one, look for the look for USDA Certified Organic or EcoCert on labels. You probably won’t find truly organic cosmetics and skincare at your local superstore. There are shops online (a post coming soon about this) or places like Whole Foods that sell natural products. Even still….you have to read labels.
Here’s a list of chemicals you want to avoid
•Butyl Acetate: prevents nail polish from chipping
•Butylate Hydroxytoluene: prevents color from fading /changing
•Coal Tar: dissolves dead skin cells and controls itching in shampoo and hair dye
•Cocamide/Lauramide DEA: causes foaming in shampoo/bath products
•Formaldehyde: disinfectant and preservative in deodorant, nail polish, soap, shampoo, shaving cream
•Diazolidinyl Urea: helps the disinfectants (like formaldehyde) work
•Ethyl Acetate: liquid in nail polish, mascara, tooth whitening, perfume
•Parabens: group of chemicals that are preservatives and don’t allow bacteria to grow in your cosmetics
•Petroleum: makes lipsticks shine, creams smooth, and softens skin
•Treithanolamine: keeps lotions, shaving cream, soaps, shampoos and bath powders from clumping
•Triclosan: prevents bacteria on your hands from growing in your cosmetics, like on bars of soaps or deodorant
•Toluene: liquid part of nail polish and hair dye that makes it stick to your hair and nails and look glossy
•Talc: absorbs moisture and prevents powders like eye shadow, blush, deodorant from clumping in the containers
•Sodium Laureth Sulfate: helps the cosmetics stick to your skin
•Propylene glycol: keeps products from melting when it is too hot or freezing when it is too cold
•Phthalates: keeps color and scents dissolved in the nail polish, perfume, hair spray and others
My rule is that if I don’t know what an ingredient is or if its a chemical sounding name that I can’t pronounce, I probably don’t want to use it. To take it a step further, if you wouldn’t eat it- don’t use it.
In an ideal world, we would only ever use 100% organic beauty products. 60-80% of what we put on our skin/hair is absorbed and taken into our systems, thats a lot of chemicals for our bodies!
I want to find products without chemicals, synthetics, toxins! And doing that requires us to go beyond a label that calls itself “natural.”