Are Your Beauty Products Good for You? Here's How to Know for Sure and Some of Your Best Beauty Bets

The emphasis of a healthy lifestyle has typically revolved around the combination of eating right, exercising regularly and reducing exposure to harmful toxins. Unfortunately, toxins are everywhere, and there is no way to eliminate it from one’s lifestyle completely. One area we do have control over is what products we purchase. Cosmetic and beauty products in particular should be given extra attention during your next shopping trip.

Recent studies have shown that our most commonly used beauty products contain harmful chemicals, and the industry as a whole remains highly unregulated. According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, there are current loopholes in the US Federal Law that allows companies to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into their products with no required testing, monitoring of health effects and inadequate labeling requirements. It’s scary to think about how many of these products find their way into our homes and onto our bodies.

Why It Matters

What we put onto our bodies matters because what we put on our skin can be absorbed by the body and enter into our bloodstream. And skin is our largest organ! It makes you want to give those ingredients on your body lotion another look right? Many of the ingredients in products have been scientifically proven to be linked to issues like cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and more. A major challenge for consumers is knowing which ingredients to avoid, and there’s quite a few of them in everything from body lotions to shampoos. Take this list to your bathroom and do a double check.

Ingredients to Avoid
  • Parabens: Commonly used in: makeup, moisturizer, shaving gel, shampoo, personal lubricant and spray tan products
  • Formaldehyde: Commonly Used in: shampoo, body wash, liquid soaps, and nail polish
  • Fragrance: Commonly used in: moisturizers, deodorant, lotion, face cream, shampoo, conditioner
  • Sodium Laurl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): Commonly found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath
  • Polyethylene/peg compounds: Commonly used in: scrubs, body wash, foaming cleansers, creams

Also be wary of cosmetics that are labeled natural, non-toxic, safe or organic. Companies can easily make these marketing claims without needing to go through any testing for certifications. While the responsibility is largely placed on us to research and buy high quality, non-toxic products, you can find comprehensive lists of what to avoid on websites like Beautycounter and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Here are a list of brands that are dedicated to non-toxic products. Have you tried any?

Non-toxic Beauty Brands to Follow:

  1. 100% Pure - Founded in a Napa, California farmhouse and now based in Silicon Valley, 100% PURE is a natural cosmetics beauty firm focused on providing healthy skin.
  2. Tata Harper - Tata couldn’t find 100% natural products that were up to her standards of efficacy, quality, and purity. So she started her own skincare line!
  3. Crunchi - A company dedicated to educating our consumers about the potential harm of cosmetic toxins, and in the process, providing the best, highest performing alternatives.
  4. Ursa Major - A company created to provide a healthy and highly effective skin care solution that’s a natural alternative to the toxic products in the market.
  5. Milk Beauty - All Milk Makeup products are cruelty-free and made with the best possible ingredients like hydrating jojoba, coconut, orange peel, and grape seed oils; fruit and vegetable butters like mango and shea.
  6. Beautycounter - A simple and direct mission: To get safer products into the hands of everyone.
Additional Tips for Safe Cosmetic Use
  1. Make Your Own: If you have the time, try making your own shampoo, soap or toothpaste. They can be simple and created with a few ingredients in your kitchen. Toothpaste, for example, can be created with coconut oil, baking soda, and a few drops of essential oil. Have fun experimenting.
  2. Simplify: Are there certain products you can remove from your daily regime completely? Can you go a few days of the week make-up free? If anything go for products that have simple ingredients as it means there are fewer synthetic chemicals.
  3. Download the “Think Dirty” app. Next time you’re at the store, you can scan the product barcode to learn about the potentially dangerous and toxic chemicals in the product.
  4. Follow the “Personal Care Products Safety Act” bill progress. In 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Susan Collins of Maine introduced the bipartisan legislation to protect consumers and streamline industry compliance. If enacted, the bill would make major adjustments to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which hasn’t been updated in over 75 years.