There are many cosmetic products on the market that look “clean” and “green.” But how do you really know what’s in your cosmetic products and whether they are safe to use? We’ll show you what to watch for in our Ultimate Guide To Clean Cosmetics.
My Cosmetics Packaging Looks Safe. How Can I Tell?
With all of the beautiful packaging the market, it can be very difficult to determine which products are safe, and which ones are just being cleverly marketed.
Simply put, greenwashing is when companies put misleading information and labels on their products in order to appear more environmentally friendly. “Why?” you may ask. Well, because it works to sell the product.
These companies count on people not having the time to properly research the product and the ingredients. People are in a hurry and usually only glance over the label briefly in order to make a decision and determine if it’s a better product. They know people look for certain buzzwords that sound nice.
This isn’t anything new. Greenwashing has been around since the 1980s; however, it has become more prevalent because people do want better, safer, and more eco-friendly products. To meet this demand, manufacturers are changing the packaging and putting more time and money into how the products look, rather than the actual ingredients. High quality, natural ingredients often cost more. So one of the ways companies keep cost down is by using cheaper synthetic ingredients and less natural ingredients.
Product Regulation in the Cosmetics Industry
While products are required to have an ingredient label, the truth is most of them don’t contain enough information for the average consumer to assess its safety. Confusing lists of mile-long words make it hard for people to actually understand what’s in the product. Sometimes, simple ingredients are listed by not-so-common names. Or, other seemingly innocuous ingredients may have been linked to cancer or other health issues. But the consumer doesn’t always know this and assumes since it’s made it to the shelf in their store that it has been properly tested and is safe for their family.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate cosmetics, including skin care products, their authority is somewhat limited. Except for color additives, cosmetic ingredients do not need approval from FDA before they are marketed for sale to the general public. This is an important point, as this means that it is up to the individual manufacturers to ensure that their ingredients are safe for human use.
If they’re not properly vetting their own products and ingredients, or perhaps they have and found results they decided to ignore, there is no way for a consumer to know this, as the product can still be released with the potentially harmful ingredient.
This gap in regulatory oversight is all the more reason to be careful about what products you choose for your skincare needs.
Worst Ingredients in Skincare Products
Did you know that 60% of what you put on your skin gets absorbed? Skin is the largest and most important part of our bodies. It helps protect all of our vital organs, bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. That’s why we should be extremely mindful of what we are putting on our skin. We want to feed our beautiful skin nutrients, not toxins. Here are the five of the worst ingredients for your skin that are still commonly found in skincare products:
Parabens are a whole family of chemicals including methylparabens, propylparabens, butylparabens, and ethylparabens. Parabens can mimic estrogen which disrupts hormonal balance. This can lead to fertility and reproductive issues as well as breast cancer. Parabens are most commonly found in face cleansers, body washes, lotions, foundations, and shampoos.
The full name for BHTs are Butylated Hydroxytoluene. They are a synthetic antioxidant used to extend the shelf life of products. They can disrupt hormones and may cause liver damage. BHTs are most commonly found in lipsticks, moisturizers, and diaper creams.
Formaldehydes are most commonly used to preserve things, in building materials, and in many household products. The use of formaldehydes has been linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Formaldehydes are most commonly found in shampoos, body washes, and bubble baths.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are used to soften and increase the skin’s flexibility. Although it is extremely dangerous to children, it’s best to avoid them all together. They are a major endocrine disruptor and may cause birth defects. Phthalates are most commonly found in deodorant, lotion, and hairspray.
Lead is a heavy metal and neurotoxin. It may cause serious behavioral and learning problems. Extended use can also harm the production of healthy blood cells and the the absorption of calcium needed for strong bones and teeth. Lead is more commonly found in lip products such as lip glosses and lipsticks.
What are clean cosmetics?
Clean cosmetics are those that are safe, non-toxic and transparent with their labeling of ingredients. By using safer, smarter ingredients and cutting edge technology, clean beauty companies are providing trustworthy, high quality products that are free of carcinogens and hormone disruptors.
What are some clean cosmetic companies that you recommend?
Everyday Minerals is simply driven by the goal to help women feel confident and naturally beautiful. They create handmade products that contain only the finest essential ingredients to inspire women through artistic and creative expression, every day. Their easily wearable products are made from the highest quality at a reasonable price.
They’re based in Austin, Texas and when founder Carina Menzies became inspired by the pursuit of sourcing the purest form of natural ingredients from around the globe. A label-fanatic at heart, Carina realized that many of her favorite beauty products had ingredients that were less than desirable. After working for a few major cosmetic lines and discovering that they would never offer the simple, natural products that she and many other women were looking for, Everyday Minerals was born. Carina set out on her own path to create something of substance and goodness that women around the world could enjoy.
All of their products are 100% vegan, sustainable, and cruelty free. Handmade in Austin, their eco-friendly and recyclable packaging stays true to their commitment of preserving the natural beauty of the world and each other.
Mineral Fusion began as a mineral cosmetics brand in 2007 and is a natural cosmetic brand offering a smarter makeup that instantly improves your complexion while nourishing the skin, all while being appropriate for even the most sensitive skin types.
Mineral Fusion also offers a wide range of nail polish, hair care, body care, and skin care – each formulated to deliver the uniquely beneficial power of minerals. All of their products are made in the USA and many of them are still handmade.
Their goal is to leave skin and hair in better condition than they found it. This includes selecting effective natural ingredients, as well as making products free of gluten, parabens, talc, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, SLS, and phthalates. They never conduct animal testing, and never will, nor do they ask others to do so.
Honeybee Gardens products are created entirely of natural ingredients that you can actually pronounce! They reuse and recycle as much as possible and perhaps most importantly, they do not test any products on animals, and are PETA certified. All of their products have also been reviewed by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and all have a score of 2 or lower. They are also Feingold certified.
Since 1995, Honeybee Gardens, Inc. has operated under one simple concept, “Create pure, all-natural bath and body care products made from only the finest organic ingredients, offer them at a reasonable price, and treat every customer like a friend.”
Your Trusted Resource
Want to continue learning about clean living? Our goal is always to be your trusted resource, who will share with you the ingredients you need to watch out for and which ones are considered to be a safer choice. We do this through our strict ingredient policy, by listing our ingredients on product pages, and by continually evaluating the latest research so we can update as necessary. Be sure to check out our latest blog to learn more!