Buy Chemical-Free Cosmetics

Buy Chemical-Free Products

So it’s Day 2 of the A to Z blogging challenge and that means the letter B.  Why do we need to buy chemical-free products?  Because we deserve healthy bodies and healthy lives and adding a bunch of heavy metals and pesticides to our daily diets doesn’t do anyone much good.  Need convincing?  Read on:


Blame it on Cleopatra

Four thousand years ago, ancient Egyptian men and women painted their eyes using malachite, a copper ore with a rich green color, that made the most delicious shade of eyeshadow.  They used galena, a blue-grey mineral form of lead sulfide mixed with soot to form Kohl, a black eye-liner.  They washed, dried, crushed and sometimes burned red ochre, a pigment found in clay, a result of hydrated iron oxide, to create rouge, and they made henna, a dye created from the henna shrub’s leaves and shoots, to color their hair and nails.  

Given the choice, most people would not ingest lead, copper, and other hazardous substances as part of their daily beauty regime.   Chemicals such as lead acetate (lead sugar), chromium, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, and thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) used in modern lipstick production all contain trace amounts of naturally occurring metals which means that your lipstick may come with a side of metal not found on the ingredients list.  

There are chemicals to consider as well.  Lipstick contains pigments from color additives such as D&C Red 7 Calcium Lake which is formulated by reacting the dye with salts and precipitants such as calcium or sodium to give the lipstick stability.  You want pink?  Mix in some titanium dioxide, shown to be a carcinogen in laboratory rats when in dust form.  Matte finishes use silica which can can lead to lung and autoimmune diseases if fine crystals are inhaled.  

What’s the big deal, you ask, if it’s such a little bit? Well, if a woman ingests an average of four pounds of lipstick over the course of her lifetime, those trace amounts can add up to more significant quantities per item, and since most women use approximately 12 beauty products a day (teenaged girls use about 14 and men about 6), we are no longer talking about trace amounts.  After a lifetime of ingesting, absorbing and inhaling all these harmful metals and chemicals, we have become walking pharmaceutical labs. 

As consumers we still lack adequate protections.  The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was first signed into law in 1938 after over a hundred patients died from using sulfanilamide, an antibacterial containing diethylene glycol, a sweet, and poisonous, solvent.  Congress needed to act to address the crisis so they gave the job to the FDA, but in actuality, the FDA doesn’t have authority to recall a product unless it’s been misbranded or adulterated.  At best, this results in self-policing by the cosmetics industry, but keep in mind that a law without enforcement authority doesn’t scare anyone.  Further, as the watchdog for cosmetic safety, the FDA has only banned eleven out of over 12,000 products since 1938.  By contrast, the European Union has banned over 1,320. 

Perhaps the most distressing news is that cosmetic products do not undergo a rigorous scientific review before they are rolled out to the public.

In general, chemicals are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when used as a pesticide, preservative, fungicide, or biocide in plastics, fabrics, flooring and other products, and by the FDA when used as a food or drug additive.  Registration of a product requires a manufacturer to review that product for efficacy so EPA can review the information and determine whether the manufacturer’s claims are true, but EPA doesn’t regulate foods or drugs, the FDA does, so when a chemical is used in products like deodorants or hand soaps, or added to processed foods, and not added to the product itself for the sake of protecting and preserving that product as it is in flooring, bedding, utensils, and the like, it is no longer considered a pesticide.  The FDA regulations don’t require registration and efficacy studies the way EPA regulations do.  Only after a product is on the market and proven unsafe will the FDA ask for a voluntary recall.  So I ask you, why do harmful compounds require registration when incorporated into inert products, but when used in our cosmetics and toothpastes no registration is required?  Or to put it another way, why do products need more safeguarding than people? 

The global sale of cosmetics tipped the scales at $532 billion in 2017 with sales projected to increase well into the next decade.  With such a lucrative market at stake, manufacturers should want to invest in healthful products that will assure their clientele stay alive long enough to keep purchasing them.  If Cleopatra had the benefit of the science behind her beauty regime, she may have gone a little easier on the eye-liner.  The good news is, in 2017, the global organic personal care market reached 12.19 billion and is projected to keep growing. 

Ladies, you have the power of the purse.  You owe it to yourselves and  future generations to use it by purchasing products committed to consumer safety.  Let’s get the lead out. 

Link to drama free cosmetics: www.ewg.org/skindeep

pamlazos 4.2.19

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in Beauty, consumer safety, cosmetics, health and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Buy Chemical-Free Cosmetics

  1. antonia_ says:

    Learnt so much from this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was an informational post. I learned a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Awesome post! This totally reaffirms my inclination to just not make up m’face. So far Blondie’s all for avoiding cosmetics, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Buy Chemical-Free Cosmetics — Green Life Blue Water – Ellustar Fashion

  6. Ronel Janse van Vuuren says:

    Great post. I go with: if it cannot be pronounced when I have a blinding migraine, then it shouldn’t be in the product. I have really sensitive skin, so chemicals tend to make me break out in ways that can cause a quarantine 😉

    Ronel visiting from the A-Z Challenge with Music and Writing Let’s Talk Boybands

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      First, terrible that you get migraines. I used to, but they stopped when I got pregnant and I never got them again (now almost 20 years later). Maybe check into a lab test to see what your hormones are like. Could help. And yes, that list for EWG is great! They have all kinds of products on it so check what you have against the list or email them if you want to know about a certain product. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. lindasschaub says:

    Pam – I can remember years ago, there was much hoopla about using red lipstick as it would cause cancer. I believe it happened around the same time as red licorice was said to be bad for you as both contained harmful red dye. I never wore dark red lipstick so it wasn’t a worry – I was more of a pinky-brown kind of gal. But, I will tell you that for years I painted my nails and when I removed the polish my nails were dark yellow. They looked unhealthy, even though they were strong from all the dairy products I ate/drank. I discovered it was the formaldehyde in the nail polish that caused my nails to look so awful. There were no formaldehyde-free nail polishes on the market at the time, so I decided to just go “bare” and let my nails return to their natural color. I felt a little “unpolished” if you’ll pardon the pun as my nails grew out – it took a very long time for the nail beds to look presentable again and I never went back to wearing polish again. Now that I work from home, I rarely use makeup, but when I worked, I used a lot of makeup in an effort to look nice, but NATURAL. I have no doubt I used 14 products a day – I had oily skin so there were primers for skin, eyes … it was ridiculous. I also remember I had an allergic reaction to some type of violet color in most eye makeups – it didn’t have to be a pink color of eye shadow, just that one particular ingredient. So I used hypoallergic eye makeup from Cliique to combat the problem. Thanks for the enlightening post – “B” is for “now I know better!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Wow, formaldehyde! That’s just unconscionable on so many levels but it’s always been about making 💰💰💰. I don’t wear any makeup, 💄 not even to work, but I do use moisturizers and shampoo, of course, and I make my own lip balm out of beeswax and organic essential oils so there’s that. 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, and they have a formula that doesn’t contain it but I understand it doesn’t adhere very well either. I found out from going to a skin doctor that I was allergic to formaldehyde. That didn’t cause the yellow nails … that was the color in the nail lacquer. But apparently the formaldehyde found in the toner in copy machines, fax machines, etc. contains formaldehyde. The paper comes out of the machine and it is hot and contains the formaldehyde – cracks your skin. I had deep cuts in my hands – just my hands, just on the palms and fingers. The dermatologist suggested wearing cotton gloves in the office to handle the hot paper and waiting before handling it until it cooled off. My hands got better almost immediately. Now I don’t handle any paper – I do everything by remoting in to work and all work is sent to me by PDF. Then, there was the controversy a few years ago about sodium lauryl sulfate found in soaps and toothpaste to make them foam. You’re not safe with anything anymore, but you are smart not using cosmetics … I’ve not worked on site for 10 years this month. I use some of Tom’s of Maine products: https://www.tomsofmaine.com/our-promise/ingredients/sodium-lauryl-sulfate

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        Tom’s of Maine is great. Terrible about the paper. I just read that register receipt paper has chemicals in it. The poor cashiers who handle it all day long! Is there nothing safe anymore?🤦‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes I like their products – Unless they have changed the formula in the toner, best to avoid it … didn’t know that about the cash register receipts. At the grocery store, I always use the U-scan. Nothing is safe these days.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        So true.😩😩😩

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I converted to Weleda and other ‘natural’ cosmetic products years ago – I don’t trust anything put out by the big corporations.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Ally Bean says:

    I glanced through some of the products on the list. Of course, I’ve never heard of them or seen them on the shelves at Sephora. No surprise, but interesting to think about how this industry has conned us all, on many levels.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      I buy Aveda and Body Shop and even they aren’t perfect, sad to say. I was surprised to see one of Herbal Essence’s products in the list proving things don’t need to cost a zillion dollars to be good for you.😜

      Liked by 1 person

  10. mistermuse says:

    Men use about six beauty products a day? I only use about two, and I’m not even sure if they’re considered beauty products (soap and Aloe Vera moisturizer and/or underarm deodorant). No wonder I’m ugly!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Susan Scott says:

    Yoh! – as they say in the classics. Thanks Pam for this. I’d heard about lipstick, deodorant vs anti-perspirant (blocking of lymph glands under the arm pits and possible link to breast cancer), hair dye, sunscreen (fish and coral affected), and I don’t know what else. Glad that the organic industry is growing. We honestly need to be educated in order to make better choices and hit the industry where it hurts most and that is so laissez-faire about their consumers – and governments too.

    Liked by 2 people

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