Creepy Cosmetic Chemicals

Cruddy Cosmetics

What’s in lurking in your bathroom? Surprisingly, many of the ingredients in our everyday cosmetic products from shampoos to deodorants, make-up to sunscreen, are not as regulated by the FDA as one would hope. And considering just how many of these products we use on a daily basis (some estimates are around 15 per day for some women), we may just be lathering up our largest organ, the skin, with numerous toxins putting ourselves at risk for various health problems like skin irritations. Not to mention the harmful impact on wildlife as all of these products are washed down the drain every day.

As we’ve mentioned before, the Environmental Working Group has created this fascinating database, Skin Deep, to help consumers may educated purchases when it comes to our beauty products. Here’s their list of the top ingredients to avoid in cosmetics and personal care products:

  • Placenta
  • Mercury
  • Lead
  • Fragrance
  • Animal Parts
  • Hydroquinone Skin Lightener
  • Nanoparticles
  • Phthalates
  • Petroleum Byproducts

To read more about each of these products and to find out where they may be hiding, check this out and make sure you read this article.

So to reduce your risk, opt for natural products made from plants and minerals (check out some of the products here for a start), check the database for low hazard items, or even try making your own.

Posted in Living Green by Liz on March 5, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Burt’s Bees Bought By Clorox

Burts Bees

I have always been a big fan of Burt’s Bees products. We recommended them as gifts, and I received some for Christmas as well (thanks Allison!). It is hard to say no to a product that lists the percentage of natural ingredients (which is, on average, 99%) directly on the packaging (which is minimal, recycled and recyclable). They don’t test on animals and a good portion of their products score pretty well on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.

So, what’s this about Clorox? As I was reading (online) the most recent issue of E/The Environmental Magazine, I was surprised to see that Burt’s Bees was sold to Clorox (yes, Clorox) for over $900 million in cash, leaving the former (and founding) owner without a financial stake or a formal role with the company. (More about Burt’s Bees somewhat soap-opera-like past can be found in this NYTimes article.)

So what does this mean for us consumers? According to the Burt’s Bees Blog the company “will continue, without compromise, to develop the best natural personal care formulas, environmentally sensitive packaging and nature-safe manufacturing processes.” Sound too good to be true? It seems that we will find out soon enough, since the CEO promises to give “an honest and transparent progress report in six months time.”

Until then, it’s always good to keep an eye on whatever products you use, whether they are going on your legs or in the litter box. Or, of course, you could always make your own.

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on January 22, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Phthalate Free Fingernails

No Miss Nail Polish

Everytime I polish my fingernails, our dog, Scarlet, curls up and rolls over and over covering her nose with her paws. Hmm, think it has something to do with that horrible smell? Maybe it’s the dibutyl phthalate or the toluene or the formaldehyde?

As I have mentioned already, I’m on a mission to find less toxic and more evironmentally friendly “beauty products,” that still do the job, so, for my dog’s sanity, and my peace of mind, I started searching for a healthier nail polish. Right now, I’m test driving No-Miss Nail Polish in “Singer Sienna.” It looks great, seems to stay on as long as my old favorites like O.P.I, and costs about the same. It still has a little bit of that trademark stink to it, but I do feel better knowing that my nails are not soaking up a bunch of toxic chemicals. Other polishes to try include DBP-free Sparitual and even a few drug store brands which get a lower hazard rating according to Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. Just in time for all those holiday parties!

Posted in At The Market by Liz on November 28, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Shave Off

shave cream

Did you know that our skin is the largest organ in our bodies? So it makes sense to me to wise up about some the products I am putting on (and thus dumping into it) everyday.  Do you really want to be depositing a bunch of potentially harmful chemicals into your skin? 

I’ve made an effort to switch to less “toxic” products to replace the chemical land-mines in my beauty regimen.  One such switch I started experimenting with was shaving cream.  I’ve tried the two ”natural” products pictured above and I have to report that the “Kiss My Face” brand was the superior in my book.  It foamed up extremely well and was very moisturizing, while the “Alba“ brand stayed creamy and wound up clogging my razor!  However, since my amateur testing experience I have discovered neither product gets a top billing for safety according to the Environmental Working Group’s  huge cosmetic database, Skin Deep.  

So, while I do think the Kiss My Face product is a safer alternative compared to my old stuff, and much better than plain ol’ soap, I may try another swap to one of these.  But, I will definitely continue to gradually make the switch to safer, more natural products for all my personal care products.  Stay tuned for my product reviews as I plow through them…

Posted in At The Market by Liz on November 4, 2007 | Permalink | 2 Comments