Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cleaner Cosmetic Companies

I have yet to find a line of cosmetics that is totally pure. But there are a few options that drastically minimize the use of impure ingredients. They can’t be found in drug stores or in department stores. In fact, there are few if any products that are truly clean carried in those types of stores. Your best bet is to visit a health food store, green co-op, or little mom and pop natural place if you have one in your area (these places need our support!). But if not, you can find and order what you need online. Here are some companies that are trying to do things right:

Gabriel Cosmetics- The textures and colors are pretty good and these cosmetics are vegan and cruelty-free. These are mostly natural shades without any really vibrant color options.

ZuZu Luxe- This is a line made by Gabriel Cosmetics that includes some vibrant shades and they make one of the best mascaras I’ve ever used. The line is vegan and cruelty-free. Both Gabriel and ZuZu are best suited for light to medium complexions as they don’t really offer a wide variety of shades for deeper complexions unfortunately.

Jane Iredale- She makes a very popular mineral makeup and a full color line. Look closely at the ingredients because not all of them are 100% vegan. Her line is fairly large and has something for nearly all skin tones and the colors are nice.

Bare Escentuals- This is probably the most popular line that touts healthier ingredients. I use their mineral foundation myself as well as the Rare Minerals. It’s more affordable than Jane Iredale and has a wide variety of shades for skin, eyes, cheeks, and lips. Not all the products are vegan so check out each one before buying. Also, there are still a few ingredients in some of the products that warrant caution. My suggestion is to check the ingredients or the product name on first.

Mi Essence- This line has the cleanest ingredient lists I’ve ever seen in a cosmetic line. However they are in Australia so shipping may be costly and not all their products are vegan. But if you order from them, let me know what you think!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Cosmetic Ingredients

If there is no other motivation to stop using conventional cosmetics, the health risks posed by their ingredients should be. Cosmetic ingredients are not required to be tested for safety and many if not most are not assessed at all for risks to our health. Cosmetic companies will tell you that even if there is some evidence of potentially harmful effects of ingredients used in their products, they are used in such low concentrations that they aren’t a problem. But the average woman uses between 9-17 beauty products on her face, body, hair, etc. each day! So you are getting several applications of these ingredients every single day. Our bodies absorb these chemicals and since our systems have trouble flushing these synthetics out, we store them in our bodies and they wreak havoc on us over time. Below I have listed just a few common ingredients that show up in many cosmetic items like foundations, powders, eyeshadows, liners, mascara, cheek color and lip color. But of course there are countless others that are equally scary. If you want to look up ingredients or specific products to see their safety ratings and details, go to . This website is amazing and so informative. It is the source for the info below and a crucial resource to public health and safety education at this point because the companies making the products aren’t going to tell you this stuff.

Talc- potential carcinogen and a known respiratory toxicant, not tested by industry panel for safety in cosmetic use, some lab tests resulted in skin irritation, possibility of contamination with asbestiform fibers (extremely carcinogenic)

Mineral oil- possible human immune toxicant and potentially cancerous, low to moderate doses in some lab tests resulted in sense organ effects and skin irritation, not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel

Parabens (methylparaben is most common)- Human skin toxicant, one or more lab tests showed organ system effects, positive mutation in mammalian cells in vitro, weak endocrine disruption, brain and nervous system effects, skin irritation, and gene expression interference

Ferric ferrocyanide-Known human respiratory toxicant, one or more lab tests resulted in brain and nervous system effects at moderate doses

BHT-human immune system and skin toxicant, one or more lab studies using low doses show endocrine system disruption, brain and nervous system effects, and skin irritation, reproductive system effects at high doses, and one or more in vitro tests on mammalian cells show positive mutation results

Silica- (finely ground as in loose or pressed powdered products that could be inhaled)- Strong evidence of dust being an immune system toxicant, cancer risk, respiratory toxicant, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and renal toxicant, and bioaccumulative in wildlife and humans

“Lake” colors (various pigments used for color)- Strong evidence of human neurotoxicity and nervous system toxicity, and one or more in vitro tests non-mammalian cells show positive mutation results.

It is possible to wear makeup (if you want to) without using dangerous ingredients. There are a few companies that are making truly safe cosmetics. That’s the next post.