I just threw out hundreds of dollars worth of makeup…
Why? Because I am makeup hating feminist who has liberated herself from the archaic and non-achievable beauty standards of society and the profit hungry cosmetic industry (girl power). JUST KIDDING (at least about the makeup hating part)–I am a mascara and lip gloss wearing feminist who just discovered that after you carefully finish applying your favorite shade of lipstick and glance up into the mirror, your makeup could be hiding more than a few blemishes. It is unbelievable how many carcinogens and other insane unnatural ingredients lurk inside those pretty little compact cases. I challenge you the next time you pull out your beauty kit to take a look at the ingredients list–I found cancer, cancer, and more cancer. One major theme Kent and I have learned along our self-reliance journey is that you cannot blindly trust the government or industry to ensure your safety. While there are great companies out there and government regulation may try to protect us, it is ultimately up to the consumer to learn what is in the products we use and protect ourselves from things that are potentially harmful. Just because a product is on the market, doesn’t mean it is safe.
But what about the FDA? Don’t they ensure that everything on the market is safe? Well, sort of…
FDA does not pre-approve cosmetic products or ingredients, with the important exception of color additives. However, cosmetic firms are responsible for marketing safe, properly labeled products; using no prohibited ingredients; and adhering to limits on restricted ingredients. It is also considered good practice to follow industry safety guidelines and recommendations. – FDA on Cosmetics and U.S. Law
Okay, so the FDA doesn’t mind what is in your makeup unless it is a color additive. They must test and approve the product before I use it, right? Umm, I don’t think so…
Although U.S. regulations do not specify any particular testing regimens for cosmetic products or ingredients, it is the cosmetic company’s responsibility to substantiate product and ingredient safety prior to marketing. – FDA on Cosmetics and U.S. Law
Safety testing and approval seem to be entirely up to the company that will be profiting from these products. Yikes, talk about a fox in the hen house! So major cosmetic companies build an empire tricking women into feeling inadequate so we buy their products and now we’re supposed to trust them to be honest with us about the safety of these products (there goes my feminist streak again–not all cosmetic companies are like this–some are pretty awesome). Yea, I don’t so–not this self-reliant lady. If you want to learn a bit more about this, below is a great video from youtuber storyofstuffproject concerning cosmetics and the broken chemical merry-go-round we are all riding.
Okay, ready to learn about these chemicals so we can become educated, health and environmentally conscious consumers? Where do I start? Well, I did some internet digging and came across a Chemicals in Cosmetics article produced by the the Breast Cancer Fund. Then I wandered over to Treehugger.com (love them) and found a list of 20 toxic ingredients to avoid when buying body care products and cosmetics. Then I found the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and learned even more about the problem. This was great, but it seemed the more I dug, the deeper I found myself. This is a lot of work for a safe tube of lipstick! Why do I wear this stuff again?
Rather than try to memorize the ever growing list of toxins and bad companies, I discovered an online database called Skin Deep that is maintained by the Environmental Working Group (love them too). The best part is that they have a free app (apple/android) that allows you to easily search their database and access health scores for over 70,000 products. As if that doesn’t make navigating this makeup maze easy enough, it even has a bar code scan! So I downloaded the app and grabbed my makeup kit (most of which is now in the garbage), and went through each product. Seems I now have an excellent excuse to play with some all natural DIY recipes or make a trip to Sephora with my ‘handy’ app in hand.
So the big takeaway, next time you swipe those luscious lips with the perfect shade of pink, make sure you check the ingredients.