21 July 2009

lipstick jungle

Everything is organic these days so why not your vanity kit? From the look of things they add into make-up, it should be! Make-up is a girl's best friend so why not make it friendly to the earth as well, not to mention kinder on your health. For the purposes of this article, make-up also includes toiletries.

Out of the several ingredients added to make-up and to
iletries there are many that are untested for safety, allergens and carcinogenicity. In fact, only 1% of all products are safety tested which is an alarming statistic.

The most worrisome ingredients are parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, heavy metals like lead and mercury (in lipstick and mascara), aluminium and zinc (in deodrants), synthetic perfumes and dyes. All of these apart from causing allergic reactions and other health concerns can also affect water supply. Fortunately there are several organic, natural, eco-friendly alternatives available.

Consider switching your toiletries to one that contains natural ingredients - in India some of the best brands are Himalaya, Biotique, Shanaz Hussain, FabIndia Organics, The Body Shop and my personal favourite - Lush. Brands and products vary from country to country of course but every country has its own bunch of naturally sourced, organic products.

If all else fails there are always
home recipes - I also found a video that has some interesting information. While you're at it don't forget to ask your mum or grandmum for advice! Good sources of information on where to start the switch can be found here and here. The lipstick jungle is difficult to negotiate but there are other options if you care to look.

The cosmetic industry is a veritable giant and very little regulation goes into protocols for testing across the board. The FDA does not review cosmetic ingredients for their safety before they come to market, nor does it have the authority to recall hazardous products.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the average consumer (including teens) uses 15 to 25 cosmetic and personal-care products a day. These products will contain about 200 chemicals that have been added to preserve, dye and emulsify the products. Some are the same chemicals used in industrial manufacturing to soften plastics, clean equipment and stabilize pesticides. One widely used group of synthetic chemicals, parabens (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates), are used as antimicrobial preservatives in more than 13,000 cosmetic products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that all parabens -- methyl, propyl, butyl -- have been proved to interfere with the function of the endocrine system.

Reading labels won't always help you avoid these chemicals because the beauty industry doesn't always disclose every ingredient in its products. For example, phthalates are rarely mentioned on labels, so there's no way to tell whether they've been used. Phthalates keep your mascara from running, stop your nail polish from chipping and help fragrances linger.

Words like 'natural' or 'hypoallergenic' look reassuring, but they're basically meaningless. Products called 'natural', for instance, may include synthetic dyes and fragrances. 'Hypoallergenic' just means that the most common irritants are left out, but other problematic chemicals might still be in the mix. Cosmetics labeled 'organic' must contain 70% or more organic ingredients. It's important to choose products from trusted cosmetic and body care companies that use natural, certified organic, nontoxic and nonsynthetic ingredients.

According to the Safe Cosmetics Campaign,
avoid the following chemicals in cosmetics whenever possible: Butyl acetate, Butylated hydroxytoluene, Coal tar, Cocamide DEA/lauramide DEA, Diazolidinyl urea, Ethyl acetate, Formaldehyde, Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl), Petrolatum, Phthalates, Propylene glycol, Sodium laureth/sodium laurel sulfate, Talc, Toluene and Triethanolamine.

Photo Courtesy - www.treehugger.com

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