The other day, I read that we eat a credit card’s worth of plastic a week through microplastics making their way into our food and drink. This really startled me. How is it that we are not more informed about the dangers of chemicals sneaking their way into our bodies? Isn’t this what the FDA should be doing?
Obviously, organic food is a healthy choice to avoid this. But what about cosmetics and skincare? Is organic makeup, which is otherwise referred to as clean make-up, necessary, too? After all, chemicals are also absorbed through the skin.
I decided to do a little research. A few months ago, I attended a party that a friend was hosting for Beauty Counter Cosmetics. The consultant indicated that the FDA doesn’t have the authority to eliminate harmful ingredients in many everyday products we currently use. I could not get that statement out of my head. So, I started looking at the ingredients listed in some of my own favorite products.
I’ve learned that the ingredients are listed according to the percentage amount. As they are listed, the ingredients towards the bottom have smaller amounts added in. Unfortunately, after reading the first two to three ingredients, I did not recognize any of the other ingredients, let alone know how to pronounce them. How could we possibly know if the ingredients in our makeup are safe if we aren’t chemists?
There are several phone apps that you can download to help you check ingredients to find out if they are safe. Think Dirty was my choice. After downloading the app, I searched for ingredients in some of the products that I use. The first product was Cera Ve day cream SPF 30. In seconds it listed all the ingredients and color-coded them according to how safe they were. The ones listed in red being dirty, those listed in yellow as half and half, and then the ingredients listed in green being clean. My Cera Ve day cream had one dirty ingredient listed in red – (BHT). This app also lets you click on the ingredients, and it will tell you their potential health impacts.
The next product I checked was Jergens Natural Glow Body Moisturizer. Once again, in just seconds, it listed all the ingredients. This time there were none listed in red; however, there were three ingredients in yellow, meaning my moisturizer was a potentially moderate health risk.
I could spend hours looking up products on this app. With it being so easy, I now have no excuse to use cosmetics with harmful ingredients. Most apps will also offer name brands that are safe and chemical-free, similar to the product you are checking on. This makes shopping for clean makeup extremely easy.
While you’re shopping for organic makeup, be careful to check the ingredients yourself. Do not take for granted that they are safe because the manufacturer has labeled them natural or nontoxic. We need to be diligent in doing our own research as sometimes labeling is misleading to attract buyer’s attention.
Aside from choosing organic makeup for healthy skin, it is still important to frequently wash your make-up brushes. I swish mine around in baby shampoo, rinse thoroughly, and then leave them on a towel to air dry about every three months.
Many cosmetic companies will offer perks about recycling too. For example, Mac Cosmetics offers a free lip gloss, eye shadow, or lipstick with every six containers you return.
I slather on loads of sunscreen when I play golf or go to the beach. One of my favorites was Coppertone Sport SPF 50 because it doesn’t come off when you sweat. When I checked the ingredients on the Think Dirty app, it had two ingredients listed in red. Yikes! Was I poisoning myself by trying to prevent sunburn and wrinkles?
Dr. Whitney Bowe is a board-certified dermatologist that I follow on Instagram. I started following her after I read her book The Beauty of Dirty Skin. When the recent controversy came out about the dangers of sunscreen, she wrote an article about it on her blog. If you are not familiar with this study, there are claims that the absorption of chemicals in sunscreen is very unhealthy. In her article, she explains that the amount of oxybenzone found in sunscreen is not quite the health threat it’s believed to be, and further research is still needed. After reading her explanation, I’m relieved and not afraid to continue using my sunscreen. Although, I will try to find sunscreens with more natural ingredients.
After doing a little homework, I’m certain that many of the items in my makeup bag have too many chemicals and need to be replaced. I will look for trusted cosmetic brands that are committed to the well-being of consumers. As with food, I cannot purchase everything organic because that would be very expensive, and it’s not in my budget. However, I will make an effort to replace the products that I often use with ones that are pure and chemical-free. We need to know what we are putting onto our skin because it is absorbed into our bodies. As it is with food, natural makeup really is a better choice.
I took a poll amongst my trusted girlfriends and asked them which brands they have used and liked, and here are a few of the ones named.
Tata Harper – This line was created after her father-in-law was diagnosed with skin cancer and was urged to start using non-toxic and chemical-free products. Her masks, serums, and face lotions work beautifully.
Honest Beauty – Developed by Jessica Alba, who promises that you should not have to choose between what is safe and what works for you, is also very cost-effective. I’ve heard great things about their mascara and beauty balm.
RMS Beauty – The face wipes smell good and clean your skin without any harmful ingredients. Their highlighter is also a favorite to provide you with a little natural glow. Their products are non-GMO, soy-free, and cruelty-free.
Eminence – This luxurious skincare line is all organic. It is made in Budapest on a certified organic farm. The tropical vanilla day cream also has an SPF 40. A little on the pricey side, but the website claims to plant a tree for every product sold.