Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Eco Cosmetics

Our skin and body are exposed to a wide variety of chemicals every day in the soaps, shampoos, deodorants, moisturizers, cosmetics, perfumes and even the toothpaste we use. On average we use about 15 products a day! [1] The toxic build up could be detrimental to our health as well as the environment.  If you think about the amount of soaps and other chemicals that wash down the plug hole every day and end up in our waterways, it's more than a little scary; especially when you consider that water sustains the animals, plants and fish that we digest and eventually cycles into the water we drink.

Conventional beauty products utilize petroleum-based ingredients and usually rely on a host of other chemicals for their production process. These compounds are typically harsh substances, like petroleum, aluminum, and lead, all of which require extensive mining. Much of this is done in some of the world’s most beautiful and sensitive areas, like the Amazon rainforest, and miles of land are destroyed and stripped of vital wildlife every year. In fact, the most common personal care products of all–antiperspirants–utilize aluminum. Not only is aluminum mining responsible for the destruction of wide swaths of rainforests in South America, but research has clearly tied it to breast cancer [2] and Alzheimer’s disease. [3] Choosing aluminum-free deodorant is perhaps one of the best ways to prevent exposure to this dangerous compound.

What are some beauty and cosmetics brands that are truly eco-friendly?

Yes to: These products are great, both in terms of the ingredients and the price point! Some beauty products can cost an insane amount of money, but Yes To keeps things high-quality and affordable. All of their products are made with fruits and vegetables and are free of harmful chemicals. They have multiple lines of skin care products (with everything from lotions to cleansers… even sunscreen!) for all skin types. Definitely check them out

Bare Escentuals: This brand has a lot of gentle skin care products that are natural and gentle enough to be used on a baby’s skin. they also don’t test on animals and don’t work with companies that do animal testing. BUT for cosmetics, they have both natural and synthetic brushes- in the making of their natural goat and pony brushes though, they animals aren’t harmed in the process of harvesting the hair. Phew! Check them out here.

Honest Company: Despite this recent controversy around the efficacy of the Honest Company’s sunscreen, this is another company to look at for some eco-friendly and people-friendly beauty supplies and cosmetics. The company is committed to environmental sustainability and to using only healthy, natural ingredients in its products. And they don’t stop at beauty and cosmetics, they also have cleaning supplies and even vitamins! Being cruelty-free and vegan helps too

What to look for when shopping for eco-friendly cosmetics 

If you see the words, organicnatural, or eco-friendly on a bottle of cream, shampoo, or face powder, keep reading. Unless you notice a stamp from a reliable third party certifier to back up these green claims, it might not be as organic as you think. There might only be a single certified organic oil mixed in with 20 other decidedly non-organic ingredients. Look for items that are USDA certified organic, or that carry a Natural Products Association seal, or a BDIH stamp. You can also check out the safety of any cosmetic before purchasing on the Good Guide or The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.


  1. EWG's. "Why This Matters – Cosmetics and Your Health | Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | EWG." Skin Deep Why This Matters Cosmetics and Your Health Comments. N.p., 2016. Web. 04 Aug. 2016
  2. Darbre PD. Aluminum, antiperspirants and breast cancer. J Inorg Biochem. 2005 Sep;99(9):1912-9
  3. Masahiro Kawahara and Midori Kato-Negishi. Link between Aluminum and the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease: The Integration of the Aluminum and Amyloid Cascade Hypotheses. Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2011; 2011: 276393

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