The Conscious Consumer Emerges

On the quest for beauty, women plaster their faces with foundation hoping to cover their imperfections, define their eyes with various liners and shadows, and paint their lips with synthetic stains or lipsticks. Let’s just not even bring up the skin care regime, scrubbing and moisturizing in hopes of fighting the signs of aging. In focusing on covering and enhancing ourselves, women fail to scrutinize the ingredients that compose that “ever-lasting lipstick” or “weightless foundation”.   I never really paid attention, but luckily my skin did.  Foundations, creams, toners, and cleansers just never worked for me and I never really did the research to find out why.  When I picked up the book There’s Lead in your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon, I finally realized why my skin reacted the way it did to certain products.  In her book, Gill Deacon lists the various toxins and harmful ingredients that sneak their way into our lives via beauty products.  On her official website, she has made available a wallet sized pamphlet listing these harmful chemicals; proving useful when shopping as there are so many ingredients to watch out for.

Below is a quote directly taken from her book about one of the many ingredients to watch out for, DEA/TEA/MEA:

“(diethanolamine, triethanolamine, monoethanolamine, cocamide DEA) These chemicals are used as emulsifiers and foaming agents in products like shampoo, face and body washes, and makeup.  They are suspected carcinogens, are readily absorbed by the skin and other organs, and can combine with nitrates to cause cancer-causing nitrosamines.  There is no way to know which products contain nitrosamines, because disclosure of the by-products of nitrosamines not required by any governing agency.  Watch for ingredient names like DEA, TEA, MEA, cocamide DEA, lauramide DEA, oleamide diethanolamine.”

In the States, they have taken the first step with the introduction of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011.  Even though it has not been passed yet, there is hope that it will, as there is a growing awareness in commercial products.  What does this act entail? Manufactures and big-name cosmetic brands will have to include ALL the ingredients on their labels.  With this newfound transparency, women will be able to make smarter decisions when perusing the ails of beauty products.  Well, that is if this bill is passed.  Let’s hope!  If you want to read further into this proposed law, click here for an article stating the positive effects this law will have on the beauty industry.

But what about Canada? What steps have the Canadian government taken to insure the safety of Canadians?  The Health Canada website has a Hot List of ingredients that are banned and that you have to watch out for when purchasing products.  But are they really enforced?  Gillian Deacon suggests that cosmetic companies have a loop-hole to these regulations, and what might that be?  The label of “parfum”, which could be a concoction of various chemicals that are harmful but are not disclosed.  I have actually looked at some of the products on the shelves, and I have noticed quite a few “parfums” on the labels of many products, from the more obvious scented creams to wax strips.  It is my personal belief that there should be 100% transparency, which includes the full disclosure of “parfum”.

All this reading and research has most definitely made me a more conscious consumer, opting for the Bare Escentuals foundation line (which does not include ingredients commonly found like parabens and talc).  A good store that sells more natural cleansers, soaps and other beauty products is Lush.  I am in love with their Angels on Bareskin cleanser, which is made out of natural ingredients like lavender and parfum is not on the ingredient list!  However, while on their website I did notice “parfum” listed in some of their creams and other scented products.  So it is just a question of avoiding some of their products while embracing their more naturally made ones.

After reading this long-winded article about harmful ingredients, are you going to pick up this rather insightful book (There’s Lead in your Lipstick)?  Are you going to inform yourselves and make smarter decisions?  It really is up to you.  You might not feel the effects of these ingredients now, but in the long run they will affect your health.  Pick up this book and educate yourselves!

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