A couple of years ago I went on a sabbatical and traveled throughout Mexico and South America. When you are backpacking the one thing you don’t even think about is cosmetics. After a year, I got out of the habit of putting on make up- and I don’t miss it at all! Not only have I saved money and time, but it’s great for the environment.
But unfortunately due to society’s norms, women think they must spend a fortune in beauty care. Beauty care is not just makeup- it includes lotions, shaving, deodorants, spa days, nail care, waxing, tooth whitening, hair treatments, hair removal, plastic surgery, anti-aging, cellulite creams, eye creams, shampoos, conditioners, soaps and other products and services to make us look WHAT SOCIETY SAYS IS beautiful.
- Beauty Products are luxury items. You do not need any of them to live.
- The higher the price- doesn’t mean they are better
- If you think you are beautiful, you are- Beauty does not come with mascara!
- Personal Care Products are not regulated by the FDA. Which means there is no control, and they can do and say whatever they like about the products. (Scary!)
The most ecological thing you can do is not wear or use any beauty products. (That’s NOT going to happen!) But consider if you cut down on beauty products you would be:
- Saving yourself money
- Save Yourself time
- Saving the Environment- packaging in landfills, toxins in landfills, energy getting product to market
I just Gotta Tell Ya
- Personal Care Market is $40-$60 Billion recession proof industry
- Average American Women spends from $200- $5,000 per year in cosmetics. See Article in Siren Magazine (Article states Women spend $12,00- $15,000 per year)
- The Average American Adult uses 7 different Skin Care products every day.
- The average markup is 65%
- First they have to make it and ship it (Energy)
- Then they have to make the 1st container
- Then they have to seal the container
- Then they put the container in some type of box, which is labeled and sometimes wrapped again. (called overwrapping- which is heat sealed)
- Then they have to ship to the stores
- Then When you but it, they put it in another bag
Yes, we the consumer pay for that -plus the animal testing, plus the shipping, plus the marketing, plus the packaging.
Since I hardly use Beauty Products, I’m thinking my Cosmetic Carbon Footprint is small! (how cocky is that?) Just for a pat on the back, I plugged in my ‘beauty products’ What an eye-opener! I don’t buy many beauty products, but I use lotion like crazy. The best lotion I have found that works for my super dry, sun damaged skin is Eucerin. I went to Skin Deep Database to look up the ingredients and their rating. I WILL NEVER BUY EUCERIN AGAIN. I also have Amlactin Moisturinzing Body Lotion (another brand not to buy. )
Then I checked out my drugstore mascara- Maybellin – I will never buy that again. Now I am on a roll- it’s sick, nothing I have in the Beauty realm is good, the best is Aveda.
- Neutrogena Body Oil (Moderate Hazard) Animal Tests
- Head and Shoulders Dry Scalp Care (Moderate Hazard) Animal Tests
- Eufora Pure Cleanse Shampoo (no rating)
- Dove Soap – Animal Tests ratings low to high
- Secret- Moderate Score and Animal Tests
- Carmex – High Hazard and Animal Tests
- Sensodyne- Moderate hazard and ? on Animal Testing
What is means-, once everything is gone, I will to do more research (and another blog) on what replacements products to use.
Want to Know about Your Products- Check out the below websites
- Because We’re Worth It– The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of women’s, public health, labor, environmental health and consumer-rights groups. Our goal is to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems, and replace them with safer alternatives. Personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, after shave, lotion and makeup are not regulated by the FDA or any other government agency. It is perfectly legal and very common for companies to use ingredients that are known or suspected to be carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins in the their products. Consumers buy these products at drug stores, grocery stores, online or in salons, usually without questioning the product’s safety.
- Cosmetic Designs- Great Website that provide all sorts of info in the Cosmetic Industry
- Skin Deep- is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care brought to you by researchers at the Environmental Working Group. Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 25,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind. Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn’t require companies to test their own products for safety.
- My Zero Waste– Has listing of companies who use recyclable and reusable bottles
- EPA– Great resource on what you should be recycling and the effects on the environment
One of the Best Guide- I have found is from the The Green Guide (see below)
This is a very in depth article with product comparisons and more.
What To Look For
Lengthy ingredients lists and misleading labels can make it difficult to find healthier makeup. Here are a few criteria to use when shopping:
If nothing else, avoid cosmetics that contain ingredients included in The Green Guide’s “Dirty Dozen.” Of those twelve, the most commonly found in cosmetics are antibacterials, coal-tar dyes, 1,4-dioxane (a contaminant of “PEG,” sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate and other -ethingredients), formaldehyde, fragrance, mercury, nanoparticles, parabens and petroleum distillates. For more detail on why these should be avoided, click here and download our Smart Shopper’s Dirty Dozen Card to take with you to the store.
Third Party Certification
Third-party certification of cosmetics is rare, and doesn’t necessarily ensure a “Dirty-Dozen Free” product, but the certifications below provide additional guarantees for animal welfare and ingredient purity.
The Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA) certifies cosmetics as “Australian Certified Organic” if they contain 95 percent certified organic ingredients (excluding water and salt). The remaining 5 percent may not include any genetically engineered or irradiated but may contain minerals or naturally occurring, non-agricultural substances. Any products that contain 70 percent organic ingredients, with the remaining 30 percent being free of other ingredients prohibited in certified organic products, bear the “BFA-registered” label.
BDIH and Ecocert are two of the more common European certifications, the latter being more stringent and more widely used.
Ecocert, based in France, offers two levels of certification. The “Eco” label requires that 95 percent of a product’s ingredients are natural or from natural origin, that a minimum of 50 percent of the vegetable ingredients are certified organic and that at least 5 percent of the ingredients in the finished product are certified organic. The more rigorous “Bio” Label requires the same 95 percent of ingredients to be natural or from natural origin, that 95 percent of the vegetable ingredients are certified organic and that at least 10 percent of the ingredients in the finished product are certified organic. Both labels disallow mineral oils, silicone, parabens or animal products, and the agency also analyzes a producer’s manufacturing process, from the transportation and storage of ingredients and products to energy use and waste disposal.
BDIH, a German certification, doesn’t specify certain percentages for organic or plant-based ingredients. However, they do require the use of plant-based ingredients whenever possible (preferably those that are organically grown or “wild-harvested” in an unobtrusive manner), and they ban animal testing, by-products from vertebrate animals, synthetic dyes and fragrances, petroleum-based ingredients, parabens and other preservatives that might pose a health risk, and radioactive sterilization of ingredients or products. While not required, the guidelines encourage sourcing ingredients from fair-trade projects and avoiding any ingredients that have been genetically modified.
In August 2005 the USDA broadened the scope of their organic food regulations, allowing cosmetics and personal careproducts to bear the “USDA Certified Organic” seal. Products with 100 percent organic ingredients, excluding water and salt, can be labeled “100% Organic.” Those made with 95 percent or more organic ingredients can be labeled “Organic.” Products with 70 percent or more may be labeled “Made With Organic Ingredients.” Unfortunately, organic cosmetics are not as rigorously regulated as organic food products. For example, manufacturers commonly include hydrosols, or floral water left over from the essential-oil distillation process, when weighing the percentage of organic ingredients in their product. Eco Labels, the Consumers Union Guide to Environmental Labels, notes that the USDA Organic label is not as meaningful for cosmetics and personal care products as it is for food. Furthermore, the certification does not preclude the use of the term “organic” on the label or a product’s claims that it’s “made with organic ingredients,” both of which can lead to confusion.
The Leaping Bunny label indicates products made by companies that follow the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals. This standard was developed by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, a coalition of eight animal protection groups, including the American Humane Association and The Humane Society of the United States. Companies with this logo pledge not to conduct or commission animal testing on either their products or the ingredients used in those products. For a complete list of certified companies, see www.leapingbunny.org. Always look for the seal pictured above; terms such as “cruelty free” and “no animal testing” are undefined, meaningless and don’t always mean that a product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on animals.
Compact for Safe Cosmetics
Companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics agree to six criteria set forth by the consumer advocacy group, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which tracks compliance with annual questionnaires and random checks. The first requirement is that signatories remove any ingredient listed in the European Union’s Cosmetics Directive, a law mandatory for all European cosmetics manufacturers. The directive prohibits the use of more than 1,000 ingredients, some of which have been deemed “safe for use” by U.S.-based cosmetic trade groups, that the Union considers carcinogenic, mutagenic or reproductive toxins. That list includes diethylhexyl phthalate (a hormone-disrupting component of fragrances commonly used in the U.S.), petroleum- and coal-based paraffin waxes and lead.
In addition, the Compact requires companies to substantiate all ingredients and potential impurities for safety, find substitutes for those that pose health risks, register all their ingredients with the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” database and make all product ingredient lists publicly available.
Cosmetics can utilize some ingredients derived from animals or animal byproducts, such as beeswax or carmine (a dye made from ground-up beetles). The products listed above as “vegan” contain no such ingredients.
Ingredients Available Online
In order for consumers to properly research the products they buy, manufacturers must make product information readily available. Products with “X*” marked in this box only make ingredients available through Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database.
Whenever possible, buy cosmetics in packaging that can either be recycled or composted or is made of recycled materials. We’ve included packaging types for each product where available.