Campaign to Make Up for Shady Cosmetics Practices

By Sierra Bamiro

Go into your bathroom. If it looks anything like mine, there’s face wash in the shower to ward against problematic pimples, shampoo and conditioner because I can’t go out with dirty hair, and a tube of mascara for when I feel like actually making an effort on my appearance.

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0

What if I were to tell you these products you cherish are secretly trying to kill you? OK, maybe I’m being a little overdramatic…but the surprising fact is that it’s not too far from the truth. However, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is trying to shift that into positive change throughout the “beauty industry.”

The campaign’s mission is to reform federal laws that leave too many opportunities for exposure to toxic chemicals in our cosmetic products. From a numbers perspective, it’s shocking how easy it is for dangerous ingredients to appear in our daily cleansing regimens. By comparison the European Union has banned from its cosmetics over 1,300 chemicals identified to cause health-related problems, while the United States has banned only 11.

Cos 2

While some cosmetics companies have yet to voluntarily reform to safer ingredients, others are agreeing to overhaul their ingredients lists. Revlon, for example, just got a “makeover” as the cosmetics giant has vowed to eliminate some of the most toxic cosmetic chemicals from its makeup, mascaras and shampoos.

“Revlon, the cosmetic industry’s biggest nay-sayer finally heard the safe cosmetics message. Revlon’s sweeping announcement raises the bar for the rest of the cosmetics industry, and we’re hoping the other cosmetics giants will follow their lead.” —Janet Nudelman, co-founder, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Similarly, facing pressure from shareholders and consumers who want safer cosmetics, Avon announced its phase-out of the toxic chemical triclosan from its beauty and personal care products. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics congratulated Avon, while pushing the company to take further actions to improve the safety of its cosmetics.

“The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics congratulates Avon for finally giving triclosan the boot,” said Nudelman. “But triclosan is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unsafe chemicals in cosmetics. We want Avon to adopt a comprehensive policy that declares chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other adverse health effects to be off limits in cosmetics so that everyone is protected.”

If this freaks you out and you’re on the verge of trashing every cosmetic product you own, go to safecosmetics.org for help navigating those tricky beauty-product aisles. The website includes a list of ingredients to avoid, as well as info on how to take action by having a voice on this issue. Here are some tips, courtesy of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, for safer cosmetics alternatives:

1. Simplify Choose products with simpler ingredients lists and fewer synthetic chemicals. Avoid synthetic fragrance by skipping products with “fragrance” on the label, and use fewer products overall.

2. DIY Some personal care products are easy to make yourself, and this can be a great project for a party. Make your own sugar or salt scrubs or body oils, using simple, organic ingredients.

3. Research Products Since the beauty industry is largely unregulated, it’s up to you to do your own research to find the safest products. There are no legal standards for personal care products labeled as “pure,” “natural” or “organic,” so look beyond the marketing claims and read labels carefully.

4. Use Apps Find out whether your go-to products are safe or not by trying Think Dirty’s “shop clean” app (thinkdirtyapp.com). This easy-to-use resource ranks the safety of specific products on a scale of 1 to 10 and offers up cleaner solutions.

5. Get Involved Help us change the rules of the game! It shouldn’t be legal to sell cosmetics that contain dangerous ingredients. We’re working to pass new laws that protect our health and give consumers better information to make smart choices. Stay informed, speak up, and spread the word. To get started on your path to a toxin- free life, check out this video….

Watch it here: The Story of Cosmetics

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