It is important to realise what ingredients are contained in the cosmetics we use everyday. People usually assume that if a product is on sale at a supermarket or a drug store, it must be safe. However, The Food and Drug Administration agency does not review or approve the vast majority of products or ingredients before they go on the market. Also, products labelled as “hypoallergenic” or “Natural”, can “mean anything or nothing at all,” according to the FDA.
I would recommend to visit www.ewg.org/skindeep/ which is the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic database. You can search thousands of products to see how safe/dangerous they are from a rating of 1-10 and to also see what effects they have on the human body. If a product you are looking for is unavailable, you can simply ‘Build Your Own Report’ on the top left hand side of the screen. On the website you can also find a user’s guide, myths on cosmetic safety and shopping tips.
Some people would think that a lot of things we consume like over-processed foods or things we do in our everyday lives such as spending hours on mobile phones can cause harm, so why should we care about the cosmetics we use? Firstly, what goes onto your skin enters your body, just like what you put in your mouth enters your body and sources say that our skin absorbs 60% of the products we use. Secondly, further research into the topic of what are the actual ingredients involved will surprise you. Here are just some:
- Placenta: Human and animal placenta help to condition hair and skin
- Crushed Beetles: Used commonly in red lipstick and blusher. According to The New York Times, when they are full of cactus juice, the insects are boiled, dried out and crushed.
- Infant foreskin: Full of antioxidants, natural growth factors and proteins, it is often used in anti-ageing products.
- Whale vomit: Often used in perfumes, and apparently present in Chanel perfumes
- Dynamite is found in exfoliators, natural toothpastes, deodorants and powders
- Bull semen is used in some European salons to condition hair
- Rust: Used for the colour pink in make-up
- Wool wax: Produces lanolin which provides protection against chapped skin, and provides moisture
- Fish scales: Gives shimmer and sheen to the product.
- Chicken bone-marrow: Used in moisturisers for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Decaying animal fat by boiling animal carcasses to help in the production of lipsticks, eye shadows and soaps.
It’s not just the ingredients that are used in products, it’s the lack of information contained on the label. I want to know what is in my products, choosing to use it or not is another choice.
Sources and useful websites: