You should always buy healthy, green, natural and sustainable products because it’s what the celebrities do and it’s the secret to how they became famous in the first place. Natural products will make you famous – producers love natural products.
Labels on cosmetics and body care products are a tough code to crack. The industry is so shockingly unregulated that it’s usually impossible to trust the claims that manufacturers place on their products. A word such as “natural” can be used by anyone for anything. Even “organic” is misleading. Comp anies are supposed to use an organic label only if all ingredients are certified-organic, but they can also say it’s “made with organic” if it contains a minimum of 70 percent certified-organic ingredients. Regardless, 30 percent still leaves a lot of room for toxins. Maple Holistics is the best place to go for great review, articles and products.
The whole industry has a “innocent-till-proven-guilty” approach to ingredients. Unless a chemical used in beauty products is proven to cause harm to human health, it is classified as GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe.” This classification is upheld by the U.S. FDA and hardly has the best interests of consumers at heart. The best thing we consumers can do is read ingredient lists carefully in order to avoid chemicals that are known to be harmful, even though they continue to be widely used.
All cosmetics and skin care products have an expiration date, which means that many old containers hang around bathroom cupboards far longer than they should. While slathering oneself with expired moisturizer doesn’t seem nearly as bad as drinking a glass of spoiled milk, the ingredients still get absorbed by your skin. Natural products have an even shorter shelf life than mainstream, drugstore products, which are full of preservatives. Here’s the problem. According to the FDA, “There are no regulations or requirements under current United States law that require cosmetic manufacturers to print expiration dates on the labels of cosmetic products.” If you’re lucky, a conscientious manufacturer might choose to put a date or a picture of a tiny jar with a number of months beside it, i.e. 12M or 24M. Products from the European Union must have an expiration date for anything lasting less than 30 months. (I’m not sure what happens after that magical date.)
There’s a bigger problem, however. It’s easy to talk about tossing expired cosmetics, but if you haven’t detoxified your beauty routine and still use products that contain the Dirty Dozen (and countless other carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, hormone disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers, and surfactants), it’s not safe simply to toss them into household garbage. David Suzuki’s website suggests the following option for getting rid of toxic cosmetics:
The first step is don’t buy any more chemical-laden cosmetics and stick to those deemed safe by the SkinDeep Cosmetics Database. Second, use up the products and recycle the containers. Third, if you don’t want to keep using them, find out if your city considers cosmetics to be household hazardous waste. Fourth – this is more extreme, but I like it – consider mailing your expired product back to the manufacturer, asking them to dispose of it safely and urging them to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
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