Transparency In the Beauty Industry
Companies in America are not required to disclose all the ingredients which are used in their products. I mean, WHAT? If a company refuses to tell me what their products are made of, I think it’s a serious red flag. Just as I want to know exactly what is in the food products I buy, I want to be able to look at a label on mascara and know what’s in it. The good news is that there are companies which are committed to using safer ingredients are more than willing to disclose ALL of their ingredients without having to really search for them. These standup companies make their ingredient lists easily accessible on their websites and/or packaging. Nothing is hidden, because there is nothing to hide. These companies also have very detailed information about which products are gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, etc. We all have our specific needs and standards, and it’s important for companies to make this information readily available to us.
This topic is two-fold in my opinion. Not only do I want to know which ingredients are used in products (see transparency), I want to know which ingredients are NOT being used. Safer cosmetic companies are typically very straightforward about the ingredients purposely avoided for safety reasons. Since the United States only bans 30 ingredients from personal care products for being possibly harmful and toxic to our bodies (compared to the European Union’s list of 1400 ingredients), this shows how these companies are going to lengths much greater than required by law to make safer cosmetic products.
Once you know all the ingredients are disclosed, it is really important to know WHERE those ingredients are sourced from. Color cosmetics (and especially mineral makeups which are often touted as safer) have the potential to contain several heavy metals. Heavy metals are inherently in the earth, and that is often where many of the colors in our cosmetics come from. There have been several reports which have emerged recently with makeup marketed to children containing asbestos and lead. Needless to say, that’s pretty frightening! Sourcing responsibly is incredibly important for the safety of our makeup products. Companies that are dedicated to sourcing will go so far as to obtain their own testing to ensure that heavy metal levels are well below the legally allowable amounts.
Commitment to Safety & Testing
The FDA does not require products to be tested for safety before hitting the shelves. This is completely baffling to me! If I owned a company that sold makeup products, you bet I would have them tested to make sure they were safe for people to use. And thankfully, many companies feel the same way. Seek out the companies who take efforts to test their products for safety and are forthcoming with the methods they use to test them. One easy way to find companies that are committed to safety and testing is to look for the EWG Verified certification on the Skin Deep Database. These companies have been awarded this certification for being committed to transparency, avoiding ingredients of concern, and using safer manufacturing practices.
Packaging and commitment to minimizing waste is a really big deal to me, too. Do they use recyclable materials? Does the company take measures to protect the environment? Do they use nano-particles? This is typically fairly easy information to obtain with a quick Google search or website investigation. And if a company is doing this, they are definitely going to let you know or make the info easy to track down. One designation which really sets some companies apart is the recognition of being a B Corps. If you’re not familiar with these accreditations, B Corps is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. B Corps are for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. These companies are committed to people and the planet, then profit.
Quality Skincare and Beauty Products
Let’s face it. If we are going to spend money on cosmetics, we want them to be high performing. Unfortunately, many products that line the shelves in the personal care departments of our natural health stores aren’t that great in terms of quality. But it is possible to find products which are safer and high performing! Take the time to read reviews from real people like you and me — I always find those to be extremely helpful when determining if products are high in quality and performance.