In recent years, terms such as natural, green, and eco-friendly have all become increasingly popular in the beauty industry. And while you could argue that these terms are simply trends, they’re not and there’s an extremely good reason why an increasing number of us are turning to alternative brands.
Today, the fact is that most of the products we use in our daily lives are made from plastics or other types of man-made ingredients that we, as well as the manufacturers that produce them, know very little about.
So with that in mind, in the following article, we’ll be taking a look at the epidemic of harsh chemicals and man-made ingredients that are commonly found in today’s commercial personal care products and cosmetics.
For an extremely in-depth good look at what you’ll find in your cosmetics, I’d like to recommend the CBC documentary, Toxic Beauty.
The film was directed by Phyllis Ellis and produced by Barri Cohen.
Ellis has stated that her inspiration for the documentary came from the fact that baby powder had been a product that she’d used daily in the past.
But over the years, countless women from all across North America are now being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is the one thing that each of these women has in common.
To date, Johnson & Johnson has already paid out billions of dollars in damages after countless claims of ovarian cancer have begun to emerge. The cause? Asbestos-contaminated talc being found in their baby powder.
Toxic Beauty examines the darker side of the beauty industry, by taking an up-close and personal look at the ongoing class-action lawsuits being filed against Johnson & Johnson, one of the biggest names in the beauty industry.
In the film, you’ll learn about the very first study to link talc, the main ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, to ovarian cancer. And while it’s not surprising that a chemical ingredient is capable of causing cancer, what is surprising to learn is that this study was released back in 1982. And despite this link, Johnson & Johnson have continued to use talc in their baby powder for the past 38 years.
This just goes to show you that it’s more important than ever to know what’s in the products you use and to understand why you should be avoiding commercially-made skincare products and cosmetics.
To learn more about what major cosmetic companies are (or aren’t) telling you, check out this blog post, which discusses Arbonne cosmetics and examines some of the malpractices they’ve been accused of in the past.
Is The Cosmetic Industry Really That Bad?
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Surely, not all cosmetic companies are making products that contain asbestos-contaminated talc”.
Which is true, of course.
The ongoing lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson is only one example of a commercially-made product contaminated with a cancer-causing toxin.
But the fact is that today, people are using more commercially-made products than ever before in the history of humankind.
And because many of these products contain ingredients that have yet to be studied, it’s impossible to really know how far-reaching and damaging their effects might really be.
But to help put things into perspective, let’s take a look at a few more shocking facts about the cosmetic industry:
According to EWG.org, on average, women in the US use about 12 body products and/or cosmetics per day. The number of chemicals in a single day’s use of these products is estimated at roughly 168.
Men, on the other hand, only use about 6 products per day. However, those 6 products cause exposure to roughly 85 unique chemical ingredients.
It’s also estimated that nearly 13,000 different chemical ingredients are used in the cosmetics industry today. And shockingly, only about 10% of those ingredients have been studied for safety.
That’s only about 1,300 studied ingredients, with the effects of another 11,700 ingredients still completely unknown.
But even when studies are conducted on cosmetics in order to gain FDA approval, most manufacturers are allowed to regulate their study’s guidelines, making it easier for them to get around certain restrictions.
What’s even worse is that it’s estimated that 12.2 million adults, including 1 out of every 13 women and 1 out of every 23 men, are exposed to known or probable carcinogens found in the personal care products that we use daily.
The scariest part about all of this is that, to date, there have been no studies conducted to understand the full exposure that we are getting from our modern beauty routines, which include more products than we’ve ever used in the past.
The Effects of Cosmetics On The Body
In the documentary, Toxic Beauty, a young medical student named Mymy Nguyen participates in a basic experiment to get a better idea of how much an impact her beauty routine was having on her body.
According to Nguyen, “I never thought about the volume of the products that I was using: eyebrows, lipstick, shampoo, conditioner, shaving. I lost count when I was using them, but I think I used upwards of 27 products.”
During the experiment, Nguyen tested her body’s “chemical burden” before and after using a wide range of both mainstream and alternative beauty products.
After using the products, the results found that Nguyen had higher levels of mono-ethyl phthalate (MEP) in her body than 95% of Americans in three of her test samples.
MEP is a phthalate, which is commonly used in personal care products. It’s been linked to endocrine disruption, developmental or reproductive complications, as well as cancer.
In the end, Nguyen found that the biggest result from the experiment is that she now knows how much of an impact the products she uses have on her body.
“I think my biggest change is just being very conscious of what products I buy -- reading labels, which is something I never did before. I never even knew what parabens or phthalates were before.”
You can learn more about these potentially dangerous commercial ingredients here.
Now with that said, let’s take a look at some of the leading brand names that are offering high-quality natural cosmetics.
As one of the leading names in organic cosmetics, all RMS Beauty products are made from raw, food-grade and organic materials. So not only will you be able to hydrate your skin, you’ll also be able to enhance your complexion naturally, without using products containing un-studied chemicals.
Another great thing to love about RMS Beauty is that they’re a Canadian company. So, you’ll be buying 100% non-toxic cosmetics from a 100% local, Canadian brand to boot!
Another awesome Canadian brand, Ilia is best known for their multi-use cosmetic sticks and serum foundation. Ilia is another eco-friendly cosmetics brand, which uses only natural and organic ingredients, as well as recycled packaging as often and wherever possible.
To top it all off, Ilia claims to be 100% cruelty-free, making them one of the top 5 best alternative cosmetic brands that use clean, natural ingredients.
Juice Beauty is USDA-certified as a 100% organic cosmetics company. And on top of this, Juice Beauty not only uses natural, organic ingredients, but all of their products have been tested and studied in USDA clinical trials to prove their safety and effectiveness.
Juice Beauty is also a vegan and 100% cruelty-free company that uses only sustainable energy sources for its production.
As another cruelty-free cosmetic brand, 100% Pure is based in the United States. All of their products are completely natural and organic. And on top of this, 100% Pure products are sold in recycled packaging.
Furthermore, this company’s cosmetics are made using only the best, highest-performing antioxidants, vitamins, and essential oils, which will give your skin the best, most natural treatment possible.
On top of being a cruelty-free brand, Alima Pure is also a Certified B Corporation. All Certified B corporations are held to the highest standards of social and environmental performance.
In other words, these companies are industry leaders, who focus on public transparency and legal accountability, which helps them balance both their purpose and their profits.
All Alima Pure cosmetics are made using pure and high-quality ingredients. Additionally, Alima Pure does not use any synthetic ingredients or chemical dyes. They even use soy-based ink on all their packaging, which is made from 100% recycled materials.
The Scented Bohemian
Although the scented bohemian is not yet recognized as a national brand, I’d like to take a moment to mention that our products are handcrafted using the highest quality raw, food-grade and naturally-derived ingredients we can source.
Our products are tested for both their effectiveness and their quality, so you can rest assured knowing they work and are safe for even the most sensitive skin.
Our goal at the scented bohemian is to shine a light on the beauty and cosmetic industry and teach people about what they're really putting onto their skin and in turn, into their bodies.
And the fact is that, from deodorants and soaps to moisturizers and skincare creams, there are safer, natural alternatives out there for you to choose from
So check out our shop and browse our lineup of facial care products for men and women, our anti-aging oils and creams that help prevent and even reverse the signs of aging, as well as our bath salts, hair products, deodorants, and more that are always handmade, and all-natural, all the time.
The Importance of Natural Products In Today’s Chemical Landscape
The truth is that it’s practically impossible to tell what’s really in the personal care products and cosmetics that we use on a daily basis.
And even though manufacturers are required to list ingredients on their labels, a single patented ingredient can sometimes contain up to 200 different chemicals, which don’t need to be listed because they’re considered as the company’s proprietary right.
If that alone isn’t enough to help you understand why you should avoid commercially-made products, the CBC documentary Toxic Beauty, and the facts that we’ve discussed today should.