Saturday, March 3, 2007

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

I recently read The Hundred-Year Lie (book review coming soon) and it really opened my eyes to the levels of chemicals pervading our everyday lives. Synthetic chemicals are in everything - shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, cosmetics, household cleaners, medicine, food, etc. After running out of my favorite make-up, Bare Escentuals, I decided to do a little research before buying anymore. Bare Escentuals is supposed to be so pure that you can sleep in it, and "Made with pure, crushed minerals from the earth" (taken from the Bare Escentuals website). I checked the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for the facts on the ingredients listed on my BE Mineral Veil powder foundation: Zea Mays (corn) Starch, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Magnesium Stearate, Zinc Stearate, Methylparaben, Proplyparaben, MAY CONTAIN: Iron Oxides (CI 77499). EWG Skin Deep database gives each ingredient a rating of Green (low concern) Yellow (moderate concern) or Red (higher concern). All of the ingredients EXCEPT Aluminum Starch Ocyenylsuccinate, Methylparaben and Proplyparaben received the green rating. The 3 afore mentioned ingredients received a yellow rating, and this is what I found out about Parabens from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website:

Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as anti-microbial preservatives
in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics products, including underarm
deodorants. Parabens are absorbed through intact skin and from the
gastrointestinal tract and blood. U.K. researchers found measurable
concentrations of six different parabens in 20 human breast tumors. The
study highlights the need for more research on the potential link between
products containing parabens and increased breast cancer risk.

Many companies, including Compact signers, have begun phasing out parabens
from their lines by marking their products as “paraben-free.” Parabens are
commonly listed on product ingredient labels as methylparaben,
propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben.

In a nutshell, recent research links Parabens to cancer as they are a hormone disruptor and mimic estrogen. Personally, that is enough reason for me to seek out Paraben-free products, and unfortunately that means that my Bare Escentuals has to go! The Skin Deep database lists many companies who get a completely green rating, and I chose two cosmetics companies - Afterglow and The Alchemist's Apprentice. Both make a powder mineral foundation like BE, and both are paraben-free. I was able to order samples of both, so now am awaiting (eagerly, as I don't have any more BE to use even if I was desperate!) their arrival. I will give you all an update as soon as I can.

Thankfully, there are many brands of safe cosmetics out there. I encourage people to do the research and make informed decisions about product choices. This post is not meant to be alarmist, or meant to discourage. Personally I am choosing to take this information and make better decisions about the products that I bring into my home, products that I can feel good about, products that I can actually read and understand the labels. My next search is for a great body lotion/cream made without the use of any synthetic chemicals or compounds, and I will keep you updated on all my product testing!


Jennie said...

Amazing! It's hard to know who to trust anymore! I guess you have to be your own advocate!

intentional mama said...

Have you looked into Mineral Fusion. It can be ordered online or purchased at Whole Foods. I haven't tried it yet, but when my Aveda foundation runs out that is what I am planning to switch over to.

The Lovely Corina said...

You can still use the foundation. It does not contain parabens, only the mineral veil does.