Monday, March 26

ch-ch-ch-check 'em out.

a few weeks ago i did a post about my natural face wash approach , and my ever growing fascination and dedication to learning what i daily put in and on my body.

but you know, our face washes are only one component of our daily grooming regimens. yes - even you, la natural non-make-up wearers of the world. what about your shampoo? conditioner? lotion? perfume? sunscreen? WHAT ABOUT YOUR DEODORANT, at least?

here's the thing. i am reading this book called "the story of stuff," by annie leonard, based on the internet short movie by the same name and by the same person. the same person who also founded the story of stuff project. anyhow. in this book, amongst many many many other astonishing facts and figures and wealth of information, annie shares the truth about the make-up of our make-up.

she has written it all perfectly and there is nothing i could really do to improve upon it, so i'm just gonna go ahead and leave you with a direct excerpt:

Here we are, rubbing these products into our pores, sometimes on our lips and eyes. So what's in them? A lot of nasty surprises and industry secrets is what. Have you ever turned your shampoo bottle or tube of sunscreen around to read the ingredients? Once you get a magnifying glass out, it might be written in Klingon, right? It turns out that every day of her life, the average American woman uses a dozen products that contain 168 chemical ingredients. The average guy uses six products a day, with 85 chemicals in them--with the use of products among men rising. Whether they're drugstore purchases, indulgences from the ritziest cosmetics counter, or even "natural" and "organic" products from your local health food store, they're almost certain to contain hazardous chemicals. A 2005 study of thousands of personal care products found that: one-third of them contained at least one ingredient linked to cancer; nearly half of them contained an ingredient that is harmful to the reproductive system; 60 percent of them contained an ingredient that mimics estrogen or can disrupt hormones; more than half of them contained "penetration enhancer" chemicals which help other chemicals move into the body deeper and faster.

now, you may ask, is there not someone responsible for testing and regulating this crap?  well, sure. it is called the cosmetic ingredient review (cir) panel. they are the only body responsible for the testing of safety in these products. but wouldn't you know it, the cir is funded and and run by the cosmetics industry through its trade association: the cosmetic, toiletry, and fragrance association. the tests they run are focused on immediate health effects like rashes and swelling. they do not test for long-term effects, nor the reaction of different chemicals interacting with one another and genes. the fda, unfortunately, does not have the authority to require companies to do safety tests, nor recall personal care products, even when they have been proven to be defective or harmful! ugh.

so. contrary to how it may seem, i am not here telling you this so that we all panic and toss everything out the window and go live in the wild forever, radiating body odor and never shave our legs again. no. that's not it.

rather, i am here to tell you about some fantastic resources that are helpful, informative, and easy to navigate:

one.) Skin Deep  , a gigantic cosmetics database created by the environmental working group. here, you can find more than forty thousand products and their ingredients, their impact in your health, society, human rights, and the environment. 

two.) GoodGuide  , is another online database that works very much like Skin Deep, but covers a vaster amount of products beyond cosmetics. the goodguide has regularly updated information on companies' labor practices, corporate policies, energy use, climate impact, pollution track record, and even supply chain policies. it also identifies ingredients in products and suggests less toxic or higher-scoring alternative products. as if that is not enough, you even have the option to send direct messages to the companies behind the products and rant and rave and demand for change or whatever. 

check them out!


  1. I actually have read the ingredients in my shampoo and perfumes, but I never know what any of it is! It's so frustrating. I never know what brands to trust!


    1. right?! it might as well be written in a foreign language. it really is frustrating, especially in the cases where a product is advertised as "natural" or whatever!


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