Makeup… Face wash… Soap… Lotion… Exfoliators… Makeup remover… Acne treatments… Sunscreen… Moisturizer… Serums… What do they all have in common? Extremely loose regulations with little government oversight allow companies to use many toxic ingredients and ingredients without safety data while manufacturing your makeup and skincare.
A few years ago, I had no idea of the importance of knowing what I put on my skin. I was so sick, I was sleeping nearly 16 hours a day, barely able to function, completely dependent on friends, and homeless because of my inability to work. I endured numerous seizures each day, my nervous system would randomly misfire, sending me tumbling to the floor, and my blood pressure randomly dropped to dangerously low levels. No clue what caused it, though a few doctors suspect chemical exposure while I was serving on active duty in the Middle East. My body spent 8 years deteriorating, while 30 different doctors told me to prepare to die before my 30th birthday.
In 2013, I started on a journey removing toxins from my home just to see what would happen (hoping my neurologist was right and it would lead to a faster death), and subsequently, my symptoms were noticeably better. If you met me today, you would never know the Hell I endured for most of my 20s.
Then.. I started helping a few friends dealing with chronic unexplained illnesses the same way I healed mine… and they started healing as well.
My lesson learned: What you put on your skin matters. What you use in your home matters. There are no coincidences. Changing little things in your life to remove harmful ingredients from the products you place on your skin matters. It matters for me… It matters for your spouse, for your children, for your unborn baby, for YOU… it matters to your neighbors… it matters to everyone.
It matters so much, that today, I'm asking you to share this post so others can be informed.
What laws regulate the cosmetic and skincare industry?
Federal law regulating the cosmetic industry spans a whole 1.5 pages. This isn't nearly adequate when over 85,000 new chemicals have been registered for industrial use, 10,500 of which are used in everyday cosmetics.
Of the 10,500 chemicals used in cosmetics, only a small percentage have adequate safety data published. Only 30 of those 10,500 chemicals have been banned in the US – 11 of which have not been in production in over a decade. 1,328 harmful ingredients have been banned in the European Union, and 600 are banned in Canada.
At least 2,500 of those nearly 11,000 chemicals have enough safety data to have been found to be especially toxic to us and the environment… so far!
In fact, the last piece of legislation to pass Congress was pre-WWII, in 1938!
Why is knowing the ingredients for your skincare and makeup important?
Because the average woman uses 12 beauty products a day between personal care and makeup products. Of those, she will average putting well over 100 harsh chemicals on her skin each and every day… and often before she eats her first meal.
The average man is exposed to over 60 harmful chemicals each day… before he eats his first meal.
Ingredients in your skincare and makeup is a big deal because:
- Those chemicals are able to be passed through the placenta of pregnant women,
- They can pass through breast milk to babies breastfeeding.
- 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime.
- Health here in the US is largely declining in epidemic numbers.
- Poisoning our bodies and the environment is NOT sustainable.
A US study found that “Girls who are exposed before birth to chemicals commonly found in toothpaste, makeup, soap, and other personal care products may hit puberty earlier than their peers who aren’t exposed to these chemicals in the womb” (you can read the article here).
How do you know if your skincare and/or makeup is safe?
You really don't. Honestly, you're trusting a brand with your health, when that brand isn't at all required to even list all the ingredients in their products on the label. Why? There are many loopholes in the laws and no government oversight on the cosmetic industry. All that is needed on the label are generic terms, which is more often than not exactly where toxic ingredients that are harmful to your health are lurking.
Not to sound the alarm, but we all should be sick and tired of corporations taking advantage of consumers, and engaging in some shady tactics to keep racking in our hard-earned money when they have absolutely no regard for human life or decency.
There is no excuse to be using harmful chemicals in these products (like lead in lipstick… yeah… that is really a thing).
There are colors used in eye shadows, lipsticks, lip glosses, eye shadows, and even foundations that are colored using synthetic dyes that come from petrochemicals. It is so common that the only way to know for sure whether or not we are using products that are safe for our bodies is to know the brand and what the brand stands for… and whether or not they are engaged in Greenwashing.
Even “organic” and “all-natural” marketing claims aren't always what they seem… there are numerous ways to sneak in questionable and/or harmful ingredients even with those labels.
Why you should make the switch to safer products
Harmful ingredients are LEGALLY placed in common skincare, haircare, fragrance, and cosmetic products in nearly every physical and online store. Your voice is so important and today we ask for you to use it to ask for change. We ask for your help to enact change to remove skincare toxins.
As we, the consumers, make healthier choices for our bodies and our families, companies will adapt to start using higher-quality ingredients. This is the beautiful thing about capitalism. Until the government will start regulating products in a manner that puts consumer safety first, we need to take it upon ourselves to make informed decisions. Our long-term health and the health of our family members is what is at stake.
A great resource to go to is EWG's Skin Deep database at: www.ewg.org/skindeep and do a search for what you've been using to see how safe it really is. Be sure to check through the ingredients too!
Real quick, I want to remind you how important reading labels truly is…
Just because something is marketed as being natural, green, or nontoxic, doesn't mean they are.
There is no FDA or FTC regulation or definition for the term “nontoxic,” “green,” or “all-natural.” When you see those terms… it is safe to assume those words are just manipulative marketing tactics, and honestly mean nothing. What is important is being able to verify the ingredients for yourself, and then make an educated decision on whether or not it is safe for you or your family members.
There is no verification process, and no industry standards publicly available.
There is absolutely NO government regulating authority that has the ability to recall skincare or cosmetic products due to harmful ingredient use!
The FDA has previously petitioned to have authority over cosmetics and personal care products, but so far that authority has not been granted. The only thing they can do is put out warning letters, which hardly generate intrigue nor are found to be newsworthy or taken seriously. And with a lack of funding, they tend to not even worry about it unless it is some sort of contaminant that initiates an immediate severe reaction response from a large number of people.
Lush, for example, is a popular brand that advertises its using nontoxic ingredients, even though “parabens” are listed in their ingredients. I called to ask them why they feel they can use Parabens in their products, but still, call them all-natural. They justified using it by commenting that “Parabens are some of the oldest cosmetic preservatives and have been used since the 1920s.” They don't care about the health of their customers. They care about their profits. Never mind the fact that they could skyrocket their sales by providing healthier ingredients.
This is exactly the problem… and it isn't just Lush. I've seen the same response from MANY skincare and cosmetic companies.
This perpetual mindset, justifying using toxic ingredients because everyone else is doing it, and because it's not illegal [yet] IS NOT OK. That's flat-out manipulating customers into thinking it's ok to pay companies their hard-earned money to make them sick and justify it because everyone else is doing it.
Yes, it is common for companies to use harmful ingredients. No, this does not mean you have to accept it… you do not under any circumstances *need* to pay your hard-earned money to greedy corporations who don't care and won't accept responsibility if their products contribute to you getting sick (or worse).
Ingredients you should avoid
The difficult part of telling you what to avoid is that not all the ingredients are required to be labeled, or are labeled under weird, seemingly unrelated names. I've created an online course to help you decipher exactly what to be on the lookout for and where to find them that I highly recommend you check out.
Safe skincare and cosmetic products are available…
Pinterest is flooded with bloggers sharing their DIY skincare and cosmetic recipes. Some are great. Some are ok. Some should be over on the Pinterest Fails website. But making your own skincare isn't difficult. Makeup on the other hand… may require more skill and patience.
If you're not into DIY, there are also more alternatives popping up every year. Just be conscious about the ingredients listed, and be sure you're buying from a brand you can trust.
Should You DIY Your Own Products?
I tip my hat to those of you who DIY beauty products and makeup. And I'll be your biggest cheerleader if you try to DIY everything yourself!
Personally… I've failed miserably with doing anything aside from making Homemade Body Butter and Homemade Sugar Scrubs or using coconut oil or witch hazel with some essential oils dropped in.
You can make your own skin toner with my favorite recipe using 1/4 cup witch hazel, 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbs purified water, 1 tsp vegetable glycerin, 5 drops of geranium essential oil, and 10 drops each of frankincense and lavender essential oils.
As for making my own makeup… That would be a better fit for Pinterest Fail boards! I've seen some women have success with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, beetroot powder… and other kitchen items… but when I try… total clown face that lasts maybe 20 minutes.
Regardless of where you buy, your skin and health will thank you for putting quality products on your skin void of any harsh chemicals. Switching to safer products will substantially lower toxins in your body, limiting your body's toxin exposure to elements outside of your control. It also further enables your body to defend itself instead of continually becoming overburdened, which causes illness.
Safe skincare and cosmetic products we personally use
While I can DIY skincare all day long, DIYing cosmetics is not for the faint of heart. I personally should have ended up on the Pinterest Fails website looking like a clown after trying beetroot powder for blush and ginger/cinnamon on my face. It wasn't a pretty sight at all and led me to not recommend DIYing makeup products. If you're brave enough, there are many recipes on Pinterest to try out… and I would LOVE to hear how it works out for you!
2015-2017, I personally used Beautycounter. I LOVE their mission and their quality standards, banning 1,500 harmful ingredients from their production process. After 2 years, however, I allowed my account to go inactive after having some strange hot rash reactions on my face. I am very much sensitive to a lot of different things but was bummed to have those reactions after using them for a couple of years.
In 2017 I switched to Savvy Minerals mineral makeup by Young Living and was shocked at how well the mineral makeup worked on me, how light it felt, how well it covered, how good it smelled, and how good my face feels when I wear it. They also pledge to not use 2,500 known harmful ingredients from their production, which makes me very happy. Each batch is also tested for heavy metals and other contaminants to ensure the highest quality.
More posts in this series:
- Is Your Home Toxic?
- Remove Toxins From Your Kitchen
- Is Your Laundry Toxic?
- Remove Toxins From Your Bathroom
- Remove Toxins From Your Perfume & Cologne
- Safe, Nontoxic Cleaner
- Is your toothpaste toxic?
Ready for more info?? Check out our Healthier Home for a Happier Life online course! In this course, I'll provide you with information about harmful chemicals to avoid, and how to identify them. We will also cover DIY and non-DIY alternatives that will also boost your health, energy, sleep, and focus abilities, naturally.
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