We all want to look and feel our best. Whether your look is a fresh-faced, minimal makeup vibe or a glam lash-and-lipstick everyday mood, you rely on your favorite beauty products to make that happen.
Unfortunately, your beauty routine could be putting your health at risk. Dangerous chemicals could be lurking in the products you use each day.
What Goes ON Your Body Goes IN Your Body
A growing body of research has shown the chemicals we put on our bodies end up in our bodies.
From inhaling dry shampoo and perfume sprays to absorbing lotions and creams into your skin to "eating" your lipsticks, balms, and glosses (yep, up to nine pounds of lipstick in your lifetime!) — your beauty products end up in your body.
And many of these cosmetic ingredients are just plain ugly.
What the Beauty Industry Doesn't Want You to Know
When you purchase a product from a salon, beauty supply, or even the grocery store, you probably assume your products are safe.
If you give the safety of your products any thought at all, you'd probably imagine they are heavily regulated, with ingredients tested and approved by a diligent government agency working hard to keep you safe from harmful ingredients.
Unfortunately, these assumptions are simply wrong.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), "The FDA does not review or approve the vast majority of cosmetic products or ingredients before they go on the market."
The FDA allows manufacturers to use just about any ingredient in the formulation of a cosmetic.
No laws require cosmetic companies to use specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. Cosmetic companies aren't required to share safety information with the FDA.
"Cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives." - FDA.gov
What's more shocking is this:
Federal law allows companies to not disclose all chemicals on their labels, especially those used in fragrances or considered "trade secrets."
Cosmetics companies can put whatever they want into their products.
They also "safety test" their products themselves, and aren't required to disclose the results.
To you or anyone else.
Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) performed an independent, third-party analysis of the chemicals lurking in a random selection of personal care and cleaning products.
The results were crazy.
It may be safer to spray yourself with shower cleaner than with perfume.
How to Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Beauty Products
Ok, so the bad news is you've been slathering potentially harmful chemicals on your body and face for a lifetime.
But there is some good news.
You have the power to make a change.
Become an Informed Consumer
Knowledge is power. The more you know about where toxic chemicals are hiding in plain sight, the easier it is to avoid them.
Start reading labels. Understand what ingredients mean (especially the ones you can't pronounce).
Find brands that you can trust.
The Environmental Working Group can help. The EWG researches thousands of brands and products, scoring each for safety and toxicity. You can see their findings on the EWG Skin Deep database.
Pop your favorite beauty products into the EWG database to see if you can safely use them or if you need to drop them in the nearest trash can and start shopping for something new.
Support Smaller, Ethical Beauty Brands
Once you start looking at the EWG database, you'll quickly realize that the biggest name brands are often the worst offenders when it comes to toxic chemicals.
However, many smaller brands have a bit more heart, soul, and conscience when it comes to your health.
Don't know where to start? Check out these five beauty brands founded by breast cancer survivors.
Look—and DO—Your Best
So, there are terrifying chemicals in your beauty products, and there's not really a system in place to protect you as a consumer.
But that doesn't mean you can't still find products you trust and continue to let your best self shine.
Now comes the fun part! Find new products from ethical beauty brands committed to transparency and creating incredible products that won't harm your health.
Because once we know better, we can do better. And still look our best in the process.