Its all looks pretty, and most of it smells lovely too, but what are you really inhaling when you put that lotion or perfume up to your nose? Or better yet, slathering it all over your skin. Glossy packaging and promises to stop the years from creeping up on your face entice all of us. How do we know what's actually effective, safe and made ethically? Better yet, why should we care?
1. Its no surprise that many skincare brands use chemicals that are hazardous to your health. I often hear, 'Yes, but not in any quantity that is actually harmful.' Well, sure the 'tiny bit' of lead in your lipstick might not single handedly cause cancer, but what about the 'tiny bit' of heavy metal in your toothpaste, the left over pesticides in your food, the carcinogens in your mascara, the sulphates and parabens in your shampoo and body wash. The point is, these synthetic ingredients are not necessary for a beauty product to be effective. Its the accumulation of these ingredients that are known or suspected to cause of long-term health effects such as asthma, infertility, and even cancer.
2. The mass majority of department store brands just aren't willing to change there hazardous formulas.
Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, has educated millions of people about the toxic truths lurking beneath the beauty industry's shady underbelly. More than 1,000 companies have signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a voluntary pledge to extract known and suspicious toxic chemicals from their products and restore them with safe substitutes within three years, and further publicly report their headway. The world's largest creators of personal-care products and cosmetics are completely missing in action.
Still, several of these leading cosmetics firms have created their own "green" product lines. For instance, "The Origins brand by Estée Lauder, boosts that it is free of a lengthy list of hazardous chemicals," says Malkan. "So if Estée Lauder has already figured out how to make products without the harmful chemicals, why do they continue to use those chemicals in all their other product lines?" Most of the leading cosmetic companies carry forward using the same hazardous formulas and polluting technologies they developed years ago, instead of formulating safer, nontoxic products.
3. If companies didn't use chemical based ingredients in their products, they wouldn't have to test on animals.
PETA declares that millions of animals are poisoned, blinded, and killed each year in cruel experiments so that companies can test their products. Its simple: if ingredients were all-natural, or at least naturally derived, cosmetics wouldn't have to be tested on animals. People could fill in for that safe and humane job. Cruelty-free beauty products are 100% the way.
SO WHAT NOW?
The laws absolutely need to change, but in the meantime, we need to read labels and ask the right questions. What's unfortunate is that many toxic ingredients aren't even listed on the label. Eek, right! And we use this stuff on our children all the time. Retailers are also becoming more green savy and supporting companies that have eliminated chemicals of concern. Support brands that advocate for clean, sustainable beauty. Get to know their products inside-out, and be mindful how you're spending your dollars. Most cosmetic and self-care chemicals are cheap to use, and that's why big companies love to use them for mass production. Yet, they still charge an exuberant dollar amount for their brand and packaging. At Pura, we do our absolute best to use the purest ingredients we can attain from ethical farmers and suppliers. We believe nature is true luxury.
Photography by Jenn Clara