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Healthy Cosmetic Brands – why check the ingredients list?

Why Do Ingredients Matter? Find Out

Most of us like to stay healthy, and also go to extreme lengths to look good. To achieve a healthy life and good looks, many people end up using different types of supplements, weight loss products and personal care products. So why check the ingredients list? Keep reading.

We all like to believe that products we choose come from healthy brands. I remember the days when I was a kid and going to a local store was such a treat. All the candy and teenage makeup products in different colors and beautiful packaging just made you want to have it all. I didn’t care what the candy or my lipstick I so badly wanted was made from, artificial flavours, processed chemicals etc. I just knew it tasted great, looked good on me and I was going to have it. My kids now remind me of that as they are too mesmerized by all the retail goodies that are available to us and the effect they have on us from a young age, making us want to have it because it’s appealing completely ignoring the facts that it can be harmful to our bodies with continuous use. I still feel like that little girl in a candy store when I walk into Sephora for example, full of beautifully arranged products packaged in an attractive box smelling like an exotic flower making you feel like you’re in a luxurious spa. So tempting, and curious how it’s going to make you look and feel once you start using whatever you just bought from such a trendy store…right? We all like to treat ourselves whenever we can to something that makes us feel good, look good. Awesome! Who wouldn’t want to buy something new that is making us feel and look good?! But have we ever considered … Is it good for us??? Are the ingredients of your lipstick, skincare cream, mascara or makeup foundation, house hold cleaning products safe for our skin and our body, or are they toxic?

We live in a world today, where anything is for sale as long as there are buyers who believe in the attractive advertising campaigns. For example food and cosmetics are products that we spend money on without thinking twice about, because we need it. But does that mean that all is safe for us to use or consume? I used to believe the theory that if it’s in a store, it is safe for me and my family… that if it wasn’t safe, our government would never allow it to be sold to public as they truly have our best interest at heart. HA! Not so, it turns out that there are thousands of items on our shopping lists that are horribly bad and unhealthy for us, we just don’t know it. Why?… because no one will tell us about the bad ingredients, chemicals and preservatives that make up that favorite cookie box your kids love so much and their little bodies consume, or that shampoo that you use every day full of toxins absorbing into your bloodstream. No, nowhere on the packaging does it say that this product is harmful to you because if it did… the company that makes it would not make $$$ money. And our govertnment allows this!!! But of course not all that is out there is bad. We hear a lot lately about “Natural ingredients”, “Organic”, “Botanical” … well what does all that mean?… and why is it important to look out for such labeling on products?

Natural Ingredients – come from a renewable/plentiful resource found in nature, with absolutely no petroleum compounds. No physical processing includes ingredients found in fauna, flora, and minerals, otherwise known as animal, plant or mineral.

Example Image of Natural Fruits

Organic Ingredients – to be labelled as organic, at least 95% of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants or organically raised animals. In other words, a way of farming/gardening that pays close attention to nature. The absence of veterinary medicines such as antibiotics in rearing livestock and no genetic modification. No use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides in gardening of plants.

Example Image of Earth grown Vegetables

Botanical Ingredients – derived from plant, a natural component of a cosmetic or personal care product that originates from plants (herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, leaves or seeds). Such plant or plant part is valued for its medicinal or therapeutic properties, flavor, and/or scent. Herbs are a subset of botanicals. Products made from botanicals that are used to maintain or improve health may be called herbal products, botanical products.

Example Image of Botanical Plants

Chemical – a distinct compound or substance, which has been processed, artificially prepared or purified. The opposite of natural is man-made. Not all chemicals are bad, but the dosage makes it either safe or unsafe.

Image of Chemicals in Lab

Using your own judgement, what seems more appealing to you? The word “Natural”, “Botanical”, “Organic” or “Chemical”? Right away I want to stay away from the word “Chemical” as I think of my car for example. It seems ok to me that my car may need chemicals to operate as it is a mechanical object, a man-made machine. But us humans, we are living, breathing beings in need of nature in order to exist. Therefore, no wonder we would rather choose what is brought to us by nature rather than man-made. But sadly that is not the case with some of the ingredients in beauty products. Researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment. No wonder more and more people suffer from food allergies, skin allergies (eczema), cancer and other ugly diseases.

Like I mentioned before, I wasn’t always aware of all this until I came across a few clients with major skin reactions and health problems to certain products such as makeup, skincare and nutrition. I wanted to know why and what is causing such reactions and put an end to it. I was scared to use some of the items in my makeup bag on my clients so I started digging for answers and doing some research. This is when I found that more and more people are having bad reactions to unnatural ingredients that they didn’t even know they were exposed to in everyday use of cosmetic products and foods. More and more you hear about digestive and skin sensitivities, why is that so? Well it must be due to either what we consume, breathe or put on our skin… what else can it be? While looking for answers I stumbled on a very significant piece of information that shocked me to say the least. Me being of European descent, I was both pleased and horrified that The EU has banned over 1000 chemicals, yet The FDA has only banned 9. Pleased that Europe does take great care in what is permitted in consumer products, horrified that for the last 29 years I lived in a country that doesn’t. US and Canada unlike EU are allowing much more toxic chemical ingredients in our consumable products that are causing all kinds of health implications and disorders. WOW!! To say that this was upsetting to me is an understatement, as I was a victim to such laws and regulations meanwhile back in Europe where I come from they only use minimal amounts of such ingredients but the best part is … (now that I have obviously switched to many Natural/Botanically made cosmetics and foods) I realized that not only they are healthier but they actually work and serve their purpose better. Mainly beauty and nutrition products from Arbonne is what I use and highly recommend as they are Pure, Safe, Beneficial™  a strict ingredient policy

As for foods and even some cosmetics, I do my best to shop at reputable markets such as Whole Foods, Nations, true Organic sections and look at the labeling to minimize the chance of purchasing an item that is filled with preservatives, added sugars, contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

Arbonne Product Display

Therefore, money well spent on a truly botanically based, Natural or Organic product that is not or at least less harmful to me. Not to say that all brands are no good here in North America (as many have turned to better and healthier ingredients policies due to such news getting out) but being knowledgeable about what you bring home from the retail/grocery or online store and the benefits or dangers are in it for you is certainly a concern in my opinion. My advice is to pick up a few of your favorites and look at the ingredients on the back of the package and then google the meanings. Literally, that’s what I did at one point and was stunned with a few, also pleasantly surprised with some and Arbonne as one example. Like I said, not all is bad but I sure do want to know what is best before I make the decision to buy. There are various chemicals used in the preparation of cosmetics which should be used with caution, or else they can have harmful effects. Some of the more dangerous chemicals to be aware of are described below:

Image of toxic products

  • Coal Tar
  • Glycol Ethers
  • Formaldehyde
  • Diethanolamine (DEA)
  • Parabens (Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, And Propylparaben)
  • Mercury
  • Lead
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Paraphenylenediamine
  • Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) Copolymer
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Phthalates
  • Benzyldimethylstearylammonium Chloride
  • Lanolin
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Synthetic Colors
  • Imidazolidinyl And Diazolidinyl Urea
  • Mineral Oil
  • Fragrance (Hydroxyisohexyl-3-Cyclohexene, Carboxaldehyde, Isoeugenol Etc.)
  • Kohl Stone

I hope you enjoyed this post, please feel free to comment or ask a question below.

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7 comments

  1. I love your article and your blog in general. I agree with you, it is so important to know and understand what you are plastering all over your body. There are so many ingredients in our everyday beauty regime that we would never use if we knew what they were. Thanks for the list of ingredients to avoid- its very useful!

    1. Hi Hollie

      Thank you, and I’m so glad you agree. I have become very conscious about this topic in the last 6 years and simply trying to make my readers aware. Consumer knowledge is key, but unfortunately not many take the time to research and/or care about the health risks they subject themselves to when making a purchase of a simple everyday item. 

      Cheers

      Agnes

  2. This was a really interesting article. I live in the UK so we fall under the EU regulations on certain chemicals which is good. However, there are still plenty that are allowed that are still not great for the body/skin.

    I try and look at all the labels to see what’s in them and like you suggest, I try and stick to organic or botanical products. The great thing is having so much choice, and at all budgets these days.

    Well done for listing some of the nastier chemicals – it’s important we look out for these in products.

    1. Hi Louise

      Glad you enjoyed the read. Yes, its very upsetting that we have been kept in the dark about this information and the fact that North America has the lowest standards of all. But I am happy to see that more and more brands worldwide are looking into and some already changing to more safer ingredient in their products. However, we still  must depend on ourselves to stay informed.

      Agnes

  3. This is truly an eye opener for some who don’t know why we get diagnosed with different types of cancer, or skin allergies and other unfortunate diseases. Its mainly due to what we put into and onto our bodies.
    Great thanks to you Agnes for writing this very important and educating post.

  4. I am so glad that I was directed to your article. I enjoyed reading your post; it was very informative and interesting. I have become very conscious on the products I buy and the foods I eat in the past few years. It is scary that a lot of foods and skin care product we are using today are loaded with unsafe chemicals. I think as a consumer it is important that we read labels and check ingredients. I thought you did a fantastic job outlining how to check for safe and unsafe ingredients.

  5. As consumers we are so often unaware of what we are purchasing. Whether it is in our food or products for our personal grooming.
    I think your post highlights some very important areas of concern and informs consumers on what to look out for when making future purchases.
    I live in South Africa, so think I should also do some research on chemicals permitted in locally produced products, as you have pointed out there is quite a difference between North America’s standards and Europe.

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