If you’ve ever found yourself in a cosmetics aisle, you’ve probably noticed many labels dawning bolded statements such as “organic” or “non-toxic.” Intrigued by the promise, you may have even bought a few of these items, thinking maybe it’s time to take control of the products you use in order to remain your healthiest self. After all, the clean beauty movement seems to be taking the nation by storm.
In order to understand the importance of this seemingly new trend, one must first understand the history of oversight in the American cosmetics industry. In 1938, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which despite the name, failed to regulate any cosmetic ingredients besides color additives. According to the Harvard Health Blog, the act does not require ingredient approval or product recall if an ingredient is found to be dangerous. Instead, most cosmetic regulation is overseen by the Personal Care Products Council, which is a self-regulating body supported by the cosmetics industry, not the federal government.
To get a better sense of how far behind the United States is when it comes to chemical regulation in beauty products, The Washington Post explains the numbers:
The European Union has banned approximately 1,300 chemicals in cosmetics, a category that covers makeup, lotions, hair dyes, deodorant, nail polish, shaving cream, and other beauty products. By contrast, the United States — where the average woman uses 12 such products containing 168 chemicals on her body each day — bans and restricts only 9.
This means that aside from these 9 harmful ingredients, beauty product manufacturers have free rein when it comes to including potentially dangerous additives in their recipes.
Without guidance from the federal government, clean beauty activists have taken matters into their own hands.
“Each proponent of this movement has developed their own shortlist of ‘bad’ ingredients,” said Harvard Medical School physicians, Drs. Molly Wanner and Neera Nathan.
Dr. Wanner and Dr. Nathan go on to say that the majority of the chemicals clean beauty supporters are fighting against typically fall into one or more of three major categories:
Irritants or allergens
Potential endocrine disruptors: substances that may imitate our body’s natural hormones and interfere with normal signaling of these chemical messengers
Potential carcinogens: cancer-causing agents
How bad could these chemicals actually be?
Though irritants and allergens used in everyday beauty products may pose the smallest threat to users, they can still cause chronic skin conditions and other allergic responses that may prove difficult to get rid of. For instance, formaldehyde, an irritant and known carcinogen used in many beauty products causes contact, even small amounts of endocrine-disrupting chemicals entering the bloodstream have been linked to
When using products with harsh chemicals, you not only run the risk of harmful substances causing allergic reactions, you also risk passing endocrine disruptors, which interfere with the body’s hormones, from your skin into your blood. When this occurs, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, even small amounts of endocrine-disrupting chemicals entering the bloodstream have been linked to developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems.
Along with pesticides and other household products, many cosmetics are known to contain endocrine disruptors. In fact, because most humans are exposed to multiple endocrine disruptors at the same time, limited scientific information exists on potential health problems caused by EDs in cosmetics. However, a scientific study noted in Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders states that many substances in cosmetics and sunscreens have endocrine active properties that affect reproductive health and can increase the risk for other health problems, such as cancer.
This leads to the most serious risk of using non-regulated beauty products: cancer-causing agents. Widely used in the cosmetics industry, chemicals such as asbestos and lead have been linked to serious health problems; moreover, the EWG states that since 2009, 595 cosmetics manufacturers have reported using 88 chemicals that have been linked to cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm in more than 73,000 products.
Ready to make the switch to truly organic beauty products?
If you’re reading this, you’ve already faced the toughest part of the decision: beginning. Here are some ways that you can stick to the clean beauty movement (even with Neutrogena begging for you to come back):
Know the ingredient warning signs
It’s difficult not to jump to conclusions when you read words like “natural” and “synthetic-free” on beauty product labels. If the label says it, you wish it to be true. However, a 2008 study by the Organic Consumers Association found an undisclosed carcinogenic ingredient in more than 40 percent of products tested that claimed to be natural.
Before you buy, read the ingredients listed on the label. Websites like EWG’s Skin Deep make it easy for you to quickly enter complicated chemical names in order to get the low-down on what the ingredients are all about.
PRO TIP: Stick with ingredients that show up in the green portion of the EWG’s best to worst scale.
Swap as you run out
Are you going to develop cancer after using your CVS moisturizer a few more nights before the bottle runs dry? Probably not. So, keep your wallet happy and your mind at ease knowing that it’s okay to make this switch slowly.
PRO TIP: Slowly swapping your current cosmetics for clean beauty products will also allow you to see how your skin reacts to the introduction of each new product into your skin-care routine. Since everyone’s skin is different, it may take time to find all-natural products you love. Be patient. You’ll find the perfect solutions for your skin’s needs—we promise.
Do it yourself (or find someone who does)
With clean beauty trends at an all-time high, many cosmetics enthusiasts are taking it upon themselves to create all-natural, organic, cruelty-free, vegan products your skin will LOVE (and that work like a charm!)
Check out Self Magazine’s list of 17 DIY Beauty Products you can whip up right in your own home. From teeth whitener to gentle cleansing wipes, you’re sure to find a recipe to fit your needs.
If converting to clean beauty the DIY way sounds like a lot of work, La Bloom Beauty would be honored to do the dirty (okay, really, really clean) work for you. And, we make the switch as easy as 1-2-3.
Do some quick research into our brand. With renowned supporters like Vogue UK, Nail Pro Magazine, and Bikini.com, it’s easy to see why you should make room for La Bloom Beauty products on your bathroom shelves.
Visit our shop to learn more about our all-natural, cruelty-free, vegan skin, and hair care collection. Made with essential oils and other organic ingredients, our job is to provide you with beauty essentials that make you feel good about your beauty routine.
Sit back, relax, and await the doorstep arrival of your new beauty BFFs. Each product in our collection is made-to-order so it arrives fresh to you.
Can’t decide on just one product? The La Bloom Set is a great place to start.
The Bottom Line
Marketing claims by largely “trusted” beauty brands make it difficult to ignore labels that deem products to be “natural” and/or “organic”. However, the United States trails behind nearly 40 nations when it comes to cosmetics safety, states a 2019 article by the EWG. As of 2019, some countries had banned as many as 1,400 chemicals from use in cosmetics—the USA has, to date, banned only 9.
In America, the average woman uses twelve beauty products a day, exposing herself to up to 168 chemicals every 24 hours. With the potential to cause problems ranging from skin irritation to cancer, the regular use of chemically enhanced, drug store beauty products is scientifically proven to be bad for your health.
Though understanding complicated chemical names can be daunting, resources like EWG’s Skin Deep database make it easy to research ingredients before you buy. To play it safe, stick to buying products you know are safe, make your beauty products yourself, or support from someone who does.
La Bloom Beauty’s shop is stocked and ready to help you make the best decisions for your cosmetic health. The beginning of your clean beauty journey started the moment you began reading this article. The next step is making your first purchase. What are you waiting for?