One of the latest trends in the United States and global economy is going green. Whether it's a grocery, health or clothing store, there are numerous businesses that are attempting to cash in on the movement of being environmentally-friendly. This shift in the marketplace can also be found in beauty products.
For decades, the average American woman has been applying various products on their skin and in their hair without understanding what's actually inside of those goods that try to make you look like the next Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen or Scarlett Johansson. In recent years, the industry has been exposed and has made female consumers think twice before putting on a dozen or so health and beauty products before leaving the house in the morning.
Since cosmetics are regulated differently from food and pharmaceuticals by the Food and Drug Administration, an array of ingredients and elements do not have to be approved. Essentially, it is up to the manufacturer of such a product to decide if the cosmetic is safe or unsafe.
In 2011, the Environmental Working Group published a list of cosmetics containing chemicals that are associated with hazardous health risks. The findings were based on information released by the federal government, the companies and scientific endeavors.
The list consists of foundations that contain an ingredient known as oxybenzone, a cause of irritation or allergic reaction; powders with retinyl paltimate that has been linked to cancers; blushes considered to be human carcinogens and might even be toxic to immune and respiratory systems over a long period of time; and nail polishes that have toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and formaldehyde and can be the reasons for impaired breathing and the causes of birth defects and cancers.
Due to consumer concerns and calls for these chemicals to be removed from beauty products, there has been a growing demand in natural and organic cosmetics. Indeed, beauty professionals say these are much better for you, your skin, your health and the environment.
Although it might be expensive to immediately transform a woman's beauty regimen, some experts say there should be a gradual shift towards natural products because, according to Trevor Steyn, founder of home-grown skincare hero, Esse, "there are new chemicals though, man-made chemicals, that we have no mechanisms to deal with and exposure to these can result in long-term health risks."
Cosmetic chemist Diane Eales told Women24.com that the best product to start off with is a natural cleanser because "it doesn't strip the skin of its natural oils and then as you finish your other products replace them with products with natural ingredients."
Organizations are warning consumers to be careful about brands that label their products as "organic." The Soil Association in partnership with three other global organic establishments have developed COSMOS, a group that is developing international organic standards for beauty and cosmetic products.
This entity explains that chemicals found in non-organic beauty products, such as phthalates, parabens and PEGs, can also be located in antifreeze and floor and oven cleaners. What the problem is is that these companies are naming these products as "natural," "organic" and "biological," even if their items only have one percent of organic elements.
To ensure the product you are using is actually organic, the Soil Association has published a list of companies on its website that have genuinely developed organic products. Products that are truly organic are clearly labelled for the customer.
It has been reported that all of the above also applies to hair care. Jessa Blades, a natural beauty artist, told The Daily Green that most hair products should contain natural oils, natural butters and essential oils. Consumers should avoid products that have parabens, silicone, petrolatum and similar ingredients.