Here are two book titles covering the same issue: what really is a safe and healthy cosmetic product? Or in other words: how little to trust PR, marketing and labelling!
Both books are worth reading and serve as helpful buying guides and are highly educational. Expect to find information on all aspects of ingredients and their short and long term impact on your health, on trade associations and organic certifications, labelling and of course on brands themselves.
To illustrate how difficult it is to obtain safe and healthy products (unless you are a chemical- and compound genius and/or make your own from scratch) below the definitions of two much (ab-)used words in product names and labels:
Natural ingredients extracted directly from plants, animal products or the earth, which have undergone minimal or no processing.
In practice, a cosmetic product containing a single natural ingredient in a low concentration amid a myriad of synthetic chemicals could still be labeled as natural.
Organic usually refers to non-genetically modified ingredients that have been derived fromcrops grown in an ecological manner, with respect for the environment, without theuse of artificial pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other toxic synthetic ingredientsand processed using natural ingredients.
In reality, the term organic may be used even if a cosmetic product contains as little as 1 per cent organic ingredients. A compound is defined by its chemical structure, natural or synthetic.
Both books offer a range of brands/products they deem to be as safe and true tohealthy and natural as possible.
My own mode of operandi, if I actually buy a finished product (lip balm or soap, for example, and purely out of laziness and to avoid the mess and “danger” the production entails) is to follow Michael Pollan’s sensible advise, which I think applies to cosmetic just the same: “If it has more then 5 ingredients, it is not food!”
So, if the ingredients list contains too many words you can’t say without reading it slowly and more than once… don’t buy it.
Read the books and lots of online reviews – and remember to keep it simple. Nobody needs a myriad of products slathered on the body every day.
Article contributed by Pipajo
Images taken from Amazon