It's a shame that we can no longer use the term
when referring to cosmetics.
have changed it's meaning, along with it's products in most cases to mean "UNnatural"
beauty, is always best.
s h a r o n - t h e a l l
n a t u r a l b e a u t y w e b s i t e
An article by Debbie Bilezikian (Monave
FOR THE TRUTH
How to read the ingredient lists in personal care products.
Many natural consumers today
are concerned about what we eat and what we put
on our bodies. In a polluted, industrialized system that seems so at
odds with our needs,
we try to gain some measure of control over our health by shopping for
healthy skin care
and cosmetics. We're sure that we want only "natural" and "pure"
products, but have a
hard time figuring out what items on the shelf qualify.
There is a reason why it is so difficult to make
truthful choices that reflect our needs. The natural products consumer is targeted by commercial companies that want
our revenue, but don't have the deep desire to promote healthy products that we
It's all about packaging and marketing.
Marketers, advertisers, and CEO's of personal care products companies
literally sit around tables figuring out how to convince us that what
they are selling is natural. This is done with clever wording,
choice of color and label design, packaging style, and choice of
ingredients. Many of these products contain plant extracts that
are highlighted on the label, but the base ingredients are synthetic.
The same companies that are producing synthetically based products set
aside "a portion" of their budget to create and promote a "natural
So how are we, as caring and educated as we are, so
easily fooled? The first mistake that we make is when scanning an
ingredient list on the back of a product, our eyes (and minds) skip over the
long, complicated ingredients that we don't understand, and rest on
ingredients such as chamomile, lavender, and aloe. I cannot count the
number of customers who have said to me, "Oh I just bought a natural
chamomile lotion by "such
and such (commercial brand)", it smelled so good, and it's all natural".
If I ask "Does it have methylparaben or propylene glycol in it?", the answer
is invariably "No, it's all natural". Upon follow up research, I
consistently find that though the product may contain some plant-based
ingredients, it also lists some dangerous chemicals.
I personally take offense at the large number of
chemical-bearing personal care products that line the shelves of natural
food stores. A natural products consumer goes to this type of store
looking for a haven; a safe-house, where the frightening chemical-laden
society recedes, and Nature presides. Because they are so trusting of
the establishment, they are less critical of the products, and more likely
to believe the advertising claims on the bottles of shampoo and lotion.
As a case in point, one of the largest "natural food
chains", boasts that they don't carry any food items with
preservatives, yet they carry hundreds of personal care products that contain
those exact preservatives.
It is a well known fact that 60% of
what we put on our skin is absorbed into our body. If you have
convinced yourself that these questionable ingredients are not something
that you have to worry about, then ask yourself these few questions:
Do you know, or know of a woman that has or has had
Do you know, or know of a woman, man or child that has
eczema, psoriasis, or scalp problems?
Do you know, or know of a woman or a man that is
suffering from hair loss or arthritis?
Do you know of a child that has suffered from genital
If you can say yes to any of these questions, and if
any of them apply to you, then you do need to become concerned about some of
these questionable ingredients.
One last point, before presenting an informative list
of ingredients to avoid, is the question that our customers constantly ask:
Why does the FDA allow so many products to carry toxic ingredients?
The answer revolves around capitalism, greed, and power. Laws in
Congress are influenced by lobbyists, and the large personal products
manufacturers have very powerful lobbyists. The FDA does not require
studies on the long-term health risks of the ingredients in personal
care products, only short-term irritancy tests (think animal testing). To
change this we must band together and become a more powerful voice, and let
our congressman know that our and THEIR mothers, sisters and friends are
dying of cancer, in direct relation to the quantity of chemicals that they
apply to their skin over a lifetime.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID:
QUATERNIUM 15: (DOVE, Johnson's Baby Shampoo)
FD&C DYE: These dyes are produced from COAL TAR, and are documented to be
BUTYL CELLOSOLVE, and ISOBUTENE: (Fantastic, Windex, and Formula 409)
A neuro-toxin. Damages the central nervous system, kidney and liver.
Listed as a pesticide.
DIOXIN: Lysol disinfectant. Carcinogen, 500,000 times more deadly than
DDT Ethyl Alcohol.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL: (contained in shampoo, conditioner, deodorant,
lipstick, lotion, face cream, etc)
This industrial solvent is so HIGHLY toxic, that industrial workers are
warned of SEVERE health risks if contact occurs, such as brain, liver, and
kidney abnormalities. They are required to wear protective clothing, gloves,
and goggles during handling, and PG can only be disposed of in hazardous
waste sites at a cost of $500.00 to $1,000 per drum!!!
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Myreth Sulfate
These and other detergents are industrial surfactants that are linked to
cancer, and literally strip the scalp and skin of necessary oils, leaving it
dry, and severely itchy and flaky. They were originally designed to
clean floors and engines and now are found in 95%!!!! of shampoos and body
cleansers, even the NATURAL brands. The saddest aspect of this is that
this SLS causes irritation and infection in the genitals of young children,
yet is the main ingredient in baby shampoos and bubble bath.
TALC: ( contained in baby powder, foot powder, pressed eye shadow and blush,
Linked to uterine cancer and respiratory problems in infants.
Literally "suffocates" the skin.
DEA, MEA, and
Repeated use of these chemicals leads to a major increase in the incidence
of liver and kidney cancer. Restricted in Europe.
DMDM Hydantoin &
Preservatives that release FORMALDEHYDE into the body. Funeral
directors are now saying that there is such a high concentration of
formaldehyde present in the human body at death that they are using 50% LESS
formaldehyde than they used to.
FRAGRANCE (including FRAGRANCE OILS)
Linked to cancer and mental problems including depression.
TRICLOSAN (found in ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAPS) Registered as a PESTICIDE
with the FDA, linked to cancer, a hormone disruptor.
Preservatives that deposit in the human system that disrupt normal enzyme
PTHALATES: (Used nail polish, fragrance and a host of other products)
Extremely toxic chemicals (regulated under environmental law) that reduce
fertility, harm the male reproductive system, and are especially dangerous
to pregnant womens' fetuses. Found in products by Proctor & Gamble,
L'Oreal, Lever Brothers, Maybelline, Chesebrough-Pond's, Colgate, Elizabeth
Arden, Kraft, and Revlon.
CARMINE: (found in lipsticks, glosses blushes, and eye shadow) This
extract from the carmine beetle in South America, has been connected to
Now, aside from these obviously toxic chemicals, there are other issues that
arise with products that claim to be "all natural from pure vegetable
There are several ways to extract an oil or a wax from a plant, (eg. jojoba
oil, evening primrose oil, shea butter, cocoa butter). It can be extracted
with a solvent, which leaves toxic residues in the products, or by extremely
high heat, which DESTROYS the botanical properties associated with the
plant, or by the cold-pressed method. If you are a consumer or a
manufacturer, ASK QUESTIONS. How was the shea butter extracted?
Are the oils cold-pressed? Is the vitamin E or glycerin synthetic or
Find out if the ingredients are organic. This is an extremely
important issue, due to the very high toxicity level of pesticides that
become concentrated in liquids extracted from plants.
Look for the words 'cold-pressed' and 'organic' on labels, and if you don't
see them, put the product down and keep looking. Ask questions to
store owners, who in turn can call suppliers and manufacturers.
Be aware of long words that you cannot pronounce that have the phrase "from
coconut oil" in parentheses. Natural ingredients that are broken down
chemically are no longer natural. Sodium Laureth Sulfate that comes from
coconut oil is still an unhealthy product, despite its source.
This list could go on, but if you'd like more information, start
asking questions. Call the manufacturer, log on to the FDA website, and
spread the word.
Some companies that we admire: Aubrey Organics, Botanical Skin Works
Thank you for reading this article, and please e-mail it to a friend.
President, Monave Mineral Cosmetics
Make sure to visit
Monave's Web Site:
All views expressed in the
articles on the
"All Natural Info" page are those of the various authors, they are
presented here for your enjoyment and enlightenment. These views
do not necessarily represent the views of SharAmbrosia or the "all
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