“Anybody can put anything in a bottle and call it natural. And they do.”
~ Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace
Skin absorbs 60% of EVERYTHING we put on it. It’s hard to control everything we come into contact with, but we can make more conscious choices about what we put on our skin. We all use some kind of body care products like shampoo, toothpaste, face cleanser, body soap, and lotion multiple times a day to keep clean. But often these products are laden with toxic chemical ingredients.
Head into your bathroom and take a look at your conventional body care products. Is there an unpronounceable list of chemicals, colors, and fragrances? In the United States, no government organization conducts pre-market safety testing or reviews the ingredients used in our body products. Nope, not even the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). In contrast, in Europe almost 1,400 harmful chemicals have been banned from cosmetic and personal care products through their governing bodies. In the U.S., only 11 of these toxic ingredients are banned.
The good news is that ethical brands are out there, like Acure Organics, Everyone, Natracare, (etc) are formulating affordable, healthy products that are great for you and the planet. When greening your body care routine take a minute to read the labels, understand what’s going on your skin, and opt for a healthier alternative.
When you are buying personal care products, what are you looking for? Probably a way to look and feel your best, but how often have you flipped the package around and looked at the ingredient list? And even then, do you know what the ingredients mean? Let’s take a look…
- Watch filmmaker Annie Leonard’s “Story of Cosmetics”.
- What are three personal care products you use daily? What are their ingredients?
- Pick out one hard to pronounce ingredient that you’ve never heard of. Name it. What’s its function in the product? Does it have any health and environmental impacts?
- Use resources like Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Chemicals of Concern or Made Safe’s Blog or Education pages to do your research.
- Based on what you learned, commit to making one change in your daily routine starting today. Share on social media your new favorite body product and why!
Even if you read the ingredient labels before purchasing products, you may not be getting the whole story. A single ingredient, like “synthetic fragrance”, can actually contain hundreds of different ingredients with proven health risks. In fact, in the United States, no government mandates require that the ingredients found in “fragrance” or “parfum” be listed – which translates into a serious lack of transparency to the consumer, YOU!
Pick one personal care product that you can’t live without and dig in: Do some research on your product. What did you find? What was the overall rating, potentially harmful ingredients, and how do those ingredients affect your health and the health of the environment?
Find a sustainable alternative for your conventional product at a local green grocer or online retailer. Check out Made Safe’s Certified Products list for ideas.
Share what you learned on social media and invite your friend group to do the same.
Making your own bath and body products ensures total transparency – you get to know exactly what is in your product because you made it! Plus you’ll be creating less waste by reducing packaging. You’ll probably also end up saving some money.
- Find a great DIY recipe and make your own body care product! Invite some friends to a DIY party – the more, the merrier!
- Share your success with us and your friends on social media! Send us a picture of your creations @TurningGreenOrg using #CoventionalToConscious