10 Tips For
Choosing Healthy Cosmetics
by Christine H. Farlow, D.C.
And Personal Care Products
The cosmetic and personal care product industry is
a multi-billion dollar a year industry ... and growing. New products
are coming onto the market every day.
Manufacturers play to your emotions in their
advertising and packaging. They tell you their products will make you
look more beautiful, younger, sexier and help you attract your perfect
mate. They promise to erase blemishes, wrinkles, make your skin
smoother and softer. In fact, any flaws that you see in yourself, real
or imagined, there is most likely a product on the market that promises
to fix it.
Can you believe all the claims you read or hear
about these products? Is there really truth in advertising? Where do
you find the answers to these questions? How can you really be sure
that a product will do what the manufacturer says it will? And most
importantly, how do you know that the products are healthy and safe to
Here are some things for you to look out
for when choosing products you’re going to use on your skin:
- Magazine and other print ads
They're designed to make you want to buy. They
promise you radiant skin, a healthy glow, age-defying skin care,
purity, safe and effective products made with natural ingredients. They
make the product sound so good and good for you that you just want to
go out and buy it. But don’t buy yet. You need more
- Radio and TV ads
In 30 seconds or less, you'll hear all the
wonderful benefits you'll receive from choosing their products
– softer, silkier, healthier hair; smoother, younger-looking
skin and more. Manufacturers spend a lot of money trying to convince
you to buy their products. Don't jump up and rush to the store after
seeing or hearing one of their compelling ads. They're not telling you
everything you need to know.
- Celebrity endorsements
Companies pay celebrities a lot of money to
endorse their products. They hope you'll think that because the celebs
say wonderful things about their products, you'll want to use them too.
Don't fall for this.
- Samples in the mail
What better way to get you to try their
product than to give you a little bit to test on yourself? You get to
experience first hand how the product smells, feels, lathers, absorbs,
etc. Now while you may like how it smells, performs and the result you
get, you still don't have enough information to assess the health and
safety of the product.
- "Natural" on the label
This suggests that the product is made of
ingredients from natural sources. However, there are no industry
standards for what "natural" means. The product may contain all natural
ingredients, just a few natural ingredients added to a synthetic
product or no natural ingredients at all.
- "Organic" on the label
Beware of products that claim to be 95%, 90%
or some other high percentage organic on the label. According to
cosmetic chemist Paul Lieber, it's physically impossible for more than
30-40% of the ingredients to be organic, unless it's organic oil. Why?
Because typically 60-70% of a product is water and water cannot be
certified organically grown, even if it's distilled or processed with
organic herbs or essential oils.
This doesn’t mean the product won't
cause allergic reactions. There are no standards defining
hypoallergenic. It just means the manufacturer believes it's less
likely to cause allergic reactions. In many cases, it's not even
tested; only fragrances are removed.
- Pretty labels
Manufacturers spend a lot of money designing
labels to make you think their product is natural, herbal, healthy and
will do amazing things if you use it. The truth is ... the information
on the front of the label doesn't tell you anything about the health
and safety of the ingredients inside the package. Don't base your
decision on what's on the front of the label.
- The ingredients list
This is the most important piece of
information that you absolutely must read before you buy any product.
The ingredient list is where you find out if the product really
contains safe and healthy ingredients or not. This is not what the
manufacturers wants you to read on their labels. That's why they make
it so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read it. Buy one and carry it
with you in your pocket or purse. Take it out when you're trying to
read that microscopic print.
- Incomplete ingredient lists
Many companies, because of increased consumer
awareness of the ingredients in skin care products, will list only the
known herbal and healthy ingredients on their website or in their
advertisements. If you don't read carefully, you may think that what
they list is the complete list of ingredients in the product ... that
is until you buy the product and read the full list of ingredients on
the label. Beware of this deceptive practice.
Now, you may be wondering how you're supposed to
know if the ingredients on the label are safe or not. Most of the
ingredients are not listed in plain, understandable, everyday language.
Well, you don't need to hire your own personal
cosmetic chemist. There is a simple solution. Dying To Look Good is an
easy-to-use book, written in plain, understandable language, that
classifies ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products
according to safety and lists products that are safe and healthy to
If you check the ingredients on all product labels
before you buy with the list of ingredients in Dying To Look Good, you
will be able to confidently choose products that are safe and healthy.
© 2006 Christine H. Farlow, D.C., "The
Ingredients Investigator" and author of DYING TO LOOK GOOD. Learn more
about ingredient safety in skin care products and find healthy products