Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cosme-Haul's List of Where to Start Researching the Safety of Ingredients in Your Favorite Cosmetics

The Cosme-Haul List of Where to Research Ingredients and Green Policies for Your Favorite Cosmetics: 

Wondering what's in your favorite makeup? Here are some links to sites where you can begin your research of cosmetics ingredients. Consider yourself warned: the safety and effectiveness of cosmetics ingredients is a controversial topic, so you'll see conflicting information between sites.  We've provided links to sites with several points of view. Most of the information on these sites concerns US cosmetics formulations: Cosme-Haul is based in the US, and safety regulations vary around the world. As we discover new sites that may be helpful, we'll add them.

The legal disclaimer we have to give you before sending you out into the big, scary world of trying to decipher the safety of cosmetic ingredients: These links will take you to external sites away from Cosme-Haul, its writers, and publisher are not affiliated with, associated with, or in any way responsible for the performance, content, information contained there. Some information may be out of date or in transition as iinformation changes as new research comes in and products change formulations or companies are bought and sold. As always, we recommend using your best judgement and consulting a dermatologist to determine what's right for you.
Paula's Choice "The Cosmetics Cop" Paula Begoun's Guide to cosmetics and skin care, and what the ingredients are supposed to do (or really don't) from a cosmetic performance point of view. Paula has her own brand of cosmetics, but her site still contains great information about other brands. There's not a lot on safety here, but it's a good place to learn ingredient names and understand the lingo used on cosmetics packaging, and what it all means in terms of a product's performance and effectiveness.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) "Skin Deep" Cosmetics Database where you can look up your favorite cosmetics and how toxic the ingredients are. Per their website, "EWG's Skin Deep is an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products, launched in 2004 to help people find safer products, with fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven't been thoroughly tested. Skin Deep combines product ingredient lists with information in more than 50 standard toxicity and regulatory databases."The EWG are co-founders of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, where you can keep up with what's being done to increase consumer safety in cosmetics products and click on action links to sign petitions to ask contact cosmetics companies to increase product safety and change to greener practices. A bit more hyperbolic than some sites, it's a great resource, and there's a lot of interesting stuff here. Because of their activism this site occasionally gets hacked, but it's worth coming back to. Co-founded by the EWG.
Focused largely on animal testing in cosmetics, Leaping Bunny is an organization who certifies products they deem cruelty-free with their cruelty-free Leaping Bunny logo. Good info here, including a Compassionate Shopping Guide. This site includes information about all kinds of personal care and home care products.
The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) website, where you can read the actual current US government safety regulations for cosmetics and personal care products.

The manufacturer's point of view:
The Personal Products Council website. According to their website, "The Personal Products Council  is the is the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry." In other words, they represent the cosmetics manufacturers. Here's where you can read what mainstream the cosmetics and personal care product industry says about the products they manufacture, and how they  interpret the FDA rules:

Also, the Personal Products Council website's list of resources, including resources for outside the US. To get to actual sections of FDA regulations mentioned on this site, be sure to keep clicking past the first link of each page, and make sure you're on the actual FDA website rather than reading the condensed highlights. As previously mentioned, The Personal Products Council represents the manufacturers:

Confused? Yep, us too, sometimes. That's why it's so important read the information carefully, use your own judgment about what's right for you, and keep checking back for current information. This topic is ever-evolving, and formulations and rules do change. Sites also get hacked, as happened to one site we had on this list but had to remove before because it had been hit by people who wanted to keep you from having information.

Don't let that stop you, though. Demand honesty and accuracy when it comes to what's in your products. It's your body, you live in it, and you have the right to know what you put in or on it.

Updated 6/26/14 to add The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

©2014 Cosme-Haul and Randi Reed.