cosmetic ingredients

Your Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid Page…Free

Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid Downloadable

Hey, it’s hump day. How about some free stuff for your site, blog, or online shop?

The most requested item I get when starting a copywriting project with a new client is a new or refreshed ingredients to avoid page. A comprehensive list of harmful cosmetic ingredients is not only a great source of info for your readers and customers, but totally spells out your commitment to safety.

Yes, I know. These lists can be tedious to come up with. That’s why I am giving you mine. Yep, grab it today and copy/paste that sucker into your site, blog, or online store. Easy and oh so worth it.

Get your free Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid downloadable

Want a customized page? I can get you one of those too. Contact me for deets on creating just-for-you copy.

Now that that sticky little item is checked off your list, go have yourself a great day!

Shop Talk :: The Most Important Words On Your Site

Shop Talk :: The Most Important Words On Your Site

What are the most important words on any organic beauty store’s site? Any guesses?

More important than product descriptions. More than expert notations. Possibly even more than product reviews.

Ingredient listings.

Like, complete product ingredient listings. The full meal deal.

Know why? Because it is the only true way to tell what is in a product and if it is safe.

Have you ever been to an online shop and found lots of great looking products, all advertised as clean? But alas, no ingredient listings. You search their About page, their ingredient commitment. Still, the fact that you can’t find out what exactly is in this product you’d really like to push the Buy Now button on is bugging you.

You Google the product to see if you can find the ingredients on another site. C’mon, you know you’ve done it. You spend several more minutes on this product than you feel it warrants. You start to get frustrated because you just want to know what’s. in. the. dang. product.

Right there. That’s a customer’s red flag to click the heck out of your site, away from your shop for good.

People selling safe, nontoxic cosmetics aren’t afraid to tell you what’s in them. Even more, they actually want you to know what they are made of. So they tell you. In the form of complete ingredient listings on every single product page.

For organic beauty shoppers in the know (and make no mistake, the majority are savvy these days) this no listing thing is a deal breaker. An almost sure way to tell if someone is being a little less than honest about the safety of the products they sell.

So do your customers and yourself one huge, big, fat favor. List ingredients on your site. It’s a copy and paste thing that is super important to your business and the faith your potential customers put in you. Have your intern set aside a day to get this done or peel your teenage son out from behind his Xbox for the weekend and pay him to do it. You won’t be sorry.

Image :: timothy muza at Unsplash

Spotlight On :: Hand Sanitizer

HandSanitizer

I recently had a short stay in the hospital. While I was there, a nurse asked what I do. I vaguely remember telling her that I write about organic beauty and wellness through the gas induced fog. What I thought was just a way to keep me talking while I passed out apparently resonated with this nurse.

Once I came to, she had questions for me. In particular, what I thought of the hand sanitizer these hard working gals and guys use every day, countless times.

This health savvy nurse was concerned about the alcohol and other nasty ingredients in the sanitizer. Since hospital personnel all use that squirty foam each time they enter a room, that is huge daily exposure. And you know what we organic beauty advocates like to say about exposure.

While it sucks that these professionals pretty much have to use this chemical cocktail in such large quantities, it is good to hear that some of them are thinking about it and looking for ways to use healthier products.

So, how bad is conventional hand sanitizer? Let us take a look…

Alcohol is the main ingredient in most hand sanitizers. No surprise there.

Yes, it is drying and can be too harsh for most skin types. Definitely not an ingredient to be overused. But what about its safety? As in, does it cause DNA damage, cancer, birth defects or any of the other major health concerns we worry about?

There are different types of alcohol, but ethanol is the one commonly used in hand sanitizers and other personal care products, like spray deodorants and bug repellent. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is the same thing as drinking alcohol but, when used in cosmetics, is denatured (made undrinkable).

Ethanol has been found to act as a skin penetration enhancer. Meaning it allows other chemicals to more easily enter your body. So if there is a bunch of nasty junk in that hand sanitizer you are using, like synthetic emollients and fragrance, they are getting sent express mail into your system.

Then there is the contamination factor. Low quality and brands who are not committed to safety may be using ethanol that contains contaminants, which could cause damage when they enter the body and mix with other chemicals.

That is the shortened version of the potential detriments of using ethanol topically. This post would be a mile long if I went into full detail, so take a look at this study on topical use of ethanol for the full deets. Like the study says, the “very high use” of ethanol could cause toxic effects but in the case of hospital workers, benefits to patients greatly outweigh the risks.

The bottom line as I see it? Using a hand san that is made with the cleanest ingredients possible is the safest choice. Choose products made with ethanol that is organic and GMO free, and other natural ingredients. I would wager that hospital variety hand sanitizer contains triclosan, a heavy duty antibacterial that the rest of us do not need to use on a regular basis.

So, what to buy? I like EO Products Hand Sanitizers. These guys have been making hand san forever, have a giant selection, and their products smell dandy. Another I’ve been carrying around is The Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray, which you can pick up at Target.

Wish I had better news for nurses and hospital personnel. But hey, keep speaking up and asking questions! Let the industry know about your concerns. Maybe someday that foam will be made with cleaner ingredients.

Ingredient Focus :: Estrogen Disruptors

Endocrine Disruptors

I’ve been spending some writing time on toxic ingredients over at Feelgood Style this past week. In particular, hormone disruptors.

Unless you’ve been living in some extremely remote location, you’ve heard of parabens. These preservatives are widely used in cosmetics. And they are synthetic. And they are toxic. No matter how slyly a company may try to portray them as coming from nature. Nope. Parabens used in cosmetics are synthetic. You can read more about what I have to say on that here.

Then there are metalloestrogens. This class of chemicals are metals and they mimic estrogen in the body. They also take longer (like, a lot longer!) for our bodies to expel than parabens. This means they have longer to do their dirty work. For the full deets on metalloestrogens, read what I wrote on FGS.

So what’s the big deal with estrogen? Don’t our bodies make this hormone anyway? Yep. Women need estrogen to stay balanced and healthy.

But too much of this good thing can cause serious health issues. When estrogen levels become too high, inflammation occurs and disease can follow. Some toxic ingredients block hormone receptors, which can also lead to disease.

The moral to this story: Avoid parabens, plastics and estrogen-mimicking metals.

Ingredient Navigation :: How to Tell if a Product is Truly Safe

Ingredient Navigation

Last week we talked about the easiest ways to make the switch to nontoxic products. So you’ve decided how you’d like to do this (ease in or all in, now for finding those products.

There are tons of natural cosmetic brands on the market today. Compared to a decade ago, the numbers are staggering. But you have to beware tricky marketing and get to the good stuff.

So, how can you tell if a brand is truly committed to safety in cosmetics?

The old adage If it seems too good to be true, it probably is works here. If a mainstream brand that has been making toxic products forever suddenly pops up with a new “pure” or “natural” product you have every right to be skeptical. Creating nontoxic products takes time, research, and money. Even more so, reformulating toxic products. If a brand were to come up with a truly nontoxic product to add to their toxic line, they would have to go to a lot of effort, testing, and dollars spent. And they would definitely want you to know all about the steps they took and healthy ingredients they use.

Slapping the word “natural” on a product does not make it nontoxic.

You have what you need to ID a safe product. Because you are armed with your trusty Ingredients to Avoid list, well-versed in breaking down a product ingredient listing, and know exactly what YOU want, it is going to be that much easier to identify greenwashers. You’ll be throwing products aside at a glance in no time. And getting straight to the good stuff.

Remember, ingredient listings can be confusing. Some are even meant to be that way. That is a red flag. No readily available ingredient listing = another red flag. If a brand does not disclose a full ingredient listing for each of their products, be skeptical.

My last, favorite, and possibly most important tip on choosing safe cosmetics: Shop brands you can trust. There are many companies committed to safety in cosmetics. Take a look at their commitment page or read their story on their website. Check the list of ingredients they never use. Follow them. Buy their stuff.

Our purchasing power is our greatest tool in providing ourselves with healthy bodies and a healthy environment to live in. When we buy products that have no toxic ingredients in them and have been manufactured with environmentally friendly processes we are creating a demand for these products and ingredients, which in turn means more organic farming and safer manufacturing methods.

All of these point to healthier living. And maybe by using safe organic products on our children we can raise more aware, healthy adults. The key to a healthier environment for generations to come.

*Image by Sylwia Bartyzel at Unsplash.com

What the Heck Are “Natural” Beauty Products?

What the Heck Are “Natural” Beauty Products?

In the latest issue of InStyle magazine they included some coverage of natural cosmetics. I always love to see stuff like this in mainstream media. Even if they don’t get it exactly right, at least it brings more attention to natural products.

Ok, so the article Do They Really Work? included some truly safe products, along with definitions of cosmetic terms; natural, naturally derived, and organic. The article did state that the definitions were created by InStyle Magazine (along with the help of a cosmetic chemist) to help consumers “navigate the products on these pages and in stores”.

Do we need these terms defined? Yes, I wholeheartedly believe we do. But because there is not yet a true legal definition of these terms it is hard to follow something you read in a magazine. Sure, if a product carries the NaTrue or ECOCERT certification logo you can be assured that the product meets natural requirements…their natural requirements. These would be clearly defined on their websites.

But just the terms “natural” or “naturally derived” on a product label with no natural cosmetic certification? These terms are so vague and loosely thrown around that there are no, as yet, clearly defined universal definitions.

In order to clear this up, here is how I view the terms “natural” and “naturally derived”. These are my own definitions, and are very vague, not unlike how the terms are most often used.

Natural – Ingredients derived from the earth (fruit, vegetable, herb, mineral, animal). Products labeled natural contain some amount of natural ingredients, or ingredients that started out as natural. This amount can make a large portion of the product or a miniscule amount. Also, these products may still contain toxic ingredients and natural does NOT mean organic.

Naturally derived –Ingredients (fruit, vegetable, herb, mineral, animal) taken from the earth, which are then processed with either chemical or natural means. The end result may be natural, or not so much.

The problem lies in the assumption that natural = nontoxic. It doesn’t. Natural, to most of the world, means good, wholesome, pure. Natural cosmetics – sounds good for you, right? Not always, and definitely not often enough to be reliable.

I do not put a lot of stock in either term. As always my best advice, and the practice I follow…Read.Your.Labels.

Flip the products over, read the ingredient listing, check my Ingredients to Avoid list. If it looks clean, buy it. If not, don’t. If you are shopping online and cannot find a full ingredient listing anywhere, do not buy the product. If you have questions, get in touch.

Image by Morgan Sessions at Unsplash.com