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20 May


Even Target is getting on the “safe” beauty product bandwagon. This Fall they will collaborate with Beautycounter for $12+ “free of potentially harmful ingredients” beauty products. Beautycounter is a Santa Monica startup focused on delivering safe products. After my post In The Mood For Cleansing I decided to follow up on the ingredients of one popular cleanser Cetaphil. I was concerned with what I found, three parabens.

We all know that what we put on our skin is absorbed by our bodies. My concerns are potential cancer causing ingredients as well as endocrine disruptors. It is time consuming to read labels and most people don’t know the truly bad chemicals to avoid. I am no natural product consumer saint. I do try my best but don’t always check labels. My daughter was annoyed when I refused to allow deodorant that contains aluminum; yet I let her use many cosmetic brands that aren’t natural. I guess I am a hypocrite preaching “check labels” but recognition of this and simply trying are the first steps toward action.

I started a natural product company called Naturista many years ago, before there were so many “safe” cosmetic options in the mainstream. Since then much progress has been made to increase awareness about why we want to avoid unnecessary chemicals. Also, there are many product options available now at varying price points. Formulation aesthetics have dramatically improved. So why don’t we all have at least 50% of our cosmetic purchase baskets filled with healthier choices? It is truly our choice now.

At some point, all companies will simply have to reformulate and phase out questionably harmful ingredients, but it will likely take more conclusive studies or more consumers purchasing the “safe” options to force the issue.

There’s a list called the “dirty dozen” of potentially toxic chemicals to avoid in beauty products. See below. Take a screenshot of it to reference while shopping. Or better yet get the “Think Dirty” app (just scan bar codes with it). For information about it click HERE. For information about each chemical listed below, click HERE. Click HERE for the EWG cosmetics database where you may search products and see their low to high hazard score. Cetaphil gets a 3 (moderate hazard) rating, the scale is 1 (lowest hazard) to 10 (highest hazard).

The EWG (Environmental Working Group, a non-profit non-partisan organization focused on protecting human health and the environment) has a healthy living app (with ratings of 120,000+ personal care and food products) as well as a new package stamp of approval (for personal care products). Per the American Cancer Society website, there is no “clear” or “direct” link between parabens (or aluminum in deodorant) and cancer. The National Cancer Society’s website indicates “more research is needed”.


Coal tar dyes
Cyclomethicone & siloxanes
Dibutyl phthalate
Parabens (methyl, butyl, propyl etc.)
PEG compounds

Burt’s Bees Image


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