A report released in July 2002 by the Environmental Working Group released details of contracted laboratory testing of 72 name-brand, off-the-shelf beauty products.
“In May 2002 a coalition of environmental and public health organizations contracted with a major national laboratory to test 72 name-brand, off-the-shelf beauty products for the presence of phthalates, a large family of industrial chemicals linked to permanent birth defects in the male reproductive system. The laboratory found phthalates in nearly three-quarters of the products tested…ranging from trace amounts to nearly three percent of the product formulation…None of the 542 phthalate-containing products lists the offending chemical on its ingredient label” (Houlihan et al.).
Loopholes within the law allow the $20-billion-a-year cosmetics industry to put unlimited quantities of phthalates into personal products with no required testing, no required monitoring of health effects, and no required labeling (Houlihan et al.).
The reason of exploring the purpose of clean beauty or reviewing ingredient is not to be a fear monger – it’s to make you more mindful, because your skin and overall health are worth it. To us, “clean beauty” means safer, more mindful, and more sustainable ingredients. Yes, our skin lets these ingredients on. And no, the main culprit isn’t just your antiperspirant or deodorant.
Unfortunately, we’re concerned with more than just phthalates; we’re also concerned with propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), coal tar dyes, and parabens to name just a few. When Dr. Philippa Darbre released a groundbreaking research paper in 2014 that showed high concentrations of parabens were found in human breast tumors, consumers began to pay attention (Held). While a causal relationship between parabens and cancer has not been established, this study did make people pause. The problem lies within how parabens act in the body, mimicking and interfering with estrogen. This, the exposure to estrogen, is one of the primary factors that influence the development of breast cancer. The researched studies have since expanded (Held & Dr. Darbre). Yes, parabens are carcinogenic. These ingredients do have an impact, and you have a choice of what kind of products are in your cabinet.
Then what if you look at the overall available products in the market?
In No More Dirty Looks, a revealing book published in 2010, authors Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt explain that only 11 out of the approximately 10,500 ingredients within the cosmetics industry have been tested for safety by an accountable outside agency (3). When looking at the ingredient lists of your cleansers, toners, and serums, what do you see? On the products that make up a majority of the skincare market, you will see ingredients that are dangerous to your health – some are questionable and some, such as artificial fragrance, are just completely unnecessary.
These are why clean beauty and knowing your ingredient matter. And this is one of reasons why using only the best and safe ingredients matters to us at Florishe.