Human Nature’s ‘Read the Label’ campaign’s timely launch for the season of shopping
Ask beauty and wellness junkies what they desire to receive this season and they will almost always say the latest makeup set or the newly minted holy grail of skin products. After all, another shade of lipstick or a new bottle of their favorite liquid foundation in a different finish will be fun to play with.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to being adventurous with beauty and personal care products. Some can actually hurt its users rather than deliver the promise of beauty.
A survey published by The Environmental Working Group [an American environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, among others]revealed that the average woman uses 12 personal care products—ranging from shampoos, lotions to creams and cosmetics—while men use six products.
With 12 or more chemicals making up each product, one’s beauty routine can certainly put one’s skin in contact with a minimum of 168 unique chemicals daily. Such chemicals may highly be synthetic thereby causing a variety of negative side effects, including skin irritation, hormonal disruption and, in the long run, possibly cancer.
Read the label
“Not because it’s already on shelf does it mean that a product is safe. Even in the US, they don’t really have strict regulations on ingredients used in products, because manufacturers don’t register a product before they actually put it out,” explained Ana Meloto-Wilk, co-founder of Human Nature, manufacturer of natural beauty and personal care products.
If the terms “sodium laureth sulfate (SLS),” “parabens,” “triclosan” “parfum” and “mineral oils,” sound familiar to users, it is because these ingredients are widely used in the beauty and wellness industry.
What exactly are they?
SLS make soaps and shampoos bubblier but according to Safecosmetics.org, these ingredients also remove the skin’s natural protective barrier and closely linked to cancer.
Parabens, meanwhile, preserve products such as creams and deodorant for longer shelf lives but according to a review posted by Journal of Applied Toxicology in 2008, they are linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive health issues.
Another ingredient linked to this condition is triclosan (or triclocarban), which makes soaps, detergent and toothpaste anti-bacterial.
Moreover, parfum or synthetic fragrances that make scents last all day are made of phthalates, a suspected endocrine disruptor according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
Finally, mineral oil [which can also be listed as petrolatum, petroleum jelly, etc.]is a very common ingredient in moisturizers and lip products making them easy to glide. Unfortunately, Safecosmetic.org found that it is prone to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons contamination, which in simple terms, can cause cancer.
“These are just some of the many ingredients that are dangerous to our health but we don’t know about because their use are still completely legal,” Meloto told The Manila Times during an intimate gathering.
As such, the young entrepreneur’s company has launched its “Read the Label” campaign, which she hopes will educate and encourage users to be more conscious of their purchases.
“But we are not here to do a scare campaign and neither is this a tactic to get people to switch to natural, but because there’s really no regulation, what we are doing is spreading the message that the responsibility falls on the shopper to know what is good or bad for the skin,” Meloto clarified.
Fortunately, synthetic products have natural ingredient counter parts. SLS can be replaced with coconut-derived surfactants. Anise and corn can preserve products the way parabens do. Sunflower oil can work like a mineral oil. Triclosan can easily be swapped with alcohol from sugarcane. And finally, essential oils can be used instead of parfums.
Meloto, London-based publication Cosmetics Design’s Beauty Industry Woman of the Year awardee, is aware that encouraging people to ditch their synthetic-based items to natural products cannot happen overnight.
As such, the businesswoman’s advice is to take it slowly and replace one product at a time.
Lotions, sanitizers and lip balms are low stake products, for example, which can easily be swapped for ones with better ingredients.
As for beauty junkies, among the hot picks from Human Nature this Christmas are the Pollution Defense Mask to lift impurities caused by city pollution and the Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm that makes the popular-double cleansing technique of Korean beauties easier to do with more natural ingredients.