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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Know Your Ingredients Before You Apply

Did you know? Since fragrances found in beauty products are considered trade secrets, companies don’t have to list them on packaging even if they contain allergens, phthalates and neurotoxins.

TerraChoice, an environmental marketing group, uses its website to expose companies who greenwash their products. Using vague language to mislead consumers is one way of getting on the list. For instance, if the label says all natural but the product still contains formaldehyde and uranium, you may be tagged. Even though those products exist naturally in nature, that doesn’t mean they don’t have poisonous side effect when put in your face cream.

Whole Foods Market is a stickler for zero tolerance policy when it comes to the ingredients in their beauty products. Their Premium Body Care line scrutinizes more than 300 ingredients, including parabens and phthalates to make sure they know what goes exactly into their products. Judy Villecco, a quality standards coordinator says, “Why risk exposure to potentially unsafe ingredients when safer ones are available? If there is an ingredient that we know causes harm, we exclude it, especially if there are safer alternative available.”

The other side of the coin: While lots of companies watch very carefully to what ingredients are put into their product, others are a bit more lenient. The Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) certification, which evaluates ingredients, processes and packaging for socially responsibility, sustainability and recycle ability maintains that some parabens aren’t as bad as others and shouldn’t get as bad a rap as they have.  Jay Bolus, VP of C2C points out that parabens that easily degrade aren’t as bad as proplybaraben and butyparaben, making it more acceptable by C2C Standards. It really comes down to personal choice and how strict you want to be when purchasing beauty care products.

Aveda has seven products out that have earned the C2C Gold certification. They also use 100% wind power at its headquarters and plan on being carbon neutral by 2013. Also their bottle caps are made from recycled materials courtesy of Recycle Caps With Aveda program that collects hard plastics from shampoo and even ketchup bottles and makes them into new lids. Yeah for baby steps! On the flip side Aveda still doesn’t list all of their ingredients online and use some chemicals of questionability in their products.

The GoodGuide, a website that rates products according to their environmental, health, and social impacts, has an iphone app that lets customers check more than 70,000 different beauty products all while the customer is browsing the isles.

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