Sunday, February 27, 2011


Perhaps some of you might have heard that conventional cosmetics can contain toxic chemicals such as lead and mercury that penetrate through our skin into our bodies and can contribute to asthma, cancer, infertility and other serious illnesses.

Yes, the 50-billion-dollar cosmetics industry has been growing at almost double digit rate for the past decade selling products that are not safe. Ingredients appearing in your favorite P&G shampoo, Nivea cream, Estee Lauder's body spray or even the sunscreens and the shampoo for your baby can have an impact on your health especially if used long term. How many of those products do you use daily? Creams, shampoos, soaps, toothpastes at the minimum. Do you know what those products contain?

In the previous post we so how the daily shopping habits influence our lives. "The story of Cosmetics" is a continuation of the video series by Annie Leonard. There she speaks my mind, so if you haven't, you may want to watch her video now.

For the past three years I have been involved in market research of cosmetics' products and it was interesting to see what drives cosmetics companies to develop new products. Although the emerging wave of 'natural' cosmetics can somehow easy this topic, the natural segment accounts only for a small percentage of the total cosmetics market. Besides the picture gets more complicated as not all "natural"products are 'natural'. Many companies have been accused of 'green-washing' when labeling their products as natural while using toxic ingredients in the same. In short, a shampoo containing avocado extract together with conventional preservatives, sulfates and petrochemicals cannot be perceived as natural. So how should we know that a so called natural product is safe for us? I will dedicate the next post on this blog to that.

In her blog Annie Leonard refers to the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as a source for identification of your product and although the database can point out some information about hazardous ingredients, I would not use it as the most accurate or the ultimate source. The research is often incomplete and as many experts point out the picture is much more complicated.

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