By Natalie Camrud ‘17 & Diva Gattani ‘17
In the age of endless information, we have the ability to be more diligent about the items we consume. Many of my peers are conscientious about what they put into their bodies, whether it be organic or vegetarian or non-GMO’s. If you’ve been reading our column, maybe you’ve started checking the labels when you shop or only choosing companies that have ethical practices (yay!). But for all the diligence we have when it comes to what we put into our bodies, we don’t always think critically about what we put onto our bodies. Studies have shown that people who wear makeup daily absorb roughly 5 pounds of chemicals a year into their bodies, and most of the time they don’t know exactly what they’re absorbing. I’m guilty of this; too many times I’ve been in Sephora and I see a brightly packaged product and suddenly I don’t know how I can live without it. I don’t bother to check the ingredients, and even if I did, I have NO freaking idea what sodium lauryl sulfate is or what methylparabens are, and what does “fragrance” even mean?!
Go ahead, check the back of your shampoo or body wash and you’ll most likely see the mysterious “fragrance” listed on the ingredients. Additionally, the majority of people continue to use cosmetics after their expiration date. These expired products, especially lipstick and eye cosmetics, are infested with bacteria and can lead to eye-infections and illness. PSA: please do yourself a favor and throw out that eyeliner you’ve had since last year of high school.
You’d think that harmful chemicals wouldn’t be allowed to be in these products, right? WRONG! The FDA is pretty terrible about banning chemicals, partially because these chemicals have to be proven to be harmful before they are removed, and companies are creating new things at incredibly fast rates and it’s time consuming and costly to test every single one. That’s not a great excuse though; Europe has banned 1,372 cosmetic ingredients, many of which are known carcinogens, and the U.S. has only banned ten (Refinery29).
I know, it sounds scary, but there are steps you can take to have more control over what’s soaking into your skin. I use an app called “Think Dirty.” It’s free and it allows you to scan the barcode of a product and see the ingredients (with explanations as to exactly what they are) and get an overall rating of its risk. It’s a great app; now I go through Sephora scanning stuff before I buy it! There are also natural/organic products at all price ranges, and you can even DIY if you want (I recommend searching Youtube and Pinterest). Some brands with natural or organic products include Josie Maran, Bite Beauty, Physicians Formula, Aster & Bay, Origins and many more. Look for organic products or products that are made without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic dyes or fragrances.