>> Friday, December 11, 2009
Image by Gilberto Viciedo via FlickrWhenever I consider beauty aids or makeup, the nerd in me always reaches out to the original Batman movie - you know, the one where Jack Nicholson did such a fantastic job as the Joker? I think about how the entire city stopped using beauty supplies because they didn't know what secret combination of chemicals in the cosmetics would kill them.
Ironically, life imitates art as much as the opposite is true when we're sold a bunch of poisonous preparations in lieu of makeup, perfumes, and skin cream. The huge difference between what we have and the fiction of Batman is that our deaths come slowly with diseases like cancer.
While coconut oil is still one of the healthiest and easiest treatments you can give to your skin, I thought I'd take a look at even more comparisons and solutions to this problem.
Cosmetics is an area where corporations can add practically any kind of chemical they want -- and they don't have to tell you because it's considered a "trade secret." Any time a cosmetic product has a synthetic fragrance - which is, of course, often - the company might be adding hundreds of chemical compounds. These can be neurotoxins, phlalates, allergens, and so on. You can suffer immune damage from fragrances! 1 It doesn't stop there! You might think you're fighting back by choosing organic or natural products, but you'd only be fooling yourself. You may have heard that the terms natural and organic can be either freely or loosely defined when it comes to food products, but did you know that there have been and still are NO laws defining these terms for cosmetics?
Companies like Hain-Celestial (JASON and Avalon “Organics”), Levlad (Nature’s Gate “Organics”), Kiss My Face “Organic,” Country Life (Desert Essence “Organics”), Giovanni “Organic Cosmetics,” and the certifiers Ecocert and OASIS are involved in legal disputes and fought to dismiss a case that would force them to use 70% organic material, not counting water, if their product claims to be organic.
Just this November, the National Organic Standards Board voted 12 to 1 (someone should be fired) recommending the USDA enforce the law for cosmetic organics as it does for organic food. The current results for product testing of the known carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane proves that you absolutely cannot trust some of the most popular brands.
The Coming Clean campaign lists some companies that are honest in their labeling. It's not as convenient as walking into the store & picking something off the shelf, unless you have a Whole Foods available, but as we all know it's easy enough to order online.
And if you really feel like "going crazy" - you probably already have cosmetics in your house that you don't know about, in your kitchen. It would be a bit of work, of course, but you'd save money, and could make a fun hobby out of making your own natural cosmetics.
Image via WikipediaAvocado, cucumber, aloe vera, and other greens are also wonderful to use on your skin since they are natural moisturizers. Whenever I peel a cucumber at home (okay, a couple times at work when no one's looking) I often slap the peels up against my face. They cling there providing instant and natural invigoration, and of course it smells great, too.
Highlight, darken, or color your hair naturally with things like rhubarb root, sage, chamomile, and henna.
Make a deodorant out of a few drops of lavender oil and plain water.
Rose water is a great and natural mouthwash - or you can just eat green vegetables (especially watercress and parsley) for natural breath-odor fighting power.
Look around you, and if you see a product in your home that you're running out of, sit down for the moment needed to Google a natural replacement. It won't take long to find a solution, and you'll be helping your body, your children, and the rest of the world by avoiding unnecessary chemicals.
This article is part of Prevention Not Prescriptions hosted at TheKathleenShow.com
Always remember when experimenting with your own creations to be sure your equipment is clean and perform a skin test on any unfamiliar substances. Apply some of the material to the underside of your arm and wait 24 to 48 hours to see if you have a reaction.
1 Fragrance at Safecosmetics.org
* various sources from Back to Basics, 2nd edition by Reader's Digest