The Truth About Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

Jamie, why do you spend your time making DIY products?

Well thank you for asking! 

You may assume it’s because I’m very frugal (true!), but I was finding brand name products for cheap or free so that’s not it.  It actually started when a well meaning friend told me that my brand name lotion was full of nasty toxins. Naturally I started researching every ingredient to prove her wrong.

I was wrong… and disgusted… and terrified.

It wasn’t just lotion either. Here’s the definition of a cosmetic as per Health Canada; “Any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth, and includes deodorants and perfumes”.  Keep that in mind.

So as I was researching I learned that the ingredients that I considered to be toxic in body lotion (benzyl alcohol, butylated hydroxyanisole [BHA], dmdm hydantoin [formaldehyde releasor], etc…) were APPROVED to be in my lotion by Health Canada! Naturally I jumped down a rabbit hole to see what other toxins were in cosmetics and if our health care regulations deemed them “toxic enough” to be banned or not.

I was again disturbed and learned that Canada is most definitely NOT the leader in cosmetic safety by any standard! Just to give you an idea where Canada stands, here’s 3 different examples of how many ingredients are banned JUST in cosmetics.

European Union – 1,328 banned (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=LEGISSUM:co0013)

Canada – over 500 banned (https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/consumer-product-safety/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredient-hotlist-prohibited-restricted-ingredients/hotlist.html)

USA – 11 banned (https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-laws-regulations/prohibited-restricted-ingredients-cosmetics)

Did you just drop your favourite mug?!  This is just the tip of the iceberg too; there are loop holes and products that are just put on the shelves and are only removed if someone complains and it is tested! ALSO; a company can (& many do) put almost anything under the “ingredient” fragrance and not have to disclose what it is to anyone.

Some companies are also now “greenwashing” us by putting the words green, clean, natural, safe, etc on their labels even if they haven’t changed the ingredients; advertise “NO XYZ” even though it was never allowed in the first place; or remove 1 ingredient and leave the other dozen harmful toxins in there.  Needless to say; READ THE LABEL on everything!

So, I decided to take things into my own hands, literally, until I could find products that I could trust were safe for my family.  That was a LONG journey!  I used the EWG website & “Think Dirty” app (still makes me giggle!) to get a ballpark view and then still looked up every ingredient. Told you that you wouldn’t be getting heresay fluff here!

What REALLY got me was that I was giving my kids products with endocrine disruptors and other toxins all throughout the day…  My daughter already holds my future grandkids in her body, so my decisions are actually affecting 3 generations!  YES, I realize there’s no way to eliminate every harmful ingredient, but I circle back to “know better, do better”.

“Jamie, it’s just my lotion; surely that little bit isn’t going to affect things THAT much!”  Scroll back up to the definition of a cosmetic (not just your lotion!) and also look into bioaccumulation.  Those toxins build up bit by bit until our bodies are full of them.

I don’t enjoy all the doom and gloom, but this needs to be known and talked about! We can’t grow and improve if we stay comfortable in our own bubble right? Plus I’m following up with some responsive ideas and solutions in next week’s post so there’s that!

In the meantime, look at the products in your house and use the EWG website for some of those ingredients (or look it up by product name).  Maybe it doesn’t bother you, but I’m asking you to atleast take a peek.  Again; I just want to help you!

Send me an email or message me and we can chat about how you can live a little healthier; DIY or not!

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