by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Recently, the David Suzuki Foundation published a report entitled: “What you need to know about toxics in your cosmetic products” and as an esthetician who develops her own spa treatment recipes and tries to live a green lifestyle, I thought it would be a good idea to pass this information on to my readers.
In a nutshell, here is a list of the “Dirty Dozen” ingredients to look out for on the labels of your cosmetics because they could be harmful to your health and to the health of our planet Earth:
- BHA and BHT
- Coal tar dyes (p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits)
- DEA-related ingredients
- Dibutyl phthalate
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
- Paraben, methylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben
- PEGs (e.g., PEG -60)
- Sodium laureth sulfate
These ingredients play different roles in the product formulations. Some act as preservatives while others help create the “feel” of the products. Pronouncing these chemicals is hard enough but using these ingredients repeatedly for days and weeks and months and years on end can have significant consequences to your health and to the environment.
Most of the ingredients listed are harmful to fish and other wildlife, presumably by getting into our water system after we rinse them off. Others are considered cancer causing — the big “C Word.”
Others are suspected “endocrine disruptors” which means they interfere with the jobs that natural hormones do in the body, including maintaining the normal metabolism, reproduction, development, and/or behavior of cells. Like keeping your hormone levels balanced isn’t challenging enough without any outside interference.
I also learned a little something about fragrance reviahome that I didn’t know before reading this report. Seeing “Parfum” on the label can turn out to be any number of additives. Something as seemingly innocuous as fragrance may turn out to be a big deal for some people because some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma.
And the ones that are marketed as “unscented” or “fragrance free” you ask? Well, they may in fact contain masking agents that prevent the brain from perceiving the odour — but the original fragrance is there none the less. Sneaky, I know.
To be proactive in your life about your health, I invite you to grab your bottle of shampoo or any other cosmetic that you have handy and read the label. Yes, the fine print. I think it’s worth knowing what’s inside the products that you like to use. Maybe this information will inspire you to take more care in buying your next face cleanser or tube of toothpaste or your next brand of mascara. Liking the fragrance may have helped you choose your shampoo in the past, but it’s not the whole story. I know I’ll think twice next time I go shopping.
In the meantime, try making your own home spa recipes because that way, you’ll know exactly what you’re applying to your hair and skin. And you’ll feel better about your carbon footprint at the same time. For home spa recipe ideas, order your copy of How to throw a Home Spa Pajama Party the Homespunspa way today.