Did you know that more than 500 beauty products sold in the U.S. contain ingredients banned for use in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union? How about that 61% of lipstick brands tested in the U.S. contain lead residue? And if you thought you had the power of information on your side when reading ingredient labels, think again. Federal law permits beauty companies to omit certain ingredients from labels, including any ingredients considered a “trade secret.” Certain fragrance ingredients are also permitted to be left off of the product labeling.
So what is a savvy consumer to do? Head on over to the Skin Deep database, offered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG is a non-profit organization whose mission is to use public information to its full extent, granting the power of knowledge to those who seek to be informed in their health and beauty purchasing decisions. They make consumer safety information as easy and accessible as possible, and have two programs to achieve this: the Skin Deep program and the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides offers consumers a look at which crops are safest, most hazardous, or carry other concerns. The Skin Deep Program offers an entire database of information that is aimed at giving consumers all of the facts on the ingredients used in beauty and personal hygiene products. The Skin Deep database offers safety ratings to allow you to easily see what is considered safe, and what to avoid. The database is impressive, with safety information for over 74,000 products from almost 3,000 different brands.
For those of you who are familiar with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, an initiative that calls on the health and beauty industry to stop using nasty chemicals commonly found in their products, you will be happy to know that the EWG is a founding member! Their work has resulted in over 1,000 companies signing a pledge to both make safer products, and to be more transparent with the ingredients in their products.
And for those of you who were starting to get concerned, they didn’t forget about animal testing! Skin Deep also includes the company and brand’s position on animal testing so that you can have a complete snapshot of both the safety and ethics of the company you are searching. We can’t say we were too surprised to see animal-testers, L’Oreal, on their radar. This time for being the worst offender when it came to having lead in their lipstick.
To check out how your favorite brands compare, visit the Skin Deep website!