Monday, October 4, 2010

Lookin' Pretty Green: Part I

Generally, I'm not an over-reactor.

Well, I do often self-diagnosis spinal meningitis every time I develop an unexplained neckache, but that's hypochondria. Different dealio.

I'm talking about when you hear about the latest, horrifying study: Fish is full of mercury! Meat is full of genetically-engineered crap!

I figure, something's gonna get you. As long you don't do or eat anything in excess and you're properly careful — well, as careful as you can be; we all know how labels touting "organic" and "totally, completely natural!" can be fudged — that's the best anyone can do.

So, it's odd that "No More Dirty Looks" by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $14.95) has completely freaked me out.

The paperback details how the United States cosmetics industry is basically poisoning us. Remember the 2009 FDA study that showed all of the lipsticks it studied had lead? Well, beauty companies pretty much have no oversight, and many of the substances companies use here have long been banned in Europe. The companies actually reformulate to sell over there.


I've been doggedly pulling out all my products and cosmetics and cross-referencing the ingredients against the list of no-no substances in the book. Guess what? Not good. My much beloved Lush "fresh and natural" shampoos and conditioners? Yup, each and every one has some sort of cooties. I was horrified at all the questionable chemicals in my children's shampoo and body soap.

What's a product-loving girl to do? Well, I'm not going to go as far as use beets to stain my lips, as the book suggests for a completely natural, safe alternative to lead-tainted lipsticks. Nor will I stop washing my hair as one of the authors did. I am however, going to start being a lot more cautious about what I buy and checking the ingredient labels.

For beauty junkies, "No More Dirty Looks" is a must-read. It's like Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" for chicks. Perhaps it'll have the same impact.

Coming tomorrow: where to find clean cosmetics and products.


Desert Flower said...

I really hope we don't have to stop washing our hair.

S. said...

Have you heard of the cosmetics safety database? It has lists of tons of products that are safe, and safety ratings on products that aren't. Pretty much anything you can get at a place like wholefoods is safe. And burts bees is great. I just got their tinted lip shimmer and it is wonderful.

The cosmetics database can be found at