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Are Your Beauty Products Really Natural?

Mar. 6, 2014|610 views

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Many of you have asked for advice regarding organic and natural products for skin and haircare. To avoid potentially dangerous chemicals in products you and your family may apply to your bodies every day. And with good reason. 

Many people assume that the United States Food and Drug Administration does a good job of protecting us, as consumers, from chemicals that may harm us. But that’s an unsafe assumption, unfortunately. According to extensive testing, research and reporting by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG), many products widely available today contain numerous ingredients that are questionable at best, and downright dangerous at worst.

The personal products marketplace is a bit like the Wild West, where just about anything goes and you can’t always rely on the law to protect you. In many ways, you’re on your own. Terms like “natural” and even “organic” are not always guarantees that personal care products don’t contain chemicals that have been linked, at some point, to potential health effects. Many products are simply inadequately tested for safety.

One of the best ways to be sure you’re not exposing your family to questionable chemicals unnecessarily is to visit EWG’s website. Search their extensive databases for detailed reviews of thousands of products. You’ll get the lowdown on individual products’ safety profiles, ingredient by ingredient. 

A recent search of shampoos, for instance, turned up a handful of products with overall safety ratings of zero (in this case that’s a good thing: zero refers to a product’s overall hazard level). That means that for a given product, such as Enkido Shampoo, all of its ingredients rate 0-2 on a scale that identifies known or suspected health risks. Products with a green label (ranging from 0-2) are identified as “low hazard”. All of the ingredients in Enkido Shampoo get a green light for safety. Its overall risk rating is zero. So this is one example of a perfectly safe shampoo.
In contrast, Nature’s Baby Organics Shampoo & Body Wash Vanilla Tangerine, gets an overall yellow rating (3-6) for certain ingredients rated “moderate hazard”. Despite “organic” in the name, this product is arguably less safe that other products with a green rating. 

Unfortunately, more familiar national brands, such as Pantene, L’Oreal, and Axe, among others, tend to fall within the “moderate hazard” category more often than more obscure brands such as Enkido. Certain well-known brands even earned a “high hazard” rating. L'Oreal Paris Vive Pro Color Vive Hi Gloss Color Treated Or Highlighted Hair Shampoo is just one such product. It gets a red, “high hazard” rating for certain questionable ingredients. I recommend that you visit www.ewg.org to do your own research and choose a product that safely meets your needs.

Tags:  chemicals beware, health tips
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