Hi everyone! I am trying to makeover my home with products that are as free of chemicals and animal products as possible, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what to buy. In terms of make-up and beauty products, I've been spending a lot of time looking things up on this database http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ and it is disheartening because it seems like everything has something nasty in it! There are many products I've wanted to try that I see other Kind Lifers enjoy (Lush, Jason, Alba, Gabriel/Zuzu etc.) but when I look them up on this database, it seems like even they are all toxic and full of harmful chemicals. Am I being too much of an idealist here? I'm thinking of trying some make up from Coastal Classic Creations b/c everything they make is rated "0" on this database, does anyone have any feedback on their products? I'm used to liquid foundation, pressed powder, blush, pencil eyeliner and mascara, so I'm not sure how I'll fare with powder foundation and powder eyeliner. Thanks for any help you can give!
PS - What are your thoughts on parabens and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate? I have seen so many negative opinions of these, but many "natural" companies that seem to be very conscientious and cool (i.e. Lush) still use them... it's confusing!
I actually wrote to Lush about this a few years ago, and have saved the email because they clearly took their time in writing back to me a detailed explanation of their paraben use. I am a devout Lush user and the fact that they responded to me within like, 12 hours I thought was really cool. Here is the letter:
Thank you for taking the time to write this email to us. We are very sorry to hear about your current situation. We understand that you are concerned, and you have every right to be concerned about your health. Please allow us to explain our position on parabens.
We try to avoid preservatives whenever possible. At the end of January 2006 133 out of 205 of our products were preservative-free. The normal life of a cosmetic is 30 months under EU regulations unless one states a use by date. Lush products range in shelf life from 3 weeks to 14 months for products one would normally preserve. We can do this because we use far fewer preservatives than many other companies.
Most manufacturers today will use 4 or 5 different preservatives in each product. As you may know, we only will use one or two in our products. We do not want to use them but there are occasions when for practical reasons we want to use a type of formulation for it's benefits along with the ingredients that are effective and customers need to product to last so we have to preserve. In these instances, we use methyl and propyl parabens because they have a long record of safe use and are the mildest available.
A study published in 2004 (Darbre, in the Journal of Applied Toxicology) detected parabens in breast tumors. The study also discussed this information in the context of weak estrogen-like properties of parabens and the influence of estrogen on breast cancer. However, the study left several questions unanswered. For example, the study did not show that parabens cause cancer, or that they are harmful in any way, and the study did not look at possible paraben levels in normal tissue.
Although parabens can act similarly to estrogen, they have been shown to have much less estrogenic activity than the body's naturally occurring estrogen. A 1998 study that was published in the Journal of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology found that the most potent paraben tested in the study butylparaben, showed from 10,000- to 100,000-fold less activity than naturally occurring estradiol (a form of estrogen). This information combined with the knowledge of what a small amount of parabens that we use in our products stands to reason that there is little cause for concern.
We as the manufacturers are responsible for making safe products and if we have any doubts will drop an ingredient or a product. In this particular case we do not have any plans to stop using methyl and propyl parabens if we need to preserve a product although we will as always try not to preserve a product in the first place.
We manufacture many products that contain no parabens. Most of the products that you see in our stores or online that are solid contain no preservatives whatsoever. This includes our solid shampoo and conditioning bars, solid facial care products, massage bars and body butters, all of our soaps and buttercreams.
Thanks for your response, Dani! I was -thisclose- to buying some Lush products a few weeks ago because they look so fantastic, but their rating on the Cosmetics Database caused me some concern. I saw on another thread that you use Lush and I know what an educated and responsible consumer/vegan you are, so I'm thrilled to know that you already addressed the paraben issue with them and that they responded in such a positive manner. I think this is the push I needed to go for it and become a Lush Girl. :-) Any recommendations for cosmetics?
I don't really use a lot of cosmetics...but when I do photoshoots and stuff I typically will use products homemade products from people selling on Etsy. From Lush, I use a body bar for the shower and also their solid shampoos. And for my skin (moisturizers, etc.) I use Arbonne. I also take a vegan omega-3 suppliment from Arbonne when I feel I need it...best of luck on your journey!
I avoid SLS as much as I can. You can research it easily. A big reason it's used is to thicken products and make them foamy. Some people seem to associate the ability of a product to foam with its ability to clean, when all it really means is it has more chemicals in it to make it foamy. I use Weleda toothpaste, which does not foam at all. It still cleans my teeth, and I mean they actually feel clean after I brush. A conventional toothpaste is gonna foam, and people expect that. I personally don't see a reason to injest or absorb an unecessary chemical, so I don't, but it is very difficult to find SLS-free products. I don't know much about parabens. The products I buy just generally don't contain them.
I have to say - yes, I avoid as many chemicals as I can, especially SLS, Parabens, stuff like that. I used to religiously use the cosmetics safety "skin deep" database. However, I have come to believe you really need to take this info with a grain of salt, so to speak. I have noticed that some products in the database have an ingredient (lets say zinc oxide) and its rated a 5... in other similar products, the exact same ingredient is rated a 1 or 2. I have seen some products "score" go from a 0 or 1 to a 3 or 4 without any change in any ingredients. I basically have come to just distrust this system. I think you should look at the score, but also do your own research and decide for yourself. A lot of the Skin Deep ratings are based on "data gaps" (lack of any conclusive evidence on an ingredient).
I personally try not to use anything with a "3" or higher on the Skin Deep database, yet I also look closely at WHY those items are rated the way they are. Some pretty innocuous essential oils get really high scores and some scary chemicals get low scores!
I have recently started using Gabriel Cosmetics liquid moisturizing foundation, and I think its fabulous. Comapres to any high end brand i have ever used. And I don't see anything in the ingredients that is really a scary chemical. I love ZuZu Luxe Lipsticks, and I love Alima blushes, eyeshadows and eyeliners (although they are loose powder and take a while to get used to using).
Hazel, I agree that there is no need to use or ingest unnecessary chemicals like SLS, so I am trying to phase it out of my life for good! The toothpaste I use (Tom's of Maine) didn't used to contain it, but I guess they got sold to a larger company and now they do use SLS. LAME! I will look into Weleda, I have also heard Jason makes toothpaste without SLS.
Starflower - I think you're right about the database. I have noticed certain products get a bad rating, but it is due to possible allergens or something that may not even affect me. I am really looking for warnings about ingredients known to cause cancer, etc. so I guess I will just have to click into the product and see why it has the rating it does. I just ordered a few make-up samples (can't remember the name of the company right now, Pure something?) but if they don't work out I am definitely looking into Gabriel and ZuZu Luxe - they seem very conscientious about the ingredients they use. Thanks for the suggestions!!
Oooh - I knew Tom's of Maine had sold to a bigger company but didn't think to check the ingredients - I'll have to check out Weleda toothpaste now too! Aubrey Organics makes some good shampoo/conditioners that are SLS free and vegan too (not all their stuff is vegan but its clearly labeled).