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What the heck is in this bubble bath?

Posted Sunday, Dec. 06, 2009  comments  Print Reprints
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It's not easy being green.


I've taken baby steps to adopt a greener lifestyle. I've ditched disposable water bottles for stainless steel and BPA-free plastic. I have an arsenal of reusable shopping totes (and sometimes I even remember to bring them to the store). I’m even trying to grow my own herbs. But until recently I had no idea how un-green my beauty routine was.


I'm a self-admitted beauty junkie. I have lotions, scrubs, creams, toners, you name it. Free gift with purchase? I’m all over that. But exactly what’s in all these products I’m slathering on my face and body?
 

According to Sophie Uliano, author of Gorgeously Green, it's some scary stuff. She cites these statistics in her book:

-  Only 11 percent of 10,500 ingredients in beauty products have been tested for safety.  (Source: Environmental Working Group)
-  Every day, 1 in 13 women  use personal care products with ingredients that are known or probable carcinogens and reproductive toxins. (Source: Environmental Working Group)
-  The average woman’s beauty routine exposes her to 100 chemicals before breakfast. (Source: Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics)


So what’s a gal to do? First of all, try not to freak out. You don't have to chuck all your beloved bath products. Start small. Be informed and be aware so you can make better shopping decisions next time. 

The Environmental Working Group recommends that you avoid products that contain the following ingredients:

- Coal tar (found in dandruff and anti-itch creams)
- Fragrance (found in everything, it can mask hundreds of ingredients)
- Hydroquinone (found in skin lighteners and facial moisturizers)
- Aluminum (found in eye shadow and deodorant)
- Triclosan (found in antibacterial soap)
- P-Phenylenediamine (found in hair dye)
- Lead and mercury (lead is found in toothpaste, mercury is found in a cosmetic preservative called thimerosol)


First, find out exactly what’s in your beauty regime. Read the fine print on the labels. Then go to the Skin Deep Database at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com which ranks cosmetics on a safety scale of 0 through 10. Sophie Uliano suggests avoiding products with a rating of 5 or higher.

Ready to start replenshing your beauty stash? Check out the "Natural & Organic" section on Sephora.

It may take a little more effort, but green really can be beautiful.


Source: Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2008.

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