Friday, December 04, 2009

The Campaign For "Safe" Cosmetics = FAIL

Does this logo look familiar to you? Bet you've probably researched cosmetics companies and/or ingredients by perusing through the Skin Deep database. Many moons ago, I signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. I don't do any animal product testing, I use neither micronized ingredients, nor nanoparticles in any of my products. All was well and good with the world.

About a year ago, things drastically changed over there. Products that were once rated as "0's" or "1's" were suddenly in the "6's and 7's" for hazard safety warnings. If the ingredient didn't change, why did the rating change so drastically? Most of it became the interpretations of the studies - dire warning of dreaded diseases one might contract when coming in contact with the particular ingredient of note. If you're working in a lab, surrounded 8 hours (or more) a day, 5 days a week by flying powders, these warnings are worth heeding. That's why we wear gloves and face masks. But since non-micronized minerals do not pass through the skin, how can the amount the average woman is exposed to daily when applying her makeup possibly equate to high doses given to rats - even if they use one of those dispensing brushes that puff powder everywhere but your face? Coal Miner's Disease is from inhalation of coal tar over a period of years; it's not gotten by throwing charcoal briquettes on your BBQ everday during the summer. Personally, I'm more concerned about what I inhale daily in my shower when I spray Shower Saver all over my tile and glass in a small, inclosed area.

Not long after that, the organization became pretty militant with respect to the cosmetic companies. In March of last year, I received a very threatening letter from these folks, threatening that if I didn't upload all of my products and their ingredients, I would be listed as non-compliant.

No longer wanting to be associated with this milita, I fired back an email that I wanted my company and all information removed from their database. Not surprisingly, they never removed me. Since I never uploaded my ingredients, I'm deemed as non-compliant (see the circled area above). Do a search for Purely Cosmetics, and they make me look like the bad boy:

Rather, all of my products are voluntarily listed with the FDA in accordance with their Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program. You know, the people who though don't regulate the industry directly on a product-by-product basis, do regulate what materials are approved for use in cosmetics - and then further break down what's approved as safe for eyes, lips, face and nails. Let's take a look at a very common ingredient used in color cosmetics: ultramarines. Though named many things, such as ultramarine blue, chromium oxide green, etc, they are still all ultramarines. Doing a search on the Skin Deep database will make you think these are very harmless ingredients - just look at all those nice, pretty green circles! Did you know that ultramarines are not safe for use on the lips? Do you see ANY indication of that here?

It appears that not as many people are putting as much stock into Skin Deep as they used to. Maybe they've figured out that this is a self-policed organization who rates ingredients on a whim, because now they're hitting visitors up hard for donations. Their old splash page is what's shown on top. If you visit their website now, here's their splash page:

So what was once started as a grassroots campaign against large manufacturers has turned into a vehicle to scare of any consumer from using any product. Buyer beware: just because it's on the internet, doesn't make it the gospel truth. Do your research, but read carefully and between the lines as well.


  1. I loved your article, it has great information! I think you and your readers might be interested in another article I found, about beauty and dry eyes.


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