The Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Mystery: What’s With All the Labels?

December 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Beauty Products, Blog, Front Page, Slideshow, Take Action, Vegan

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Like a lot of people, the thought of applying cosmetics that were once slathered into rabbits’ eyes or forced down rats’ throats makes me want to make a mad dash for the makeup remover. But navigating the sea of cosmetics and decoding their labels to figure out which were and which were not tested on animals can seem tougher than getting “Call Me Maybe” out of your head. So I looked into some of the most common labels found on cosmetics, and here’s what I found…

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Scented Cleaning Products May Harm Your Health

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Cleaning products that are artificially scented with smells like lilac, lemon, pine, and tropical rainforest may be popular with consumers, but the fragrances themselves shouldn’t be. Each fragrance is potentially made up of hundreds of chemicals — many of them toxic, according to Erin Switalski, executive director of Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE).

“It’s basically chemical soup in a lot of these products,” Switalski says.

WVE is a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that impact women’s health. The group compiled What’s That Smell?, a landmark report that examines the health effects of hidden fragrance chemicals.

Women are disproportionately affected by the chemicals in fragrances since they use them more frequently than men. They also experience more health effects from the fragrances, such as skin rashes, headaches, and breathing problems. Plus, they can pass chemicals on to their children during pregnancy and breastfeeding….

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Christopher Drummond Eye Shadow Rocks!

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When you want a burst of color on your eyes, you normally have to wear heavy, cakey, powdery eye shadow.

Not anymore. I reviewed Christopher Drummond Beauty’s eye shadow in petal-pink and sky-blue, and fell in love with the iridescent, jewel-toned colors.

My favorite was the sky-blue. Sometimes people shy away from this bold color, fearing they’ll look like Mimi from old episodes of The Drew Carey Show. With this loose-powder eye shadow, users get a beautiful burst of blue that isn’t overpowering. I wore the shadow both to work and out to dinner, and got so many compliments on how pretty it was. It’s appropriate for all occasions, whether fancy or casual.

Plus, it’s made from all natural ingredients, and it’s vegan. All Christopher Drummond’s products comply with the EU Cosmetics Directive and have no known potential carcinogens. Scarily, many companies in the cosmetics industry sell products that contain ingredients banned from food. The company is affiliated with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, PETA, and Green People. At the time of this writing, Christopher Drummond Beauty products have not yet been evaluated by Environmental Working Group on their Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database….

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Try A Beautiful Life for Pretty Nails and Hair

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Do you wear nail polish? If you do, you’re certainly familiar with the toxic smells of both the polishes and the removers needed to take your polish off. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a non-toxic alternative? Turns out there is! …

Advertised as “long wearing” and “chip resistant,” A Beautiful Life lacquers come in a variety of shades and run $12 for a 12.6 ml bottle. I received two bold sample colors, “80’s Pink” and “Blues.” While these particular colors were not my personal favorites, a few others shown on the website caught my eye: “Venom,” “Silverado,” and “Envy.”

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Surface Hair Care Products – Gluten Free, Vegan, Not Tested on Animals

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Over the past several months, I’ve been using Surface Hair Care products as part of my daily routine. With color-treated hair (yes, I’m going gray beneath the blond), my locks sometimes get dry and brittle. The two varieties of Surface products I’ve tried are gentle on my hair and help keep it feeling soft and healthy.

Initially, a stylist friend (Carolyn at Carolyn’s Place, Studio 101, Coralville, Iowa) introduced me to the Trinity line of Surface products. She knows that I’m concerned both about the planet and my own health. Carolyn’s partner had recently been to a Surface product training in Florida and was excited about how environmentally respectful and people-friendly the products are….

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W3LL People – “Hippie Tested, Diva Approved”

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There’s a lot to love about W3LL PEOPLE cosmetic products — and not just because they have a smart marketer telling us so. (Who could resist a line like, “Hippie Tested, Diva Approved”?) In our house, every skin- or haircare product gets scrutinized to make sure we’re not using toxic chemicals. With W3LL, that’s not a problem. Here’s what their site says about the ingredients:

“We’re not sure who decided it was a good idea to pack skincare full
of artificial preservatives, fillers and other “scientific” chemicals, but as it turns out they’re not so good for your skin, or the planet.

“W3LL is driven to create a fresh, safe focus on skincare by providing products with proven, medical-grade nutrients that actually work, and don’t increase the mounting toxic load each one of us faces every day.

“So no, our products don’t have a nuclear half-life. But when you think about it, would you really want them to? W3LL is a truly beautiful choice by offering small batch products chock full of live, active natural ingredients every bit as effective as their evil counterparts – while leaving as gentle a footprint on the planet as possible. Now that’s beautiful.”

The company philosophy is beautiful, and so are its products…

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Clean Body – The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing Yourself

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If you enjoy tongue-in-cheek humor and are looking for practical cleaning tips using old-fashioned ingredients, Clean Body will provide you with a full ration of both. Author Michael DeJong, a self-described “clean freak,” takes readers back to the absolute basics of cleanliness (he actually describes how to wash your hands) with five simple ingredients….

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Are Those Personal Care Products Safe to Use?

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Despite Joe’s firm stance on not keeping things we haven’t used in a year or longer, I have a stash of half-used bottles of hair care products and a box full of makeup that qualifies as an archaeological dig site. The items were useful in their day. Then, for whatever reason, I moved on, rejecting each product like a lover fallen out of favor. I can’t very well pass them along through FreeCycle — no one wants someone else’s quarter bottle of shampoo or half-used blush. And I don’t want to send them to a landfill to spend eternity. So, I’ve been doing my best to use them up…

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