Cosmetics = Lead

*I’ve included many links for educational purposes and highly recommend seeing what they each contain.*

Recently, Beautyounter claimed to have tested their products for lead, but then refused to release the results to the public. This feels just like when Ava Anderson, which later rebranded, supposedly tested their products for the ingredients they claimed were in it, but refused to release the results to the public. Cosmetics, especially lipstick, are notorious for high levels of lead and other heavy metals and yet the government does not set standards and enforce regulation of these ingredients and products. While makeup is a very optional product to buy and use, many people do use it, which would cause near constant exposure to heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, and carcinogens. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is working to educate the public and get safety regulations in place.

I just can’t trust any company that isn’t transparent with ingredients, and that is why I love Poofy Organics and began selling for them last spring. They list all ingredients, everything is gluten free and not tested on animals, everything that can be USDA organic goes through the rigorous process, and the products are made in small batches by real people. I know that what I see is what I get and I don’t have to guess at what is in a blanket ingredient statement.

Years ago, I bought some Method hand soap as I had a friend recommend them. Immediately after washing my hands with it for the first time, I was hit by a migraine. The next day, I emailed the company and asked to know what the exact ingredients were, especially the fragrance, as I had reacted to some in the past. They refused to disclose or send me a refund. I tossed the entire new bottle of soap and refused to purchase from them again. Many companies claim to be “green” and “natural” and some even try to get away with saying they are organic when they aren’t certified. This is called greenwashing and it can take a lot of time to sort through it all the find the companies that are truly safe and organic.

For example, here’s Beautycounter lipstick ingredients as found on their site:

Diisostearyl Malate, Jojoba Esters, Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cera Microcristallina/Microcrystalline Wax/Cire microcristalline, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit Extract, Cera Carnauba/Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cire de carnauba, Candelilla Cera/Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax/Cire de candelilla, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Tin Oxide. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 27 Lake (CI 45410), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090),

I looked up on EWG the ingredients that I was unsure of and they all came up with insufficient information, so “assumed” safe to use in cosmetics. That doesn’t fill me with confidence in a product and then is followed by that long list of “may contain” for artificial colors. Some people may not be concerned about artificial food grade colors, but they are banned in other countries and evidence based science in those countries has found them detrimental to our health. Meanwhile, titanium dioxide is known to cause cancer. We are constantly bombarded by VOCs and other cancer and disease causing chemicals, so slathering them on my body in the form of makeup or lotion is not appealing. Some companies even like to argue that the “bad” aspects of ingredients don’t get through your skin’s barrier, which doesn’t make sense when you consider that some products contain ingredients that are there specifically to allow the product to absorb into your skin.

To compare, here’s the ingredients on a Poofy Organics lipstick:

Ingredients: organic castor oil, organic beeswax, organic carnauba wax, organic sunflower oil, organic unrefined shea butter, organic cocoa butter, organic jojoba oil, organic coconut oil, organic carrot powder, organic rosehip seed oil, organic annatto seed powder, organic turmeric powder, organic extracts of lemon & rosemary.  (+/- iron oxides, mica, zinc oxide)

Poofy doesn’t use the scientific names for ingredients because they want the customers to be able to read it and because they buy and use the actual real ingredients. To be fair, here’s the EWG articles for iron oxides, mica, and zinc oxide. These are all mined from the earth and can contain heavy metals. These three ingredients make it so that these cosmetics cannot be labeled USDA organic. They cannot meet the stringent guidelines merely because they are not grown. I would also like to note that the Poofy Organics lipstick is $15 and contains nearly all organic ingredients, while the Beautycounter lipstick is $30 and does not use organic ingredients while also contains artificial colors.

Because of the Beautycounter claims and the use of minerals from the earth in their products, Poofy Organics decided to run heavy metal tests on a number of products they make. They chose products that would specifically cover a wide range of ingredients, because testing every single product would have been way too expensive for a small company. The owners of Poofy Organics wanted peace of mind as well as transparency. They wanted to know for sure that their beloved products did not contain high levels of heavy metals and then they released the report results to all the Guides and the consumers. That’s what a responsible company does!

To put this into context, everything that is grown in the ground or mined from the earth will contain heavy metals, including lead. So, yes, even all of our produce contain some amount of lead. It’s unavoidable, but we need to take precautions to lessen our load in order to keep our bodies healthy. For those with health conditions or impaired detoxification processes, this is even more important. These toxic ingredients are one of the many reasons we are seeing such a huge increase in cancer, mental illness, infertility, autoimmune diseases, and neurological conditions.

The Poofy owners were bracing for higher levels of heavy metals than the results indicate and were relieved and assured with the final report. The minerals that were tested are aluminum, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead. To compare, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics article states that many lipsticks that were tested contain up to 7.19ppm of lead, while the Poofy Organics lipstick that was tested had a whopping 0.056ppm of lead. Directly from the Poofy report*:

Lead: Lead is part of the earth and occurs in the Earth’s crust at 13 ppm. It is found in the air, water & soil. Levels of 6.90 ppm are average in cosmetics, while some lipsticks have been found to be over 100 ppm. Although the US has not adapted a safety level, Canada follows a conservative level of 10 ppm. Our tests have revealed our products are well below the safety level.

This information might feel overwhelming, as it did for me when I first began learning about all the toxic things surrounding me. Lead Safe America is a great resource for educating yourself, but can be overwhelming at times. I have to decide what is worth stressing over and what I need to take a deep breath and let go. I also know that this is a process and something I am constantly working to improve. It is all about finding the balance that works for your family and your sanity. For instance, I still have plastic in my kitchen but I never put it in the microwave or put hot foods in it. I would love to have no plastic and do use mason jars and glass Pyrex bowls with plastic lids when I can. Sometimes I have found that using a greeenwashed product, such as a Seventh Generation dish soap, is the best I can do in that moment and that’s okay. I look forward to trying more Poofy Organics products such as their household cleaner, dish soap, and more of their USDA Organic essential oils.

*If you are interested in reading the full report, email me and I will forward it to you.

About JennP

Single mom by choice, lesbian, natural living, parenting, car free, Chicago.Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment!
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