The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry…And the Alternative • Roots and All

There’s a million and one options for beauty care, whether it’s for the hair, face, or body. The problem that arises, however, is not the availability of the products, but the ingredients within them.  In 2018, there’s a huge focus on clean eating when it comes to what we put in our bodies, but what about what goes on our bodies?

While I initially didn’t see a problem with putting certain beauty products on me, after all, all these products are approved by the FDA – I was shocked to find that some of the chemicals found in them are banned in countries outside the United States. Canada and the European Union have banned almost 1,300 ingredients from cosmetic use. How many has the U.S banned? 11. I don’t feel so great about putting components on my eyes, mouth, and the rest of my body that are illegal in two other countries.

Where is the FDA in all of this? Isn’t this their job? According to a letter the FDA themselves wrote less than two years ago, their cosmetics authority has not been updated since 1938. Obviously, a lot has changed in the beauty industry since then, so essentially, the only administration in charge of regulating these products has very limited authority. Namely, unlike most FDA-regulated products, cosmetic product companies are not required to report adverse events or reactions. WEN Cleansing Conditioner had over 20,000 complains of hair breakage, loss, and baldness that went unreported the FDA. Not only that, cosmetic products and ingredients (besides color additives) are neither required to have FDA approval, nor submit safety information. Soooo that’s concerning.

This means multitudes of our everyday beauty products contain numerous health risks. Certain phthalates found in lotions, body washes, and hair care products, for instance, are banned in the European Union and certain US States, and are linked to breast cancer, abnormal genital developments, and decreases in male fertility.

Similarly, parabens in facial moisturizers, anti-aging creams, foundations, and fragrance products  are correlated to breast cancer, early puberty, and decreased sperm levels. Even worse, fragrance products aren’t even required to admit list the ingredients used, as it is considered a proprietary “trade secret”. Somehow the ingredients used by multi million corporations have become more important than our health.

While it would seem like petroleum, yep, the same stuff that makes up 46% of gasoline, wouldn’t be anywhere near our homes, it is hidden within many everyday products, such as body lotion, makeup remover, and hair conditioner. A study found 22% of petroleum-based ingredients contain an impurity called 1,4-dioxane that is a known animal carcinogen and possible human carcinogen. Petroleum also blocks pores, which not only may lead to pimples, but ironically prevents further hydration.

But everything causes cancer, right? What are we to do when every beauty product in the isle has at least one of these chemicals?

The answer lies in a product actually found in nature, that doesn’t undergo any processing or additives: unrefined coconut oil. I want to emphasize the unrefined characteristic, as it ensures no other chemicals have been added. Luckily, coconut oil has no cancerous properties or negative health effects. In fact, its good for you!

Not only is coconut oil great to ingest, but it’s ultra moisturizing and anti-bacterial, and potentially has anti-aging and hair conditioning and growth properties. Compared to sunflower oil, which is used in most hair care products coconut oil was found to actually decrease protein loss in hair.

Coconut oil can be used by itself as a hair mask, in very small amounts as a facial moisturizer, as a body moisturizer, as a shaving cream, makeup remover, lip balm, or eyelash growth serum. Just make sure to use, pure, 100% unrefined coconut oil: as only this form is safe to use around and on the eyes. You can purchase ours here, with free shipping (PS: For every 2,000 jars sold, we build a home for one of our single working mothers, so you can take care of your body as well as them!).

If you have a few more everyday ingredients on hand, coconut oil can be used to make eyeliner, beard oil, bath melts, and lotion bars!


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