Junk and Toxins Lurk in Products

A big part of what I do is try to educate women about the junk that lurks in so many of our personal care products. These are the skin care, shampoos, conditioners, body washes and body moisturizers, the make-up and other products we use every day. The mere fact that we use these products EVERY DAY is one of the many reasons we need to educate ourselves.

Years ago, we started reading food labels. We educated ourselves about what we wanted to have in our foods. We changed the entire grocery and food industry by moving our disposable income to the type of products we wanted to consume. Lower fat. Lower sugar. Non-GMO. Etc. I believe that we can do the same with cosmetics and personal care products. It means educating ourselves and moving our purchases to brands that are healthy.

Toxic Burden

An article in Natural News based on scientific research done by a company in the United Kingdom found that women on average put 515 chemicals on their faces every day! This toxic burden starts when young girls begin to experiment with make-up, skin care and hair products. How many personal care products do you use daily? How safe are they? As you might imagine, many of the cheaper brands carry a bigger toxin load than more expensive brands. When young girls start their experimentation, they are completely unaware of what they might be putting on or in their bodies. Indeed, many adult women are also unaware. The cosmetic companies do NOT want us to be educated. They want to keep us in the dark. They are banking on it!


Arbonne’s Not Allowed List

One of the many issues with personal care is the massive lack of legislation in North America. Where the European Union (EU) has banned 1400 ingredients from personal care products, the US and Canada have banned fewer than a dozen! Add to that the lack of legislation about labeling. Food labeling is very strict and monitored. Personal care labeling is not.

Manufacturers are NOT required to list all ingredients on their packaging. This is a major oversight in North America (NA). So, although they may list SOME ingredients, they rarely list ALL ingredients. There are some mainstream, major cosmetic companies who manufacture one line of products for distribution in NA (using lots of junk and toxins) and another line for distribution in the EU.

The Garlic Experiment

Many of us forget the role that our skin plays in keeping us safe from toxins. Our skin is the largest organ we have. It is meant to help us detox and to protect us. The skin absorbs much of what we put on it. This is the reason why it is SO important to know what ingredients are in each product we use. Here is a fun and simple experiment you can try at home to demonstrate how the skin absorbs what we put on it.

Get a nice fresh garlic bud. Peel it and make sure that it is fresh enough to have some of the natural oil coating it. Put the garlic bud between two bare toes.  Just sit for a few minutes. See how long it takes for the garlic to enter your blood stream and be carried to your taste buds. When that happens you will TASTE the garlic in your mouth – all the way from your toes. Doctors know this about the skin. Many medications today are administered via patches that are applied to the skin. It’s called a “trans-dermal delivery system”. That just means medication delivered across (through) the skin.


If you google “tallow in cosmetics”, this is the first answer that pops up.

“TallowTallow is a common ingredient in many cosmetics including eye makeup, lipstick, makeup bases and foundations. … The process involves boiling the carcasses of slaughtered animals until a fatty substance is produced, ready to add to cosmetics and apply to one’s face.”

Cosmetic companies are the single biggest purchaser of tallow in the US. The fat from slaughtered animals, roadkill and veterinary clinics make cosmetics feel creamy and smooth. Why do companies continue to use this ingredient in their products? Because it’s cheap!

Because of how tallow is made, it smells rancid! Manufacturers often add perfume to their product to cover-up the rancid smell of tallow. When you purchase a product that has an obvious perfume added to it, it is very likely that the product contains tallow. Cosmetic companies are very advertising savvy and may have tallow disguised on the label as “organic materials”! I think we know that if they were talking about lemons, they would say “lemons”.

Look for a company or products that are certified VEGAN. There will be no tallow in a vegan certified product!

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a derivative of crude oil. We all know what happens when there is a crude oil spill in an ocean, river or lake. The flora and the fauna are damaged by the oil and often die. When oil sticks to a bird’s feathers, it causes them to mat and separate, impairing waterproofing and exposing the animal’s sensitive skin to extremes in temperature. This can result in hypothermia, meaning the bird becomes cold, or hyperthermia, which results in over-heating. Here is a great article about how oils affect the birds, plants and sea life.


Something very similar happens to humans on a smaller scale if we use a product that contains mineral oil. The molecules are too big to be absorbed through our skin. It is like wrapping your skin in cellophane. The skin can no longer function properly to detox the body (though sweat) or to protect the body. Mineral oil is still often listed on labels, because most women are unaware of its detrimental effect on our health. This is something you can look for, and be sure to avoid when you see it.


Parabens are a group of chemical preservatives often used in cosmetics. Many cosmetics and personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, face creams, body wash and moisturizers) are manufactured to have a shelf life of up to 9 years! YIKES! I don’t want to put anything on my face that is made to last 9 years sitting in a warehouse or on a store shelf. Parabens are thought to be linked to breast cancer and other diseases. Although there may be only small amounts of parabens in any product, the compound effect can be very detrimental when using many products, on a daily basis. Parabens are also something that are still often listed on a label. I recommend that you watch for it and avoid it.

An Article in Scientific American under the banner of Earth Talk says,

“First commercialized in the 1950s, parabens are a group of synthetic compounds commonly used as preservatives in a wide range of health, beauty and personal care products. If the product you are using contains methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben, it has parabens.

“Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity,” reports the non-profit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC). “Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells.” Research has shown that the perceived influx of estrogen beyond normal levels can in some cases trigger reactions such as increasing breast cell division and the growth of tumors.”

Cruelty Free

Are you concerned about cruelty to animals? Do you object to cosmetic companies that test their new products on animals (frequently bunnies) to determine the level of toxicity? I do! I again went to Google to see which companies continue to regularly test on animals. I found a list of over 30 companies – many of them mainstream. Here is the link to that article if you are interested:


Some of the companies on that list that may surprise you include L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Mac, Lancome, Maybelline, Revlon, Cover Girl, Clinique, Almay, Max Factor, Chanel, Tom Ford, Yves St. Laurent, Bobby Brown, Dior, Avon and May Kay. If you want to have cruelty free products, look for a certification from PETA – the organization that works for prevention of cruelty to animals on a global scale.

I have just scratched the surface of this topic. I hope to bring greater awareness to the issues of healthy ingredients, fewer toxins, cruelty free products and environmental concerns. If you would like to see more blogs about these and other related topics, please leave a comment!